Chapter 17—The Musical
Something for Everyone: What Makes a Musical?
There are two categories of theatre: plays with music and plays without music.
Plays without music are sometimes called
such as Giacoma Puccini’s Madame Butterfly is a drama that is set entirely to
music; all the lines are sung, usually to grand, classical music.
or “light opera”, such as The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan, differs from
“grand opera” because it has a frivolous, comic theme, some spoken dialogue, a
melodramatic story, and usually a little dancing.
such as Guys and Dolls, is characterized by a light hearted, fast-moving
comic story, whose dialogue is interspersed with popular music.
A Straight Musical,
such as West Side Story, has a more seriously plot or theme.
A Rock Musical
uses rock music—the rock and roll of the 1950s (Grease, 1972) the
psychedelic rock of the 1960s (Hair, 1967), or contemporary pop and rock (Rent, 1996)
A program of satirical sketches, singing, and dancing on a particular theme, or
a program of unrelated singing, dancing and comedy numbers
a popular form of stage entertainment from the 1880s and the 1940s. Includes
a dozen or so slapstick comedy routines, song-and-dance numbers, magic acts, and
juggling, or acrobatic performances.
a form of musical entertainment featuring bawdy songs, dancing women and
Good Things Come in Threes: The Scripts of Musicals
Musical scripts have three components: book, music, and lyrics.
the orchestrated melodies.
are sung words.
Book- the spoken lines of dialogue as well as the plot
writes the book
writes the music
writes the lyrics
Ex. Joseph Stein wrote the book for Fiddler on the Roof, Jerry Bock wrote the music.
Sheldon Harnick wrote the lyrics.