Class Orchestra and Conducting

Class Orchestra and Conducting

Jukebox Musicals Task One: Listen to Leonard Bernstein's overture to 'West Side Story' and hear how it is made up of distinct sections, all of which will return later in the musical as songs, dances and incidental music. Question: How many main sections are there? An overture is a piece of music for the orchestra to play at the beginning of an opera or ballet. The word comes from the French word for 'opening because it opens the show. An

overture to a musical is often made up of tunes which are going to be heard during the show. In this way the overture prepares the audience for what is to come. West Side Story is based on the story of 'Romeo and Juliet' but is set in New York City in 1957. Unlike most musicals written at that time it dealt with serious issues of the day such as racism, poverty and gang violence. In

the plot the two gangs - the Sharks, white Americans, and the Jets, Puerto Rican immigrants - are intimidated by each other and are vying for the control of their neighbourhood. Against this backdrop Tony, a former Jet, and Maria, a Puerto Rican dressmaker, fall in love. In the end it takes the death of Tony to finally unite the two sides, putting across the

message that it should not take such a tragedy to make us tolerant and respectful of others and to stop fearing people just because they are different to us. Many musicals today use music and songs that have already been written by famous artists. Some of these musicals then base their plots around the songs, for example Mamma Mia or We Will Rock You, and some use the songs to tell the life stories

of different artists, for example 'Summer - the Donna Summer Musical' or 'Beautiful' the musical about Carole King. This type of show is often referred to as a jukebox musical. Task Two: Plan Your Own Jukebox Musical Follow the instructions to create your own musical based in your school or college. Have fun - good luck!

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