The course starts in America’s mid-19th century where it will focus on the questions which this era raises about what had come before (opera, opera bouffe, variety, operetta, melodrama) and what was to distinguish the newly emerging musical theatre forms from past models. We will study important composers, lyricists, and librettists such as William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, and Stephen Sondheim. We will also examine both the structure of the modern “musical” and its production methodology – with a particular focus on what it means to “musicalize” a story or an idea. Larger issues of musical style, genre, theme, and social relevance will inform later examinations of specific musical theatre pieces.
PROJECTS (in brief):
1) Explore the process of transforming a film or work of literature into a musical theatre piece
Examine the career and techniques of a major musical theatre practitioner
Discuss the evolution of a major musical theatre work from inception to first production.
40% - aprox. 1200 words – minimum 3 sources – due October 17
2) Prepare a director’s approach to a musical theatre work
With no more than 2 other people, create a brief musical theatre piece in the form of a backer’s audition.
40% – presented in class during the final week, written component due Dec 2
**All assignments must be discussed with instructor at least 3 weeks before due date**
20% – Participation (based on class at20% – participation (based on attendance and response to “in class” question sheet)