There is no other form of theatre that is more inherently American than Musical Theatre or Musical Comedy. American not only because of American hand in forming and embracing the genre, but because of the outlook. Big form entertainment where everyone usually leaves feeling good about themselves. Most stories are that of hope and individuals overcoming. Stories of love and romance fused with comedy, vaudeville, dancing, and music.
It is fitting, then, that an American University should create a program that gets to the roots of what a musical is and why it is important to our culture. Northwestern University has done this in their American Music Theatre Project.
The program is designed to bring together students and professional artists in collaboration to write, compose, develope, produce, design, stage, and perform new American written musicals. Everything from first conception to final performance is part of the process. And were not talking about a workshop performance - we are talking about full production on the university's mainstage with professional artists that only an institution with this amount of clout could draw. And while they are developing new works of theatre, they are fostering the further works of theatre by involving students in the process.
American Musical Theatre is alive and well. But Northwestern is making sure that a level of artistic excellence will be bread along the shores of Lake Michigan where the musicals of tomorrow will be born.
Happy Birthday: Jean Racine (1639-1699), Dame Peggy Ashcroft (1907-1991), & Ralph Finnes (b. 1962)