Historical drama long has been a mainstay of theatre, playwrights usually bending it for their own purposes. This seminar will look at how American history has also been used by our native composers to create musical stage works, ranging from light comedy to profound dramatic operas. The colorful characters involved in the creation of the Declaration of Independence populate 1776. A pairing of Leonard Bernstein's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Steven Sondheim's Assassins looks at the White House; its occupants, their politics, and their ends. Titanic - The Musical and The Unsinkable Molly Brown provide two quite different looks at that ill-fated voyage. Ragtime, based on E.L. Doctorow's best-selling book of historic fiction, tells the story of three different segments of American society, including a look at the immigrant experience. The powerful opera Nixon in China brings its own interpretation of a historic event that forever changed the politics of the United States on the world stage. Finally, the course returns to the early years of the nation with a look at the biography and the significant history that inspired the recent blockbuster Hamilton.
Course Recordings: (Click on the links below to watch the recordings.)