This seminar examines the musicals of Stephen Sondheim, from page to stage. Focusing on a different musical each week from Gypsy (1959) to Road Show (2009), we will ask, how do musical theatre's elements of music, lyrics, script, dance, and design cohere in Sondheim's musicals? We will explore influences on his art, both personal and cultural, his collaborators, and the historical and theatrical milieu. We'll study the musicals themselves by reading libretti, listening to music, seeing taped and live performances, researching production histories, and analyzing popular, critical, and scholarly reception.
At this moment, theater has an opportunity to redefine how stories can be told and how audiences might be invited into the telling. Young audiences have been weaned on choice-based, participatory and socially networked artwork and entertainment. Through scholarship, creative work, and play testing, this course will explore the emerging fields of participatory theater, interactive performance, social gaming, and system-based story telling. We will study the basics of game design, the fundamentals of physical and social gaming, ritual, and the history of interactivity as a theatrical device.
This course provides students with a rigorous and challenging experience of creating theater under near-professional circumstances. A professional director, an extensive rehearsal period, a concentrated week of technical rehearsals and multiple performances are key components. Students cast in the show or taking on major production roles can receive course credit.