New York University / Steinhardt
Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions
Program in Vocal Performance
Music Theatre History I: Antiquity to 1943
Professor John Kenrick
Place: 7 East 12th - Room LL23
Time: Friday 9:30-11:35
Office Hours: by appointment
Through lectures, video clips, recordings, and assigned readings, we will trace the evolution of musical theatre from antiquity to 1930, discussing the development of operetta, variety, burlesque, musical comedy, revues and other genres. Music Theatre History Part I will provide students with:
- A historical prospective on the artistic, cultural and commercial trends that led to the modern musical.
- An examination of the environments and remarkable individuals that drove these trends and shaped an industry.
- Familiarity with landmark stage musicals and major creative talents of the period.
Grading will be based on two written exams (50% of grade), a brief research paper (20% of grade) as well as quizzes and classroom participation (30%). The mid-term is a take home, and the final exam will be given in class during finals week. Because brief quizzes can be given at any time, students are required to have a pen and loose-leaf or blank paper with them for all classes.
The research paper is to be 5-6 pages in length, focusing on any creative talent or performer that we cover this semester. You are required to submit your topic for approval at midterm, and must reference at least two books other than our textbook.
Class participation is a major component of your final grade, so you are expected to attend ALL lectures, and be on time. You must make sure to sign the attendance sheet even if you arrive late; otherwise, you may be counted absent. Every class will include rare video clips that may not be available to you elsewhere.
An unexcused absence will lower your final term grade by one full grade level. Inexcusable absences include oversleeping, auditions, vacation plans, etc. Excusable absences include medical, family emergency, etc. When possible, send me an email with the appropriate information prior to your absence, and I will let you know if it can be excused.
PLEASE NOTE: Electronic devices are permitted in class for note taking. Web browsing, emails, texting, phone calls, checking phone messages and any other extraneous use of such devices during class are strictly prohibited, and can result in deductions from your class participation grade for the semester – 10 points per infraction. After a third infraction, further disciplinary action may be taken. In other words: surf, text & check messages on your own time.
- Musical Theatre: A History, John Kenrick (2010)
- On-line text for additional reference: Musicals101.com
Weekly reading assignments are posted at www.musicals101.com/nyusem1.htm and on the NYU website.
ADDITIONAL SUGGESTED READING
American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle, Gerald Bordman 3rd Edition, 2001
You must have an active NYU email account that you check on a regular basis. This is the most reliable way for me to communicate with you regarding last minute changes, and for you to reach me regarding questions, etc. If you wish to meet with me, please email me via firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment. Because I commute, the best times to meet are before or after class.
Special needs: I want to make the course as inclusive as possible, so please let me know if there is anything I should be aware of regarding you, such as a particular medical condition, a sensory or hidden disability, etc. that might affect your participation in the course or your personal well-being. This disclosure is of course optional, or if you wish, only for selected individuals. Any student attending NYU who needs an accommodation due to a chronic, psychological, visual, mobility and/or learning disability, or is Deaf or Hard of Hearing should register with the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities. It provides comprehensive services and programs for NYU undergraduate and graduate students with hearing and visual impairments, mobility impairments, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, chronic illnesses, and psychological impairments. The Moses Center functions to determine qualified disability status and to assist students in obtaining appropriate accommodations and services. Services provided are designed to encourage independence and self-advocacy, backed by a comprehensive system of supports. The Center is located at 726 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, New York 10003. Phone and TTY: 212-998-4980; Fax: 212-995-4114; Web: http://www.nyu.edu/life/safety-health-wellness/students-with-disabilities.html
Academic Honesty: You are responsible for knowing the University’s issued standards of academic honesty outlines in the student handbook. It is your responsibility to uphold these policies and actively avoid any behavior that is or that may be construed by any instructor as academic dishonesty. This means that you must write your own papers and see assigned performances in their entirety, and must not pass on information regarding them to other students who have not seen those performances. You must also be careful with your behavior during exams administered in class. If you are ever unsure about this policy, please meet with me or a teaching assistant of further clarification. The standard penalty for academic dishonesty, including plagiarism (presenting someone else’s ideas or writing as your own) consists of an automatic “F” for the course and notification of campus authorities.
Open Door Policy: It is my intention to maintain a safe and comfortable learning environment for everyone in the class. If at any time you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, please feel free to address this issue with me or your teaching assistant. I would suggest emailing to set up a mutually convenient time when we can meet.
Week 1 (9/4): Definitions & Beginnings - Antiquity to Ballad Opera
Week 2 (9/11): Continental Operetta - Offenbach & Strauss
Week 3 (9/18): Minstrelsy
Week 4 (9/25): Early American Musicals
Week 5 (10/2): Gilbert & Sullivan
Week 6 (10/9): Anatomy of a Hit - The Merry Widow
Week 7 (10/16): Vaudeville & Burlesque
MID-TERM EXAM due IN CLASS
Week 8 (10/23): George M. Cohan
Week 9 (10/30): Victor Herbert & Irving Berlin
Week 10 (11/6): Revues - Ziegfeld’s Follies
RESEARCH PAPER due IN CLASS
Week 11 (11/13): Kern - The Princess Musicals and Beyond
Week 12 (11/20): Career in Profile - Al Jolson
Nov. 27: THANKSGIVING BREAK
Week 13 (12/54): 1920s - Hot Times, Great Talents & Show Boat
Week 14: (12/13) 1930-40s - Something is Stirring
FINAL EXAM IN CLASS