Who invented musicals

  • music
  • History of the musical

The story of the musical

In addition to the theater and opera, musicals are also very popular. It not only fulfills the demands of the action and the singing, but also comes up trumps with a bombastic stage show, impressive dances and very independent music. With some musicals, the audience has the opportunity to sit in the middle of the show, such as B. in the play "Starlight Express", in which the actors race around the heads of the audience with their roller skates and can therefore also be admired from close up.
The musical is a mixture of high-quality entertainment, which should not so much challenge the mind as it is intended for the eye and the ear. The viewer should see something, should be moved emotionally, be impressed, by song, action, dance and show.
The beginning of the simple musical dates back to around the 19th century. Here one speaks more of a musical theater, comparable to the "Opera buffa" or a Singspiel. There were first variants of it in New York and London.
Especially on the famous Broadway in New York, the musical was turned into a highlight, dancers trained who not only had to dance, but also sing and act, at the same time develop a role for themselves and achieve sympathy and impact. Singing on the stage was created into a spectacle, influences from French variety shows, musical styles such as jazz or swing, later rock and also classical elements, artistic numbers up to sophisticated art and movement pieces gradually found their way into the performance, a plot was shown , elaborate costumes created, pompous show performances were supposed to entertain the audience, in which not only single stars appeared, but also countless people, with foreground figures as well as several extras. The set was changed and redesigned frequently, the curtain was part of the event.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the musical was more of a revue show. It was not until 1920 that the well-known American genre emerged, in which many songs and dance pieces were rewritten and performed. These include “Showboat” by Jerome Kern and “Lady, Be Good” by George Gershwin. The musicals grew from a performance of pure dance and singing to serious pieces that called their time and society into question, criticized and denounced grievances, such as: B. War or Discrimination.
Broadway is one of the most important reference points when it comes to musicals. In London it is the "West End". In such locations, the stage spectacle had to assert itself against the competition from cinema and film, which is why these shows became increasingly larger, more expensive and more elaborate, and should attract a large audience. Such musicals flourished in New York and London between the thirties and fifties.
One of the most famous musicals is the "West Side Story" by Leonard Bernstein. The lavish, kitschy musical turned into a serious piece with a background, which at the same time also stood out due to its impressive design. The soulful pathos then returned in the eighties, in which a number of musicals and variations were established. The musical should be suitable for the masses and culturally. Acrobatic arts, dance styles, also technical effects and varied shows should above all entertain and inspire people again and again and lure them into the performances.
The film industry in particular discovered the fascination of musicals and enjoyed great popularity. The film musical revealed completely new recording possibilities and techniques, choreographers organized the dance of over a hundred dancers in front of huge sets and backdrops. The singing replaced the spoken text and was linked to sequences of action. The "Rocky Horror Picture Show" or "Singin 'in the Rain" are well known. One of the most important musicals of this time was "Hair", which was influenced by Woodstock and the hippie era, criticized the Vietnam War with song and plot and pointed out the problems of young people, including their doubts and longings. Conversely, successes were also celebrated, when films were in turn transformed into musicals due to their success, including cartoons such as "The Lion King".
At the end of the seventies, the musicals that are still known today were created as thoroughly composed operas, which are mainly expressed through song and dance. Pieces like "Phantom of the Opera", "Cats" or "Starlight Express" byAndrew Lloyd Webber are considered to be classical musicals, in which the music plays an important role and is remembered thanks to the unique compositions. The elaborate and costly implementation of such stage programs required long running times, so that special theaters were built exclusively for musicals in the various major cities, the stages of which were precisely tailored to the respective musicals so that the show could be presented appropriately.
More and more musicians and artists are also showing great interest in participating in musicals. So there are z. B. from Elton John, Phil Collins or members of the ABBA group, music specially designed and composed for their musicals. In Germany, too, Udo Lindenberg successfully tried out such a direction or the actor and comedian Bully Herbig.
The musical will continue to claim its place and attract many viewers. It is a nice alternative to other performances and certainly a full-length and inspiring experience.

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