MAI 2015


From my point of view, musical theatre is probably the most
complex, dynamic and entertaining performing art.
My passion for music has triggered my genuine admiration for
brilliant artists such as Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel, Liza
Minelli, Julie Andrews and Patti LuPone.
Broadway, the most well-known venue for musical theatre
productions could be considered a national icon.
However, perhaps the most notable feature of musicals is the
ability to maintain their popularity nowadays, when
cinematography seems to monopolise the entertainment

music halls and minstrel shows. extravaganza. spoken dialogue. Revues have their roots in variety. opera bouffe. vaudeville.INTRODUCTION Definition  A musical represents a stage. . operettas. burletta. acting and dancing. Classification:   Book musicals have been known as: comic operas. television or film production using popular-style songs. musical comedy. burlesque.

costumes. and technical aspects . all musicals consist of certain key elements: • Music and lyrics • Book/Libretto • Choreography • Staging—All stage movement • Physical production—The sets.ELEMENTS OF A MUSICAL       From a purely technical point of view.

Greek dramatists Aeschylus and Sophocles composed their own music to accompany their plays and also choreographed the dances of the chorus. all of which involved music and dance:  Tragedy was somber in tone. Oklahoma! was not the first musical. song and dance. The characters existed solely within their dramatic framework.  Comedy was lighter in tone and usually provided a happy resolution to the plot. as the comedies and tragedies of ancient Greece included dialogue. .  Satyr plays involved mythological half-men/half-beasts who were closely associated with the worship of Dionysus.HISTORY ANTIQUITY TO MIDDLE AGES  Contrary to popular belief. which were used as storytelling tools. Characters could openly address the audience. Over time. mentioning recent news events. tragedy became just one of three different types of drama. usually using stories taken from Greek mythology. never referring to current events. During the 5th century BC.

a tragedy written by Aeschylus .Greek vase depicting a scene from The Eumenides.

and the next group would arrive to tell its part of the story. including “The Play of Herod” and “The Play of Daniel”. the group would move on with their wagon. Once finished. Several pageant wagons (stages on wheels) would move around the city.  .  Some of these works.THE MIDDLE AGES In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. and a group of actors would tell their part of the story. the Catholic Church actively encouraged the development and presentation of liturgical musical dramas. are occasionally performed today. "mystery plays" appeared.They told a biblical story in a sequence of entertaining parts.  Later.

but eventually outsmarting them with the help of a sympathetic servant ( zanni ) such as Harlequin or Columbina. where it remained popular for the next four centuries. commedia dell’arte developed in Italy.  A typical plot would involve a pair of young lovers ( innamorati ) thwarted by one or more elders ( vecchi ). Always on the move.RENAISSANCE TO THE 1800s  In the 1400s. they improvised performances using a core group of stock characters to enact hundreds of stock scenarios. Instead. these companies used no written scripts. . but commedia-style troupes were soon found all over continental Europe.

like Michael Balfe's The Bohemian Girl (1845). that included lyrics written to the tunes of popular songs of the day. such as John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728). two forms of musical theatre were popular in Britain:   ballad operas. a form that would come into its own in France during the mid1800s.COMIC AND BALLAD OPERA By the 18th century. The melodic score included “I Dreamed I Dwelt in Marble Halls. . comic operas. Comic opera was a clear precursor of operetta. with original scores and mostly romantic plot lines.” which became a longtime staple in the soprano concert repertory.

The Beggar’s Opera .

. who falls in love with a girl engaged to her guardian. The most successful of the operas presented at the Savoy Theatre was The Mikado (1885). enjoying 672 performances at the Savoy Theatre. The Mikado became the partnership's longest-running hit. which made fun of English bureaucracy.GILBERT & SULLIVAN    Between 1871 and 1896. thinly disguised by a Japanese setting. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan wrote 14 comic operas. which was the second longest run for any work of musical theatre. The story revolves around the son of the Mikado of Japan. playwright William S.


Dixey in Adonis(1884). a burlesque musical .Henry E.

No.THE ROARING TWENTIES AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION     Two classic examples epitomise the Broadway musical of the 1920s – Sally and No. as people had little money to spend on entertainment. . the musical survived. The Great Depression affected theatre audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. I'd Rather Be Right and Knickerbocker Holiday. moving towards political satire in productions such as: Of Thee I Sing. Despite the economic woes of the decade and the competition from film. Nanette . The last hit operetta of the era on Broadway was Romberg's The New Moon in 1928. The annual Ziegfeld Follies were spectacular song-and-dance revues on Broadway featuring extravagant sets and costumes.

A scene from Sally (1921) .

It left a message of racial tolerance. musicals became racially integrated. the Jets and the Sharks. as it brought an innovation in musical theatre. By the end of the 1960s. . with no ensemble in sight. Louisiana Purchase(1940) was a hit. as they did in  Hair. West Side Story (1957) transported Romeo and Juliet to modern day New York City and converted the feuding Montague and Capulet families into opposing ethnic gangs. The show began with a lone woman on the stage Moments later. a man came on to sing the opening number as a solo. with black and white cast members even covering each other's roles.The Golden Age(1940s to 1960s)    With 444 performances.

responsible for Les Misérables. Evita. Others had no dialogue or were otherwise reminiscent of opera. or ‘pop operas’. and The Wiz brought a significant AfricanAmerican influence to Broadway. such as Tommy.THE 1970s TO PRESENT      After the success of Hair. rock musicals flourished in the 1970s. The musical also went in other directions. Shows like Raisin. which became the longest-running international musical hit in history. these were referred to as rock operas. on Broadway. Dreamgirls. with shows such as The Rocky Horror Show. Some of these rock musicals began with ‘concept albums’ and then moved to film or stage. with dramatic. and Two Gentlemen of Verona. The 1980s saw the influence of European ‘mega-musicals’. emotional themes. . The most important writers of mega-musicals include the French team of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. in the West End and elsewhere.

throughout theatre history. the latter two with music by Elton John. recalling extravaganzas that have been presented. . calling themselves RENTheads. Several musicals returned to the spectacle format that was so successful in the 1980s. a rock musical about a struggling community of artists in Manhattan. and some saw the show dozens of times. which began adapting some of its animated film musicals for the stage.Examples include the musical adaptations of The Lord of the Rings (2007) and Gone With the Wind (2008). The 1990s also saw the influence of large corporations on the production of musicals. starting with Beauty and the Beast (1994).    In the 1990s. The most important one has been The Walt Disney Company. The Lion King (1997) and Aida (2000). camped out at the Nederlander Theatre in hopes of winning the lottery for $20 front row tickets. many of them students. the most conspicuous success was Jonathan Larson's show Rent (1996). Its young fans.

Broadway 1943 The Sound of Music-1959 .Celeste Holm as Ado Annie in Oklahoma!.


Hair-1968 .

The Phantom of the Opera1986 .

became her first hit and she appeared on the cover of “Time” magazine. 1942. receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and a New York Drama Critics Poll award. She debuted on Broadway in the 1962 musical comedy “I Can Get It For You Wholesale” by Harold Rome. In 1964.REMARKABLE ARTISTS Barbra Streisand    Barbara Joan Streisand was born in Brooklyn. on April 24. . she portrayed legendary Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. “People”. She was raised in a middle-class family and grew up dreaming of becoming an actress. New York. The show’s main song.


Although musicals are not as popular as before. often reflecting social and historical themes and allowing talented people to make a name for themselves.CONCLUSION  The world of musical theatre has significantly evolved throughout the years. which could certainly be made more appealing to the younger generation. . there are still many people who appreciate this form of art.