From Broadway to London, music has been a part of the history of drama for over a thousand years. The genre is enough of a part of American pop culture that it’s major award, the Tony, has become part of the EGOT, the grand slam of acting. And yet somehow, it has always seemed somehow more distant than the other three parts. Somehow the musical feels like high culture — not quite as accessible as what we normally consider pop culture. At least it did until Hamilton. And yet, it has always been there. Even those who don’t have access to Broadway have at least heard of Cats, Le Mis, Rent, Oklahoma, Phantom of the Opera and Cabaret. Many can even sing a song or two, even if they’ve never seen a performance of the entire play. So why is the musical so popular? Why does has it endured? And why is it gaining so much more traction in the wake of Hamilton? On today’s episode, Wayne, Hannah and Mav are joined by high school musical director Dan Franklin to discuss the history, cultural significance and popularity of the musical and how it touches other forms of drama. Give it a listen and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Dan’s Production Gallery
Citations and Links:
- This episode’s Call for Comments
- Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical by Stacy Wolf
- The Musical as Drama by Scott McMillin
- scene from Merlin with Doug Henning
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- Thank you to Maximilian’s thoughtForm Music for our theme
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