Portal:Musical theatre/Selected article
Selected articles list
Portal:Musical Theatre/Selected article/1
West Side Story is a musical written by Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein (music), and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics). The story is based loosely on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which was, in turn, based on a narrative poem by Arthur Brooke entitled The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet (1562).
Set in Manhattan's Upper West Side, the musical explores the rivalry between two teenage gangs of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The young protagonist, Tony, who belongs to the white gang, falls in love with Maria, the sister of the leader of the rival Puerto Rican gang. The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theater. Bernstein's score for the musical has become extremely popular, including "Something's Coming", "Maria", "America," "Somewhere," "Tonight", "Jet Song", "I Feel Pretty", "One Hand, One Heart", and "Cool".
The original 1957 Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and produced by Robert E. Griffith and Harold Prince, marked Stephen Sondheim's Broadway debut. It ran for 732 performances (a very successful run for the time), before going on tour. The production garnered a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical in 1957, but the award ultimately went to Meredith Willson's The Music Man. The show has enjoyed an even longer-running London production, a number of revivals and international success, and spawned an innovative, award-winning 1961 musical film of the same name. West Side Story is produced frequently by local theaters and, occasionally, by opera companies.
Portal:Musical Theatre/Selected article/2
Chicago (musical) is a John Kander and Fred Ebb musical set in prohibition era Chicago. The book is by Ebb and Bob Fosse. The story is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice, and the concept of the "celebrity criminal." The musical is based on a play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins based on actual criminals and crimes she reported on. Chicago's 1996 Broadway revival holds the record for the world's longest-running musical revival on Broadway and, as of June 2007 has played for 4,400 performances.
The original 1975 Broadway production ran for a total of 936 performances and was followed by a production on London's West End. Several touring productions and international productions of Chicago have also been staged. Bob Fosse choreographed the original production, and his style is strongly identified with the show. A film version of the musical was released in 2002.
The musical was derived from several taped workshop sessions with Broadway dancers, known as "gypsies," including eight who eventually appeared in the original cast. With nineteen main characters, it is set on the bare stage of a Broadway theatre during an audition for chorus line members of a musical. The show gives a glimpse into the personalities of the performers and the choreographer as they describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers. During the workshop sessions, random characters would be chosen at the end for the chorus jobs, resulting in genuine surprise among the cast. Subsequent productions, however, have the same set of characters winning the slots.
The original Broadway production was an unprecedented box office and critical hit, receiving 12 Tony Award nominations and winning nine of them, in addition to the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It ran for 6,137 performances, becoming the longest-running production in Broadway history up to that time. The show has enjoyed many successful productions worldwide and was revived on Broadway in 2006.
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Hamilton is a musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The show, inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow, achieved both critical acclaim and box office success.
The musical made its Off-Broadway debut at The Public Theater in February 2015, where its engagement was sold out. The show transferred to Broadway in August 2015 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. On Broadway, it received enthusiastic critical acclaim and unprecedented advance box office sales. Nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards, the production ultimately won 11, including Best Musical, and is also the recipient of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The prior off-Broadway production of Hamilton won the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical as well as seven other Drama Desk Awards out of 14 total nominated categories.
Portal:Musical Theatre/Selected article/5
Godspell is a 1970 play by John-Michael Tebelak. Following closely on the heels of the similarly-themed Jesus Christ Superstar, it opened off-Broadway on May 17, 1971 and has played in various touring companies and revivals many times since. Several cast albums have been released over the years and one of its songs, Day By Day from the original cast album, reached #13 on the Billboard pop singles chart in the summer of 1972.
The show originated in 1970 as Tebelak's master's thesis project, under the direction of Lawrence Carra, at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most of the score's lyrics were from the Episcopal Hymnal, set to music by the cast members. Tebelak then directed it, with much of the student cast, for a two-week, ten-performance run at New York's La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, opening February 24, 1971. It was brought to the attention of producers Edgar Lansbury (brother of Angela Lansbury) and Joseph Beruh by Carnegie alumnus Charles Haid (associate producer), who wanted to open it off-Broadway.
The producers hired Stephen Schwartz, another alumnus of Carnegie Mellon's theater department, to write a new song score (although By My Side was retained from the original score). Schwartz's songs included a variety of musical styles, from pop to folk rock, gospel, and vaudeville. As with the original score, most of the non-Schwartz lyrics were from the Episcopal Hymnal. See also Godspell (1971 Off-Broadway Cast).
Godspell moved from the Cherry Lane Theatre to the larger Promenade Theatre on August 10, 1971, where it became one of the longest-running off-Broadway musicals, before moving to Broadway in June 1976, where it ended its run in September 1977 after an additional 527 performances, for a total of more than 2,600.
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Guys and Dolls is a musical, with the music and lyrics written by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, based on The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown, a short story by Damon Runyon. It also borrows characters and plot elements from other Runyon stories, most notably "Pick the Winner."
The musical was first produced on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre, opening on November 24, 1950 and directed by George S. Kaufman. It starred Robert Alda, Sam Levene, Isabel Bigley, and Vivian Blaine. The play enjoyed an initial run of 1,201 performances, winning five 1951 Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical. The original London production opened at the London Coliseum on May 28, 1953 and ran for 555 performances. The show enjoyed numerous award-winning revivals and tours and has become a popular choice for school and community theatre productions.
The Last Five Years is a one act musical written by Jason Robert Brown. It premiered in Chicago in 2001 and was then produced off-Broadway in March of 2002 . Since then it has enjoyed numerous productions internationally.
The story explores a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress. The show uses a novel form of storytelling in which Cathy travels backwards in time (beginning the show at the end of the marriage), and Jamie travels forwards (starting with the couple's first date). The songs are presented as soliloquies, except for a wedding song in the middle, where the two characters share a duet. Sometimes the show is performed in such a way that Jamie and Cathy only interact during their wedding.
A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant is a satirical musical about Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard, written by Kyle Jarrow from a concept by Alex Timbers, the show's original director. The one-act musical lasts about an hour. Jarrow based the story of the musical on L. Ron Hubbard's writings and Church of Scientology literature. The musical follows the life of L. Ron Hubbard as he develops Dianetics and then Scientology. Though the musical pokes fun at Hubbard's science fiction writing and personal beliefs, it has been called a "deadpan presentation" of his life story. Topics explored in the piece include Dianetics, the E-meter, Thetans, and the story of Xenu. The show was originally presented by Les Freres Corbusier, an experimental theatrical troupe and debuted in November 2003 in New York City, where it had sold-out Off-Off-Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. Later performances have included Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Atlanta and Philadelphia. Productions of A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant in 2003, 2004 and 2006 were well received. The musical received an Obie Award for the 2003 New York production, and director Alex Timbers received a Garland Award for the 2004 Los Angeles production. The play also received positive reviews in the press.
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Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. The musical's profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of the "rock musical", utilizing a racially-integrated cast and inviting the audience onstage for a "Be-in" finale.
Hair tells the story of the "tribe", a group of politically active, long-haired "Hippies of the Age of Aquarius" fighting against conscription to the Vietnam War and living a bohemian life together in New York City. They struggle to balance their young lives, loves and the sexual revolution with their pacifist rebellion against the war and the conservative impulses of their parents and society.
After an off-Broadway debut in October 1967 at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and another run in a midtown discothèque space, the show opened on Broadway in April 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances, followed by a successful London production, which ran for 1,997 performances. Numerous productions have been staged around the world since then, and numerous recordings of the musical have been released. Several of the songs from its score became Top 40 hits, and a successful movie adaptation was released in 1979.