American Musical Theater

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  1. Rent
    Music, Lyrics, and Book by John Larson

    Baby brother of Hair (rise of AIDS)

    All characters based on real people that Larson grew up around in Long Island

    Larson died the first night previews from an aortic aneurysm

    Originally opened off Broadway in Jan. 1996, then on Broadway in April 1996

    La Boheme

    "Season of Love" all love is valid, all kinds of love.
  2. 90's
    Shows were beginning off Broadway first; regional theatre

    Corporate theater became the norm (Disney)

    Juke Box Musical- Takes already written songs and creates a new libretto for them
  3. Andrew Lloyd Webber


    Phantom of the Opera
  4. Sondheim
    Sunday in the Park with George

    Into the Woods
  5. Mega-Musical
    Readily identifiable marketing icon, ie. Cats, Les Mis, etc.

    Must be actor proof (because these shows ran for so long they had to be able to deal with actors leaving the show, and be able to replace them without anyone really noticing; got away from shows that were made specifically for one actor)

    Favors spectacle over substance
  6. Evita
    Andrew Lloyd Webber (music and lyrics), Time Rice (libretto), Hal Prince (director), Larry Fuller (choreographer)

    Tells the fictionalized story of Eva Peron, from her roots in a small town in Argentina through her rise to first lady of Argentina as wife of Juan Peron.

    Was a Shakesperan tragedy of intrigue, deception, betrayal, greed, and power.

    Lloyd Webber wrote the most mature score of his career

    Opened first in London in 1978, then on Broadway in September 1979

    Patty Lupone was the lead, playing Eva
  7. Cats
    Andrew Lloyd Webber, Trevor Nunn (director), Cameron Mackintosh (producer), Gillian Lynne (choreographer)

    Source material was T.S. Eliot's 1939 book of poems called Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

    Opened in London in May 1981, then on Broadway in October 1982.

    Virtually no plot; just a bunch cats.

    They saw that these poems worked cross-generationally; kids could enjoy the show as pure fantasy, while adults could enjoy it as piquant social commentary.

    Lloyd Webber's first dance musical (wrote it because England was in the midst of an explosion of dance)

    Starred Betty Buckley as Grizzabella

  8. Les Miserables
    In 1980, the French concept album of Les Mis was recorded and sold 260,000 copies; that same year the show was staged.

    Alain Boubil (lyracist) and Claude-Michael Schoenberg (composer)

    In 1981, the show was brought to Cameron Mackintosh who decided to produce it with director Trevor Nunn and John Caird.

    It was clear that the French version would have to be adapted to a more performable English version.

    Mackintosh hired poest and lyracist Herbert Kretzmer to transform the French version to English.

    About the French student uprising.

    Received horrible reviews, but was very successful.

    Moved to Broadway in March 1987.
  9. Sunday in the Park with George
    Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics), James Lapine (book)

    Story of the famous impressionist painter George Seurat and his great-grandson, a light sculptor, also named George, although Lapine's story was nearly completely fictional.

    The exposition and conflicts are established in the 1880s, with George Seurat, but the resolution comes a hundred years later, with his great-grandson George.

    Is a battle between Seurat's work and his life with his mistress Dot. At the end of the first act, Dot leaves for America with another man.  In act II, Seurat's great-grandson, is in the midst of a personal and artistic crisis of his own, facing the same issues as his ancestor.

    Lapine noticed that noone in the painting was looking at anyone else. He also noticed that the central character was missing: the painter.

    This is a musical with great revelance to our modern world. It's about our epidemic inability to sustain relationships, as evidenced by a fifty percent divorce rate in America and skyrocketing domestic violence.

    Juggling a career with a relationship.

    Opened on Broadway in May 1984
  10. La Caje aux Folles
    Jerry Herman (composer and lyracist), Harvey Fierstein (book), Arthur Laurents (director), Scott Salmon (choreographer)

    Opened on Broadway in August 1983

    Central characters are a middle-aged gay French couple who ran a drag club in St. Tropez

    Plot centers on their son's engagement to the daughter of a right wing "family values" zealot.

    First time 2 men sang a love song together

    First gay musical to make money

    Would have been more successful if it weren't for AIDS

    Crossdressing males
  11. Phantom of the Opera
    Andrew Lloyd Webber (music), Charles Hart (lyracist), Hal Prince (director)

    Opened in London in October 1986, then moved to Broadway in January 1988.
  12. Into the Woods
    Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics), James Lapine (book)

    Combines the innocence of fairy tales, magic, and the mystery of the woods with the adult concepts of morality, sexuality, the consequenses of actions, responibility to the community, and the complexities of parent-child relationships

    "Once upon a time..."

    Acknowledges that in the real world, love is not ideal, princes are not perfect, choices are not easy, human relations aren't simple, and every action has a repercussion. Even after these people all get what they wished for, they want more.
  13. Ragtime
    Terrence McNally (book), Lynn Ahrens (lyrics), Stephen Flaherty (music)

    Source material: Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

    Follows 3 stories: People of New Rochelle, People of Harlem, and Eastern European Immigrants

    Epic Storytelling

    Ragtime, cakewalk, marches, gospel

    Historical figures make an appearance, such as Booker T. Washington, Harry Houdini, Henry Ford, and Emma Goldman

    Themes include; the American dream, the American melting pot, race relations and sterotypes, and the wheels of change (which is symbolized throughout the musical ie: cars, trains, boats, etc.)

    "Wheels of a Dream"

    "Ragtime"- one of the greatest openings in musical theatre.

    Shiftin narrative (starts and ends the same way)
  14. Parade
    Jason Robert Brown (music and lyrics), Alfred Uhry (book), Hal Prince (director)

    Opened on Broadway December 17, 1998

    Alfred Uhry wrote the Atlanta Trilogy, about southern Jews (Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Parade)

    About the 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a jewish factory owner in Atlanta. Frank is wrongly accused of the murder of a 13 year old Mary. Focused on the relationship between Frank and his wife Lucille. Frank gets the death penalty reduced to life in prison. Mob breaks into prison and lynches Frank.

    Uses the South as a metaphor of "us vs. them"

    Oak tress setting; symbol of Franks inevitable hanging.
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American Musical Theater
2012-12-12 17:48:18
American Musical Theater

American Musical Theater
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