Musical


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Musical

 

a primarily light play in which the resources of the stage, popular music, choreography, drama, and opera are used. The musical was developed in the USA in the late 19th century.

Bicknell’s play, The Black Crook, which combined melodrama, song, and “showgirls,” was first presented in 1866 and played for 25 years. In New York in the early 20th century the Negro actors B. Williams and G. Walker presented several musical comedies distinguished for their originality and striking theatricality. (The composer of these comedies was W. M. Cook.) The musical comedy became the most popular form of American theater, particularly after World War I. The best of the later musicals include Kern’s Show Boat (1929), Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing (1931), Weill’s Johnny Johnson (1936), Rodgers’ Oklahoma! (1943), Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate (1948), Loewe’s My Fair Lady (1956), and Herman’s Hello, Dolly! (1964). They were distinguished by their content, fine directorial skill, brilliant visual impact, and melodious, catchy music.

Dance is a major component of musicals. At first primarily tap dancing and chorus-line numbers were used, but in Bernstein’s West Side Story, one of the best American musicals (choreographer Jerome Robbins, 1957), the dance attained outstanding dramatic expressiveness.

The popularity and accessibility of musicals are often exploited by impresarios who form touring companies of the most successful shows and present them in other countries. Often, movies are based on musicals: Oliver! (Bart, Great Britain, 1970); Funny Girl (Styne, USA, 1969); The Girls From Rochefort (Legrand, France, 1966); and The Old Folks at the Hops Harvest (Bažant, Malásek, and Hála, Czechoslovakia, 1964).

The musicals West Side Story, My Fair Lady, and Kiss Me, Kate have been presented in theaters in the USSR. Among the shows presented as musicals are My Brother Plays The Clarinet (Fel’tsman, 1968, at the Moscow Theater for Young Audiences), the cartoon The Bremen Musicians (Gladkov, 1970), and the film Shel’menko the Batman (Solov’ev-Sedoi, 1971).

REFERENCES

Volyntsev, A. “Azbuka zhanra.” Teatr, 1967, no. 9.
Ewen, D. The Story of America’s Musical Theater. Philadelphia, 1961.
Osolsobĕ, Y. Muzikál je, když Prague, 1967.

A. V. VOLYNTSEV

References in classic literature ?
I observed in the king's kitchen all sorts of mathematical and musical instruments, after the figures of which they cut up the joints that were served to his majesty's table.
It is an evidence that we may some day have a musical telegraph, which will send as many messages simultaneously over one wire as there are notes on that piano.
Her entrance had been conducted with such tact, that had she possessed the most musical ear imaginable, it were impossible to disturb the party less; a circumstance that did not fail to impress Seymour agreeably, from its novelty.
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It was the old girl that brought out my musical abilities.
This supplementary program also instructed the excursionists to provide themselves with light musical instruments for amusement in the ship, with saddles for Syrian travel, green spectacles and umbrellas, veils for Egypt, and substantial clothing to use in rough pilgrimizing in the Holy Land.
Her phrases, so bald and few, constantly repeated, showed the emptiness of her mind; he recalled her vulgar little laugh at the jokes of the musical comedy; and he remembered the little finger carefully extended when she held her glass to her mouth; her manners like her conversation, were odiously genteel.
It must be disheartening work learning a musical instrument.
Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha,' another special poem on music, is unparalleled for ingenuity of technical interpretation: 'A Toccata of Galuppi's' is as rare a rendering as can anywhere be found of the impressions and sensations caused by a musical piece; but 'Abt Vogler' is a very glimpse into the heaven where music is born.
Singularly enough, the musical sounds they had heard seemed to come from the inside of the fat man himself; for he was playing no instrument nor was any to be seen near him.
A TRUTHFUL Man, finding a musical instrument in the road, asked the name of it, and was told that it was a fish-horn.
It was only the soft twitter of a bird, but it seemed to be a peculiarly gifted bird, for while she listened the soft twitter changed to a lively whistle, then a trill, a coo, a chirp, and ended in a musical mixture of all the notes, as if the bird burst out laughing.