John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.
After this lesson, your students will be able to:
- Detail the history of Broadway as well as Vaudeville
- Explain what determines whether or not a show is considered Broadway
- Name some of the current Broadway hit shows
2 hours, ideally divided up into two consecutive class periods
- Colored markers
- Copies of the text lesson Broadway Musicals: History & Shows along with the accompanying lesson quiz
- Internet access
- Poster board
- Three preprinted worksheets with 12 Broadway musicals, 12 characters, and 12 plots, not in the correct order. (See Activity 1 for more details.)
- Great Depression
- The Great White Way
- Tony Awards
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they 'see' and 'hear' when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.
- Inform your students they will be learning about Broadway musicals.
- Ask them if anyone has a favorite musical or has been to a show.
- Review the key vocabulary terms.
- Pass out the text lesson, Broadway Musicals: History & Shows. Read the introduction and the first section, 'What is Broadway?'
- How many establishments are considered Broadway theaters?
- Are most of them actually on Broadway?
- Are there off-Broadway theaters right on Broadway?
- When were most of the theaters actually on Broadway?
- Now read the section 'Broadway vs. Off-Broadway.'
- How many seats are in Broadway theaters?
- How many seats are in off-Broadway theaters?
- How many seats are in off-off-Broadway theaters?
- Do Broadway theaters pay more? Why?
- Next read the section 'Where It All Began.'
- When were the origins of Broadway? On which street?
- What war halted production temporarily?
- Which theater accommodated 2,000 patrons?
- What was Vaudeville?
- When did it arrive to Broadway?
- Why did theaters buy so much space on Broadway during this time?
- Now read the section 'The Great White Way.'
- Why did people call the theater district The Great White Way?
- What two factors caused a decline in theater popularity?
- How did theaters compensate to stay open?
- What era ended that brought on Broadway's Golden Age?
- When were the first Tony Awards?
- Next read the section 'Broadway Today: Success and Shows.'
- Which is the longest running show?
- What adaptation of a Disney film is a long-running show?
- What show tells the story of America's Founding Fathers?
- Read the final section, 'Lesson Summary,' recap the text lesson, and answer any pertinent student questions.
- Have your students take the lesson quiz to demonstrate their understanding.
Activity 1 (Day 1)
- Explain to your students they will be playing a matching type of game to compete for prizes.
- Divide your students up into pairs.
- Pass out three preprinted worksheets with the following information, but in mixed order. Worksheet 1 will contain the names of the 12 musicals, Worksheet 2 will contain the names of 12 characters, and Worksheet 3 will contain the plots of the 12 musicals.
- Aladdin - Jasmine - A young man hopes to marry a princess
- Anastasia - Anya - An orphan searches for her family
- The Book of Mormon - Kevin Price - Two missionaries travel to Uganda
- Cats - Griddlebone - A group has to make a choice on its big night
- Chicago - Roxie Hart - A woman is sent to prison for committing a crime
- The Glass Menagerie - Amanda Wingfield - A single mother tries to keep her family together
- Hamilton - Angelica Schuyler - The lead meets with Jefferson and Madison at dinner
- The Lion King - Scar - A treacherous uncle plots revenge for not becoming king
- Phantom of the Opera - Madame Giry - A genius obsesses about a singer
- School of Rock - Dewey Finn - A guy loses his job and becomes a substitute teacher
- Sunset Boulevard - Norma Desmond - A former star tries to revive her career
- Wicked - Glinda - Related to another famous Kansas tale
- Have your students research to come up with the correct matches. They will probably need to utilize the internet to find most of the correct answers.
- Grade the papers as the students turn them in.
- Hand out small prizes to the first three pairs with all the answers correct.
- Does anyone have any further questions or comments?
Activity 2 (Day 1)
- Let your students know they will be drawing a character or scene from a Broadway musical.
- Have your students remain in pairs.
- Hand out colored markers and poster board, one large sheet for each student.
- Pick a character or scene from one of your favorite Broadway musicals to draw. If you don't have a favorite or aren't familiar with any musicals, I can help you pick one.
- You can turn your poster board horizontally or vertically. You can also draw one large picture or divide your poster board up into segments to draw two or more pictures.
- Lastly, have the students share their pictures with the entire class.
Activity 3 (Day 2)
- Inform your students they will be writing their very own Broadway mini-musicals.
- Divide your students up into four large groups.
- Explain that students are going to be writing a mini-musical based on the Phantom of the Opera. However, in this mini-musical, the Phantom is going to live at your school. Each mini-musical should follow these guidelines:
- Groups, in your story, one person will play the Phantom, one person will play the singer Christine, and one person will play Christine's friend Raoul. These are the only three required characters. You can make up roles for each other person in the group. For example, someone could be the janitor, someone could be the gym coach, and someone could be a famous celebrity visiting the school.
- Your musicals should be roughly five minutes long, so time them as you practice them.
- Each person in your group must speak at least three lines.
- You can sing your lines, but if anyone does not wish to sing, that person can just speak the lines.
- You can do a group song as well, but once again, nobody is required to sing.
- Each mini-musical should also answer the following questions:
- Why is the Phantom living in your school? Where does he live?
- What is Christine's job at your school? She is also a singer at night.
- What is Raoul's job at your school? He is a viscount (a noble) as well.
- Why is the Phantom obsessed with Christine?
- Does the Phantom ever meet her?
- How does your musical end?
- Finally, have the four groups perform their musicals for the entire class.
- London is also home to many famous stage productions. Write a one-page paper showcasing some of the famous musical runs in the history of the West End of the city.
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