This week, we are learning about The Wiz (1974).
Based on the The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz blends the original story with modern African American culture in the 1970s and features an all Black cast.
Like the original story, the show opens in rural Kansas with Dorothy Gale and her family Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, and Toto the dog. A tornado is brewing, and while Dorothy's Aunt and Uncle are safely in the storm shelter, Dorothy gets swept up in the tornado while in the farm house.
The house lands in the beautiful land of Oz and Dorothy meets the munchkins, Addaperle the Good Witch of the North, and Dorothy learns that her house has crushed Evamean the Wicked Witch of the East, which frees the Munchkins from her grasp. To go back home to Kansas, Dorothy sets on a journey on the Yellow Brick Road and meets the The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion.
During it's run, The Wiz won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
The musical was later adapted as a movie that had an All-Star cast including Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow.
Here is the finale "Home" sung by legend, Diana Ross.
In recent years, adapting popular movies for a stage performance has become popular as a way to draw people into the theater. Some examples include Heathers, Mean Girls, Spongebob Squarepants, and the musical today, Shrek.
Shrek: The Musical is based primarily on the 2001 Dreamworks movie, Shrek, but there are elements of the sequals as well. The musical debuted in Seattle in 2008 before going on Broadway. Additionally, it is available for streaming on certain services.
The show starts out with Shrek's parents warning Shrek about how people in the outside world will discriminate him about his appearance. The show cuts to an adult Shrek living in his swamp. The plot then takes to being similar to the start of the first movie.
This song, "Big Bright Beautiful World" opens the musical.
This week, our musical is over a more recent surprise favorite on and off Broadway with more familiar characters.
Seussical the Musical has several faces we know. Narrated by the Cat in the Hat, we learn about the story of Horton not only hearing a who, but having to take care of his friends on the speck of dust that are people no matter how small, but also take care of an egg left by Mayzie La Bird Horton is our main character throughout the story, but other faces such as Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Grinch, and other favorites appear in the show.
Here is a recording of the original Broadway cast singing part of the soundtrack,"Horton Hears a Who".
This week's musical is a fun favorite, Mary Poppins! Julie Andrews stars as Mary Poppins, the magical nanny for the banks family.
After one of their nannies quit, the Banks parents wanted to hire a no-nonsense nanny for their children. The children had other plans. They sent out an advertisement for a kind, fun nanny, which is where the magical Mary Poppins comes in!
Recently, there was a sequel Mary Poppins Returns.
Mary Poppins was adapted as a musical in 2004, 40 years after the movie release.
There are a lot of songs that are famous in Mary Poppins, including Chim Chim Cher-ee, Spoonful of Sugar, and Sister Suffragette. One however is more singable and hard to not sing along with than the others.
The song is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Happy Monday my wonderful students!
This Monday is over a classic, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is a musical based on the Von Trapp family. The Von Trapp family lived in Austria and the musical takes place shortly before the country of Austria was annexed by Nazi-led Germany.
This is what happened in real life:
Georg Von Trapp was a Naval officer for Austria. His wife passed away before meeting Maria. Maria Kutschera was in the process of becoming a nun, and then became the governess (basically a nanny) for the Von Trapp children. Father Franz Wasner was the local priest and close family friend of the Von Trapps.
Maria became the governess for the Von Trapp family and became a motherly figure to the children. Captain Von Trapp eventually fell in love with Maria, but did not tell her his feelings until she almost returned to the abbey (where the nuns live).Also during this time, Maria was coaching the children in singing. After Maria and Georg marry, the Von Trapp family entered a competition in a Salzberg music fesitval and won. The Von Trapps toured Europe from 1935-1938.
Nazi Germany was in the process of annexing Austria. Georg was offered a position in the German military which he declined, stating that he didn't want to serve in the Nazi army.
The Von Trapps left to the United States. They toured in the United states, then in Scandinavia, before returning to the United States in Vermont just before World War II. The family was known as teh "Von Trapp Singers."
Here is a great website with more detailed information on the Von Trapp Family.
One of the most famous songs from The Sound of Music is the song "Do, Re, Mi." This scene is where Maria is teaching the Von Trapp children about music.
Happy Monday everyone!
This week's musical is over Annie, the story of a young orhpan trying to find her birth parents.
Annie is based off of the comic strip Little Orphan Annie. The writer of the screenplay, Thomas Meehan, looked to the comics to try and find a good plot, but realized there was not a large amount of material to write from, so he created his own story.
The musical takes place during the Great Depression. Like stated before, Annie is an orphan trying to find her birth parents. She escapes the orphanage she is staying in and during her search, she meets a wide variety of people and also a dog that is trying to not get caught by the dog catcher. Annie is found and brought back to the orphanage. In wonderful timing, millionare Oliver Warbucks sent his assistant to try and find a child to host during the holidays, and his assistant instantly loved Annie and her charm, and brought Annie to the Warbucks household.
I do not want to give away the second half of the musical. It is a great thing to watch with your family!
Since its release in 1977, Annie has remained popular to perform on stage and has also been adapted several times for movies.
One of the most memorable songs from Annie is "It's a hard knock life". During the song, the children at the orphanage are singing about how difficult it is to be in their situation.
Here is the version from the 1982 film.
Compare it with the 2014 version
Hello awesome students!
This week's Musical Monday is over one of the first full-length animated films, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This movie was revolutionary in many ways.
As stated before, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was Disney Studio's first full length animated film. Animation was very different in the first half of the 20th century. Instead of computer programs to help along, animators had to use story boards to create the movement.
Often, animators used the voice actors and actresses to be inspiration for how their characters move, sing, and for their facial expressions.
The soundtrack in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs helped set the mood of a scene, progress a story, and often helped convey a character's feelings.
Happy Musical Monday everyone!
This week is covering one of the biggest broadway hits of the early 2000s.
Wicked is the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz, before the Wizard of Oz takes place. In Wicked, we find out that Elphaba, and Glinda the Good Witch have a past as good friends.
Glinda and Elphaba meet at their school, Shiz University. In a crazy turn of events, these two opposite personalities end up as roommates. Over time, Glinda realizes just because Elphaba is different and green, she has a good heart. In the closing song of the first half, "Defying Gravity", Elphaba makes the decision to take her own path that she feels in her heart is right. She invites Glinda to join her, but Glinda chooses to stay behind.
The original two leading charaters are played by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. Idina Menzel plays Elphaba, and you may recognize her as the voice of Elsa from Frozen and Frozen 2. Kristen Chenowith has a long history on broadway, television, and film.
This link will take you to a performance of Defying Gravity at the Tony's in 2004.