Musical theatre : a history


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A Capsule History

Will they tell your story? Although Miranda invokes popular histories to accuse them of colour blindness, the fact is that even confronted the question of slavery far more directly back in than Hamilton does today. Hamilton does mention Hemings — once — and has some other references to slavery, but strongly implies that only Jefferson owned slaves, while suggesting that Hamilton was a far more dedicated abolitionist than the record shows. Hamilton features black and brown actors, but its story never depicts a slave. He appropriates its music, rewrites its lyrics, turns its politics on its head, and fashions the whole thing into a show that is simultaneously an excoriation of current American political realities, an encomium to American revolutionary energies, and a celebration of American musical theatre history.


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Tickets go on sale in January. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Musicals. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Plays could run longer and still draw in audiences, leading to better profits and improved production values. The first play to achieve consecutive performances was the London non-musical comedy Our Boys, opening in , which set a new record of 1, performances.

Musical theater soon broke the performance mark in London with the long-running successes of Gilbert and Sullivan 's family-friendly comic opera hits, beginning with H. Pinafore in In addition, Gilbert and Sullivan produced 13 of the best-known comic operas between and , including The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado.

Musical Theatre: A History - John Kenrick - Google книги

Gilbert, who wrote the words, also created the fanciful topsy-turvy worlds for these operas, where each absurdity is taken to its logical conclusion. Sullivan composed the music, contributing memorable melodies that could convey both humor and pathos. He built the Savoy Theater in to present their works—which came to be known as the Savoy Operas. The collaboration introduced innovations in content and form that directly influenced the development of musical theater through the twentieth century. Alfred Cellier and B.

Stephenson's hit Dorothy had a record-breaking performances. Charles Hoyt's A Trip to Chinatown was Broadway's long-run champion in the nineteenth century, running for performances. Hundreds of musical comedies were staged on Broadway in the s and early s, comprised of songs written in New York's Tin Pan Alley, involving composers such as Gus Edwards, John J. Meanwhile, in London George Edwardes perceived that theatergoers' tastes had turned away from Savoy-style comic operas typified by Gilbert and Sullivan, with their intellectually sophisticated, and absurdest satire.

He saw that audiences wanted breezy music, snappy, romantic banter, and stylish spectacle.

He revolutionized the London stage by presenting musical comedies at the Gaiety Theater, Daly's Theater, and other venues that delivered these elements, borrowing others from Harrigan and Hart and adding in his famous Gaiety Girls to complete the musical and visual fun. The success of the first of these, In Town in and A Gaiety Girl in , confirmed Edwardes on the path he was taking.

His early Gaiety hits included a series of light, romantic "poor maiden loves aristocrat and wins him against all odds" shows, usually with the word "Girl" in the title. These shows were immediately widely copied at other London theaters and soon in America , and the Edwardian musical comedy swept away the earlier musical forms of comic opera and operetta. The British musical comedy Florodora made a splash on both sides of the Atlantic, as did A Chinese Honeymoon , which ran for a record-setting 1, performances in London and in New York.

However, only three decades after Gilbert and Sullivan broke the stranglehold that French operettas had on the London stage, European operettas came roaring back to Britain and America beginning in with the London hit production of The Merry Widow. Among the best-known composers of operetta , beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century, were Jacques Offenbach and Johann Strauss II. In England, W. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan created an English answer to French operetta, styled British comic opera, that became family-friendly hits in Britain and America in the s and s.

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A short history of musical theatre

Although British and American musicals of the s and the first few years of the twentieth century had virtually swept operetta and comic opera from the stage, operettas returned to the London and Broadway stages in , and operettas and musicals became direct competitors for a while. The winner of this competition was the theater going public, who needed escapist entertainment during the dark times of World War I and flocked to theaters for musicals like Maid of the Mountains and Irene.

They were joined by British and American operetta composers of the s the "Princess Theater" shows by P. Wodehouse , Guy Bolton, and Harry B.


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  • Smith, who paved the way for Jerome Kern's later work by showing that a musical could combine a light popular touch with real continuity between story and musical numbers, and Victor Herbert, whose work included some intimate musical plays with modern settings as well as his string of famous operettas; The Fortune Teller , Babes in Toyland, and Naughty Marietta These all owed much to Gilbert and Sullivan and the composers of the s.

    The legacy of these operetta composers continued to serve as an inspiration to the next generation of composers of operettas and musicals in the s and s, such as Rudolf Friml, Irving Berlin , Sigmund Romberg, George Gershwin , and Noel Coward , and these, in turn, influenced the Rodgers, Sondheim, and many others later in the century. At the same time, George M. Cohan kept the theaters filled with lively musical entertainments, as the Shubert Brothers began to take control of the Broadway theaters. By the end of the s, motion pictures like The Jazz Singer could be presented with synchronized sound, and critics wondered if the cinema would replace live theater altogether.

    The musicals of the Roaring Twenties, borrowing from vaudeville , music hall, and other light entertainments, tended to ignore the plot in favor of emphasizing star actors and actresses, big dance routines, and popular songs. Many shows were revues with little plot. For instance, Florenz Ziegfeld produced annual, spectacular song-and-dance revues on Broadway, featuring extravagant sets and elaborate costumes, but there was no common theme tying the various numbers together. In London, the Aldwych Farces were similarly successful. Their " books " may have been forgettable, but they produced enduring standards in music from George Gershwin , Cole Porter , Vincent Youmans, and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, among others.

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    Audiences attended these musicals on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean while continuing to patronize the popular operettas that were continuing to come out of continental Europe and also from composers like Noel Coward in London and Sigmund Romberg in America. Clearly, cinema had not killed live theater.

    Changing the Game in Musical Theatre - Joe Deer - TEDxDayton

    Show Boat, which premiered on December 27, at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York, took a giant step beyond the sentimental operetta. The show represented a complete integration of book and score, with dramatic themes, as told through the music, dialog, setting and movement, woven seamlessly together. Wodehouse , and music by Jerome Kern, presented a new concept that was embraced by audiences immediately.

    Despite some of its startling themes—interracial love among them—the original production ran a total of performances. Still, Broadway runs lagged behind London's in general. Encouraged by the success of Show Boat, creative teams began following the format of that popular hit. While it was primarily a revue, it served as the basis for two subsequent film versions that were book musicals in the truest sense.

    Sixteen ways Hamilton transformed theater – and the world

    Porter's Anything Goes affirmed Ethel Merman 's position as the First Lady of musical theater—a title she maintained for many years. Gershwin's Porgy and Bess was a step closer to opera than Show Boat and the other musicals of the era, and in some respects it foreshadowed such "operatic" musicals as West Side Story and Sweeney Todd. The Cradle Will Rock , with a book and score by Marc Blitzstein and directed by Orson Welles , was a highly political piece that, despite the controversy, managed to run for performances.

    Kurt Weill 's Knickerbocker Holiday brought to the musical stage New York City 's early history, using as its source writings by Washington Irving , while good-naturedly satirizing the good intentions of President Franklin D. The Great Depression affected theater audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, as people had little money to spend on entertainment. Only a few shows exceeded a run on Broadway or in London of performances. At first, the s were more of the same, with Broadway turning out record setting hits Hello, Dolly! But as popular musical tastes shifted, the musical was left behind.

    The rock musical "happening" Hair was hailed as a landmark, but it ushered in a period of confusion in the musical theatre. Company , Follies and A Little Night Music succeeded, while rock musicals quickly faded into the background. By the s , new mega-musicals were no longer winning the public, and costs were so high that even long-running hits Crazy for You, Sunset Boulevard were unable to turn a profit on Broadway.

    Even Rent and Titanic were fostered by smaller, Broadway-based corporate entities. As the 20th century ended, the musical theatre was in an uncertain state, relying on rehashed numbers Fosse and stage versions of old movies Footloose, Saturday Night Fever , as well as the still-running mega-musicals of the previous decade. But starting in the year , a new resurgence of American musical comedies took Broadway by surprise.

    The Producers, Urinetown, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray -- funny, melodic and inventively staged, these hit shows offered new hope for the genre. What lies ahead in the future? It's hard to say, but there will most assuredly be new musicals.

    Musical theatre : a history Musical theatre : a history
    Musical theatre : a history Musical theatre : a history
    Musical theatre : a history Musical theatre : a history
    Musical theatre : a history Musical theatre : a history
    Musical theatre : a history Musical theatre : a history
    Musical theatre : a history Musical theatre : a history
    Musical theatre : a history Musical theatre : a history
    Musical theatre : a history Musical theatre : a history
    Musical theatre : a history Musical theatre : a history

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