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Musical Theatre

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Rudy Ramirez

on 24 April 2016

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Transcript of Musical Theatre

In the Heights
The next two days will help you prepare to write your second performance essay.
Written on
In the Heights
Analyze two elements of theatre
AT LEAST ONE of those elements of theatre must be one of the three elements of MUSICAL theatre
Music
Lyrics
Choreography
You may choose to write your essay on TWO elements of musical theatre.
Musical Theatre:
Quick Review: what is the difference between the
lyrics
and the
book
?

In the Heights
:
Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Book by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Also described as "Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda"

The UT Theatre and Dance Production:
Directed by Jerry Ruiz
Director: "gives a production a clear stylistic point of view that integrates all elements of the performance" (The Creative Spirit)
Music Direction by Spencer Blank
Music Director: responsible for the overall musical quality of a production. This can include
Orchestration: deciding what instruments will be used in a piece, and how they are used
Vocal arrangements, vocal coaching, giving feedback to musicians, etc.
Choreography by Toni Bravo
Choreographer: responsible for creating all dance pieces in a production
May also be responsible for character movement.
In the Heights: Names and Terms to Know
Analyzing Choreography
When analyzing dance, think about
Speed
of movement: fast or slow, how does it change?
Style
of movement: does this look like ballet, Latin dance, hip-hop dance, etc?
How are people dancing together, or as individuals?
Big group dance?
Two people dancing together?
Solo?
Are there specific gestures that get repeated in meaningful ways?
You can get REALLY specific if you want.
"Tone" of the movement
Think of good adjectives:
strong, electric, animalistic, romantic, languid, fluttering, airy, earthy

Ask yourself:
What is the movement telling me about
Character
World of the Play
Emotions and ideas of a given scene
How does movement relate to lyrics and music?
Music:
Instrumentation
: What instruments are being used?
Volume
: Loud or soft? When does it get louder or softer?
Tempo
: Fast or slow? When does it speed up or slow down?
Tone
: Is the music particularly high or low? Is there an emotional quality to the music (romantic, ominous, hopeful)?
Ask yourself:
How does the music make me feel?
What is happening in the music to make me feel this way?

Lyrics:
Analyze the words being sung
Analyze the relationship between the words and the music.

Are they conveying the same message?
Are the messages different?
Analyzing Music and Lyrics
Musical Theatre!
The Musical!
Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenowith sing "Defying Gravity"
Wicked
(2003)
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Winnie Holzman
Adapted from the novel by Gregory Maguire
Tells the story of the women who will become The Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good before Dorothy's arrival in Oz

In this clip:
House Stark: How does the speed of the music affect the emotion (and does it change)?
House Baratheon: How does the volume affect the emotion (and does it change)?
House Tyrell: What is the tone of the song, and what instruments do you notice?
House Targaryen: How do the lyrics connect to the music?
Case Study #1:
Wicked
(You're Welcome)
Case Study #2: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The cast sings "Populism, Yea, Yea!
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
(2010)
Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Book by Alex Timbers
Originally planned on writing a musical about presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and John Edwards
Tells the story of the birth of American populism under the 7th President, Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) by imagining him as an emo rockstar.

In this clip:
House Stark: How does the speed of the music affect the emotion (and does it change)?
House Baratheon: How does the volume affect the emotion (and does it change)?
House Tyrell: What is the tone of the song, and what instruments do you notice?
House Targaryen: How do the lyrics connect to the music?
George Chakiris, Rita Moreno and the cast of West Side Story sing "America"
West Side Story

(1957)
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by
Stephen Sondheim
(remember
Company
)
Book by Arthur Laurents
Uses the storyline of Romeo and Juliet to tell a story about two rival gangs in New York City:
the Jets, made up of Irish, Italian and Slavic Americans, and the Sharks, made up of Puerto Rican Americans.
That Stephen Sondheim guy goes on to make something of himself.
West Side Story
Announcements
In the Heights
closes Sat, April 19th
Performance Paper assignment posted to BlackBoard with changes we discussed in class.
Rough Draft due Fri, April 25th
Final Draft due Mon, April 28th
Next quiz Wed, April 16th on
Water by the Spoonful
Musical Theatre
Hip-Hop Theatre
Latin@ Theatre (what we get to today)
Why study musical theatre?

The Moneymaker:
Broadway musicals are a multimilllion dollar for-profit industry.
Musicals--particularly well known ones--are consistent money-makers for regional theaters.
"American" Theatre:
The musical,
as it is known today
, is the first theatre genre that we have studied which many would argue originated in the United States.
Musicals have been a particularly rich site for exploring what it means to be American.
Only in Musicals:
Three sources of information come at the audience: lyrics, music and dance
Elements of a musical:
Music (self-explanatory)
Lyrics: any line that is sung
Book: any line that isn't sung and major events
Each of these may be written by the same person or different people
Choreography: dance sequences

All three of these can offer the same message OR A DIFFERENT ONE creating layers of meaning
Musical Theatre: A Tale as Old as Time (Kinda)
Which of the types of theatre that we have studied involved music and dance (Hint: A lot of them)?

Origins of American Musical Theatre
From 19th Century Europe:
Operetta: short comic operas, often satires, performed in proscenium theaters
Gilbert and Sullivan: British operetta composers; still performed today
Music Hall: songs, dances, comedy sketches and burlesque performed in theaters where people could eat, smoke and DRINK at tables
From 19th Century America:
Minstrelsy: white performers in blackface performing comedy sketches, music and dance
Does that sound bad?
It was worse.
African American performers also performed in minstrel shows
While many historians have criticized African American minstrel performers for degrading themselves for money, others claim that they were able to make fun of the racism of their audiences during performances
Vaudeville: grew up out of minstrelsy and music halls, but performed in proscenium theaters
Included songs, dances, comedy sketches and burlesque
as well as magicians, circus artists, animal acts, and other variety performers

Show Boat
(The First Musical?)
Show Boat
1927
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by
Oscar Hammerstein
Tells the story of traveling performers on the Mississippi
First musical to deal with serious subject matter.
A
book musical: the music and dance sequences work to communicate a coherent plot
Hammerstein later joins with Richard Rogers to write
Oklahoma!
Rogers and Hammerstein come to define the American musical:
South Pacific
(Pulitzer Prize)
The King and I
Flower Drum Song
The Sound of Music
Musicals, Act 2
Review from Monday:
Music
Lyrics
Wicked vs Bloody Bloody

Big questions for today:
What can a musical do that a regular play can't do?
How do we analyze choreography?
How can music, lyrics and dance say the same thing?
How can they communicate different messages?
Cabaret
Your In the Heights Paper: Slight Shift
I saw the dress rehearsal of
In the Heights
and
It's awesome
It made me decide to shift the focus of your paper

You will
Choose two elements of theatre
One
must
be music, lyrics or choreography
Describe how they were used to create
the world of the play.
The world of the play cannot just be a description of the setting, i.e. "a corner in Washington Heights, New York City."
It must describe the "spirit" of the place: values, priorities, conflicts, identity, emotional quality.

For example, if the setting of a musical is UT, the "world" might be
"UT Austin, a place where football is king and everyone must bow down to the stars of the stadium."
"UT Austin, a place where people from different cultures and regions clash and connect in their attempts to build community."
"UT Austin, a place where students pursue quiet lives of scholarship and community service and never, ever drink. Ever."
Cabaret
(1966)
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Book by Joe Masteroff
The lives of people living in Germany during the rise of Nazism
are reflected in a series of numbers performed in a cabaret.
Cabaret: incorporates comedy, music, dance and burlesque
Performed in bars and nightclubs
Popular in Germany in the decade before Nazism as a site of queer life and sexual freedom
Described in book as a
concept musical: music, lyrics and dance explore themes and ideas rather than advancing a linear plot
Kander and Ebb go on to write
Chicago
and a number of other musical influenced by the jazz era.
Stephen Sondheim, Musical Theatre God
Born 1930 in New York City
Mentored by Oscar Hammerstein
starting at a young age.
Wrote
lyrics
to two of the most popular musicals of the 1950s
West Side Story
Gypsy
Had initial Broadway success with
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
(1962,
music and lyrics
) followed by a series of lackluster projects
Begins
collaboration with producer/director Harold Prince
on
a musical about contemporary marriage called
Company
, writes

music and lyrics
Company
debuts in 1970 to huge sucsess
Musical about contemporary middle and upper class New Yorkers, aka
the people seeing the show (anti-escapist)
Ambiguous ending very uncommon for musicals at the time
Continues to revolutionize musicals with other shows that broke the conventions of book musicals (easy to follow plots, simple endings, etc)
Sweeney Todd
: a "horror musical" about revenge and cannibalism
Sunday in the Park with George
: a musical inspired by an impressionist painting that leaps 100 years in time
Into the Woods
: satiric look at fairy tales
Announcements
Enter a Woman
closes this Friday, April 3rd
You are required to see it even if you don't do your paper on it
Remember to schedule a meeing with me, Gaby or Jess if you want to do
The Last 5 Years
or
Jacob's Ladder

Monday, April 6th: QUIZ on El Nogalar Latin@ Theatre
Friday, April 10th: Rough Draft of Paper #2 due
Monday, April 13th-Friday April 17th is the Cohen New Works Festival
We do not have class
You are required to see TWO shows and turn in proof of attendance with Paper #2
Regarding Paper #2
So I saw Enter a Woman on Friday and found it difficult to follow. Knowing that you guys had problems with Refugia, I wanted to give you some options.
You can now also do your paper on one of the following two shows:
Jacob's Ladder
: an original drama by Austin playwright Dennis Bailey about a young Jewish men working in The White House during WWII
Presented by Theatre En Bloc (link on Canvas)
The Last 5 Years
: a musical about a relationship and break-up where the boy tells the story from the beginning and the girl goes backwards from the end
Presented by Penfold Theatre Company (link on Canvas)
Some things to think about:
You can also write about the script for this essay, which might be easier with the more realistic shows
If you write about
The Last 5 Years
, remember that script is book, music and lyrics.
You ALSO have to write about a production element, and that might be easier with Enter a Woman
Also, if you write about
The Last 5 Years
, the show has been done before (and a movie is coming out), so that means that
You can quote articles that talk about the show if you like, but you NEED to cite your source.
If you use material from articles and do NOT cite your source, that is PLAGIARISM and VERY SERIOUS.
A link to MLA formatting will be put in the announcements section of Canvas.
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