Music Theatre in the Classroom

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If students are able to connect with the material being used in any topic in the classroom it will make them more motivated to learn and understand the concepts of music and further their understanding of musical theatre in general. All you need to do is have a look on You Tube using the title of the show. You will find multiple clips from each show. The original cast recording is available and some have a DVD of either a movie version, or a staged production.

 

Here is a list of shows that I would suggest having a look at:

1) In The Heights - Lin-Manuel Miranda

Resources: Original Cast Recording 

Ran on Broadway 9/3/2008-9/1/2011. 1184 performances & 29 Previews

Tony Awards 2008: Best Musical, Original Score, Choreography & Orchestration

This show will appeal to student due to the musical style. It is a fusion of Hip Hop and Latin styles. Be aware however that some tracks have 1 or 2 words that are regarded as mild cause language.

 

2) Legally Blonde - Laurence O'Keefe

Resources: Original Cast Recording, London Cast Recording 

Ran on Broadway 29/4/2007-19/10/2008. 595 Performances & 30 Previews

Tony Awards 2007: Nominee in most major catagories

This show has a quirky accessible score and is based on the popular movie of the same title

 

3) Sweeney Todd - Stephen Sondheim

Resources: Original Cast, Concert, Revival, Movie Recordings, DVD Original Production, Concert, Movie 

Ran on Broadway 1/3/1979-29/6/1980. 557 Performances & 19 Previews

2 major Broadway revivals in 1989/90 & 2006/7

Tony Awards 1979: Best Musical, Book, Original Score, Actor, Actress, Design & Direction

This show has a huge orchestral and vocal sound. The story doesn't appear as appropriate material for a musical but upon further investigation will grab the students morbid curiosity. Plus the recent movie with Jonny Depp makes it more accessible.

 

4) Urinetown - Mark Hollmann

Resources: Original Cast Recording, 

Ran on Broadway 20/9/2001-18/1/2004. 965 Performances & 25 Previews

Tony Awards 2002: Best Book, Original Score & Direction

While the title may not appear appropriate, the show is clean and suitable for use in the classroom. Students will be intrigued by the risky title and the show is a great example of theatrical writing. 

 

5) The Drowsy Chaperone - Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison

Resources: Original Cast Recording 

Ran on Broadway 1/5/2006-30/12/2007. 674 Performances & 32 Previews

Tony Awards 2006: Best Book, Original Score, Featured Actress, Scenic Design & Costume Design

This show "talks" us through the recording of a golden age musical. It is quirky and fresh while giving students a feel for the sound and frivolity of early musicals.

 

6) Wicked - Stephen Schwartz

Resources: Original Cast Recording, Novel 

Opened on Broadway: 30/10/2003. 25 Previews & still playing

Tony Awards 2004: Best Actress, Scenic Design & Costume Design

Students warm to this musical because of the recent run in Australia gaining such momentum, especially with the teenage market. Also the knowledge of the source material from "The Wizard of Oz" helps build interest in this show. 

 

7) Into The Woods - Stephen Sondheim

Resources: Original Cast, London Revival, Broadway Revival Recodings, Original Broadway Production DVD 

Ran on Broadway: 5/11/1987-3/9/1989. 765 Performances & 43 Previews

1 major Revival 2002 

Tony Awards 1988: Best Book, Original Score & Actress

This is accessible because of the source material based on classic nursery tales. It is especially good for use in the classroom because of the use of leitmotifs and thematic writing by one of the most influential composers of modern theatre.

 

8) 13 - Jason Robert Brown Jr 

Resources: Original Cast Recording, Novel 

Ran on Broadway:5/10/2008-4/1/2009. 105 Performances & 22 Previews

This is a "grown up show about growing up". The score has jazz & pop influences and is about the early high school age group, so the story has resonance with this age group.

 

9) Hairspray - Marc Shaiman 

Resources: Original Cast Recording, Movie Version DVD, Movie Soundtrack, Original Source Movie DVD 

Ran on Broadway: 15/8/2002-4/1/2009. 2642 Performances & 31 Previews

Tony Awards 2003: Best Musical, Book, Original Score, Actor, Actress, Featured Actor, Costume Design & Direction

The score is firmly set in 60's Rock and is based on the cult film of the same title. The recent movie of the musical and current Australian run of the show help with the it's popularity and interest in high school students.

 

10) Parade - Jason Robert Brown Jr

Resources: Original Cast Recording, London Cast Recording 

Ran on Broadway:17/12/1998-28/2/1999. 85 Performances & 39 Previews

Tony Awards 1999: Best Book & Original Score

The music is lushly orchestrated with a deeply emotional story. While it didn't do really well on broadway it is an intensely dramatic piece of art from one of the most influential composers writing for the theatre today and deserves to be taught as one of the strongest pieces of theatre written for the modern theatre.