This 2-unit course meets the first seven weeks only. First class: September 12; last class: October 31.
The “American Musical” as it has evolved over the last century has become a remarkable model of interdisciplinary practice. From its early iterations and influences in burlesque, vaudeville, and operetta to the complex contemporary amalgams of book, music, lyrics, and dance, the American musical has proven a rich crucible for the exploration of identity and culture, form and content, and ideas and emotions. This arts workshop will offer actors a technical foundation for acting in musical theater. We will deal broadly with the history of musical theater in context by exploring both the process by which actors engage with musical material and the development and aesthetics of the form. Participants will work on songs and scenes taken from the giants of musical theater including: Rodgers & Hammerstein, Kander & Ebb, Stephen Sondheim, and more. How do we merge the receiving nature of acting with the giving nature of singing? How do we “justify” the decision to sing at all? Our survey of the evolution of musical theater will ask: What does the history of the American musical tell us about our cultural history? What do musicals teach us about the interdisciplinary nature of living in the arts? All students in this course must be comfortable and confident singing actors. Everyone will be required to rehearse outside of class time, complete written and analytical assignments, and commit to a public presentation at the end of the semester. In order to be accepted into this course, attendance at the first class is mandatory for all, including registered students.