Mordden Chapter Notes
Mordden Chapter Notes THTRE-4810-01
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This 15 page Class Notes was uploaded by Pam Fawns on Friday September 23, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to THTRE-4810-01 at Nebraska Wesleyan University taught by Dr. Talea Bloch in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Musical Theater History in Theatre at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
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Date Created: 09/23/16
Chapter 1 Reading Guide Name Pamela Fawns Who wrote the Beggar's Opera? The book and lyrics were written by John Gay, and the music was by Johann Christian. Why is The Beggar's Opera important to Musical Theatre History? It is important to musical theatre history because it was the first musical with an orchestrator. What is Mordenn's definition of Ballad Opera? The definition is an enacted story bearing some relationship with out daily life and “lifted” by songs that belong to the story. Find another source's definition of Ballad Opera...list it here and tell me where it came from. Ballad Opera Definition: is a theatrical entertainment popular in early 18thcentury England, taking the form of a satirical play interspersed with traditional or operatic songs. The bestknown example is John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728). (Source: Google Definition) How do the two definitions compare? The both say that the best example is The Beggar’s Opera. They both also say that it th started in the early 18 century. The Google definition says it used traditional songs, whereas, the book’s definition just says it uses songs that belong to the story. What are Savoy Operas? The book didn’t really have a straight definition for this term, however, there was a lot of information on it such as the word savoy denotes the theatre built for their production in 1881. The music really suits the characters. These operas were from 1871 to 1896. These are the most influential musicals, in English, for seventy years. Gilbert and Sullivan = Savoy What are some style traits make up Gilbert and Sullivan? Two very noticeable traits are the static tone, and the close relationship between script and score. Who is Offenbach and why is he important? He is a German born, French composer. He coined the term Opera Bouffe, which is a French translation of the Italian opera Buffa, which means comic opera. How did Europe influence American Musical Theatre? Offenbach, who is German, influences American musical theatre by using pastiche, which gave our musicals more texture and wealth of meaning. When is the Minstrel Show Popular? They toured most successfully in the early 1900’s. Describe a Minstrel Show. This term was prominent in the 19 century. Most of these shows had little artistic development. Who was Thomas Rice? He is credited with the inspiration for the iconic black character in a songanddance medium. Who was Dan Emmett? He is the composer of the first moreorless hit songs in this field. He directed the 1843 quarter billed as the Virginia Minstrels. Who was Stephen Foster? Stephan Foster wrote a sentimental piece called Old Folks At Home. What types of humor were used in the Minstrel Show? It could be a “spoof” on literature, or the resemblance of burlesque. What role does story play in 19th century musicals? The Seven Sisters is a good example, that the book gives, as a musical that has a story in it. Most musicals in the 19 century were really plays with some music and dance, which means that the story had everything to do with 19 century musicals. What show is considered the first American Musical? The Black Crook is considered the first American musical, however, according to the book, it’s not really a musical or even the first one. Based on what you read in this chapter, how has Musical Theatre changed? Give two examples Musical theatre changed by becoming multiple acts. The first Minstrel Show was only one act but then it grew to be three acts. Another example of how musicals have changed is that they used to be more plays with music and now a musical is all about the music with some spoken lines thrown in. Most modern musicals have about 15 plus songs in them, which is a huge amount. What surprised/stood out to you in this chapter? Could be a fact, person, idea... The “pastiche” really stood out to me. I didn’t really know what it meant, but when I Googled the definition it came up with: an artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist, or period. Any questions? Could you explain the term Savoy Opera’s more? I didn’t quite understand what the book was trying to say about them. Mordden Chapter 2 Questions Name: Pamela Fawns 1. Describe the changes in “burlesque” shows throughout the ages? In the early 1900’s burlesque was a simple variety show featuring performers of the lowest rake. However, in the time of The White Fawn, burlesque become more of a spoof of a literary or dramatic work. 2. Who was Lydia Thompson? She is the queen of burlesque, as well as America’s first musical star. 3. How do Burlesque Shows compare to Minstrel Shows and The Beggar’s Opera? Burlesque shows don't have quite as proper vowels/singing, and thus they can be understood better sometimes. Opera’s have that very open sound, and a lot of the time you miss the nonvowels and can’t understand what they are saying. 4. Give an example of a similarity you see between this era (chapter) and modern entertainment (musicals/TV Shows/Movies…). For instance, in Evangeline the mother was played by a man in drag. In Hairspray the mother is also typically played by a man in drag. Sex and the City obviously has a lot to do with sex, which is like burlesque because you will see risqué clothing on women in both of them. 5. What was the first famous American musical? Evangeline or The Belle of Acadia (1874) 6. How do musicals of the era treat immigrants? It stereotyped Europeans as stock figures. It really liked to play on their accents to bring out humor. 7. Describe Pantomime in the late 1800s. In olden days pantomime was more a type of show then just a type of acting. The show would start off normal, but then once the leads had, had their transformation all the words would be performed as a dumb show. But they still used words when they sang. 8. What does Mordden mean by “farce”? The musical farce was a play containing a talent show. 9. What kinds of humor are used during this era? Often times in a farce the writer will use incomprehensible plots to make it funny. This style also uses a lot of physical humor. 10. Who were Harrigan and Hart and why are they important? Some people want to say that they are the ones who created American musicals. They were managers, and their enterprise was like family. Their shows weren't really musicals they were really more a handful of tunes put together. 11. In one or two sentences summarize AMERICAN musical theatre in the 1800s In the 1800’s musical theatre switched from being performed primarily in music halls, to more of a theatre hall. Also in this time period musical theatre has a lot to do with immigration or immigrants. 12. What made Savoy titles so popular in the US? They were popular because they were smart, sly, and musically persuasive. 13. What Gilbert and Sullivan title is the most popular? The Mikado. 14. Mordden suggests Evangeline is the American show that is “truly a musical”. Based on the reading, do you agree or disagree? Why or why not? I do agree because it was easy to understand, but still made you think some. It also let you know, in a song, where the actual location of the play was taking place. If I got the reading right then it was what changed the stage of shows into the comic operas. Lastly, and my main reason why I believe it's a true musical is because it wanted to give true meaning to the characters. 15. Why is the Casino Theatre important? It was a place for comic opera. It also seats a huge amount (1300), and they were built specifically for musicals. 16. Why is Robin Hood important to Musical Theatre History? Robin hood was the first American Comic Opera. It also has a consistent tone throughout the whole piece. 17. Are there any statements in this reading with which you disagree? Not that I could find. 18. Any Questions? Could you talk about how Gilbert and Sullivan ties into burlesque? Also I’m a bit confused as to how Evangeline is or isn’t a true musical. Mordden Chapter 3 Questions Name: Pamela Fawns 1. In this chapter, we see the divide begin between Comic Opera and Musical Comedy. What are some of the differences? Comic Opera has more songs and more challenging them Musical Comedy. Musical comedy is more about the relationship between script and score. In musical comedy they hired more entertainers then singers, whereas, in comic opera it was all about the voice. 2. What plot points are commonly used in first age Comic Opera and Musical Comedy? (Use reading, personal knowledge, experience from viewing) Man meets a girl or a girl meets a man. Protagonist is normally follow lust or greed. 3. Are the plot points mentioned in #2 similar or different to today’s musical comedy? Explain why or why not. Same because they circumstances will still be relevant in today’s society. 4. What was the Hippodrome? Look online – not well explained in the book. It is a theater or other performance venue. In ancient Greece or Rome it is a course for chariot or horse races. 5. Why were exotic settings so popular? It was popular because it gave composers a chance to create exotic music. 6. Why is Victor Herbert important to Musical Theatre? He is important because he was the first person to win notice in the exoticsetting musicals. He was known for doing crazy things in his musicals, which gave the composers free rain to have fun. 7. Who is Harry B. Smith? He is Herbert’s partner because he is a librettistlyricist. 8. Describe Burlesque in this chapter (around the turn of the century). Burlesque was kind of left behind as musical theatre came to be, but it did enjoy an Indian summer in the double bills of Weber and Fields. 9. Who were Weber and Fields? Describe their type of humor. They are Dutch comics from the Jewish variety. They were called the WeberFields Troupe, and they did spoofs off of other shows. They perform their oneact on a Tuesday, and then go watch another show on Wednesday. They would then spoof the show that they had watched on Wednesday. 10. Who is Abraham Erlanger and why is his Syndicate important? He is the ruthless director of the monopoly known as the Theatre Syndicate. His Theatre Syndicate is important because he controlled most of biggest and best playhouses. He made three shows to Weber and Fields. He is the reason why small opera houses closed. 11. What is an Extravaganza? It used to be anything from a vaudeville act to a Passion Play, but now it is known as a fairytale spectacle. 12. Give me three interesting facts about The Wizard of Oz. Well first off my mom is obsessed with it. She has all the first editions series books, then the same set in the new edition, the board game, the movies, and a bunch of other things. But I’m sure your looking for things from the book so here those are: 1. Unfortunately the composer wrote kind of dull pieces. 2. Julian Mitchell, a major directorchoreographer, choreographed. 3. It had a large number of special effects. 4. It is a musical without a score. 13. Describe impact of The Wizard of Oz on ticket sales. It was The Wizard of Oz that put them over as a boxoffice sellout attraction. Standing room only, people on waiting lists, and this show was the first to be sold out. 14. Describe Babes in Toyland’s importance to Musical Theatre. In a genre that typically set smartalec commentary on current events into storybook land, Babes In Toyland was unusually consistent in tone, and that is why it is important to musical theatre. 15. Find three images from performances in the 1800s that tell you something about performance around this time. How can you incorporate what you see in your performance? Put the images here and your ideas about incorporating them in your performance here. The Enchantress By Victor Herbert; I can use the big gestures in my performance. Below is an ad for Bohemian girl. I couldn’t find a production photo but you can still tell things from the ad. For instance, she danced a lot, and also wore dresses, which implies that she is a girlygirl. The below pictures is from The Tempest. Even though it doesn’t show a girl, I can gain that the actors have more freedom to do crazy things, and thus I can add that to my performance. Mordden: Chapter 4 Name: Pamela Fawns 1. In this Chapter, Mordden highlights the, “interdependence of the musical’s two essential forms, the romantic and the satiric.” Do you agree that these two elements are essential to Musical Theatre? Give examples supporting your claim. Yes I do because if you look at every musical they always have some funny parts and a love story. Even if you look at West Side Story, which is more of a tragedy they are still some funny parts like the song Officer Krumpky, and that whole musical is all about a love story. 2. According to Mordden, when does the “second age” start and end? (Hint: It covers two decades). It is the first two decades of the twentieth century. 3. In this chapter the line between comic opera and musical comedy becomes even more blurry. Do we have examples in contemporary musical theatre where genres blur the lines? This chapter talks about how Burlesque fades into musical comedy. It also shows us that comic opera fades into operetta, which then fades into musical plays. The Magic Flute could be considered both. If you were to look at the show Yankee Consol, you can really see the lines being blurred. The director calls it a comic opera but on the title page of the score it is called a musical comedy. 4. Who wrote the Pink Lady? Ivan Caryll and C.M.S. McLellan 5. Who wrote Naughty Marietta? Victor Herbert 6. Who is Rudolf Friml? He wrote The Firefly. 7. Who is Sigmund Somberg? He worked for the Messrs. He may have written Maytime, but I’m a little confused on if the book says that or not. The book was confusing in that area. 8. Why is the production Maytime important to musical theatre? Maytime was one of the first German shows that was commissioned to be translated into English. 9. Who are Fred and Adele Astaire? They wrote the Apple Blossoms, and it was the first show to reserve two spots for a dance team that had no role in the script. 10. Who wrote The Merry Widow and why is it important to musical theatre history? Frazar Lehar. First time that leads are romantic and comedy. We get better characters after this. 11. How does merchandising effect this era? It promotes the shows more then they ever were before. It also started the era of cartoons, and spinoffs. 12. What impact did World War I have on the Arts in Europe and the U.S.? WWI affected art in Europe more then American because in America it was okay to still show German musicals, but in Europe it was verboten to play anything that the enemy had written. 13. What is a story song? Willie Was a Gay Boy is an example of a story song. Story songs are great because they can basically be put in anywhere in a musical. They are songs that use the story to explain something, and normally are songs that state one thing like “I ate” then “I sat” etc. 14. Why was the Sextette important? They were the dance rock stars of the day; first Rockets of this era. 15. How do U.S. and British musicals differ during this era? American was into more bold choices and not so dainty choices. British musicals had more of a strong book then American musicals did. 16. Who was George Michael Cohan? He scored anything European. He was known as the complete thespian. He would write the book, rhymed the lyrics, composed the music; he did everything. 17. What were some of the “song genres” in the early 1900s? FortyFive Minutes From Broadway was one of the song genres. 18. Why was interpolation important? Three different uses, for musical theatre it is a trunk song. You take a piece from another musical and throw it into a different show you are in. 19. How had the theatre audience changed by the time of Cahill and Ring? The theatre had changed because people weren't just singing in full length musicals but they were also singing one song at a time, or picking and choosing songs from different musicals to sing together; at the same time. Gender natural characters? 20. What made Ziegfeld so effective? It was great because it bonded tons of different works of art into one type of art. Questions? I’m confused on why a Sextette is important? Also confused as too who Sigmond is and what he did? Chapter 5 Mordden Name Pame I have started putting ** by questions that require you to synthesize information in the chapter or give an opinion. So you don’t spend too much time looking in the chapter for questions that are in your brain. I hope this helps! 1. In this chapter, we start to see a formula develop for “ordering” a musical. This starts on page 73. Give an outline of what a typical show looks like in this era. (Hint: it always starts with an overture) 1. Overture 2. Curtain rises - opening choruses 3. Various principals then enjoy establishing numbers 4. Solo by the lead 5. Duet by the authoritarians 6. Swinging duet 7. One physical stunt 8. Another Extraneous Number 9. Typical musical-comedy number 10. Ensemble number 11. First-act final 12. Second acrobatic stunt 13. Big Balled – End of act one 14. Curtain falls 15. Curtain rises – beginning of second act 16. One of the show’s outstanding numbers 17. Big number – Bowery waltz 18. Boxing exhibition 19. Score’s most interesting number 20. Musical-Comedy Solution 21. Curtain falls 2. **How does the formula in #1 compare to shows today? I think some things are the same like they had a big stunt in the ending final of act one, which we normally have too. But some things are different like we almost never have waltz songs in musicals anymore. Also there first act is longer then the second act, which is the same for us. 3. On page 75 Mordden talks about the variety in Herbert’s work – summarize his thoughts. This man did like everything. He was the CEO of operetta, but he got is start in comic opera. He didn’t just do things like write for the Metropolitan Opera, but also for Paul Whiteman’s band. He was very unique because he liked classical and popular music. 4. Describe Herbert’s musical style He used heavy rubato, tons of 16 notes, and he shortening the verses, and lengthened the chorus. 5. Between 19051906 Herbert accomplished something incredible – what was it? He composed three musicals that had tryouts all in a singlefive week period. 6. **What makes Herbert “America’s Composer”? Because he changed America’s songs. He made the verses shorter and the choruses longer. 7. **What is the weakest part of Herbert’s Musicals? His weakest part is that he wrote 42 musicals fro Broadway, which should be amazing but a lot of them were similar. 8. **What is the strongest part of Herbert’s Musicals? His strongest part is that he infused satire with romance, which is a huge American trait in theatre. 9. **What Victor Herbert show would play best at Wesleyan? Why? I think Miss Dolly Dollars would be a good one because it has highend singing and a funfilled snazzy score! 10. How did technical elements (set) change during the Herbert Era? Everything had to occur in one place for an hour and then switch to a new place for the next hour, even if the plot called for them to go to different places through out the whole musical. 11. **What three things stood out to you about Herbert’s musical Sweethearts? 1. That is was technically billed as a comic opera 2. I liked that it was an ultraromantic musical 3. It was set in modern time 12. How did Herbert approach female characters compared to his contemporaries? The his female characters got much more free living in his contemporary pieces. 13. How did Herbert influence future generations of composers? I think he influence then by teaching then about the sneeze. What I mean by that is when you listened to Herbert’s music you could hear the music trying to burst forth and the actor’s trying to shut it down. 14. **Summarize Herbert’s Legacy? His legacy is a huge one. He not only changed musical theatre in America but he also wrote 42 musicals that were on Broadway. He changed the way we think of female characters, and he brought his own style into America. 15. **What do you think of the last 4 sentences in this chapter? I think it's a very interesting way of describing the difference between the two groups. Because Herbert was his generation, it was easy to split the theatre goers into two groups; the people who listen to Herbert were older, and then you have the younger people who listened to Jazz, the hot group. 16. Find three images from performances around 19001930 that tell you something about the performance expectations during this time. How can you incorporate what you see in your performance? Put the images here and your ideas about incorporating them in your performance here. In this time period there started to be more pairing of dancing going on, with men and women dancing together. I can’t really use that in my piece because we aren’t doing duets. In this time there started to be elaborate costumes, with more added to them, and the costumes just being more fun in general. In this time period, when they danced, they used very elongated movements. I can use that in my performance to showcase the new dancing style.