Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley
Musicals are plays with song and dance. Their stories are fast-paced and dramatic, and the songs are catchy. Musicals are performed in theaters, or made into movies. These big productions need hundreds of cast and crew. A popular musical can run at a theater for many years.
Musicals began in England in the late 19th century by combining the comic stories of operetta (short operas) with the songs and dances of the music hall. It was in the Broadway theater district of New York City in the early 20th century that musicals developed into their modern form: a highly entertaining music and dance show.
Musicals are spectacular productions with large choruses of singers and dancers. Film musicals can require hundreds of extras. A composer writes the music and songs, and a choreographer creates the dance sequences. Singing and dancing coaches help the performers learn their parts. The sets built for musicals are often large and visually stunning.