MusicalTheatrebeginnings.pdf MTHR 3143-001
Popular in History of American Musical Theater
Popular in Music
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This 20 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lauren Notetaker on Monday September 21, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to MTHR 3143-001 at University of Oklahoma taught by Shawn Churchman in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 30 views. For similar materials see History of American Musical Theater in Music at University of Oklahoma.
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Date Created: 09/21/15
Musical Theatre the beginnings GIVE m REGARDS TO DROADWAY N Why is Musical Theatre important to American History Stands as a perfect metaphor for the melting pot heritage of this nation A history of inclusiveness and social responsibility It is a craft taught by masters of the form with a lineage of performers and teachers behind them It chronicles the American mythology of the American dream our values and belief system It is not a passive art form it demands emotional involvement Musical Theatre the beginnings There are only four types ofAmerioan art forms jazz murder mystery oomio books musioa theatre Musical theatre is NOT Opera European entirely classical no dialogue Operetta European classical singing some dialogue nonsensical stories British Music Hall European similar to American Vaudeville unrelated acts Vaudeville Most importantAmerican art form unrelated acts for a family audience Burlesque American cousin to Vaudeville naughty for a male audience Minstre shows American oldest American form performed in blackface Wild West shows Cowboys Native Americans wagons horses and guns Musical Theatre definition The integration of word song and dance to tell a cohesive story ImmigraTion The immigranT popuIaTion broughT Their energy and culTuraI influences wiTh Them x UrbanizaTion America was moving from an agrarian socieTy To an indusTrial socieTy so The popuIaTion shifTed The new middle class needed enTerTainmenT and had disposable income for The firsT Time We are Talking abouT 1895 1915 Why did iT happen Let s be clear what everyone does Composer the person that writes the music to the score v Lyricist writes the words to the songs Librettist also called the book writer or the playwrite Writes the story and the dialogue Producer Raises the money buys the rights books the theatre and hires the creative team In charge of what happens OFF the stage Director in charge of what happens ON stage Choreographer closest artistic relationship with the Director Stages the dances and sometimes the musical numbers Musical Director conducts the orchestra In charge of musical integrity Designers set lighting costume sound projections Performers the interpreters George M Cohan A Vaudeville star from a Vaudeville family He wrote composed produced directed choreographed and starred in his own work He wrote 21 musicals Little Johnny Jones 1904 Book music and lyrics by Cohan The plot is slight but coherent only to remember that it was NOT about European princes it s about a young energetic brash American It s written in American vernacular using slang and the language of the people It sounds like America as well it sounds like Tin Pan Alley the songs people were buying from the shelf It is distinctly American The show is important because it s the most successful early attempt at a book show and establishes the American vernacular to the art form Songs Give my Regards to Broadway Yankee Doodle Dandy both were enormous Tin Pan Alley hits An MGM movie called Yankee Doodle Dandy starring James Cagney is considered a classic Also the B way musical George M is based on his life Little Johnny Jones by George M Cohan Yankee Doodle Dandy This is James Cagney not George M Cohan But by now most people don t know the difference Very little footage of Cohan performing exists But Cagney captured his essence and peculiar dance style so precisely that people that saw both perform were astonished Notice the hyperpatriotism of the lyric This appealed to the new immigrants who were working so hard to enter into the American economy and culture Also listen to the casual vernacular and the slang in the language At the time was considered vulgar but the common language appealed to the new upwardly mobile middle class who didn t inherit their money In Dahomey 1903 The first fulllength black musical comedy to play Broadway The show is thoroughly forgettable but it introduced Bert Williams to Broadway audiences The character he created and the song he made famous Nobody became show business legend It ran for only 53 performances in NYC but played 251 in London and got a command performance at Buckingham Palace It was shocking for a white audience to see a show that suggested that black people felt the same things that white people did The Big FiwesFirSir genere rien Serg w r39 v i i Irving Berlin Jerome Kern George Gershwin Cole Porter Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Herr Tin Pan Alley the business of Tin Pan Alley was publishing sheet music for the new middle class to play on their home piano called Tin Pan Alley because of the music coming out of the windows from I 39 people banging on the piano s while composing songs where young composers learned their craft where producers and stars from Vaudeville came to nd new composers and songs for their shows quotSong pluggersquot were pianists and singers who made their living demonstrating songs to promote sales of sheet music Other pluggers were employed by the publishers to travel and familiarize the public with their new publications remained the economic engine of the music industry until the early 1950 s set the standard for music trends ragtime jazz waltz s etc l L3939fi quot1l 4t 39 Q h Mu I 0 g 1 39 M 39 D l39 231 J quot A 7 e Mall ttuuucv TT quot I 39 u39 39 11 5 I 39 39 p o a 0 West 28th street between 5th and 6th Avenue i 39 Lsae u 0 I Watch Your Step 1914 The first musical by Irving Berlin 39 quot Featured a ragtime or syncopated score Also called ragged time Previous dance music had been based on the waltz Until Irving Berlin ragtime had been considered African American music This is an early example of cultural I appropriation of black music by white artists Written for the famous ballroom dancing couple Vernon and Irene Castle There is very little about this musical because it was not very successful and it was work from someone talented still learning their craft Famous Song Play a Simple Melody The first example of Berlin s famous doublehook duets on Boy 1917 Part of a series of shows 7 shows produced at the Princess Theatre which had only 299 seats and could have only two sets Princess Theatre shows were different because as much emphasis was put on the character and situation as was put on one liner jokes The songs were integrated into the plot so audiences were seeing the beginnings of modern musical theatre Considered at the time a masterpiece of musical comedy By today s standards it is pleasant but rudimentary quotthe transition from the haphazard musicals of the past to the newer more methodical modern musical comedy the libretto is remarkably punfree and the plot is natural and unforced Composed by Jerome Kern Lyrics and book by Guy Bolton and PG Wodehouse The libretto is based on British comedy of manners mistaken identities and fastpaced comedy Famous Songs Till the Clouds Roll By also the name of the Jerome Kern biopic by MGM in 1946 The 1920 s I GUY RHYYHM nutaumummv A r L 4 39 Women s emancipation brought about The desire To C 3910 shorten Their skins and dance Culiurel crosspollinezoiion Iimi red in regreiion Jazz The shows Ziegfeld Follies are still going strong employing the best actors singers and comedians and employing the best composers Revues Vaudevillelike evenings are 39 still on Broadway with Irving Berlin leading the charge George Gershwin writes a series of seven shows featuring the new sound of America jazz They are mostly star vehicles written around the talents of one particular artist ie Ethel Mermen They are mostly forgotten because of the poor librettos but filled with classic Gershwin songs that became hits outside of the show Foreign Operetta s are still being performed after falling out of favor during WW1 Irving Berlin s Music Box Theatre built in 1921 Shu le Along Written and performed by an all black cast but marked the FIRST integrated audience in Broadway history far ahead of the rest of America Composed by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle with a libretto by Flournoy Millar and Aubrey Lyles Biggest hit song is I m Just Wild About Harry Love Will Find a Way Proved that black shows could be commercial Lady Be Good No No Nanette Music by Vincent Youmans Lyrics by Otto Harbach and Irving Ceasar Libretto by Otto Harbach George Gershwin was a fan of Youmans and No No Nanette It has a similar jazzage feel to Gershwin s best work The first show to employ themes to tell the story It capitalizes on the new American fascination with stories about women and money Only one of two shows from the 1920 s that is still regularly performed Classic songs T ea for Two I Want to Be Happy Where Have My Hubby Gone Blues Big Concept What is a theme Themes a unifying or dominant idea motif etc as in a work of art Themes represent fully eshed out ideas NOT plot points So themes must be presented as complete sentences rather than one word Look at page 22 in your text for the discussion of themes in No No Nanette Themes that are expressed by you in one word ie Race relations in Show Boat are NOT correct My response would be What about race relations What does Show Boat say about race relations Why didn t Show Boat lead to more like it The Depression w The advent of talkies The talent drain to Los Angeles
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