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Origins of Musical Theatre

  • My Fair Lady

    My Fair Lady
    Created by both Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe is one of the most popular musicals still to this time. This musical is about a woman who takes speech lessons. She does this so that she can sound more like a “lady”.
  • The Most Happy Fella

    The Most Happy Fella
    This play is based off of another play, the 1924 “They Knew What They Wanted.” It’s lyrics and book were written by Frank Loesser. It centers around an older man and a younger woman in the 1920s and their relationship. Some even describe it as “operatic.”
  • West Side Story

    West Side Story
    This musical’s lyrics were written by the esteemed Stephen Sondheim, and is based off of the famous play Romeo and Juliet with street gangs instead of families. They are of different ethnic backgrounds and the two teenagers fall in love despite their differences. However, tragedy falls as in the play it is based on.
  • Funny Girl

    Funny Girl
    Jerome Robbins who had won Tony Awards was also a role in Funny Girl. This musical really spike to a lot of people because it held the message that you did not need to be pretty to succeed. Barbara Streisand admits that the ‘message’ of Funny Girl is that talent is beauty.
  • Fiddler on the Roof

    Fiddler on the Roof
    The Fiddler on the Roof’s lyrics were written by Sheldon Harnick, the music by Jerry Bock, and the book by Joseph Stein. It is set in Imperial Russia, in the early 1900s and centers around a Jewish main character, Tevye, who continues to fight for his culture’s traditions and to keep them in their family while the outside world fights to suppress them. It showcases the strength of Jewish people as antisemitism increases in the world.
  • Sweet Charity

    Sweet Charity
    This musical added the popular rock sound of music that 60’s music had. It had been preformed 608 times. This musical was based off of a book by Neil Simon. This musical was all based off of the plot of a girl just wanting to be loved. The girl was a prostitute that everyone she knew said she had a heart of gold. She was just looking for her soulmate or anyone that would love her.
  • Cabaret

    This 1966 musical by John Kander is actually based off of a play based on a book that is semi-autobiographical, meaning it is based on someone’s life. It follows writer, Christopher Isherwood’s experiences when he lived in poverty in the Weimar Republic as well as a relationship/intimate friendship with a young cabaret singer.
  • Grease

    This musical is known as the most successful rock musical of the decade. It is about two polar opposite people falling in love and was all based in the 1950’s. In the end it showed that these two will changed everything about themselves to be loved by the other. When the movie came out in 1978 this gave the box office a big jump in ratings of the musical and finally stopped the musical in theatre in 1980.
  • The Rocky Horror Show

    The Rocky Horror Show
    This musical was all based around the book by Richard O’Brien. It was a funny way to look at horror movies and books made in the 1930’s. In the musical to lovers who are engaged are on drive and end at the home of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Dr.Frank-N-Furter to their surprise was having a party but this was no ordinary party and would become a night they would never forget.
  • Rent

    This 1996 musical by Jonathan Larson is based on the opera La Bohème (1896). It depicts the struggles of young LGBT artists living with AIDs in New York. It shows their fight for love and their struggles as artists fighting to survive before and after AIDs. It doesn’t just show the negative sides of the disease and it’s epidemic, it shows the humanity and what it’s sufferers went through.