Musical TheatreThe Process of Putting Together, and Being in a Musical
There are many different ways for writing a song. Often this varies depending on the type of song the writer is composing.
Sometimes the lyrics will be written first then a vocal melody written to accompany the lyrics.
Often the chorus will be written before the verses so the general mood of the song can be established and repeated through the chorus.
Usually the orchestral part of a song is not written with the first copy of a musical (Book) it is most often written when the musical has been chosen by a producer and the type of orchestra has been decided.
However if the composer has a firm view of the music – say he/she wants the brass/percussion/woodwind/strings or other instruments to be the focus of the orchestral pieces - that he/she wants in the musical the score will be written before hand.
To be a vocalist in the musical theatre industry you must be in peak fitness so your instruments (vocal chords) are healthy and sounding as good as possible.
It is preferred the cast –women especially- can belt and a higher range is more commonly sought after as it provides contrast to the low men’s voices
The resonance of a voice is incredibly desirable and good vibrato is vital.
Types Of Songs
There are different types of songs to fit different types of situations and moods:
Ballad – Expressing strong emotion. Moderately slow tempo with expressive lyrics and melody. E.g. “If I Loved You” (Carousel)
Comedy Song – Lyrics main focus, not melody. Encourage the audience to laugh out loud. E.g. "I Cain’t Say No” (Oklahoma)
Charm Song – Gives Characters appeal. E.g. “If I Only Had a Brain” (The Wizard Of Oz)
Rhythm Song – ‘Up Tempo’, dance numbers. “Luck Be a Lady Tonight” (Guys And Dolls)
List Song – Simply list objects with rhythmic Focus. E.g. “Favourite Things” (Sound Of Music)
Musical Scene – Follow through the entire scene. E.g. “Dancing Through Life” (Wicked)
The lighting of a stage can set the atmosphere of the whole scene.
Whether the stage is a light yellow wash over increasing from 10% to 90% to represent sunrise, the dawning of a new day. Something as simple as this can suggest to the audience that there is a new start for someone.
Another example of the importance of lighting is at the end of Les Miserables. The white washes out the faces of the dead to show the loss felt by every character on and off the stage.
There are all kinds of different stages. The most common is the proscenium stage. This is a rectangular stage front onto the audience with a backdrop, with wings off to the left and right of the stage to allow the cast to go on and off the stage un-noticed.
Other stages can be more audience interactive, such as Arena (musical circuses) and Thrust (large rectangular stages with the backdrop against the wall and audience against the other 3 sides)...