Your goal in preparing your piece is to create a period specific performance that incorporates physical and vocal stylistic choices from the past with the work you’re doing first semester on Particularization and Actions. By combining extensive period research with An Approach To A Song, you will create a performance that will entertain a modern audience while acknowledging the past. In the process of doing your research, many of the performances you will see and hear may be close to the original period performance style and others may not. You should not be simply copying these performances. You should use specific details you learn from listening, watching, observing and reading about the period to create a distinct, individual performance
of your own.
When starting this project it is important to keep in mind the following:
Contemporary Musical Theatre is composed of a rich tapestry of cultural influences that are as broad and complex as the country that embraced and championed the form that now enjoys worldwide popularity. Naturally, as the country has grown and changed, so has the art form. As David Armstrong says on his historical podcast “Broadway Nation”, the American Musical was shaped by the contribution of immigrants, Jews, Queers, women and African Diasporic Peoples. It is derived from racist, stereotypical, and problematic history including minstrelsy, blackface, and other appropriated art forms. It is important for us to acknowledge that some of Broadway’s past contains material that we now consider objectionable and much of this material is rooted in trauma. During this assignment, you will encounter old-fashioned material that contains problematic themes and racist / sexist tropes. The AMDA community is committed to being anti-racist and anti-sexist.
As we study the past with its failures and its triumphs, you will be required to research both world history and the history of musical theatre. We will look at some of these works in historical context and acknowledge the progress that was made by many of the artists of the era who fought to make Broadway more inclusive. When looking at these examples in a contemporary context, it is important to note that some of this work will seem backwards by our current standards. We hope that you will explore these materials and context to further enhance your understanding of our art form and how it impacts your individual performance practice.
Our job as educators and students is to explore these materials together. Your work in exploring the history and context of these pieces will lead to meaningful and rewarding conversations and performances. We invite and encourage participation in conversations about this material fully and openly during this project.
If you have any questions or concerns!