Queen's University

Musical Theatre Practicum [MUTH 331]

Musical Theatre Practicum


Preparation and production of the school or community musical. Practical examination of planning and rehearsal techniques. Analysis of relevant factors.LEARNING HOURS 120 (12L;24Pc;12O;72P)

Room: RM120 Harrison Lecaine /IBCPA    
Day(s) and Time(s): Monday 6:30-9:30 pm             
Instructors: Tim FortDarrell Bryan,  Michel Szczesniak

RECOMMENDED TEXT: McLamore, Alyson. Musical Theater, An Appreciation. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004. Website: Musicals101.com   http://www.musicals101.com/contents.htm

WEEK 1 Intro / Choosing a Musical Project & Collaborators / Resources  Opera Roots & Art Songs / Defining the Golden Age
WEEK 2  Choosing and Preparing Music (The Book) / Types of Songs / Audition Etiquette /Cuts and Transpositions / Voice Fundamentals / Performing Solo
WEEK 3  Audition Prep / Raising the Stakes / Coaching solo pieces
WEEK 4  Audition Piece Presentations    Audition Assignment Due
WEEK 5  Discuss Projects & Rehearsal Scheduling / Musicalizing / New Musicals
WEEK 6  Vocal and Musical Direction  / Staging Due
Reading Week
WEEK 7  Design Issues / Groundplans, Thumbnails & Renderings / Staging Scenes into Songs
WEEK 8  Directing & Musical Direction / Choral work  Rehearsal Assignment Due
WEEK 9  Choreography / Opening Numbers
WEEK 10  Staging Production Numbers / Rehearsal Protocols / Staging Musician-Performer Pieces
WEEK 11  Review / Conducting / Ensemble Staging
WEEK 12  Presenting Projects


Audition Preparation  Jan 30     WK4     
Rehearsal Preparation WK8
Production Staging Work Book  WK12   
Participation     15%

*Discuss your script choice and general approach with your instructors by the end of January*

DUE January 30    

Choose two songs (an uptempo piece and a ballad) from a “golden age” style musical.  Prepare both numbers completely, and also prepare a 16 bar cut of each.  Put both numbers in a binder prepared for an accompanist and bring to class on Jan 30 where you will be expected to perform both pieces (either fully or cut). You will also be asked to assess all the presentations, including your own, on Jan 30.

You will be assessed on preparation and presentation - not on singing ability.;

DUE March 6

Choose an existing musical theatre piece and choose a partner. You should have access to (at least) the musical’s libretto and a recording of its principal musical numbers.  Assume you have been asked to mount the piece for either a) a high school group, or b) a community theatre group.  After you have specified the group for whom you will be directing your project, you will approach the work in two phases (with your partner) as follows:

Choose either part A) or B) below and provide the information called for within it. Your partner will prepare the other part of the project and submit it separately.  Find time to discuss items of mutual concern with your partner and be sure to choose different musical numbers to examine.      

A) Assume you are arriving at your first rehearsal day. Be prepared to provide research illustrations, a production history, and background materials on the creators of the work and the period/place in which it takes place. Your materials should take the form of an annotated study guide with proper attribution -  including a “works cited” page with a minimum of 3 sources (4-5 pages of text / 6-8 illustrations).    Pick three musical numbers and discuss their musical structure, lyrical content, and relationship to adjacent text or songs (approx. 2 pgs)

B) Assume a six week rehearsal process (evenings only) with a seventh week which includes a tech week-end and a Thursday night opening.  Create a rehearsal schedule which enables you to use two rehearsal spaces (one of which is a small “break out” room with a piano) over the course of the rehearsal process.  Plot out when you hope to arrive at (and return to) musical numbers (vocals, choreo, staging).  Schedule scene work.  Assume 3 hours of rehearsal per day – 5 days a week.  Assume ten hours of tech on the final weekend plus a tech run and two dress rehearsals in the last week.    Pick three musical numbers (different from A) and discuss their musical structure, lyrical content, and relationship to adjacent text or songs. (approx. 2 pgs)

DUE April 3

With your partner, provide all the elements listed below (indicate your specific contributions on a cover page)

A) Select a performance space and describe the audience configuration. Why this space for this production? Locate the orchestra and discuss its size and composition. [1 pg]

B) Describe your casting strategies (size of cast, name each track, doubling patterns, non-traditional casting, age & gender of performers).  Provide a casting breakdown for 4 principals, including vocal ranges. [1-2 pgs.]

C) Provide a proportional floor plan indicating the general scenic layout.  Show scenic storage areas. [1 pg]

D) Discuss your staging concept and how it relates to your resources. Discuss a scene shift strategy [2-3 pgs.]

E) Develop staging for a key (2-5 page) scene by annotating script pages & submitting a one page overview.

F) A large colour rendering (mounted on 20 x 30 inch sheet of foam core), Thumbnail sketches of 2 scenes, 3 Costume Sketches

You & your partner will be presenting a 10-12 minute overview of your work in class on the evening of April 30. Impressive sustenance will be provided.