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  • Chris Anderson

Music Revision - Stage & Screen - Musical Theatre

We now come to music for stage and screen. This short series of blogs will cover broad strokes without going into too much detail on each. With so many exam boards and set works from which to choose I won’t be able to analyse each and every one of them…but if someone sends a specific request I will do so.


Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines spoken dialogue, acting, singing, and often dancing with musical numbers and compositions. It's a genre that brings together various artistic elements to tell a story through a combination of acting, music, and movement.


Musical Theatre was developed from the lighter opera genres of opéra comique and operetta. The musicals that we are familiar with today started in the 1920s and have been in constant development ever since.


  • Storytelling: Just like traditional plays, musical theatre productions tell stories. These stories can vary widely, encompassing a range of themes, genres, and time periods.

  • Music: Music is an integral part of musical theatre. Songs are used to convey emotions, advance the plot, and provide insight into the characters' thoughts and feelings. Musical numbers can range from solos and duets to large ensemble performances.

  • Dance: Choreographed dance routines are often a prominent feature of musical theatre productions. Dance adds visual flair and can help convey emotions and themes through movement.

  • Characters: Characters in musical theatre are typically multidimensional, with their motivations, conflicts, and relationships explored through both dialogue and song.

  • Production Elements: Musical theatre often incorporates elaborate sets, costumes, lighting, and sound design to create immersive environments that enhance the audience's experience.

  • Genres: Musical theatre covers a wide range of genres, from comedy and drama to romance, historical, fantasy, and more. This diversity allows for a broad spectrum of stories to be told.

  • Collaboration: Successful musical theatre productions involve collaboration between various artists, including playwrights, composers, lyricists, directors, choreographers, set designers, costume designers, and more.

  • Historical Significance: Musical theatre has a rich history dating back centuries. It has evolved over time, reflecting the social, cultural, and artistic changes of different eras.

  • Famous Examples: Some well-known examples of musical theatre include "Les Misérables," "The Phantom of the Opera," "Hamilton," "Wicked," "Cats," "Chicago," and "West Side Story," among others, some of which will be covered in the next blog.

  • Broadway: Broadway, located in New York City, is often considered the epicentre of commercial musical theatre. Many iconic musicals debut on Broadway before potentially touring or being adapted in other parts of the world.

  • West End: Also known as Theatreland the West End is in London and is home to 39 theatres, the oldest of which is the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane which opened in May 1663.


Musical theatre offers a unique and engaging form of artistic expression that combines storytelling, music, and visual elements to create memorable and emotionally impactful performances. It has a wide appeal and continues to be a beloved form of entertainment around the world.

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