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Essay On Musical Theatre

explanatory Essay
2258 words
2258 words
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History of Musical Theatre Outline Musical theatre is a unique adaptation to the classical western theatre utilizing music, song, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance to convey the humor, pathos, love, anger, and all the other possible feelings of the human experience ad infinitum. This is perfectly described by an E.Y. Harburg quote, a favorite of my own professor and famous producer, Stuart Ostrow, “Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.” This is the very characteristic that has allowed musical theatre to not only survive but to continuously impact humanity over the course of history, from humble ancient antecedents of theatre to the multi-million institution of the modern musical on Broadway. It has consistently proven that although the technological advances of humanity and the mediums from which information is conveyed to the masses are always changing, that the musical theatre shall always remain as a defining cultural trait of humanity. The very antecedents of the musical theatre can be traced back to Europe in the Fifth Century Before Common Era, where music and dance were common inclusions to stage comedies and tragedies in Greek theatre. Famous dramatists such as Aeschylus and Sophocles would compose their own music to accompany their plays and choreographed the dances of the chorus. This trend would continue all the way into the Third Century Before Common Era, very well depicted by the Roman comedies of Plautus which similarly included classic song and dance routines to be performed in coercion with the orchestrations. Although, the Romans began to incorporate their own engineering advances onto the very stage with the inclusions of more complex stage equipment... ... middle of paper ... ...ociety and its vernacular idiom. It was from America that the more direct style emerged, and in America that it was able to flourish in a developing society less hidebound by nineteenth-century tradition." The musicals of the Roaring Twenties, borrowing from vaudeville, music hall and other light entertainments, tended to emphasize star actors and actresses, big dance routines, and popular songs, at the expense of plot. Typical of the decade were lighthearted productions like Sally; Lady Be Good; Sunny; No, No, Nanette; Oh, Kay! and Funny Face. While the books of these shows may have been forgettable, they featured stars such as Marilyn Miller and Fred Astaire and produced dozens of enduring popular songs ("standards") by, most notably, Jerome Kern, the Gershwin brothers, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Vincent Youmans, and the team of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

In this essay, the author

  • Describes musical theatre as a unique adaptation to the classical western theatre utilizing music, song, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance to convey the humor, pathos, love, anger, etc.
  • Explains that musical theatre originated in europe in the fifth century before common era, where music and dance were common inclusions to stage comedies and tragedies in greek theatre.
  • Explains how the musical theatre developed into the italian tradition of commedia dell'arte, where raucous jesters improvised comedic versions of familiar tales.
  • Explains that the musical sections of these masques would continue to develop and evolve over time to become fully sung plays recognized as english operas.
  • Explains herve's experimentation with the operetta in the 1850s and 1880s. the first original works in english appeared on broadway and prince street in 1866.
  • Explains that the 1990s and the opening of the twentieth century marked the rise of broadway and american musical theatre.
  • Explains how edwards experimented with a modern-dress, family-friendly, musical theatre style, with breezy, popular songs, snappy, romantic banter, and stylish spectacle at the gaiety, daly's theatre and other venues.
  • Explains that the opera was eliminated from the english-speaking stage by competition from edwardian musical comedies in the 1890s, but managed to return with the merry widow in both london and broadway.
  • Explains that the musicals of the roaring twenties, borrowing from vaudeville, music hall and other light entertainments, tended to emphasize star actors and actresses and popular songs, at the expense of plot.
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