Exploring Practitioners Lesson 4: Musical Theatre

Task 1

Musical Theatre is a genre in which the story is told through the performance of singing, spoken dialogue and, sometimes, dance.

Musical Theatre is not opera, ballet, dance or plays with music.

Although closely related to these art forms, Musical Theatre as a genre is defined by its focus on using both dialogue and song to tell the story.

There are three main types of musical, can you name them and give examples of them?

Task 2

The three are:

  • Juke Box Musicals
    • Uses pre-written music to create a story
    • A mix of naturalism and spectacle.
    • The songs drive the story.
  • Naturalistic Musicals
    • Lots of character led songs
    • Not much dancing
    • Focused on dialogue to drive the story.
  • Spectacle Musicals
    • Big, bold and colourful musical with large chorus numbers.
    • Focused on the music to drive the story.

There are different types of songs in musicals, Character songs, Production songs and Action songs. Watch each type and answer the questions:

  1. What role does each of these types of song have in the telling of the story?
  2. What are the main features of each song?

Character Songs

Production Songs

Action Songs

Task 3

Listen to this song by Adele called Someone Like You.

You are going to write a Jukebox Musical based on this song. Create a context for the song. Think of the situation suggested by the words. Write a dialogue or monologue that leads up to the song. What would the story be just before this song was sung? What is the outcome of the song? What happens next? Does the situation change because of the song?

If you were to add a production song and an action song to your juke box musical, which songs would you choose and why? Why would you direct those scenes?

Task 4

With practical examples, write a 500 word essay which compares and contrasts Musical Theatre with Physical Theatre as well as the work of Stanislavski and Brecht.