The magic and impact of theater is known to all and sundry. Being one of the oldest and most influential forms of performing arts, theater enjoys a unique status among different forms of arts. Over the years, the world of theater has changed a lot and theater productions are quite advanced today in terms of production, presentation and promotion than they ever were. That's the reason why musicals and plays still rule the hearts of millions despite the heavy presence new age media.
Typically, musicals and plays are differentiated from each other on the basis of content and presentation. Plays are said to be theatrical presentation where story is told through dialogues and expressions while Musicals include elements like music, songs and dance. Again, these are different from Opera where the whole proceedings involve singing.
In old times, the word 'play' used to referred to only those literature pieces that were written to be presented as theatrical performance. But there were several exceptions as well as some of the greatest dramatists preferred to publish their work rather than staging it. Today, these classifications have blurred and a usual theater enthusiast is only concerned with the ENTERTAINMENT part, no matter if it's a musical or a play.
The history of musical and plays can be traced back to several centuries ago and it is one of the earliest forms of performing arts. It was only since the early 20th century that plays containing music and dance became known as musicals, but such format was present since ancient Greeks and Romans times. Same is applied to Middle Ages and 1700's; however none of the work of these times has impacted modern day musicals as much as the theatrical presentations from the French and Viennese of 1800's.
The present day musicals and plays are mostly inspired from the operettas and vaudeville shows of America, France and England of 19th century. The phenomena developed from the mid 1800's onwards and it is mainly credited to the successful musical productions of Gilbert & Sullivan, musical farces of Harrigan & Hart and The Black Crook; a popular musical of 1860. The 1900's brought distinctive sound and style to American musicals and made them a world phenomenon. Early 1900's were the golden decades for theater industry as many new performing arts venues were established and Broadway magic spread everywhere. The Merry Widow, Follies and Showboat were the ultimate stage presentations of those times. Even during Great Depression, musicals like Of Thee I Sing, On Your Toes and Cole Porter shined like gold.
The 1940's proved a path-breaking decade for the world of musicals and plays. At one hand, success of Pal Joey and Weill and Lady in the Dark proved gateway for realistic musicals, then on the other hand, super extravagant Oklahoma changed the whole concept of musicals. It was similar styled productions Annie Get Your Gun and Kiss Me Kate. The 1950's brought new dimension to music of Broadway and the songs and dances from The King and I, Gypsy and My Fair Lady became classics.
Fast forward to today, and we have musicals and plays shining brightly and distinctively in the constellation of entertainment world. If you still hear news about a Broadway revival faring better than a big budgeted Hollywood production, then it shows the impact, influence and popularity of theater on the society. The plays and musicals of today can be divided into many categories on the basis of their genre, presentation and production values. The subjects vary from comedy to tragedy, from fantasy to satire, from history to social issues and many others areas.
The terms Broadway and Off-Broadway are commonly used to distinguish the musicals and plays in America. While many people still think that location is the main difference between Broadway and Off-Broadway theater; it has more to do with theater size, grandeur of production and commercial orientation than anything else. In London, West End is the hub of theater while other countries also houses similar theater leagues.
Musicals can also be categorized as originals, adaptations or revivals. Original musicals are those that are planned and written exclusively for stage while adaptations are taken either from a novel or movie. Some of the biggest Broadway hits were adapted from movies. The Lion King, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Full Monty, Hairspray, 42nd Street and Beauty and the Beast are supreme examples of Hollywood-to-Stage adaptations. Alternately, many musicals also inspired Hollywood movies. These include the likes of Chicago, The Philadelphia Story, A Chorus Line, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, Oliver!, The Phantom of the Opera, South Pacific, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music and several other musicals.
The list of classic plays and musicals is also incomplete without an honorable mention to Cats, The Fantasticks, Hello Dolly! and Les Miserables. The musicals and plays of today are highlighted by high-tech set design, state-of-the-art lighting and top-notch technology. Wicked, Mamma Mia, Billy Elliot, Shrek and Mary Poppins are premier examples of this advancement in the production side of theater.
Elements like musical score, story, choreography, performances and set design also play a significant role in the success of any play. Besides monetary success and long-runs, critical acclaim is also essential. The most stand-out musicals of the year compete for different awards such as Drama Desk Award, New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, Outer Circle Critics Award, Obie Award and Broadway-only honor Tony Awards.
To sum up, musicals and plays are the indispensable part of arts and entertainment. We offer exclusive tickets for the biggest theatricals of today. So grab your musicals and plays tickets and enjoy the magic of theater.
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