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Musical Theatre: c.1970-c.1980
Transcript of Musical Theatre: c.1970-c.1980
Musical Theatre in the 1970's: The Post Hair Years
Andrew Lloyd Webber
And a buffet of other interesting stuff.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Other Notables
Sondheim's Substance vs. Webber's Flash
Other Particularly Notable
Concept Musicals of the 70s
Endings and Second Lives
MacDermot's Run After Hair
1968 1971 1972 1972
Lost 1.8 Million
The Harold Prince Collaborations:
Operatic Book Musicals and
The Self-Reflexive, Integrated, Concept Musical
1973 (West End)
1975: 6,137 Performances
1970: Man of La Mancha
1971: No, No Nanette
1975: Hello Dolly
1976: My Fair Lady
1976: Fiddler on the Roof
1977: Man of La Mancha
1977: The King and I
1979: Peter Pan
Richard Rodgers: 1902-1979
46th St. Theatre renamed the Richard Rodgers Theatre in 1990
A Broadway Legend Passes Away
Books Musicals and Revues: New spins on the Traditional Genres
Laurence Olivier Award
Cushy upbringing, but not at all loving. Father left he and his mother; Sondheim felt that his mother was psychologically abusive. Did not attend her funeral.
Around 10 yrs old, Sondheim became friends with James Hammerstein, son of Oscar Hammerstein. Oscar becomes a surrogate father and musical theatre mentor.
Big break came at 25 when he was introduced to Leonard Bernstein and asked to write the lyrics for West Side Story.
He seems often attracted to projects with subject matter that is atypical of musical theatre: He challenges us to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, to accept ambiguity in the absence of simple answers, that good and bad are not always easily defined.
His music and lyrics reflect his penchant for the complex. Musically, his style challenges the listener and employs more dissonance, polyphony, and harmonic complexity than most musical theatre composers. Likewise, his lyrics assumes the presence of an intelligent audience.
Sunday in the Park
with George (1985)
Dick Tracy (1990)
Drama Desk Award
Road Show (2009)
The Concept in Company:
The Single life, or commitment?
Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Book: George Furth
Music/Lyric: Stephen Sondheim
Book: Hugh Wheeler
Based on the 1955 Ingmar Bergman film,
Smiles of a Summer Night
Set at the turn of the last century, A Little Night Music interweaves a tangled web of former and current lovers among the upper crust elite of Sweden. Esteemed lawyer Fredrik Egerman has recently married a young virgin, Anne, whom his son, Henrik, has also fallen madly in love. Fredrik’s dedication to his blushing bride is tested when he reunites with a former flame, the famed (and fading) actress Desiree Armfeldt. Things grow more complicated when her jealous (and married) lover Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm gets wind of the reunion. The coupling and uncoupling comes to a head when Desirée convinces her mother to host Fredrik and his family for a weekend on her lavish country estate—and the Count, with wife in tow, crashes the party.
Music: Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics: Edward Kleban
Book: James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante (Neil Simon)
No scenery aside a few mirrors.
No costumes (until finale) other than the leotards.
Setting is an unnamed theatre.
Name of the show for which the characters are auditioning is unknown.
No star performer.
First musical to realistically broach the subject of the gay community (in the character of Paul).
The Anti Musical
Centered on seventeen Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line, the musical is set on the bare stage of a Broadway theatre during an audition for a musical. A Chorus Line provides a glimpse into the personalities of the performers and the choreographer as they describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers. (Wikipedia)
The genesis of A Chorus Line: Choreographer, Michael Bennett coducted a series of discussions with fellow Broadway chorus dancers. They detailed the difficulties of subjecting themselves to the crucible of the audition process, dealing with rejection, the hardships of shrinking Broadway opportunities, and the humility needed to perfect your craft while simultaneously putting yourself in support of principle performers. These sessions were audio recorded, and from this a libretto was constructed.
The Making of
A Chorus Line
I Hope I Get It
Music and the Mirror
Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Book: Hugh Wheeler
A musical thriller about a 19th century London barber who goes on a murderous rampage. In the past, the evil Judge Turpin framed Todd (known then as Benjamin Barker) and raped his young wife. Todd was unjustly incarcerated in a penal colony for 15 years. However, when the show begins, Todd has managed to return to London and has come seeking revenge. He rents a room over the shop of Mrs. Lovett, the proprietress of a struggling pie shop. Todd’s thirst for blood soon expands to include not only the judge but also his unfortunate customers. Meanwhile, Mrs. Lovett happily puts the bodies in the meat grinder and uses the human meat in her meat pies – which become extremely popular with the citizens of London.
Challenging subject matter.
Untried genre of Musical Thriller.
Costly staging, and mechanical sets.
Broadway's Experiences 400% Inflation in the 70's.
$250,000 musical in 1970,
by 1979 is $1,000,000 or more.
Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Tim Rice
The rags-to-riches rise of the First Lady of Argentina, who won the love of her countrymen after marrying military leader-turned-president Juan Peron. Set in Buenos Aires between 1934-1952, the musical follows Eva Duarte Peron on her journey from fatherless child to ambitious actress to the most powerful woman in Latin America—and, eventually, to a saint-like figure after her death from cancer at age 33. The events in Evita’s life are presented in song and editorialized on by the show’s narrator, Che.
Operatic Musical Thriller
Megamusical Rock Opera is Born
Ran 3 X longer than Sweeney Todd.
Massive Profits all over the world.
Ran over a year but could not turn a profit.
Sung through, little dialogue.
Songs and emotions are big, loud, and bombastic.
Characters tell you who they are rather than showing you through their actions.
Music is pop-rock, but can incorporate many styles.
Plots are melodramatic, minimal humor.
All major professional stagings are carbon copies.
Characteristics of the Megamusical (John Kendrick)
Easy to grasp subject matter.
Rags to riches Rock Opera (no dialogue).
It's the Hard
Music: Charles Strouse
Lyrics: Martin Charnin
Book: Thomas Meehan
Based on Harold Gray comic strip
Little Orphan Annie
Abused by a cruel orphanage matron, Miss Hannigan, Annie, a spunky, redheaded orphan, decides to run away and find her parents. After eventually managing to escape the orphanage, she sadly is caught and sent back by Officer Ward of the NYPD. Soon though, her luck improves. Billionaire Oliver Warbucks decides to invite an orphan over to his house for Christmas and Annie is chosen. The two quickly hit it off and he agrees to help Annie find her parents by putting up a $50,000 reward. Miss Hannigan's brother, Rooster, and his girlfriend, Lily, pretend to be Annie's parents by using information provided by Miss Hannigan. At the last minute, President Roosevelt intervenes to announce that the FBI has discovered that Annie's parents are in fact, dead. In the end, Hannigan, Rooster, and Lily are all arrested and Annie is adopted by Warbucks.
Don't Cry for Me Argentina
Don't Cry for Me Argentina (Madonna)
Don't Cry for Me Argentina (Disco Version)
The Worst Pies in London
A Little Priest
Green Finch and Linnet Bird
The show's metaphor or statement takes precedence over the narrative.
A musical comprised of skits, songs, and dances, usually revolving around a given theme.
A musical play where songs and dances (and all elements of theatre) are fully integrated towards the purpose of telling a well crafted story.
An epic, dramatic show with a predominantly sung-through score. They often express large ideas on large sets and employ the use of immense marketing efforts.
The remounting of a pre-existing musical.
A musical with rock music and dialogue.
A musical with rock music that is sung-through.
Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey
Andrew Llyod Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Music: Charlie Smalls,
Timothy Graphenreed, Harold Wheeler,
Lyrics: Charlie Smalls, Zachary Walzer,
Book: William F. Brown
Conceived and produced by Steve Leber and David Krebs
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Off Broadway Theater Award
Given by the Village Voice
Concept: Perpetual anticipation in the search for love.