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Musical Theater 2000-Present

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Liz Nunez

on 5 August 2013

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Transcript of Musical Theater 2000-Present

Musical Theater

Liz Nunez
General Characteristics
Jukebox Musicals
Types of Contemporary Musicals
Controversy of Modern Musicals
On Broadway in 2009, it tackles the story of a family who struggles with a mother that has bipolar depressive condition, leading her to hallucinate that her son, who died when he was a few months old, continues to live.
It controversially addresses normally tabooed topics of grieving a loss, suicide, drug abuse, and ethics in modern psychiatry.
Next to Normal
is my name
Musicals Based on Books
Based on Movies
Jukebox Musicals
Musicals that attach a plot to fit a collection of songs that have already been popular hits.
Original Musicals
Musicals Based on Movies
Musicals that took a safer route providing theater and musical adaptation of well-received movies.
Musicals Based on Books
Musicals that also took a safer route by adapting theatrical versions of popular novels.
Original Contemporary Musicals
These musicals, with original plot lines and scores, have successfully become critically-acclaimed.
Musical theater is a type of theater that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting, dance, and instrumental accompaniment.
It is a secular form of music
Derived from opera, but focuses on belting and non-classical forms of singing, and gives equal importance between dialogue and music
Important Terms
Company - the cast and crew of a show (not to be confused with the amazing Sondheim musical of the same name).
Libretto - the book or script of a musical or opera.
Overture - the beginning music in musical theater which usually gives the audience an idea of the music to come and gets them into the feeling of the show.
Imitative - a melody starts in one voice and is then overlapped by a second voice singing the same melody ( similar to fugues! omg!)
Arioso - a singing style that is half speech-like, half sung (the oldest type)
Lieto fine - the Italian term for a "happy ending" to a story
Modern musicals have deviated from the norm of the 20th century of having an interesting but mildly controversial plot and a lieto fine (see most Sondheim musicals).
Avenue Q
Opened in 2003, the controversial plot and music of this unusual musical sparked popular interest and then critical acclaim.
The satirical and darkly comedic script of the show deals with the issues associated with growing up.
It uses the puppets from Sesame Street as characters, and features songs such as:
"If You were Gay"
"The Internet is for Porn"
"Everyone's a Little bit Racist"
Spring Awakening
The script is originally German and was banned in Germany for the strong use of abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse, nudity and suicide.
It completely deviates from the standard musical lieto fine (happy ending), instead (spoiler alert!) ending with the death of two of the primary characters.
Opening in 2006, this was one of the first rock musicals of the century. The driving rock music was composed by Duncan Sheik, an artist formerly known by his hit "Barely Breathing".
"The Bitch of Living"
Listening Example #2
Listening for the driving, distinctly rock beat, syncopation, and use of imitation between soloist and chorus (similar to a concerto).
Listening Example #1

"Everyone's a Little Bit Racist"

Listen to the traditional show-tune music, including interrupting dialogue, and the controversial lyrics.
Listening Example #3
"My Psychopharmacologist and I"
Listen for the homophony, dissonance, satirical critique of modern psychiatry and the allusion to The Sound of Music's "My Favorite Things"
Evolution and Innovation of Contemporary Musical Theater
Musical theater is abandoning the traditional show-tune genre. With the development of rock musicals, more types of music are entering the fields of theater each day.
In the Heights
Listening Example #3
A revolutionary musical that analyzes the typical life (3 days worth) in Washington Heights, a neighborhood in NYC known for its vibrant Hispanic communities.

Opened in 2008, music by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Listen for the elements of rap, meregue, salsa, hip hop, and other non-traditional musical theater influences, as well as allusion to the jazz standard "Take the A Train".
The Future of Musical Theater
Critics of contemporary musicals believe that Broadway is going down hill and lacking original creativity. They base this on the growing number of musicals based on other ideas (books, movies, or other music).
However, contemporary musical theater is undergoing a revolution. Rent (1998) paved the way for a new era of controversial musicals that tackled head-on tabooed topics of society, doing so with a completely new genre of music. Innovation in plot and score, particularly in the use of genres other than show-tunes, is the future of musical theater.
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