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History of Musical Theater in America

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Gianna C

on 6 May 2015

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Transcript of History of Musical Theater in America

1870's/1880's - Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart produce 'dramatic farces'.
Vaudeville was soon introduced to America
October 24, 1881 - 'Clean' Vaudeville show premiers.
Born 1837
Age 24, owned musical hall and composed his own songs
Came up with the idea of 'Clean' vaudeville.
Now considered the "Father of Vaudeville".
What has changed from the 1920's musicals to now?
Sets and costumes have improved
More moving parts to sets.
Examples: Defying Gravity Elphaba (
), Flying Spiderman + Various characters (
Spiderman: Turn off the Dark
New trend: Musicals made after movies.
Hunchback of Notre Dame
"I'm lucky to have worked in theater all over the world, but there's something magical about Broadway. The audiences are smart, they're educated. They go in ready and they're up for it, they're up for the party. It's a whole different atmosphere."
- Hugh Jackman
Show Time!
Gianna Cappillo
Table of Contents
Tony Pastor
What was musical theater like in the 1800's?
Vaudeville Burlesque and Dance Acts
What was musical theater like in the 1900's?
What was musical theater like in the 1800's?

What was musical theater like in the 1900's?

What characterizes theater in the 21st century?
Broadway at the turn of the 19th century.
New York City's theater district became the mecca of the theater world.

Popular plays had rather weak plot and characters; but they did succeed with manipulated emotions.
The Theatrical Syndicate
Early 1900's; the Theatrical Syndicate ran Broadway

Owners - A.L Erlanger (left), Charles Frohman (top right), and Marc Klaw (bottom right)
1930's - 1970's American Musicals
1929 - Great Depression hit.
Radios seen as a threat to theater industry

1940's and 1950's - Musicals improved greatly

1970's - Rock and Concept musicals
Examples of Musicals from the 1900's
<- Showboat - 1927
1959 - Sound of Music ->
<- Grease - 1971
What characterizes American musical theater in the 21st century?
Works Cited
Joe Dziemianowicz. The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ review: Disney’s dark, angst-ridden cartoon comes to life" .
March, 16. 2015.
Hair. N.d.
Interview with a Director
I decided to interview Frances Cappillo, my aunt, who has directed plays for her parish to see what it is like to direct a play today.

What are some steps that go into running a play? Specifically Musicals?

- The play must contain a larger cast, a majority of it composed of a chorus (ensemble).
- Getting an orchestra (at minimum a piano player.)
- Recruiting people with actual skill.
- Getting rights to preform the play (if charging admission)
- Acquiring costumes + set
- Printing / Creating flyers
- Figuring out Ticket Prices.
Are there any challenges that you, as the director, must overcome when it comes to dealing with set, prop, and technical issues?

- Budget issues can pop up; especially in smaller / amateur productions.
- When running a student play; volunteers must assist with scenery, props, and costumes
- Essentially, a good staff is needed to run behind the scenes;
+ One person cannot do it all alone.

The history and evolution of American musicals.
Full transcript