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Lecture 2

Music 2701A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Rum Tum Tugger, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Grizabella


Department
Music
Course Code
Music 2701A/B
Professor
Kristina Baron- Woods
Lecture
2

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Mega-Musicals
Mega musicals:
big production values, performers, sets, investments, casts, costumes, expensive tickets, big
orchestra
the idea of musical was solidied in the 1970-80 --> shows only got bigger to be di$erent
commercialized
Two examples: CATS & Les Miserables
following the huge amount money spend/ giant set
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Dominating force in musical theatre from about 1975-1995
Known for lavish, big-budget shows
Frequently accused of musical plagiarism
Catchy tunes, musical themes often-repeated
o Easily remembered
Several shows in “longest-running” lists
Most commercially successful musical theatre composer of the modern era (20
C)
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s life
Born in London 22 March 1948
Musical family: father is a composer/organist; mother is a
violinist/pianist/teacher; younger brother is accomplished cellist
Early interest in theatre from his Aunt Viola, a London stage actress
Began composing little songs to accompany puppet shows he put on with
Auntie Viola
Started education at Oxford as a history scholar but gave it up to study at
Royal College of Music
First lyricist partner was Tim Rice - worked on several early hits with him
First big success Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968),
composed as short cantata for school performance, then expanded
oOld Testament story of Joseph, son of Jacob
Next success: Jesus Christ Superstar
Cantata: a sung musical work, with solos and ensemble singing
- usually based on scripture or a religious theme
- dramatic, tells a story but unstaged
- In Italian, Cantata means “to sing”
Concept Album
Concept album: a band with stories/themes --> putting together a coherent
album --> listen to songs in order
Translated well into musical with a good storyline
Both JC Superstar and Joseph (full version) started as “concept albums” before
being fully staged
Allowed Webber and his lyricists to gauge popularity of music before producing a
show
Also allowed music to permeate pop charts before staging;
people went into theatre knowing hit songs
Opposite to how most musicals produced albums prior to this time

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Concept albums: story   starting rst track to last track.
ALW’s hit shows
:Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar,Evita,
Cats,Phantom of the Opera,Sunset Boulevard
CATS
-composer: Andrew Lloyd Webber
-Lyricist: T. S. Elliot, Trevor Nunn, Richard Stilgoe
 lyricist  T. S. Elliot  (Thomas Stearns Elliot)
Based on the poets of T. S. Eliot and his book “Old Possum’s Book of Practical
Cats” a collection of poetry
-Whimsical short poems about feline psychology and sociology
-Show’s narrative is spare: songs describe each cat’s character
-Cats are going to the Jellicle Ball where Old Deuteronomy will announce which
cat can journey to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn
-Each song = a poem from Eliot’s book
-Exception: Grizabella is not found in the book, but based on the woman
mentioned in one part of Eliot’s poem “Rhapsody on a Windy Night
-Plot criticized for being about nothing
-set = junkyard
- set is scaled to make the performers seem smaller
-Musical motive
-Setting: oversized junk yard containing old auto wheels and parts, bottles,
household trash (including catfood boxes and tins), shoes, etc. Pirate ship, Full
moon on backdrop.
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