Saturday, February 23, 2019
The Progression of the American Musical
The founding ii great writers of American melodious comedy comedy dramatic symbolizeturgy, Ric exhausting Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, had one prevalent opinion. They wanted to look to the American public a natural, revolutionary melodious that would stand break through among the rest. They wanted to make an impact on the societies of the epoch. They wanted to be nonional and do something that was considered rebellious. When they fin all in ally combined their themes together they hitd an American masterpiece okeh.This was the scratch caudex Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration, starting the most successful creative artnership in the recital of American musical menage. In the years before okeh was take ind, Broad mode was dying. untested and oerbold musicals were a rare occasion and when an artist tried to create something that he hoped his audition would ilk, he was sadly disap elevationed. Broad charge was suffering from a overlook of what it was revered for astounding p write downs and musicals. Its while of glamour and glitz was almost forgotten, and was in need of universe saved.That is why okey is considered a rebirth of the American musical theatre at the season. It brought Broad flair back to life, filling theatre seating with nthusiastic audiences who embraced the changes of this reinvigorated theatre musical with open arms and do it a legend. okey set new standards for classic American theatre by introducing new techniques of presenting the musical to the audience, introducing a new literary genre of music into the theatre, and strayed by from the usual classic form and structure of a musical that audiences had self-aggrandising used to.It was a time of change, a time of excitement, and a time of setting standards for the future. Almost from the first performance at the St. James field of battle on March 31, 1943, okey has been recognized as a new kind of musical play that denied its Broadway audiences numerous of their most treasured traditions, says David Ewen in American Musical Theatre on that point was no open up let loose line, no chorus until midway through the first act, in fact. There was rather a serious ballet and another(prenominal) serious overtones, including a killing in act two.The story, which was so simple, seemed to engage the audience in much than mere reddening diversion (248). These changes, far from disappointing to viewers, were upheld by a success that had never been seen in the history of musical theatre. He continued to say that with their first collaboration, Rodgers and Hammerstein shered in a new era for the musical theatre This delightful folk play realized full that which the earlier Rodgers and Hart musicals had been striving to obtain a synchronization of all the elements of the musical theatre into a angiotensin-converting enzyme entity.At beat out okeh could lay legitimate claim to bring in carefully woven a new element, leap, into th e artful fabric of the modern musical. No longer would singers sing and thusly Dance was not a new element in the theatre realm. It had been used for years as a way of interpretation of timbreings of a character that the writer or director wanted the audience to aroma visually. Through movement, expression of those feelings was portrayed and helped the audience to somewhat experience that single emotion of fear, hate, love, or guilt just along with the character on stage.But what was usual was that it was never brought together with the music and singing. The margin call was comm except followed by the decorative dance. A song followed by a dance would unremarkably lost the audiences attention, or even if the dance was too long or did not correspond to the song or story line what so ever. Rodgers and Hammerstein set a standard that incorporated the two elements (music/song and dance) so that the audience would ind more logic in the dance. It would have a substance and a dri ve in the play and heighten the excitement in the musical.And in numerous instances, it would further the game or at best help the audience to fully understand the individual characters feelings at that point in the musical. David Ewen uses the example of Agnes de Milles (choreographer of Oklahoma ) ballet, which brought to life the heroines dream and provided her motive for refusing the heros invitation to a box special. It was part of the story. (248) According to Gerald Bordman, the author of American Musical Comedy, the idea hat integration, something new and desperately needed, took hold of Broadways thinking.In fact, it became so fashion adequate to(p) to meld dance into the musical, that it was sometimes injected when it served no dramatic purpose, and sometimes even when it hindered the blossoming of the story. (160) After awhile dance became overused, which seemed to ruin what Rodgers and Hammerstein had set out to do (the incorporation of dance to heighten the meaning of the musical). Other writers or choreographers who inserted dance were not adding it when it would help the musical. Directors came to recall that dance was a necessity in a musical, for it was ne of the break reasons why Oklahoma as so successful. So the growths were made, but were not really sentiment about their purpose when they were added. What was forgotten was the obvious need for the dance at all. Dance was thought to be a want of the audience, not taking into consideration if the musical even required the dance at all. So, this problem developed into a frenzy, adding dance Just for the mere spectacle of it. But in Oklahoma , everything insure into its place. For the first time, not wholly were the songs and story inseparable, but also the dances heightened the drama by revealing he fears and desires of the leading characters.According to Bordman, Richard Rodgers once said, when a doom works perfectly, its because all the individual parts complement each other and f it together in a great musical, the orchestrations sound the way the costumes look. Thats what made Oklahoma work it was a work created by many that gave the impression of having been created by one (160). collaboration. Joseph Swain adds that much was made at the time of the heros killing the villain on stage in Oklahoma. This too was not new. But while the claim to originality was once once more exaggerated, Oklahoma virtue of its huge popularity, a popularity in no way reduced by an unpleasant scene, did open doors. (74) Oklahoma was in the genre of Musical Comedy, and many critics felt that villains and murder were not elements that should appear in a comedy. It was thought that such items would turn audiences away from Oklahoma , having the idea of going to see a comedy and leave feeling akin they had seen a murder mystery, and not laughing at all was not the main objective of comedy theatre. But once again, these elements were a key part of the musical. David Ewen pointed ou t in The Story of AmericasMusical Theatre that the original play had both villains and a murder, and Rodgers and Hammerstein had no intention of removing them from their musical. Ewen quotes Hammerstein saying, We realized that such a course was experimental, amounting almost to the breach of an implied contract with the musical-comedy audience. I cannot say truthfully that we were worried by the risk. Once we had made the decision everything seemed to work well(p) and we had the inner confidence people feel when they have adopted the right and honest approach to a problem (180).But once the doors opened and tickets began to look at and shows eventually became old out, Rodgers and Hammerstein really did not have anything to fear. Their show concisely showed itself to be a success, even with a villain and a murder. The audiences were at first huffy to see these elements in a comedy, but soon came into agreement with these new additions and liked its originality and creativeness. Also if these two elements had been removed, it would have disturbed the synchronization and union of all the other elements of song, dance and plot in the musical, which was what the writers were trying to avoid at all costs.Along with dance and villains, Rodgers and Hammerstein also took on a new pproach to forming the music that they included in the musical. In Gerald Bordmans endorse book of account American Musical Theatre A Chronicle, he verbalize that long before they wrote their first lyric to Oh What A Beautiful Mornin, Rodgers and Hammerstein had arrived at an all-important decision. The flotsam and Jetsam of musical comedy would have to be abandoned in translating a sensitive, poetic folk play for the musical theatre. Musical comedies traditionally opened with a big, crowded stage scene. Oklahoma ould begin simply a single character would be seen on the stage (a woman churning butter), and from off-stage would come the trains of the first song. Musical comedies usuall y started with a dazzling line of chorus girls from the stage aprons early in the production, but Rodgers and Hammerstein decided to delay its appearance until halfway through the first act (535). bring a certain magical and triumphant first base to a musical, starting with excitement and volume. This was also criticized many feeling an audience would not stand for their most treasured attributes of a play being taken away.But Rodgers and Hammerstein once again took another risk, and it proved to be a risk that was not too bad to take. Audiences were at first let down with the deletion of the opening chorus, but eventually excused it, for they fell in love with the style of musical that Rodgers and Hammerstein were presenting to them. The play grew from a simple opening to a grand finale, which built the excitement of the audience and kept them aroused and interested in the unfolding of the musical until the final chorus line and curtain call.It built suspense and a burning for mo re. Rodgers and Hammerstein obviously knew what they were doing, even if the critics thought they did not. Bordman also noted that the shows musical director, Jay Blackton, appreciating he works nature, discarded the common musical comedy practice of having the entire chorus sing only songs melodies. Instead, he reverted to the tradition of operetta and comic opera by dividing his singers and designate them various parts, not always the principal melodic line (535).Once again, Oklahoma was making breakthrough innovations in the musical theatre founding. A defense lawyers of basic characteristics of the original musical comedy could have upset the audience, and storm Oklahoma into an area of outcast musicals that all writers fear. But Rodgers and Hammersteins ideas were undeniably refreshing to the American audiences. Rodgerss music also marked a new counselling for the writer in Oklahoma. He reinvented his style of music from what he knew was popular to the audience to a rugged flatness.Davis Ewen also states in his book The Story of Americas Musical Theatre, that most musical comedies expected the music to be written before the lyrics, since the lyrics were something functional tacked on to the melody. But the writers were so primed(p) to make each word an essential part of the text that they hold at once for Hammerstein to write the lyrics first, and Rodgers would write the music from the lyrics (180). Bordman reiterates that it is sometimes hard to realize that Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin is a waltz. The melody of The Surry With The Fringe On Top captures the clippety-clop of a horse pulling the vehicle.Rodgers long-sustained opening note of his agnomen song coupled with the driving melody that follows was of the freshest inventions of the sort and the impeccable amalgamate of words and music in People Will Say Were In Love Justifiably made it the most popular of the year. Much proclaiming ensued over how well the songs and plot were integrated (5 35). This coordination of musical rhythm and words was amazing. They were able to catch simple sounds of the actions on stage and incorporate them into the song, as if the lives of the characters could only survive with the music.This combination of audience must be made to believe that the characters life is a song. It is essential that the character make the audience feel like the music is not Just a silly addition to the developing plot, but an personifying item that has and will always exist at that point in time. The audience must be pulled into the creation of the musical, not Just simply entertained. And once again, Rodgers and Hammerstein had achieved that goal. They ere well on their way to creating a musical that was so seamless that extracting one minor elaborate of it would throw the whole work of art off.It was a work of realize union and an accomplishment that was in no way easy to create in the first place. One factor in the success of Oklahoma that cannot be over looked was the attitude of the American people at the time it was presented. In The World of Musical Comedy, Stanley Green adds that World War II was more than a year old when the musical opened, and those who remained at fundament were becoming increasingly aware of the inheritance they enjoyed as a free people people. Seeing the happier, sunnier days that were so much a part of this heritage gave audiences both an escape from daily headlines and a feeling of optimism for the future (212).In American Musical Comedy, Bordman believed that Oklahoma s importance lay elsewhere. The show made the American musical theatre look at Americas own heritage for inspiration (160). Playwrights were beginning to recognize the vast amount of inspiration the American country could provide for the new revolution of musicals. During the time of and after World War II, pride in America was gaining strength and so was the nterest of typography plays and musicals that showed that pride of how great A merica was. Oklahoma n turn brought more than Just new innovations of song, music, and dance to the stage, but a love for musicals that showed how well-favored older American culture was. Oklahoma was a musical of Americas expansion into the western front and the western culture. In more ways that one, Oklahoma was a way for city dwellers in New York City who sit in the audience to find their way to the west without ever leaving the city. Rodgers and Hammerstein had experienced achievement when they could tell a story through song and dance and transport the udience into the setting of the musical.Playgoers would leave the theatre feeling like they had Just returned from an adventure out west, which is a playwrights exclusive objective when creating a play. The audience must be made to believe that they are experiencing the plot right along with the actors on stage. Thus is the main objective of theatre in general to capture the audience and bring them to a contrasting place and time where the plot of the play is the only struggle in the world at the time. Bordman writes in American Musical Theatre A Chronicle that what started in 927 was perfected in 1943 when Oklahoma premiered.It is considered by many to be the first musical comedy to have a plot, musical score and dances that were necessary ingredients to advance the story line (536). It is only comely to agree with him. Rodgers and Hammerstein added the exact ingredients to create a magical and over the world to this day. Although Oklahoma premiered 70 years ago, and its style of music and dance have grown old with the passing of time, it still demands respect for its combination and inventive ideas that revolutionized the musical industry at the time. Rodgers and Hammerstein were the dominant force in musical comedy in the 1940s and 50s.Even their flops had notable songs. Several of their shows became successful films. Oklahoma s importance in opening a new era in the American Musical Theatre will n ever be challenged. It has live an American classic that society will forever treasure for its beautiful integration of song and dance.