Movie Musicals Vs Musical Movies

"Have you seen Billy Elliott? 9 to 5? Dirty Dancing?" These questions raise a counter question: "The movie or the musical?" There is no longer a strong line between the film and stage. We're seeing numerous stories crossing the line between the silver screen and the boards of Broadway. There has always been a unification between the arts: literary, visual, graphic, performing. Theatre and film have always incorporated all of these.

Musical movies have been around since Gordon McRae and Shirley Jones first expressed their love for each other in both Oklahoma! and Carousel. Musical films may have gotten a little darker with the advent of Chicago, Rent, and Sweeney Todd, but they still capture the interest of moviegoers. Why is there such a fascination with the silver tones of the silver screen? What makes a musical movie worthy? Is it the book?

It's not just the big screen that has developed the musical element. Shows have introduced musical episodes. Buffy, Scrubs, Daria, Xena has two musical episodes, and let's not forget the numerous musical numbers to be found on the Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy, some of which are taken directly from Broadway itself.

Musicals have often taken their stories from books. That practice has continued through to more recent shows such as the widely popular show, Wicked, which is based on the book of the same name by Gregory Maguire. Books, however, have taken a backseat to movies as the basis for new musicals. 9 to 5 and Billy Elliott are on Broadway, Dirty Dancing is on tour, and Sister Act is onstage in London. All of these musicals started as movies. Now, granted, there are many movies that are also based upon books: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, My Sister's Keeper, etc. Even Lord of the Rings enjoyed time as an onstage musical.

The youthful world has captured the stage as well. Disney got a foothold in the Broadway scene when they introduced Beauty and the Beast. Now, they're firmly established with The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Mary Poppins. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is a holiday show that appears every December. Oh, and let's not forget Shrek. Children's theatre has hit the big time.

Actors have also crossed over from stage to screen and back. Ana Gasteyer, Amy Spanger, John Stamos, Chandra Wilson, Kristin Chenoweth, Alison Janney, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and others dance around the line, appearing at the Emmys, the Oscars, and the Tonys.

Why is there such an influx of movies to the Broadway stage? Have writers simply lost the desire to come up with original ideas? I don't think so. I think that it's strongly affected by the economy. In an attempt to get more people to attend Broadway theatre, shows have been streamlined into recognizable formats with names that people can relate to. They know Alison Janney, John Stamos, and Chandra Wilson. Parents are more willing to take their children to see shows based on movies that they grew up with and love. People are excited to see a musical based on a movie, even if it's just to find out how closely it adheres to the original. It's easier to adapt the movie to the stage than it is to adapt the book because a lot of the elements have already been provided.

I do think, however, that it is harder to translate the movie to the stage because there are certain expectations. People are very critical when a well-loved movie is changed for the stage. This is the same of books, but the visual element is removed. A character may not necessarily look the way you pictured them to look, but that was your own interpretation, so you are more willing to accept it. With a movie, you've seen the character and you've heard the lines delivered a certain way. You're on the lookout for that same delivery. It's like a drug; you expect the same high you feel when you watch the movie.

Still, I think that movies titles will always have a pull for those attending the theatre because of the known factor. It's familiar. It's safe. You may not get what you expected, but at least you had expectations to begin with. Going to see a show that you've never heard of in another forum is taking a chance. Sometimes, it's worth the risk, but most people are unwilling to do so at $80+ a seat.

As for me, I'm still waiting for Harry Potter: The Musical Series.

Jared R. Lopatin lives in New York City where he is currently working on a fantasy series, the first book of which was just released. Having performed for 15 years both in and outside of New York City in musical theatre, he recently headed back to school to get his Masters of Science in Special Education. He enjoys learning about new authors and creative endeavors and welcomes any suggestions. For more of Jared's writing, check out his blog "Sign In Ink" at

Community Theatre

Let's face it, life can be boring. We get up every morning and go through the same routine of working, eating, and sleeping. And what's even worse is that none of it involves a musical overture. To escape the boring realities of life, it may be time to go and attend a musical at a community theatre.

Musicals in Utah can be a great way to add some variety and excitement into your life. They usually tell an epic story of heroes, romance, tragedy, or triumph. Some of the most well known songs in the world come from Broadway musicals that have been performed throughout the world. Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Les Miserables, and Wicked are just a few of these well known shows that have changed music. Music can bring any performance to life, especially if the singer is talented. You fall in love with the music as well as the characters that are bringing it to life. Utah musical theater brings these very same songs and soundtracks almost to your very door. There are many talented, up and coming actors from Utah that have a lot to offer.

Community theaters are a great way to experience musicals in Utah because they highlight local talent and encourage the performing arts to continue locally. It is a way for little known performers to get a little exposure and to really show what they can do. Community theatres usually are run by members of the community that are on a board. They have local directors that have volunteered to help out as well as maintenance and ushers. The actors are usually volunteers as well, and are learning their lines and choreography on top of their busy life schedule. Because most of the members of community theatre are doing this for free, it is even more impressive when they produce an amazing show.

Utah musical theater can be found in a variety of different locations throughout Utah. Take time out of one your next weekends to attend a community theatre and see if you're not impressed.

Musical Guide - A Brief History Of Musicals

In this article we're going to present a brief history of musical theater from its early beginnings right up to the present day.

Musicals actually started with the ancient Greeks who put on plays with songs. While they weren't called musicals at the time, that is indeed what they were. The music was crude by today's standards and the stories were not very well done, again by today's standards, but this was the early beginning of what was to become the modern musical.

In the 1700s there were many stage entertainments, though again they were not called musicals. The first English language work that had any lasting value was The Beggar's Opera which was done in 1728. It was a satirical spoof of the times. This was typical of the type of entertainment one would find up until the 1800's.

Musicals, as we know them today, started in the 1800s with the French and Viennese Operettas. The works of Offenbach and Strauss were the first musicals to achieve international popularity.

The contemporary Broadway musical, as we know it today, took its form from these operettas and was done in what we call Minstrel Shows. These eventually gave way to a new form of musical known as Vaudeville.

It wasn't until 1860 with the success of The Black Crook that the American musical really began to take off. During this time we were treated to the great works of Gilbert and Sullivan from 1871 to 1896.

During the early 1900s, composers like George M. Cohan and Victor Herbert gave musicals a new sound and style that is still popular to this very day. This style was then updated by composers such as Jerome Kern, Guy Boulton and P.G. Wodehouse.

By the 1930s the American musical had reached popularity the like of which it had never seen before, with composers such as Rogers and Hart and Cole Porter dominating the era.

By the 40s and 50s we were treated to some of the greatest musicals in what was called the modern era. These musicals included such classics as Oklahoma, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, The King and I, My Fair Lady, and the list goes on for miles.

In the 1960s we saw such great musicals like Hello Dolly, Fiddler On The Roof, and Hair, which was the first musical in the United States to feature nude actors.

By the 1970s musical theater had become pretty extravagant with the advances in technology and design. The 70s brought us such great shows as A Little Night Music, A Chorus Line, No No Nanette, Sweeney Todd and Evita.

But the hits kept coming and would continue to come, many from Britain. In the 80s we saw such great shows like Cats, Les Miserables and Phantom Of The Opera.

In the 25 years since, literally hundreds of musicals have hit the stage. Some great, some not so great. But what was once a humble beginning is now one of the major forms of entertainment, not only in the United States but all across the world.

Musicals and Musical Theater

Musical theater, or "a musical," as it's come to be called, is one of the best forms of entertainment ever devised, in my opinion. You can get it all in there - you can have comedy and/or drama, music, songs, and dance all rolled up into one production on stage, on a movie screen, or even on a television screen.

You are told a wonderful and compelling story (drama) or you are made to laugh until you roll in the aisles (comedy). But above all, the whole story is told with more than just words or pictures.

"The Black Crook" is recognized as the first musical, and it's what gave America the right to claim having created the musical entertainment genre. The play was based on the novel by Charles M. Barras. "The Black Crook" opened on September 12, 1866, and ran for a record-breaking 474 performances. It was performed at the at the 3,200-seat Niblo's Garden on Broadway, New York City. There have been countless "revivals" of "The Black Crook" over the years.

Musicals are presented as big-budget, high-end extravaganzas on Broadway stages and in smaller-budget off-Broadway theaters. They're presented in big-budget movies and in not-so-extravagant low-budget films. They're presented by professionals, by amateur community theater groups, and by high school drama departments. Even kindergarten classes stage musicals starring vegetables and animals.

Musicals are generally profitable, no matter what venue they are presented in. Leave it to corporate America to find a cash cow. Today, Broadway musicals are most often corporate-sponsored. Musicals are making a comeback on television today, as well.

There are even musicals that have been created for the Internet! The best example is "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," about a low-rent super-villain played by Neil Patrick Harris.

Concerts as Entertainment

I doubt anybody would argue the point that concerts could be called anything other than part of the "entertainment industry."

The definition of "concert" is: a live performance, usually of music, before an audience. You'll notice that the definition doesn't specify what kind of music or the venue of the performance. That's because there are concerts that feature music from classical to rap, and every genre in between.

Concerts are held in wonderful old theaters and concert halls that were built especially for the performance of music and have positively amazing acoustics. Concerts are also held outdoors in open-air venues where there are no acoustics at all. And we've all attended a junior high school band concert that was held in the school auditorium, gym, or cafeteria, where the acoustics are absolutely atrocious with sound bouncing around everywhere.

Nevertheless, no matter what kind of music or what the venue of the performance, a concert is entertainment. Although I must point out that sometimes audiences are drawn to concerts and are willing to pay dearly for tickets to concerts not just to hear the music being performed. Sometimes the audience is drawn to a concert because of the venue (Woodstock), the performers (famous singers or musicians), or because it is their duty as a parent to attend no matter how bad the music might be.

Famous singers and musicians often go on concert tours. The same concert is performed, but each night the performance occurs in a different city. Particularly in the rock and roll, pop, or rap genres, concert tours are very popular avenues to allow fans the opportunity to see their favorite singers and musicians perform. Ticket sales for concert tour performances usually represent a large percentage of the profits made by record companies, managers, and producers.