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Musicals

Musicals

What is a Musical?
The word Musical is a short form of the english words „musical comedy“ and „musical play“. It is a form of theatre where the actors sing, dance, act and talk.

The history of Musicals
Musicals developed from the operetta in the late 19th century in the USA, particularly at the Broadway in New York as many influences like cultures, religions, social positions and skin colours came together in a small area.
The first musical was “The Black Crook” which was produced in 1866, based on a book by Charles M. Barras and had its premiere at Niblo's Gardens in New York on 12th September 1866.
In the so called Roaring Twenties (1920 – 1929) musicals did not include star actors and actresses, star dancers and popular songs and the musical play plots were skimped. On 27th of December 1927 “Show Boat” (based on Edna Ferber’s novel, music by Jerome Kern, book by Oscar Hammerstein II) celebrated premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. It is generally considered to be the first American Musical as being new in using music which developed directly from the plot making the action more dramatic. Further it integrated social criticism like the black’s situation in America.
Actuated by Show Boats success, in the 30s the form of it was the base of many following musicals. In that period the Pulitzer-Price, a literary award in the USA, was won by a Musical (The Band Wagon, 1931) for the first time.
In 1943 “The Golden Age” (40s/50s/60s) began with the Musical “Oklahoma!” It became the first blockbuster at the Broadway. From now on composers and lyricist were dramatists using everything like music and costumes to develop a character and advance the action. More and more people created musicals and they became very popular. Then, the musicals developed from year to year. Today, they are nearly as successful as cinema.

The Broadway
Broadway is the street in New York that has come to symbolize live theatre ent...

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