Thursday, January 31, 2019

Musicals in the modern era a.k.a. stuff on our next concert

There is a relatively clear distinction between the music of the Golden Age of Musical Theater (1920-1959), the era of the 1960s as musicals took on more social and political issues, and then the take over of overt "pop" music styles in Musical Theater with shows like "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Tommy." 

The Lincoln Choral Artists next concert on March 3 at the Royal Grove in Lincoln, NE will feature music from musical in the last 40 years. 

Here is a list of some the hows and basic plots of each:

The Greatest Showman
Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. The film opens with Barnum (Hugh Jackman) joining his circus troupe in song, playing to an enthusiastic crowd as he and his performers put on a dazzling show. After a number of ups and downs as Barnum has been building his show, Barnum goes to drink at a bar. The entire troupe finds him and confronts him. Lettie tells Barnum that while he may not have always done the right thing, he saw them all as more than freaks and gave them a real family and home. Barnum is encouraged to pick himself up and help get the troupe back to performing. WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two young women who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba. Following an encounter with
The Wonderful Wizard, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda's unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphaba's determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfill their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
 Rent is a rock musical with music, lyrics, and book by Jonathan Larson, loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City's East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. The names and identities of Rent's characters also heavily reflect Puccini's original characters, though they are not all direct adaptations. For example, Joanne in Rent represents the character of Alcindoro in Bohème but is also partially based on Marcello. Also, Joanne is the only Rent character whose predecessor in La Bohème is the opposite sex. Rent is also a somewhat autobiographical work, as Larson incorporated many elements of his life into his show. Larson lived in New York for many years as a starving artist with an uncertain future.
He sacrificed a life of stability for his art and shared many of the same hopes and fears as his characters. Like his characters he endured poor living conditions, and some of these conditions (e.g. illegal wood-burning stove, bathtub in the middle of his kitchen, broken buzzer [his guests had to call from the pay phone across the street and he would throw down the keys, as in "Rent"]) made their way into the play.
 Les Misérables, colloquially known in English-speaking countries as “Ley Miz”, is a sung-through musical based on the 1862 novel of the same name by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. Set in early 19th-century France, Les Misérables is the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his desire for redemption after serving nineteen years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his sister's starving child. Valjean decides to break
his parole and start his life anew after a bishop inspires him by a tremendous act of mercy, but he is relentlessly tracked down by a police inspector named Javert. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into a revolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists attempt to overthrow the government at a street barricade.
 Ragtime is a musical by Stephen Flaherty. The music includes marches, cakewalks, gospel and ragtime.
Based on the 1975 novel by E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime tells the story of three groups in the United States in the early 20th century: African Americans, represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Harlem musician; upper-class suburbanites, represented by Mother, the matriarch of a white upper-class family in New Rochelle, New York; and Eastern European immigrants, represented by Tateh, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia. Historical figures including Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbit, Booker T. Washington, J. P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Stanford White, Harry Kendall Thaw, Admiral Peary, Matthew Henson, and Emma Goldman are represented in the stories. Justice cannot be achieved through violent actions on either side.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New Year, Midseason, Big Show

Wow, I just realized it's been over a month since I have taken some time to share my thoughts and joys working with the Lincoln Choral Artists.

We had an incredibly successful and beautiful holiday concert on December 13. I heard about and read on social media so many singers excellent experiences and joy-filled holiday celebrations. We had a tragic loss of a long-term choir member on New Years. But as is the case with this group, we came together in our grief and celebrated the life of our dear colleague, Jerome Urwiller.

We began the Mid season rehearsal schedule with incredible music for our BIG SHOW, which I will be spending the next few blogs discussing. And we are in big discussions about next year's 40th Anniversary Season plans.

I'm not really a new year's resolution person. But I do think about what will be important in the next 12 months. Of course for me personally it is that fact I am getting married to an incredible and supportive person. We are in the midst of plans for our December 2019 wedding. As the year goes on I will probably share a few things about our plans.

When it comes to the choir, this time of the year is always fun as we prepare for our Fundraiser concert. It is usually focused on pop styles and includes unique venues. This is year is no different. And, as has become a great part of the new year reboot, we have new singers. I am always delighted to invite new members to ensemble.

If you are not following us on the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) I encourage you to check them out. A lot of new information about upcoming concerts and guest musicians get posted there.
LCA Facebook Page

LCA Twitter Page


Thanks so much for your support. I look forward to sharing more about LCA, music, personal thoughts, basically whatever comes to mind.