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Musical Theatre History

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Musical Theatre History Development of the Musical Primitive Man -Medieval Europe Caveman - explained customs through music, song, dance, and acting 5th Century B.C ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Musical Theatre History


1
Musical Theatre History
  • Development of the Musical

2
Primitive Man -Medieval Europe
  • Caveman - explained customs through music, song,
    dance, and acting
  • 5th Century B.C. - sang (chanted) lines, chorus
    moved rhythmically to music
  • Rome - pantomimes used a dancer to relate story
    through movement as chorus sang narration
  • Medieval Europe - wandering performers provided
    entertainment for castles (nobles) and town
    festivals (everyone else)

3
Renaissance - 18th Century
  • Italian
  • Commedia dellarte used singing and dancing
  • Intermezzo (between acts) used songs, dancers,
    music, scenery, SFX
  • 1st opera Dafne 1597 (chanted lines to music)
  • English
  • Used masques, intermezzos and background
    musicians for entertainment as well as pantomime
    (the English version of commedia dellarte)
  • Burlesques which featured scantily dressed women
  • Ballad Operas which featured plots, dialogues
    songs with new lyrics to old melodies (A Beggars
    Opera)
  • Comic Opera which featured original music
    (Pirates of Penzance)

4
19th Century - USA
  • Comic Operas and Pantomimes performed
  • Minstrel shows - played banjos, tambourines,
    bones, sang, danced, and made jokes
  • Music Halls and Vaudevilles - unrelated acts,
    magic, jugglers, acrobats, sketches, animals,
    singers, and dancers

5
1st Musical
  • The Black Crook - Sept 12, 1866 in New York
  • Ran 474 performances
  • 5 1/2 hours long
  • Mixture of drama, spectacle, scenery,
    transformations with ballet and scantily clad
    dancers
  • Lots of scenic special effects

6
Early 20th Century - USA
  • Ziegfield Follies (and other revues) were the
    main source of entertainment
  • Composers such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter,
    Jerome Kern, Victor Herbert, Richard Rodgers, and
    George Gershwin got their start in these venues
  • Foreshadowed our demands for glitz, glamour, and
    expense in entertainment
  • Preproduction expenses topped 250,000 with
    123,000 going to costumes alone (the average
    American earned 19.20 per week in 1920)

7
1920s
  • By the time the Roaring 20s came around
  • Melodramas took rise
  • Realism and naturalism were introduces
  • Lots of pressure on technical theatre to
    accommodate both styles of theatre
  • In reaction to these styles, anti-realistic and
    anti-traditional modes of theatre began to arise

8
1920s (continued)
  • New age of American Musical
  • Showboat in 1927 by Jerome Kern and Oscar
    Hammerstein II
  • Events span 40 years
  • Serious theme with musical s and plot
  • Represented the departure from standard musicals
    by introducing new elements including spectacle,
    details,realism, in depth characters
  • Influenced by Opera, Blues, and current dances
    (Charleston)
  • Grossed 50,000/wk for 2 year run
  • Revived in 1966 where it grossed 100,000/wk

9
1930s
  • The public became more aware that quality theatre
    was more important than it being cheap,
    thoughtless entertainment.
  • By the time the Great Depression too hold of NY,
    theatre in general began to suffer. More than 1/3
    of the 68 commercial theatres in the Broadway
    district closed by the end of the 30s. (the only
    other time in American history this many theatre
    companies closed at one time was right after 9/11)

10
1930s
  • Technically
  • Spectacle and razzle-dazzle OR
  • Realistic details
  • 1st Pulitzer Prize for Best Play of the Year
  • Of Thee I Sing
  • 1931
  • George and Ira Gershwin, Geory Kaufman and Morrie
    Ryskind
  • Raised the status of what musicals should be

11
1930s
  • 1st Innovative Operatic Musical
  • Porgy and Bess
  • 1935
  • By Gershwins and Heyward
  • Other 30s Hits
  • The Bandwagon 1931
  • Anything Goes 1934
  • Dead End 1935
  • The Boys from Syracuse 1938
  • DuBarry Was A Lady 1939

12
1940s
  • As the Depression ended, so did the falling
    economy.
  • WWII left an impression on Broadway - one of
    pride and nationalism
  • This was reflected in Theatre of this decade
  • 1st Book Musical - Oklahoma! 1943 Rogers and
    Hammerstein - 2 year run
  • Reflected foundations previously set by Show Boat
  • New Element - Opening Number
  • Emphasis on character and book rather than
    spectacle
  • Plot progressed through songs closely integrated
    w/book
  • Full Orchestra, large cast of singers, dancers,
    and actors

13
1940s
  • Other 40 hits
  • Carousel - 1945
  • Annie Get Your Gun - 1946
  • Kiss Me, Kate - 1948
  • South Pacific - 1949
  • Brigadoon - 1947
  • State Fair - 1945

14
1950s
  • War was over - economy healthy
  • Average ticket price for a show - 6.00-8.00
  • Musicals during this decade were a strong mix of
    script and music
  • Movie versions of live musicals start to happen
  • Focus - less on spectacle and more on Dance
  • West Side Story - 1957
  • Specific dancing as a means to advance the plot
    and reveal characters (Jerome Robbins)
  • Based on Romeo and Juliet

15
1950s
  • Other 50s Hits
  • Guys and Dolls - 1950 (Best Director, Best
    Musical, Best Producers)
  • The King and I - 1951
  • My Fair Lady - 1956
  • Gypsy - 1959
  • The Sound of Music - 1959

16
1960s
  • Broadway money-making machine
  • Went from Artistic to business-driven
  • The Rock Musical is born
  • 1st Rock Musical - Hair 1968
  • Minimal plot - sharp political commentary
    (anti-Vietnam war)
  • Simple scenery and props
  • Actors change costumes and roles in front of
    audience
  • Informal and spontaneous
  • Full frontal nudity
  • Amplified sound

17
1960s
  • Hits of the 60s
  • Bye Bye Birdie - 1960
  • Camelot - 1960
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    -
  • Hello Dolly - 1964
  • Funny Girl - 1964
  • Fiddler on the Roof - 1964
  • Man of LaMancha - 1965
  • Mame - 1966

18
1970s
  • Undertones of the 60s carried over to the 70s
  • Pushing the limit technically
  • Large-scale musicals and spectacle sets
  • Emphasis on concept - idea or theme not boy gets
    girl plots
  • Not melodic/singable tunes
  • Episodes illustrate concept
  • Songs reveal characters feelings, comment on
    action and are tailored for the situation
  • Workshop method
  • Writers and Composers write with performers
  • Potential backers go to the workshops

19
1970s
  • Cabaret - 1972 - Bob Fosse choreographer
  • Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince take control
  • Company - 1970
  • A Little Night Music - 1973
  • Sweeney Todd - 1979
  • Sunday in the Park With George - 1984
  • Into the Woods - 1987

20
1970s
  • Other 70 Hits
  • Jesus Christ Super Star - 1971
  • Godspell - 1971
  • Grease - 1972
  • Pippin - 1972
  • The Rocky Horror Show - 1974
  • A Chorus Line - 1975
  • Chicago - 1975
  • Annie - 1977
  • Evita - 1978

21
1980s
  • Lots of musicals being imported from England
  • Costs continue to rise, making it more difficult
    to recover investments.
  • Decline was so sharp in 1987-88 only 31 new
    productions were mounted (compare to the 34 new
    musicals and 57 plays that opened in 2009)

22
1980s
  • 80s Hits
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat -
    1982
  • Cats - 1982 (grossed over 915 million by April
    1991)
  • Phantom of the Opera 1988 (8 million initial
    investment - grossed 413 million by 1991)

23
1980s
  • Other 80 Hits
  • Les Miserables - 1980
  • Little Shop of Horrors - 1982
  • Sunday in the Park - 1984
  • Big River - 1985
  • Into the Woods - 1987
  • Fame - 1988
  • Miss Saigon - 1989

24
1990s
  • Lots of Technical Overkill
  • The Corporate Musical is created
  • Hits of the 90s
  • City of Angles - 1990
  • Jekyll Hyde - 1990
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman - 1993
  • The Lion King - 1994
  • Rent - 1996
  • Titantic - 1997
  • Ragtime - 1998

25
2000s
  • Musicals run the gamete between technical
    overkill and very simple.
  • Movies are becoming sources
  • Jukebox Musicals also becoming popular
  • Disneyfication of Broadway

26
2000s
  • Hits from this era include
  • Aida - 2000
  • The Full Monty - 2000
  • The Producers - 2001
  • Urinetown - 2001
  • Mama Mia - 2001
  • Hairspray - 2002
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie - 2002
  • Wicked - 2003
  • Avenue Q - 2003
  • 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee - 2004
  • Mary Poppins - 2004

27
2000s Continued
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - 2004
  • Billy Elliot - 2005
  • Spamalot - 2005
  • Jersey Boys - 2005
  • The Drowsy Chaperone -2006
  • Spring Awakening - 2006
  • The Wedding Singer - 2006
  • Legally Blonde - 2007
  • Next to Normal - 2008

28
The Future of Musicals
  • Musicals flourished into the early 60s, but
    there were few new playwrights and there seemed
    room for only one new writer of musicals, Stephen
    Sondheim. By the early 80s Broadway became a
    tourist attraction mounting fewer shows each
    year, some years not even 10, and these 10 were
    often star vehicles or extravaganzas that
    depended on sensational stage effectsIt is
    difficult to imagine when Broadway will again
    play a significant role in NYs literary life

29
Future
  • You have 2 kinds of shows on Broadway - revivals
    and the same kind of musicals over and over
    again, all spectacles. You get your tickets for
    The Lion Kin a year in advance, and essentially a
    family comes as if to a picnic, and they pass on
    to their children the idea that thats what the
    theatre is - a spectacular musical you see once a
    year, a stage version of a movie. It has nothing
    to do with theatre at all. It has to do with
    seeing what is familiar. We live in a recycled
    culture. I dont think the theatre will die per
    se, but its never going to be what it was. You
    cant bring it back. Its gone. Its a tourist
    attraction. Stephen Sondheim
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