Open Forum

Getting Students to Know More Musicals

  • 1.  Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 28 days ago
    So I have realized over the last couple of years that students really have little knowledge of musicals outside of what's on Broadway. Straight plays are even worse, but not surprising because they aren't as glitzy as a musical.

    I want to try and expose my students to a musical a month next year if possible.

    Thoughts on how to do that? Anyone do anything like this already? Aside from gathering to watch one on film, what else might get them interested?


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    Raymond Palasz
    Auditorium Director/Director of Theatre
    Munster High School
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  • 2.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 28 days ago

    I don't know if any of you do written warm ups or bell ringers with your students, but I do.  I alternate between a writing prompt for a short scene, a vocabulary word with a grayer model graphic organizer, and something they take notes on (sometimes it's text they read and other times it's a video we watch).  

    I have included warm ups about shows that has a quick synopsis and details about when it opened, who directed it, etc.  I f it's a musical we may listen to a song from it or view pictures or a video about it (there are backstage tours of a lot of the shows online, interviews with cast, and short clips from the shows).

    They know know about shows beyond Hamilton or Dear Evan Hansen.  They want to see My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, and even understand the storyline of classic theatre productions instead of just recognizing the name. 



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    Amy MacCord
    Musical Theatre Teacher
    Westwood Middle School
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  • 3.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 28 days ago
    I have my Advanced Theatre classes do a presentation on a musical.  I have a list they can choose from; however, you could always eliminate anything currently running.  I'll attach the assignment here.  They have to tell the group about the show (synapsis, conflict, resolution, etc.) and then find information about the original Broadway run, awards, revivals, what made the show stand out, etc.  They also have to find a clip to show.  It's a great way to spend the last three weeks of school.

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    Amber Hugus
    Seneca Valley High School
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    Attachment(s)

    docx
    Musical Research.docx   15 KB 1 version
    docx
    List of Musicals.docx   13 KB 1 version


  • 4.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 28 days ago
    Hello!
    Last year when we went into full distance learning mode, I started posting "Mr. Tiller's Musical Theatre Moments" in our weekly school bulletin featuring a video clip and a brief overview from me. At the end of the school year, so many faculty members shared how much they enjoyed it and many said they used it in their advisory lessons, etc. So, this year i carried on. I also post in on my Canvas pages for all of my classes and require my students to write a brief reflection in their virtual journals on a weekly basis. Sometimes I show it on class...on the big screen...and sometimes they watch it on their own. I mix it up with classics and contemporary and also do my best to reflect focus points throughout the school calendar such as Black History Month and most recently Asian American & Pacifica Islander Heritage Month. It has been fun to show previews for so many upcoming musical films such as In The Heights, West Side Story and Dear Evan Hansen. Once we are back to "normal" I may have to go to once a month, but it has been fun for me and the community. Thanks for listening!
    Best to you,
    Garry

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    Garry Tiller
    Theatre Arts Teaching Artist
    Sidwell Friends
    Washington, DC
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  • 5.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 28 days ago
    Here's what I did:
    I created a list of musicals and had all students sign up for one per semester.
    Every Monday, two people present their research about that musical, and play songs from it. We call them Musical Mondays.
    I created guidelines on a slide presentation to help them. They talk about awards, social and historical context, tours, anyone famous, composers, etc.

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    Cynthia Vodovoz
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  • 6.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 28 days ago
    A few years ago I had a group of students who were particularly interested in musicals, so for a couple months we started each class with a talk about famous composers/lyricists, and I would show just a snippet or two from a few of their musicals. Then we could go back later and watch the ones that interested them the most.  I sort of snuck in a unit a little at a time without derailing what was already planned. It was sort of shocking how little they knew--Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Lerner and Loewe were all greeted with "I think I've heard of them."  I also thought about doing "Musical Mondays" in my classroom during lunch, which I may try next year if kids can eat indoors together.

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    James Bailey
    Director of Theatre
    Justin-Siena High School
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  • 7.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 28 days ago
    I just completed something I adapted from RE:Theatre called the Musical Theatre Listening Challenge.  I created 10 days of prompts (such as musical with a large ensemble, musical with a male lead, etc) and the idea is for students to reply think of a musical that fits the prompt (or google it if necessary), listen to the soundtrack, and reply with the title.  I gave small prizes to students who completed all 10 prompts.  It got them thinking about different shows and since we did this through google classroom, they were able to see what shows their peers chose for more variety.





  • 8.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 28 days ago
    Start playing the soundtracks every day as they come into class. Put up posters from classics and current shows on every wall you can. Classroom, backstage, dressing rooms, etc. Of course when life gets back to "normal" go to every show with them that you can.  Use your friends who will give you free tickets.
    Ann

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    Ann Wolpert
    Thornton Fractional South High School
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  • 9.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 28 days ago
    Hi, Raymond, 

    I teach a Drama Major class that is a two-year course for 11th-12th grade students. One of our years of curriculum is on the History of American Theatre and the emergence of our voice on the World Stage and the second year is focused on the History of American Musical Theatre.  Within each course the kids complete 2-3 research projects with tons of dramaturgy on genres, artists, works, etc.; work on material from plays or musicals; watch and critique available plays and interviews by artists -- that kind of thing. I have tons of material if you are interested -- but need school to be over on June 15th to assemble it. 

    Are you going to ITF? Maybe a chat sometime there or another time. Or maybe this is something Cory Wilkerson would be interested in developing. 

    Just some thoughts in-between classes.

    And I agree -- they don't know dramatic literature!

    Andrea
    Andrea Lee Roney
    North Penn High School Theatre Teacher, Producer, Director
    North Penn High Theatre Thespian Troupe 5464 Director
    1340 S. Valley Forge Road, Lansdale, PA   19446
    P: 215.853.1294

    Pennsylvania Thespian Chapter Governing Board
    Educational Thespian Association Advocacy Leadership Network PA Representative
    Pennsylvania Arts Education Leadership Coalition

    Streaming & Ticketing





  • 10.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 25 days ago
    A great way to get students to watch more shows without having to take class time to do it is to assign play critiques. Mine are a bit in depth as we do three a semester but you could do shorter, more basic ones if you want to do a musical a month. And now with so many shows being live streamed or recorded there are plenty of options for live theatre both in person and digital. They can check out Disney +, youtube, BBC, Filmed on Stage, The Shows Must Go On, and there are many more out there. Digital ones are great if people are worried about ticket prices. Many digital shows have cheap tickets (some have student discounts) and some are completely free.

    As part of my acting classes, I require students to watch three plays or musicals over the course of the semester and write a play critique on them. They can choose any shows they want and I do require at least one to be a play (as most will gravitate towards strictly musicals) and they have to be the actual stage version not a Hollywood movie version. This is an outside project. I assign the criteria they should be looking for (it changes depending on what we are working on in class) and the due date. I require them to watch one high school show, one college show and one community/professional show so they can see the different levels of talent and quality in the various productions.

    For the play critique criteria I ask the students to give a summary of the show and pick two characters they were the most intrigued by. They need to write detailed observations on what the actors did to create dynamic characters. How did they use their vocals, body language, interactions with other characters, etc. This gets the students looking at performers using specific techniques we have been practicing in class. I find it helps them greatly in their own performances if they can recognize and see how the techniques we discuss in class are utilized by other actors. They see both what is done really well and what is not done so well. For my Theatre II class we also touch on the basics of lighting and sound design so for one of their play critiques I require them to evaluate the lighting and sound from one of the shows they watched. How does the lighting and sound enhance the mood, frame the scene, help create atmosphere, etc. This really gets them thinking more about the overall show instead of just the acting.

    This is a great way to get kids exposed to more productions. You can even give them a list of shows they can choose from if you want them to see certain shows.

    Hope this helps. If you'd like to see the criteria and rubric I use let me know.
    Blessings,
    Jillian Lietzau
    Theatre Dept Head
    Lutheran High School

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    Jillian Lietzau
    Lutheran High School
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  • 11.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 22 days ago
    If you have room in your curriculum (and budget) for musical theatre dance, then I would recommend the Daily 8 Count . Different musical numbers each week from different musicals. It's a great way to expose your students to different musicals.

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    Christopher Hamilton
    Drama Teacher
    Kamiakin High School
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  • 12.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 22 days ago
    I agree. Lots of fun and the kids love it!

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    Garry Tiller
    Theatre Arts Teaching Artist
    Sidwell Friends
    Washington, DC
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  • 13.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 22 days ago
    Can anyone give us a better idea of what's included in the weekly release?  I would like to at least see a preview or get a better description than is provided on the website.

    Amy MacCord
    Westwood Middle School
    ELA department chair
    8th grade Reading and Language Arts
    8th grade Cambridge ELA
    Theater 6th-8th
    http://mrsmaccord.weebly.com

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  • 14.  RE: Getting Students to Know More Musicals

    Posted 22 days ago
    @Amy MacCord There is a sample week here:

    https://www.daily8count.com/copy-of-weekly-combo-2

    Other recent weeks have had numbers from Spongebob the Musical, Something Rotten, Annie, ​Six, Disaster: the Musical, and many others.

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    Christopher Hamilton
    Drama Teacher
    Kamiakin High School
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