Theatre has heavily evolved over the past 100 years, particularly Musical Theatre- a subgenre of theatre in which the storyline is conveyed relying on songs and lyrics rather than dialogue. From its origination in Athens, musical theatre has spread across the world and is a popular form of entertainment today. This essay will discuss the evolution and change of musical theatre from 1980-2016, primarily focusing on Broadway (New York) and the West End (London). It will consider in depth, the time periods of: The 1980s: “Brit Hits”- the influence of European mega musicals, the 1990s: “The downfall of musicals”- what failed and what redeemed, and the 2000s/2010s: “The Resurgence of musicals”- including the rise of pop and movie musicals. Concluding
premiered some 40 years ago, and its style of music and dance have grown old with the passing of time, it still demands respect for its combination and imaginative ideas that revolutionized the musical industry at the time. Rodgers and Hammerstein were the dominate force in musical comedy in the 1940's and 50's. Even their flops had notable songs. Several of their shows became successful films. Oklahoma!
One of the reasons that this comedy was such a hit was its departure from the high minded, more dramatic comedy of the day. Though the play does not rely solely on slapstick comedy, some of its best scenes are farcical. The play itself has been called a "laughing comedy" and many of the best comic moments are still as funny today as they were over 200 years ago (Danziger 57). Tying with Dryden's Amphityron, She Stoops to Conquer is the most entertaining eighteenth-century play that I have read to date. The plot concerns the "Mistakes of the Night" and the resulting problems that come between two sets of lovers.
Jerome Kern (1885-1945), one of the most important American Composers in the 20th century, came up with the idea of adapting Edna Ferber’s novel “Show Boat” into a musical with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein (1895-1960). When he approached Ziegfeld to produce Show Boat, Ziegfeld agreed to work on the show. This was unexpected since it was nothing like his legendary Follies, which were vaudeville shows. In the first part of the 20th century, musical theatre consisted of vaudeville and minstrel shows.... ... middle of paper ... ... an act of injustice whereas in Hairspray they make a statement about it. This was because of the different times they were written in.
Dreamgirls: A Feast for the Ears and Soul There are many great musicals that the world has ever seen in the past years. Some have often brought us to tears while some may have brought to us to a world far beyond our imagination’s reach. In a world where television and the internet have often given us too many options to choose from as a form of entertainment, the soul and level of perfection still brought about by the broad way musicals are still one of the best for some of us. When talking about musicals, one may never miss the word “Dreamgirls,” for it is arguably one of the most highly-acclaimed and loved musical of many theater and musical fans. For many years, it has brought us fabulous productions and impeccable performances that will not just delight our ears but our souls as well.
Based on the novel by Edna Ferber Showboat was written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II (Smith 627). Showboat was premiered in the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 27, 1927 (Smith 627). The 1926 novel chronicled the lives of a musical and racially integrated cast upon the Cotton Blossom. The production of Showboat marked the rebirth of musical theater because it set the standards for any American Musical by shattering theatrical traditions. For the first time Showboat would introduce a well written production with incorporated and advanced music and lyrics that furthered the plot.
Two years before, when All My Sons opened at the Coronet Theater, Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times wrote: "The theater has acquired a genuine new talent." The play also won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Donaldson Award (voted upon by Billboard subscribers). Since the debut of All My Sons he has noted: "The success of a play, especially one's first success, is somewhat like pushing against a door which is suddenly opened that was always securely shut until then. For myself, the experience was invigorating. It suddenly seemed that the audience was a mass of blood relations, and I sensed a warmth in the world that had not been there before.
Many of his greatest plays were written during these ten years, and were acted there. Both Queen Elizabeth, and after her James I, showed the company many favors. In 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII, the Globe was destroyed by fire. But the Lord Chamberlain's men, by now called the King's Men, had four years earlier leased a second, smaller playhouse, the Blackfriars. This was an indoor theatre, unlike the Globe which was open to the sky, and it had the technical facilities for scenic effects - a fact which probably accounts for the spectacular element in Shakespeare's late plays.
The Broadway lights have not always shined as bright as they do now. It took quite a bit of time for Broadway to jump start into the popular entertainment it is known for today. It started at the perfect time; war, cultural struggle, the depression, and the "roaring 20s". Broadway changed the world, specifically the United States. Despite its rise and fall in popularity, Broadway played a key role in shaping the entertainment industry and impacted American culture.
The songs just didn’t tell a story. It was not until 1960 that Broadway faced up to the rising trend. Finally, musical theatre accepted rock music into its production. Never will audiences see new musicals in the style of Oklahoma!, Brigadoon and South Pacific. These musicals were never boring because someone was always bursting into song about how every thing ‘was looking just swell’.