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Broadway! History • Broadway refers to the 40 large professional theatres with 500+ seats in the theatre district and Lincoln Center in Manhattan, New York. – It is also the name of a street in New York • “The Great White Way”- name given to the theatre district because of all of the bright lights, this was one of the first electrically lighted streets in the US History Cont. • There are only 4 theatres actually located on “Broadway” the rest are on side streets between 42nd and 53rd streets. • Those theatres are: the Marquis, the Palace, the Winter Garden, and of course the Broadway Theatre Even MORE History! • The term “Off Broadway” refers to any theatre that has less that 499 seats, if theatres have 100 or less seats they are called “Off Off Broadway” • Broadway represents the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking world • Ticket sales were at $1.037 billion in 2010 History cont. • Broadway is considered one of the major tourist attractions when visiting New York City. Broadway, before the musicals… • The men who brought theatre to New York in 1750 were Walter Murray and Thomas Kean. • They opened a theatre on Nassau St. that sat around 280 people that presented mostly straight plays (no singing) and some ballad operas. The Revolutionary War • When the Revolutionary War broke out, theatre in not only New York, but in other Colonies were suspended. • Theatre resumed in 1798 • Also in this year the first large theatre, the Park Theatre, seating 2,000 people was built on Chatham Street (now called Park Row). Theatre Expands! • By the 1840’s PT Barnum, of circus fame, was operating entertainment venues in NYC • In 1829, Niblo’s Garden became one of the hot spots for New York nightlife presenting plays of the musical and non musical variety. Riot in the Theatre! • After the Astor-Palace theatre opened in 1847 people could tell that things were being divided by classes. • In 1849, the lower class patrons of the Bowery theatre were outraged by the “snobbery” of the Astor-Palace theatre. • This caused New York City Entertainment to draw class lines: – Opera was for the upper and upper middle classes – Minstrel shows and melodramas for the middle class – Variety shows for men of the working class and the slumming middle class (shown in saloons) American History, in the Theatre? • Shakespeare was a common thing people would see when going to the theatre. • One of the more popular actors at the time, known most for his role as Hamlet, was Edwin Booth • He performed the role for over 100 performances • The final performance ended just months before his brother, John Wilkes Booth, shot Abraham Lincoln The British Blondes • In 1868, Lydia Thompson came to America from Britain with her entertainment troupe of “British Blondes” • For one year they were the most popular form of entertainment in New York • The show which was only slotted for 6 months ran for a total of 6 years! • Their show was a combination of comedy, parody, satire, improvisation, song and dance, variety acts, extravagant stage effects, jokes, and costumes Making the Move • Broadway theatres started downtown, they gradually moved more to the midtown area and the Madison/Union square areas around 1870. • Theatre locations weren't in the Time Square (where we know them today) area until the early 1900's and it wasn't until the 1920's or 1930's that all theatres consolidated to that location The Birth of the Broadway Musical • The first "long run" musical to grace the Broadway stage was Elves in 1857. It, at the time, ran for a record 56 performances. • The record was shattered when in 1860 the musical Seven Sisters which ran for 253 performances. Musicals get a Facelift • In September of 1866 the show The Black Crook made its Broadway debut. • The Black Crook is considered, by many critics and historians, to be the first modern conception of a musical. • It is the first to incorporate dancing and original music to help tell the story. • Despite its length, 5 and a half hours long, it ran for a record 474 performances • In the same year the show Black Domino/ Between You, Me and the Post became the first to call their show a "musical comedy" Broadway Reform • Between the years of 1878 and 1885 Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart were producing and staring in musicals on Broadway. • Their musicals not only featured stories of real life lower class New Yorkers, but it also started to involve a cast of higher quality singers. The END of the Civil War=A New Broadway! • During the Civil War it was unsafe to travel the streets at night due to poor street lighting • After the Civil War transportation improved, poverty diminished, and due to the new and improved street lighting there was higher attendance in Broadway theatres! • What did this mean? It meant that plays could run longer, draw more audiences, bring in higher profits and improve production value! A Change in the Movies= A Change in Broadway? • In 1891, the play A Trip to Chinatown became Broadway's longest running show on stage for 657 performances, which would hold until 1919 with the play Irene • In the 1920's something happened in the movie industry that would threaten the face of Broadway • Movies, until this point, were all silent films. Now, with new technology, they were able to put music and sound with movies. • With this, Broadway musical writers changed the style of how they wrote plays. They would write in favor of famous actors and actresses, big dance numbers, and popular music instead of creating a plot • Although the play books themselves were easily forgettable, this movement produced many memorable songs from composers like George Gershwin Reform…again and Revivals • In 1927, writers realized that they needed to bring the plot back into the show and that started with the musical Show Boat which ran for 527 performances. • Not only did the twenties shape the face of Broadway today, it also brought rise to the revival. • A revival is when someone takes a play that has already premiered and closed on Broadway and brings it back into the spotlight. This happened with many of the popular Shakespearean plays and some older musicals. The Great Depression Sheds a New Light • Once the Great Depression passed, Broadway entered its "Golden Age" beginning with the play Oklahoma! which ran for 2, 212 performances since it opened in 1943. • After this, Broadway kept producing hit after hit after hit attaining the highest level of international prestige in theatre Broadway Today: Schedule • Shows with open-ended runs usually have evening performances Tuesday through Saturday and matinee performances on Wednesday Saturday and Sunday • Monday’s are known as “dark days’’ in the theatre. No performances are to be held, the only light is a single lamp at center stage • Some shows, like the Disney produced shows, change the times of their shows to accommodate the season to appeal to different audiences How Broadway Works Today: Personnel • Shows on Broadway today are very dependent on the actors and actresses that are cast in leading roles. • The goal in doing this is to bring in new audiences and keep Broadway alive Personnel Cont. • Patrick Healy of the New York Times said this: – "Broadway once had many homegrown stars who committed to working on a show for a year, as Nathan Lane has for The Addams Family. This year, some theater heavyweights like Mr. Lane were not even nominated; instead, several Tony Awards were given for productions that were always intended to be short-timers on Broadway, given that many of their film-star performers had to move on to other commitments." • With the trend of having bigger name stars in the leading roles, the length of runs and commitments has gone down. In the beginning the minimum commitment was 6 months to a year on a show, now around 13 weeks is the norm for an actor before being replaced How Broadway Works: Runs • Most Broadway productions are intended to be commercial productions or to make a profit for the theatre and the producer • Some shows are given the title of having an “open-ended run”. This means that there is not a date that the show is set to close. The close date will be determined by word of mouth, effectiveness of advertisement, and ticket sales. • Some shows do not immediately make a profit, but theatres continue to run the shows to either make operating expenses or run long enough where they will make back their initial expenses and then begin turning a profit How Broadway Works: Runs • Some shows hold the title of a “limited engagement run”. This title is given for a number of reasons including prior engagements of the performer or temporary availability of a theatre between the end of one production and the beginning of another • Some shows with the “limited engagement run” title can be converted to having an “open-ended run” title. This happens when a show gains critical acclaim from critics or extreme box office success • On January 9, 2006, The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre became the longest running Broadway Musical with 7,486 performances overtaking Cats (Both musicals are written by the same person, Andrew Lloyd Weber) Off Broadway and US Tours • Off-Broadway is considered to be a show that is being performed in a theatre with less than 500 seats • Some of the more popular shows have started in an Off- Broadway theatre and moved onto a Broadway stage like Hair, Rent, and Avenue Q Off Broadway and US Tours CONT. • Depending on the popularity of a show, after or during a shows run the shows producer might decide to create a touring group with a new cast and crew. – Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and Shrek! The Musical are among the popular Broadway Tours • These shows feature a smaller scale production and set than the Broadway productions • The more popular the show, the longer they will stay in a city to perform – When Wicked comes to the Fox in September it will run for one month The Tony Awards! • The Annual Antoinette Perry Awards, or the Tony Awards, are the Broadway version of the Oscars – Unlike the Oscars, the Tony’s have live performances of the nominated best musicals, instead of video clips • The winners are chosen by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League, two of the major governing agencies of Broadway • The Awards first took place in 1947 • The awards show gained more importance when in 1997 CBS aired the Tony’s on television The Tony Awards! • The major award categories include Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Leading Actor and Actress in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actor and Actress in a Musical, and Best Direction of a Musical • The most Tony’s ever received were by the musical The Producers, bringing home a total of 12 awards • Catherine Zeta Jones, of movie fame, recently won the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her role in A Little Night Music Pit Orchestras! • The Pit orchestra refers to the location where the music is performed in a Broadway Musical • Sometimes the pit orchestra can be on stage, like in Chicago and Spring Awakening, but others are underneath the stage Pit Orchestras! • Pit orchestras are very reduced. Usually there are 20-30 musicians in a pit • No more than 10 string players, the music or the “book” as it is referred to, can sometimes have musicians playing more than one instrument (usually for woodwind players) throughout the course of a show (those people are referred to as the “doubler”) • The conductor can sometimes even be part of the orchestra, playing either a drum set or a keyboard and conduct at the same time Annie • Based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” the musical was written by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. • It opened in 1977 and ran for nearly 7 years at the now Neil Simon Theatre • It inspired numerous other productions and national tours Annie • It was nominated for 11 Tony awards and won 7 including Best Musical • It began it’s first tour in 1978 • The pit orchestra usually features anywhere from 10-15 musicians • Popular songs from Annie include “It’s and Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow” Annie- PLOT • Set in 1933, the story follows 11- year-old orphan Annie. In the orphanage where she lives, with strict supervisor Miss Hannigan, the girls living there aren’t treated well • When Grace Farrell, assistant to Oliver Warbucks, comes to the orphanage to request a child to spend the Christmas holiday at his house, Annie just happens to be there and becomes the lucky child Annie- PLOT • Back at the orphanage family members of Miss Hannigan find out about Annie living with a billionaire and decide they are going to make themselves rich • Annie and “Daddy” Warbucks begin to get along and spend lots of time together, after his initial dismay, and he and his staff promise that some way they will find Annie’s parents Annie- Finale! • Later Miss Hannigan’s relatives pose as Annie’s parents and try to take her away, when F.D.R. comes out with the real story that Annie’s parents died when she was a baby her “parents” and Miss Hannigan are arrested by Secret Service and Annie is adopted by “Daddy” Warbucks Phantom of the Opera • The musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart and the original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, was based on the book Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux • It was first premiered at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London in 1986 • It opened on Broadway in 1988 at the Majestic theatre and has continued its open ended run ever since • The instrumentation is set for a 27 piece orchestra, which is larger than most modern musicals Phantom of the Opera • At the 1988 Tony Awards, it took home 10 trophies including Best Musical, Best Original Score and the original “Phantom” Michael Crawford took home the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical • The show has been seen in 149 cities in 25 countries, and has played to over 100 million people • As of 2008 The Phantom of the Opera was named the highest-grossing entertainment event of all time, totaling at $5.1 billion • It’s most popular songs include “Think of Me”, “Angel of Music” “Phantom of the Opera” and “All I Ask of You” Phantom of the Opera • There are 10 main characters in the show – Erik (The Phantom of the Opera)*, Christine Daaé*,Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny*, Carlotta , Madame Giry, Meg Giry, Monsieur Richard Firmin, Monsieur Gilles André, Ubaldo Piangi, Joseph Buquet • The role of Christine Daaé was written for Sarah Brightman, who starred in the original show in London and also the original Broadway cast alongside the original Phantom Michael Crawford – The role of Christine is typically double cast (the second actress performing on Tuesday and Thursday nights) Phantom of the Opera- Plot • Set in 1880 in a Paris Opera House, the story follows the politics involved in being a part of an opera house. Carlotta, the prima donna (soprano) of the opera house is the typical “diva” and when a backdrop falls on her (believed by the Phantom) she quits to the new owners dismay. Meg suggests that Christine, an orphaned chorus girl, sing the aria in Carlotta’s place and that she has been taught by a great teacher Phantom of the Opera- Plot • After her debut she meets her “Angel of Music” aka the Phantom and he takes her deep beneath the opera house as Raoul comes in immediately after. While in the cave Christine beholds the horror of the Phantoms deformed face, after this she is returned to her dressing room. After this Christine and Raoul profess their love for each other, enraging the Phantom Phantom of the Opera- The END • Later in Act II, after many plots and violence between Raoul and the Phantom, Christine is taken by the Phantom back to the depths of the Opera house. The Phantom, with blind obsession for Christine (and after Raoul has discovered them) makes her choose between the two. She, to save Raoul chooses the Phantom who after experiencing real kindness sets the two of them free. A mob storms the lair where Meg lifts the Phantoms cape to find him vanished and his mask the only thing that remains. Legally Blonde: The Musical! • Opened, after many pre- Broadway auditions in California, at the Palace theatre in April 2007 • Music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach • The story is based on the novel Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown and the 2001 movie of the same name starring Reese Witherspoon. Legally Blonde: The Musical! • Once it opened it was producing profits of nearly $1million every week • Despite the initial popularity and the reality show on MTV, Legally Blonde closed its doors in October of 2008 • It was nominated for 7 Tony Awards, but did not win any • Although it didn’t last on Broadway it has brought out many touring companies around the world Legally Blonde: The Musical! • The main characters are Elle Woods, Warner Huntington III, Emmett Forrest, and Paulette Bonafonte • Important songs include Serious, So Much Better, and Bend and Snap! • The show requires an 18 member orchestra Legally Blonde: The Plot • The musical follows the story of Elle Woods and her desire to get married to her “perfect” boyfriend Warner. When things don’t go quite as she plans, and he dumps her, she is devastated. He wants someone more “serious” than Elle. • Elle then hatches a plan to go to Harvard, where Warner is going to law school, and become the serious girl he says he wants. Legally Blonde: The Plot • After realized her love for law, Elle finds herself as an intern, with Warner and his new fiancé, on a murder trial. She then meets Emmett who will eventually become the man for her. • In the midst of being discriminated by her professors for being blonde and other things Elle realizes that she can still be a lawyer and be serious, without losing her true identity. Shrek! The Musical • Opened on Broadway in December of 2008 and closed its doors in January of 2010 at the Broadway Theatre • The first US tour began in July of 2010 and it is currently being shown at the Fox Theatre • The music was written by Jeanine Tesori and the book and lyrics was written by famous playwright David Lindsay-Abbaire Shrek The Musical • Based on the 1990 book by David Steig and the DreamWorks film starring Mike Myers • Nominated for 8 Tony Awards but only received one for Best Costume Design of a Musical • Work for the show began in 2002 but it did not officially open until 2008 Shrek The Musical • The main characters are Shrek, Donkey, Princess Fiona, Lord Farquaad, and Dragon • Major musical numbers include This is How Dreams Come True, The Travel Song, and I’m A Believer • The orchestra is made up of 27 musicians, just as big as the Phantom of the Opera orchestra • Random Fact: In the music, there are many references to other musicals! Shrek The Musical: Plot • The story follows a green ogre named Shrek who is grumpy and lives in a swamp. When Lord Farquaad of Dulac forces all of the fairy tale creatures out, and they find shelter in Shrek’s swamp, he is outraged. He goes to Dulac to request the creatures out of his swamp, along with his annoying and unwanted companion, Donkey • Lord Farquaad, who is trying to find a wife so he can be King of Dulac, sends Shrek (and Donkey) on a quest to find Princess Fiona in order to privatize his swamp Shrek The Musical: Plot • After rescuing Princess Fiona from the tower and the Dragon, Shrek and Donkey take her back to Lord Farquaad. While on the journey Shrek and Fiona fall in love. Shrek does not know that Fiona is under a spell that at night turns her into an ogre. • In the end, Shrek Donkey and the Dragon storm the castle during Lord Farquaad and Fiona’s wedding and Shrek breaks the spell turning Fiona into loves true form, an ogre Wicked • Premiered on Broadway in October 2003 at the Gershwin Theatre where it is still performing today. • Based on the book by Gregory McGuire Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Wicked is the story of Oz before and after Dorothy dropped in • The book was written by Winnie Holzman and music and lyrics by Steven Schwartz Wicked • Since it’s opening in 2003, Wicked has performed 3,127 performances, making it the 17th longest running musical of all time and it is STILL running on Broadway • Wicked not only has a touring company, but it also had permanent performances in Chicago, Los Angeles, London, San Francisco, and some international locations. • At the 2004 Tony awards Wicked was nominated for 10 awards and took home 3 including Best Actress in a Musical for Idina Menzel Wicked • The main characters of Wicked are Elphaba (Idina Menzel), Glinda (Kristen Chenoweth), Fiyero, and The Wizard. • Some important musical numbers of Wicked are What is this Feeling, Popular, Defying Gravity, As Long as Your Mine, and For Good • The orchestra consists of 20 musicians Wicked: The Plot • The story follows Elphaba, who has green skin, and her struggle with discovering who she is. • When she and her sister Nessarose arrive at Shiz University, meeting Glinda, there is a rooming problem and Elphaba and Glinda must room together (What is this Feeling). • As the semester drags on Elphaba discovers that some of the professors, who are animals, are losing their abilities to talk, something else she discovers is that she has magical powers! Wicked: The Plot • The head of the school sends Elphaba and Glinda to Oz, they are now friends, to talk to the Wizard about what is going on with the animals. • When they discover he is a part of the plot, and blames it on Elphaba, she becomes a fugitive and all of the Ozians want her dead • As the story continues Elphaba becomes ok with being green, after falling in love with Fiyero (who becomes the Scarecrow) Wicked: The Plot • After Dorothy drops in and the Wizard gives her the task of killing Elphaba (The Wicked Witch of the West…but not wicked), the scarecrow (Fiyero), the Tin Man, and the Lion hatch a plan to fake her death. • In the end Elphaba is alive and she and Fiyero go off together, Glinda stays in Oz as Glinda the Good Witch, and the animals of Oz are restored Broadway to the Big Screen • Started in 1927 with the release of The Jazz Singer, it was the first movie to incorporate sound! • They gained popularity and Hollywood released over 100 musicals in 1930 • In 1933, the first Broadway musical made it to the big screen. That musical was 42nd Street Broadway to the Big Screen • In 1961 Broadway musical West Side Story, a modern day Romeo and Juliet, made it to the big screen setting the standard that stage musicals are still popular. Broadway to the Big Screen • Today, it is a very popular thing to turn a Broadway production into a movie • Although they are adapted for time and some musical numbers are cut, they can sometimes have a more theatrical feel as a movie • Some recent Broadway adaptations include The Phantom of the Opera (a remake), Rent, Mamma Mia!, Hairspray, and Sweeney Todd. Disney Musicals • The Disney musical is another popular attraction on Broadway. • Although you wouldn’t expect it, Disney musicals were first seen in the movie theatre NOT on Broadway. • Some popular Disney Broadway productions include The Lion King (which won multiple Tony awards), Mary Poppins, and Beauty and the Beast.
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