Historical Timeline of Musical Theatre
The antecendents of musical theatre in Europe can be traced back to the theatre of ancient Greece, where dance and music were included in stage comedies and tragedies during the 5th century BCE. The 3rd-century BCE Roman comedies of Plautus included song and dance routines performed with orchestrations. The Romans also introduced technical innovations. For example, to make dance steps more audible in large open air theatres, Roman actors attached metal chips called sabilla their stage footwear, creating the first tap shoes.
By the Middle Ages, theatre in Europe consisted mostly of travelling minstrels and small performing troupes of performers singing and offering slapstick comedy.
1830 – Minstrel Shows
This form of Musical Theatre was entertainment in America, these types of performances contained comical sketches, variety acts, dancing and music. This was performed mainly by white people with ‘black face’ (black painted face) The Minstrel show first began in the 1830s but did not become popular until the 1840s. It was still a form of entertainment until 1910, performances from amateurs lasted until the 1960s. As black people began to become victorious against racism, the popularity began to decrease. Musicals as we know them today have their roots in opera. An opera is a dramatic presentation in which the story is told through music, similar to modern musicals. Opera got its start in Italy, around the turn of the 17th century. In opera, there is generally no spoken dialogue; sung passages and dramatic arias move the plot along. This is similar to popular sung-through musicals of today, such as Evita, Les Miserables and Phantom Of The Opera.
This type of musical theatre was popular between 1850 and 1960 and it was known as Musical Hall. It entailed a mixture of popular song, comedy and specialty acts. British music hall was quite similar to American Vaudeville, in which in...
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