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Lecture 1

MUSIC 2TT3 Lecture 1: Music 2TT3 - Full notes

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Lara Housez

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Music 2TT3 th Lecture 1 – January 5 ❖ What is a musical ➢ A musical is a broadly defined genre that refers to a type of performance made up of talking, singing and dancing. In other words, the theatre that speaks, sings and dances ▪ A genre is a category sanctioned by convention ▪ Term was created around 1960 ❖ Structure of a musical ➢ Overture  Act 1 (90-105 minutes)  Intermission  Entr’acte  Act 2 (45-60 minutes) ❖ Selected elements of musicals ➢ Most musicals have approx. 16 musical numbers: 10 in the 1 act and 6 in the 2 act nd ➢ Most musicals begin with an overture: ▪ Usually instrumental rather than vocal ▪ Captures the attention and favour of the audience ▪ Suggests the setting, period, atmosphere, style ▪ Previews the principal songs and the main theme of the musical nd ➢ Most 2 acts start with an entr’acte ➢ Most important points in a musical ▪ Beginnings and ends of each act ❖ What is a Broadway musical ➢ Any one of a range of entertainments that has been produced in a designated commercial theatre in NYC, where a cluster of about 4 dozen theatres create a compact rectangle centered on Broadway between 39 and 54 streetth ▪ Similar place in London called the West End ❖ Roles in musicals ➢ Musicals are highly collaborative art forms that bring together a large creative collective, which includes the composer, lyricist, book-writer, director, choreographer, producer, orchestrator, actors, musicians, set designers, lighting designers, stage manager, costume designer, etc… ➢ The Credits ▪ Composer: Writing the music • Purpose of the music is to establish and maintain dramatic atmosphere, convey and reinforce emotion, personify and predict, transition, generates opportunity for dance, etc… ▪ Lyricist: Writes the lyrics to the songs • A theatre lyric is a compact pattern of words that when set to music communicates information vital to the dramatic life of a show, must be clear and concise. • 80-120 words per song • Lyrics of a show make up the libretto which is basically a script of everything said on stage ▪ Book-writer • Book  A skeletal play, an economy of expression that leaves room for song, dance and spectacle  The book comes first. That is a chronological fact and a practical principle. As lyricist Alan Jay Lerner said, “I can tell you the book is essential, it is the fountain from which all the water springs”  Elements of the book: character, plot, situation, setting, dialogue, theme, mood, tone  Different than the script ▪ Source • Where the musicals’ plot comes from ▪ Producer • Pays for everything including the actors, theatre, set, etc… ▪ Director • Guides the actors, plays a visionary role in creation of the show ▪ Choreographer • Dance moves ▪ Actors Musical Show Composer Lyricist Book-writer Source Number I’ll Cover You Rent (1996) Jonathan Jonathan Jonathan 19 century Larson Larson Larson Opera – La Bohime by Puccini Maria West Side Leonard Stephen Arthur Romeo and Story (1957) Bernstein Sondheim Laurents Juliet Wilkommen Cabaret John Kander Fred Ebb Joe Masteroff Berlin (1966) Stories and I am a Camera Oh, What a Oklahoma! Richard Oscar Oscar Play, Green Beautiful (1943) Rodgers Hammerstein Hammerstein Grow the Morning Lilacs by Lynn Riggs The Ladies Company Stephen Stephen George Furth Furth’s Who Lunch (1970) Sondheim Sondheim collection of one act plays th Lecture – January 12 ❖ Show Boat (1927) ➢ Synopsis ▪ Follows the performers, stagehands and dock workers on the boat, The Cotton Blossom over 40 years, from 1880s to the 1920s ▪ Musical comedy, operetta ➢ Credits ▪ Composer: Jerome Kern ▪ Lyricist: Oscar Hammerstein II ▪ Book-writer: Hammerstein ▪ Source: Show Boat (a novel) by Edna Ferber ▪ Producer: Florenz Ziegfeld ▪ Directors: Zeke Colvan and Hammerstein ▪ Choreographer: Sammy Lee ▪ New York run: Dec 27, 1927-May 4 , 1929 ▪ Venue: Ziegfeld Theatre ▪ Performance: 572 ➢ Jerome Kern (1885-1945) ▪ American composer ▪ Started his career as a rehearsal pianist and song-plugger working in the sheet music industry • Tin Pan Alley is the home of the sheet music industry ▪ By 1927, Kern had already written about 20 scores for Broadway, including many musical comedies (Oh, Boy!, Leave it to Jane) • Worked with Guy Bolton and P.G. Woodhouse on both of these comedies ▪ Kern composed more than 700 songs ➢ Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) ▪ American lyricist and book-writer ▪ Theatre heritage ▪ Dropped out of law school to pursue a career in theatre ▪ Mentored by lyricist and bookwriter Otto Harbach ▪ Later collaborated with composer Richard Rodgers on several wildly successful musicals: Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, The Sound of Music ➢ Source ▪ Based on Edna Ferber’s best-selling novel from 1926 ▪ Dealt with contemporary issues such as marital issues, racial issues, gender issues, etc… ➢ Florenz Ziegfeld (1867-1932) ▪ American Broadway impresario • Impresario: Person who organizes and finances show ▪ Most famous his revues, The Ziegfeld Follies (1907-1931) ▪ Broadway: The American Musical (PBS) ▪ In the 1927 playbill, the title of the show and the name of the producer, Florenz Ziegfeld, virtually leapt of the page ▪ The show was billed as an “All-American Musical Comedy” ➢ Main Characters ▪ Captain Andy and Parthy Ann Hawks • Owners and managers of the Cotton Blossom ▪ Gaylord Ravenal and Magnolia Hawks • Magnolia is the daughter of Andy and Parthy, Gaylord is a gambler ▪ Steve and Julie • Actors ▪ Joe and Queenie • African Americans; Queenie is the cook, Joe is a dock worker • One of the first times black and white actors sang together on stage ▪ Frank and Ellie • Actors, comedic relief ▪ Kim • Magnolia and Ravenal’s daughter ▪ Pete ➢ “Ol’ Man River” ▪ Sung as a solo by Joe ▪ Begins with underscored dialogue accompanied by music, which heightens the mood and helps make transitions between speech and song smoother and less obtrusive ▪ Example of a ballad: Most ballads are love songs but this one is a song directed to and about the Mississippi River ▪ Example of a theme song: Ol’ Man River has a thematic function; it suggests that the fates of the characters are in the hands of the river ▪ Form: AABA’ • Chorus: A • Next Section: A (He don’t plant taters) • Next Section: B (You an’ me, we sweat an’ strain) • Next/Final Section: A’ (Ah gits weary) (Slight variation but similar enough to keep it the same) • Opening section is called the verse, it’s not included in the form • Considered standard popular song form ➢ “Make Believe” ▪ Sung by Ravenal and Magnolia (duet) ▪ Example of a romantic duet: a love song for two people, also a ballad; every lyricist’s problem: saying, “I love you” without saying it explicitly ▪ Sounds like operetta ▪ Form: AABA’ • Opening section: A • Second section: A (Make believe our lips are blending) • Next section: Verse (The game of just supposing) (Verse because she gets through many words in a short amount of time) • Next section: Verse (And if the things we dream about) • Next section: B (Though the cold and brutal fact is) • Next section: A’ (We could make believe I love you) • Form tells us the characters are meant to be together ➢ “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” ▪ Sung by Julie (With Magnolia and Queenie) ▪ Example of an “I am” song: a song that establishes something essential to the audience’s understanding of character and situation ▪ Example of a musical scene: an extended piece of music in which dramatic action is set to music ▪ Form: AA AABA • First section: A (Fish got to swim) • Next section: A (Tell me he’s lazy) • Next section: Verse (Oh, listen sister) • Next section: A (Fish got to swim) • Next section: A (Tell me he’s lazy) • Next section: B (When he goes away) • Final section: A (He kin come home) ▪ Dramatic Function • Julie is half white, half black so the song touches on race issues ➢ Diegetic and Non-Diegetic ▪ Diegetic • Character is aware of the music as music ▪ Non-diegetic • Character is unaware of the music • E.g. a score ➢ Show Boat addresses serious issues ▪ Marital strife ▪ Gambling ▪ Alcoholism ▪ Dishonesty and the dangers of pretending ▪ Racism and miscegenation Lecture – January 19th ❖ Oklahoma! (1943) ➢ Musical Theatre in the 1930s ▪ In the 1930s, a drought hit Broadway. No one picked up where Show Boat had left off. Not even Kern or Hammerstein followed up their success with another notable show • Kern and Hammerstein made Music in the Air in 1932 which ran 342 performances but it wasn’t that major of a production • Kern alone made The Cat and the Fiddle in 1932 which ran 395 performances and Roberta in 1933 with 295 performances ▪ Great Depression is highly responsible for the decrease in Broadway production ▪ Longest running show of the 1930s is Of Thee I Sing with 441 performances ➢ Why were there so few successes after Show Boat ▪ Rise of radio (1920s) ▪ Rise of film (1920s), television (1950s) and the Hollywood migration • First talkie was The Jazz Singer in 1927, starring Al Jolson ▪ Great Depression (1929 through the 30s) ▪ World War 2 (1939-1945) ▪ End of an era • George Gershwin’s last show opened in 1935, he died in 1937 • Jerome Kern’s last show opened in 1939, he died in 1945 • Lorenz Hart’s last show opened in 1942, he died in 1943 ▪ 1930s: 5000 theatres in the US went dark, 1000 performers forced to quit, almost every producer went bankrupt ▪ 1920s had 423 new shows, 1930s had 170 new shows ➢ Bright Lights in the 1930s ▪ Ethel Merman • Anything Goes with music and lyrics by Cole Porter • Annie Get Your Gun with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin • Singing style: Alto – narrow range, excellent at projecting her voice, brassy, optimism ▪ Mary Martin • Leave It to Me!, South Pacific • The Sound of Music – first Maria • Rodgers and Hammerstein star ▪ George Abbott (1887-1995) • Musical comedy, book-writer, producer, director • Elevates choreography ▪ Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart • Rodgers and Hart’s 25 year partnership created more than 15 musical comedies, including: A Connecticut Yankee, On Your Toes, Pal Joey • Rodgers wrote the music first, then Hart added the lyrics • “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” (Pal Joey)  Form: Verse (some a’s in it)  A (I’m wild again)  A (Until I could sleep)  B (Lost my heart)  A (A pill he is)  Rhyme scheme: 1) brandy(a), awake(b), handy(a), shake(b). 2) sensation(c), think(d), imitation(c), blink (d)  Composite rhyme: Multiple rhyming words  Tons of alliteration, assonance (recurring vowel sound) and consonance (recurring consonant sound) ▪ George and Ira Gershwin • These brothers collaborated on Strike Up the Band, Of Thee I Sing, Let ‘Em Eat Cake and Porgy and Bess ➢ Credits for Oklahoma! ▪ Composer: Richard Rodgers ▪ Lyricist: Oscar Hammerstein II ▪ Book-writer: Hammerstein • Rodgers and Hammerstein made 9 musicals between 1942-1960 ▪ Source: Green Grow the Lilacs (play) by Lynn Riggs ▪ Producer: Theater Guild ▪ Director: Rouben Mamoulian ▪ Choreographer: Agnes de Mille ▪ New York run: March 31 , 1943 – May 29 , 1948 ▪ Performances: 2,212 ▪ During tryouts, the show was titled, Away We Go!, and billed as a new musical comedy. When the title changed to Oklahoma!, its generic label was altered to “musical play” ▪ Opening night critics assigned Oklahoma! to a variety of subgenres, including musical comedy, musical play, operetta and folk musical. They lacked a cultural frame of reference in which to place Oklahoma! ➢ Road to Broadway ▪ Creative process ▪ Find producer for finance ▪ Find a director ▪ Casting ▪ Rehearsals ▪ Tryouts (show moves to a different city for a trial) ▪ Previews (back in New York for a sneak peak) ▪ Opening night ➢ What is a “musical play”? ▪ Characteristics • Has a plot with substance • Must is integrated into the plot ➢ Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) ▪ American composer ▪ Rodgers first wrote musical comedies with Hart ▪ Rodgers later joined forces with Hammerstein who garnered dozens of awards together ▪ Hammerstein worst lyrics first, then Rodgers added the music (opposite of how he worked with Hart) ➢ Source ▪ Oklahoma! is based on Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, which was first produced by the Theatre Guild in 1931. It ran for 64 performances ▪ Lynn Riggs (1899-1954) • American poet, playwright, screenwriter who grew up in Oklahoma • He wrote Green Grow the Lilacs in France on a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1928- 29 ▪ Hammerstein turned to the stage directions of the source as influence for Oklahoma! ▪ Theatre Guild • Original purpose of the group which was active from the 1920s-70s was to produce non-commercial works by American and foreign playwrights. They were unique because their board oversaw the choosing of plays, management and production • The Theatre Guild contributed to the success of Broadway ➢ Agnes de Mille (1905-1993) ▪ American dancer and choreographer ▪ Choreographed 15 musicals, including Carousel, Allegro, Brigadoon, 110 in the Shade ➢ Rouben Mamoulian (1897-1987) ▪ American theatre and film director ▪ He had already directed Porgy and Bess (1935) as well as its source, the play Porgy (1927) ▪ He would later direct Carousel ➢ Main Characters ▪ Set in Oklahoma territory outside of Claremore in 1906 ▪ Curly McLain: a cowboy in love with Laurey ▪ Laurey Williams: an independent young woman, Aunt Eller’s niece ▪ Will Parker: a simple young man in love with Ado Annie ▪ Ado Annie: a flirtatious, gullible young woman ▪ Aunt Eller: Laurey’s aunt, a respected community leader ▪ Ali Hakim: a Persian peddler ▪ Jud Fry: a hired hand on Aunt Eller’s farm ➢ False “firsts” ▪ First title to end with an exclamation point • No, the popularization of excited show titles can be traced back to the 1910s and some of the Princess Shows that Kern wrote with Bolton and Wodehouse (Oh, I Say!, Toot-Toot!, Oh, My Dear!) ▪ First musical to have an original cast recording • No, The Cradle Will Rock (1937) by Marc Blitzstein • Cast recordings used as powerful marketing tool ▪ First musical to start without a chorus number • No, neither Anything Goes (1934) with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, nor Lady in the Dark (1941) with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Ira Gershwin opened with chorus numbers ▪ First musical play • No, Lady in the Dark (1941) ▪ First dream ballet • A dream ballet uses dance to advance the plot, develop characterization and add commentary • Rodgers included one with Hart in On Your Toes (1936) and I Married an Angel (1938) both of which were choreographed by George Balanchine ➢ “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin” ▪ Sung by Curly ▪ Opens the musical ▪ It might be the first a cappella opening to a musical (unaccompanied singing) ▪ Example of an establishing number: it conveys the location, introduces main characters and sets the tone and mood of the show ▪ “I am” song as it tells us about Curly ➢ Real “Firsts” ▪ First show to cast exclusively unknown stars • Focus of the show wasn’t on a specific actor, but the show itself ▪ First Broadway musical to have such a long run (2212 performances) • The previous record for a book show was held by Irene (1919) with 670 performances • Show Boat ran 572 performances • Oklahoma! redefined the parameters of a Broadway show as a commercial enterprise ▪ First to demonstrate the principals of integration • Rodgers: All of the individual parts fit together and work together, so that no individual part overshadows another – gives the impression of having been created by one • Principles of integration  Songs advance the plot  Songs flow directly from the dialogue  Songs express the characters who sing them  Dances advance the plot  Orchestra, through accompaniment and underscoring, parallels, complements or advances the action • Example of integration: “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top”  Sung by Curly with Laurey and Aunt Eller  Form: Verse (first 4 lines)  A (Chicks and ducks)  A (Watch that fringe)  B (The wheels are yeller)  A’ (Two bright sidelight’s)  Verse (Would y’say the fringe)  Rhyme Scheme: aabc  Anaphora (successive lines starting with same words) ▪ First musical to experience immediate national resonance as an American cultural artifact • Oklahoma! tapped into a shared sense of wartime nationalism in America • In “The Farmer and the Cowman” it has an example of a production number, a number with song, speech and dance, typically including all or most of the cast ➢ Oklahoma! Stats ▪ By 1948, 8 million people had seen the play ▪ Sold 500,000 cast albums, 2 million copies of sheet music, 100s of recordings of individual songs ▪ Decade long national tour visiting 250+ cities and an audience of 10 million ▪ $1 million each for Rodgers and Hammerstein ➢ Problems with the idea of integration ▪ Integration should not be equated with artistic success. An integrated musical isn’t necessarily good or better than one that isn’t integrated ▪ Celebrating integration casts a shadow over the shows the came before Oklahoma!, including the works of the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hart, etc… ➢ “We Know We Belong to the Land”: Representation of “others” in Oklahoma! ▪ Andrea Most argues Jud and Ali Hakim, the third wheels in the love triangles (Laurey-Curly-Jud, Ado Annie-Will-Ali Hakim), represent “others” in that that are portrayed as ethnic minorities • Jud is a stand in for a black man, although it is not obvious • Ali Hakm is supposedly supposed to be a Jewish character ▪ Jud winds up dying at the end as he does not assimilate, Ali Hakim eventually assimilates into the community and marries another character ▪ Jud Fry • Portrayed realistically and psychologically, hired hand • Does not crossover into the communal realm of the musical numbers • Sexually threatening, lives in a smokehouse, described as “bullet-coloured” • Call and response style singing with Curly comparing Jud’s actions to Negro action • His solo “Lonely, Room” is a short tragic operatic soliloquy stands out in an otherwise upbeat scene ▪ Ali Hakim • Portrayed as a comic figure • Persian peddler, sings, dances and participates in musical numbers, flirts harmlessly • Retains the sympathy of the audience throughout • Male chorus respond sympathetically to his situation with Ado Annie in “It’s a Scandal, It’s an Outrage” • Assumes an authorial role as a seller of stories, fantasies, myths • His tonic generates the ballet and plot twist ➢ The Golden Age of the Musical ▪ The Golden Age of the Musical stretches from Oklahoma (1943) to Gypsy (1959) ▪ Fewer shows opened but many enjoyed long runs ▪ Approx. 300 shows opened during the Golden Age ▪ 20 musicals exceeded 1000 performances ➢ Characteristics of the Golden Age Musicals ▪ More adventurous in its subject matter ▪ More serious in its social commentary ▪ Integrated ▪ Elevation of dance so that it was on par with the music, lyrics and book ▪ Expansion of formal parameters from standard AABA song forms to complex musical scenes ➢ What’s Next ▪ In the 1940’s, the musical play established itself and created a favourable environment for ambitious undertakings, including: Oklahoma!, Carousel and South Pacific Lecture – January 26 (Broadway Opera) ❖ What is Opera? ➢ Opera, an invention of the early Baroque era (1600), is a staged entertainment, usually sung from beginning to end, featuring music, drama, poetry, the visual arts and sometimes dance ➢ Characteristics of Opera ▪ Through-sung with little or no dialogue ▪ Classically trained, legitimate singers with a wide range, excellent projection, use of vibrato ▪ Music and singing trump drama and acting ▪ Big orchestras, little to no dance ➢ Elements of Opera ▪ In opera, there are generally two modes of singing • Recitatives: Speech-like vocal delivery; emphasis on text • Aria: Lyrical, melodic, smooth; emphasis on music ▪ Overture, duet, trio, quartet, etc… ▪ The libretto (little book) contains the words sung or spoken in the opera (like the script of a play) ➢ American Opera ▪ In the early 20 century, there was a lack of interest and support for operas composed by Americans ▪ On Broadway, operas didn’t sell tickets ▪ In opera houses, American operas didn’t sell tickets as audiences expected European imports • In the 1940s, New York’s Metropolitan Opera House was criticized for its seeming prejudice against home grown operas • To rid themselves of the criticisms, The Met organized a contest whereby American composers submit operas to them and the best one would be performed on stage  The winner was Bernard Rogers with his opera, “The Warrior” (1947)  The opera was awful and chosen on purpose so they wouldn’t have to show any more operas ➢ Broadway Opera ▪ Some composers, lyricists, and book-writers strove to write opera-like shows for Broadway that captured a mixture of elements from traditional opera, musical comedies and musical plays ▪ Creators and producers avoided the word opera and turned to alternative generic designations: “folk opera”, “dramatic musical”, “musical drama” ➢ Characteristics of Broadway Opera ▪ Not through-sung; usually uses spoken dialogue instead of recitative ▪ Music demands classically-trained, “legitimate” singers ▪ Weighty themes and serious issues ▪ Contemporary and distinctly American subject ▪ Vernacular musical idioms ▪ Realistic acting ➢ What about venue? ▪ Venue plays a role in classifying a show. If a show is performed in an opera house, it’s usually considered an opera. If a show is performed in a Broadway theatre, it’s a Broadway musical ▪ A few shows crossover and are performed in both opera houses and Broadway theatres: Porgy and Bess, West Side Story and Sweeney Todd. Street Scene is usually performed in an opera house ❖ Porgy and Bess (1935) ➢ Credits ▪ Composer: George Gershwin ▪ Lyricists: DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin ▪ Book-writer: Heyward ▪ Sources: Porgy, a 1925 novel by Heyward and Porgy, a 1927 play by Dubose and Dorothy Heyward ▪ Producer: Theater Guild ▪ Director: Rouben Mamoulian ▪ Actors: Todd Duncan and Anne Wiggins Brown ▪ New York run: October 10 , 1935-January 25 , 1936 ▪ Performances: 124 ▪ Structure: 3 acts and 2 intermissions ▪ Billing: An American folk opera ➢ George Gershwin (1898-1937) ▪ American composer and pianist ▪ Began his career as a song-plugged working in the sheet music industry ▪ Composed scores for Broadway and Hollywood ▪ Works include, “Swanee” and “Rhapsody in Blue” ▪ High lowbrow: Started out as a rich, elite person ➢ DuBose Heyward (1885-1940) ▪ American author ▪ Best known for his novel and play, Porgy (1934) ➢ Ira Gershwin (1896-1983) ▪ American lyricist ▪ In addition to working with George, he worked with many other famed composers ➢ Main Characters ▪ Porgy and Bess is set in the early 1930s in Catfish Row, a black ghetto in Charleston, South Carolina. With the exception of some small speaking roles for white characters, all the main characters are black ▪ Porgy: A disabled beggar ▪ Bess: A prostitute ▪ Crown: A tough stevedore and Bess’ lover ▪ Sportin’ life: A dope peddler ▪ Jake: A fisherman ▪ Clara: Jakes wife ➢ Reception history ▪ Disappointing initial run ▪ National tour, including Washington DC, Duncan’s hometown • First time in history white and black people sat beside each other at a musical ▪ The 1942 revival spearheaded by producer Cheryl Crawford finally brought the work commercial success ▪ Other revivals and 1959 film adaptation ▪ The Metropolitan Opera produced Porgy and Bess in 1985, 50 years after its premiere ▪ In 1955, Marian Anderson became the first African American to perform at the Met ➢ Folklore or “Fake-lore” ▪ Porgy and Bess became an emblem for the Civil Rights movement in the 50’s, saying that the create artistic abilities of negroes was denied as shown here by the fact that white people wrote a story about black people ➢ Musical Style ▪ Porgy and Bess featured a wide variety of musical styles • Clara’s “Summertime”  Folk-like lullaby and establishing number • Porgy’s “I Got Plenty o’Nuttin”  Banjo tune and musical-comedy style • Porgy and Bess’ “Bess, You is My Woman Now”  Operatic-style duet ❖ Street Scene (1947) ➢ Credits ▪ Composer: Kurt Weill ▪ Lyricist: Langston Hughes ▪ Book-writer: Elmer Rice ▪ Source: Rice’s play ▪ Producer: Dwight Deere Wiman & The Playwrights’ Co. ▪ New York run: January 9 – May 17 1947 ▪ Performances: 148 ▪ Billing: Dramatic musical (later Broadway opera; later still, an American opera) ▪ Tony awards: First to win for Best Original Score, no Broadway revivals yet ➢ Main Characters (See Avenue document) ▪ Setting: New York in front of a tenement house (number 346) ▪ The Maurrants: Frank, Anna, Rose and Willie ▪ The Kaplans: Abraham, Shirley and Sam ▪ The Joneses: George, Emma, Max, Vincent and Emma’s little dog ▪ The Florentinos: Lippo and Gerta ▪ The Olsens: Carl and Olga ▪ The Hildebrands: Laura and her children, Jennie, Mary and Charlie ➢ Critical Reception ▪ Critics embraced Street Scene despite its short run ➢ Kurt Weill (1900-1950) ▪ Composer, born in Germany, came to US in 1935 (lowbrow) ▪ Known for several innovative musical theatre works including The Threepenny Opera, Lady in the Dark, Love Life and Street Scene • Worked with Bertold Brecht on the Threepenny Opera ➢ Langston Hughes (1902-1967) ▪ American poet, novelist and playwright ▪ Known for his portrayals of black life in America ➢ Elmer Rice (1892-1967) ▪ American playwright, director and novelist ▪ Graduated from law school before writing plays ▪ Won a Pulitzer Prize for his play, Street Scene, on which the musical is based ➢ Musical Style ▪ Street Scene features a wide variety of musical styles • Sam’s, “Lonely House”  Rhyme scheme: abcbcded fgfhfhci  Recitative • The Women’s “Ain’t it Awful, the Heat?”  Gershwin’s “Summertime” and the heat trope • Lippo’s, “Ice Cream Sextet”  Operatic ensemble • Jenny’s, “Wrapped in a Ribbon and Tied in a Bow”  Rodgers and Hammerstein charm song Lecture – February 2nd ❖ West Side Story ➢ Credits ▪ Composer: Leonard Bernstein ▪ Lyricist: Stephen Sondheim ▪ Bookwriter: Arthur Laurents ▪ Source: Romeo and Juliet ▪ Producer: Robert Griffith and Harold Prince ▪ Director/choreographer: Jerome Robbins ▪ Co-choreographer: Peter Gennaro ▪ Scenic designer: Oliver Smith th th ▪ New York Run: September 26 , 1957 – June 27 , 1959 ▪ Performances: 732 ▪ Working titles: East Side Story (Jewish Juliet and Catholic Romeo) and Gangway! ➢ Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) ▪ American choreographer, director, producer and dancer ▪ His work ranged from classical ballet to contemporary musical theatre ▪ Musicals include: On the Town, West Side Story, Gypsy and Fiddler on the Roof ➢ Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) ▪ American composer, conductor, pianist, educator ▪ Studied music at Harvard ▪ First American-born musician to lead a major symphony orchestra, the New York Philharmonic ▪ Ballet, opera, symphonies, choral work, chamber music, piano pieces ▪ Musicals include: On the Town, Wonderful Town and West Side Story ➢ Stephen Sondheim (1930-) ▪ American composer and lyricist ▪ Mentored by Hammerstein ▪ Studied music at Williams College; after graduating, he studies composition with Milton Babbitt ▪ Wrote the music and lyrics for many musicals, including: Company, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, and Assassins; also lyrics-only for Gypsy ➢ Arthur Laurents (1917-2011) ▪ American playwright, bookwriter, screenwriter and director ▪ Studied at Cornell and NYU ▪ Musicals include West Side Story and Gypsy ➢ Characters ▪ Jets – Sharks (Montagues – Capulets) ▪ Tony – Maria (Romeo – Juliet) ▪ Riff (Mercutio) ▪ Bernardo (Tybalt) ▪ Anita (Nurse) ▪ Chino (Paris) ▪ Krupke (Prince Escalus) ▪ Doc (Friar Lawrence) ➢ Prologue ▪ Establishing number, which shows the heated relationship between the Jets and the Sharks ▪ Introduces the theme of territory ▪ Prepares us for the heavy amount of dance numbers in the show • 12 dance numbers in the show • Non-diegetic dances, except one (Dance at the Gym), where the dancing is done absent-mindedly by the characters ▪ Dance moments • Tony and Maria meet, they don’t speak but they do dance • Riff and Bernardo are killed • ▪ Shows us the setting of the streets of New York ➢ Dance at the Gym/Tony Meets Maria ▪ Dance without saying a word ➢ Maria ▪ AABA’ ▪ ‘I want’ ballad • Song tells us what he wants ▪ Recitative and aria ➢ Tonight ▪ Duet with Tony and Maria ▪ AABA’ ➢ Critical Reception ▪ Tony Awards: Won 2 for best scenic design and choreography; lost best musical to The Music Man ▪ Broadway revivals (1960, 1980, 2009) ▪ Film adaption (1961) ▪ ➢ Firsts ▪ First Broadway show in which the choreographer became co-author ▪ First time Laurents authored the book ▪ First time Sondheim crafted the lyrics ▪ 8 weeks rehearsal instead of 4 ▪ Short book ➢ Lasts ▪ Last of the ‘golden age’ of the musical ▪ WSS was Bernstein’s last successful Broadway musical ➢ Why is such a landmark ▪ Director-choreographer as foremost creator ▪ Quality of music, lyrics and book ▪ Role of dance as a means of storytelling ▪ Calibre and seriousness of source ▪ Hybrid form: part serious play, part ballet, part musical comedy, part opera Lecture – February 16 th ❖ Experimental Musicals: Love Life and Cabaret ➢ What is a concept musical ▪ A musical that focuses more on projecting a central metaphor or notion rather than storytelling ▪ In the 1970s, critics started to use the word concept to describe a plot-less or plot- lite musical – often a piece that offered multiple angles and perspectives on a subject. The effect is often kaleidoscopic. It gives the effect of circling around a subject rather than moving forward along a storyline ▪ Example of concept musicals • Lady in the Dark, Allegro, Love Life, Cabaret, Company, Follies, A Chorus Line, Chicago, Sunday in the Park with George, Assassins ▪ Frames • Concept musicals often draw on forms of musical theatre to frame the show:  Nightclub acts: Cabaret  Vaudeville: Love Life, Chicago, Assassins  Revue: Follies  Musicals: A Chorus Line ▪ Characteristics • The frame is more important than plot or character • The musical is a vehicle for socio-polit
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