The Reasons to Teach Broadway Musicals to Your Students
There is a phenomena I can’t quite explain.
It used to be people weren’t all that excited about musicals.
Well, some people weren’t. I always liked them. In fact, I remember the first musical I attended. I saw Pearl Bailey in Hello Dolly! on Broadway. That was a really amazing production. My parents took me to see George M. Cohan as well and all I remember (because I was 10) was the tap dancing and lots of it.
Those of us who are eat-sleep-breathe-drama-and music love all of them. Although I have several favorites.
Learn about them here: The Reasons These Shows are My Favorite Broadway Musicals
Broadway Musical Lessons
I began creating Broadway musical lessons about two years ago and to date I have over twenty lessons. They are very popular and I’m so glad I created them.
When I taught at a school in Colorado, our musical theater students chose a musical they wanted to share with the rest of the class. They’d share its synopsis, a song and a bit of trivia.
At the time, I thought it would be a super experience for students to learn about these over the course of the school year. Maybe every Friday could be Broadway Musical Day? In that particular case, I only saw the students once a week (they were basically home schooled the rest of the week) so I couldn’t take the time for my idea.
However, I thought a drama or vocal music teacher might find these of use.
The Reasons to Teach Broadway Musicals to Your Students:
- It is always very entertaining.
- Musical theater is a fabulous blend of music and theater–you get a little of both and never too much of either.
- The action in a musical moves along fairly quickly because it’s peppered with song and/or dance, hence it keeps everyone engaged.
- It is an excellent example of cooperative learning and creative problem solving–it incorporates every other arts medium–dance, art, music and theater!
- Songs allow for interpretation of moments that a monologue can not explain so easily.
- An entire moment in a story can be demonstrated through a song and dance which is much more interesting than merely using dialogue.
- In a school environment, most school musicals involve more than just the drama department–the music department participates which includes band and orchestra students. Talk about involving the school!
- Musicals are an excellent way to teach about current or historical events–Hamilton, Ragtime, Les Mis, 1776, The Scottsboro Boys, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Parade, Come From Away to name a few.
- Musicals teach about social issues–Rent, Cabaret, Dear Evan Hansen, Fun Home, Newsies, South Pacific, The book of Mormon, Hairspray, West Side Story, Falsettos, Newsies, Next to Normal, etc.
- Plus, as my husband said, “They are just fun!”
At least once a month or two, I create a new Broadway musical lesson. Here is what they include:
(Here is an example from Hairspray, the Broadway Musical
Broadway Musical Lessons for You to Use Tomorrow!
The product includes:
- Letter to Teacher
- Two Warm Ups–Dance Tutorials from the Actual Production
- Teacher’s Script–What I Say and How I Say it!
- Photos of Hairspray
- Synopsis of the Musical
- Plot of the Musical
- Short Biography about Marc Shaiman composer and choreographer Jerry Mitchell
- Separate File of Photos for Teacher’s Use in Lecture
- History about the Origination of the Production
- AND a Mini-Lesson on What are the Tony Awards?
- List of Tony Awards
- New York City Map with Competing Theaters Labeled
- Student Note Page for Hairspray
- Teacher Note Page Key
- Trivia about Broadway and Hairspray
- Songs List
- Pinterest Board Link Specifically about Hairspray
- Extension Activities– SEVEN Terrific Suggestions of Ways to Secure the Learning and Enrich the Experience either Individual or Group
- Two costume design templates for one of the extension activities
- Sources & Links to Film Clips from the Show
- And More!
Comprehensive? You bet.
Did you know that Wicked is being made into a film with Cynthia Erivo and Arianna Grande?
How can I use these in my classroom? It depends upon the musical lesson, but teachers have used them in elementary through high school grades in classes of drama, vocal music, language arts and American history. These lessons can be as short as one day or up to three days in length depending upon what the teacher requires.
Plus, they are great with substitutes!
Made by Teachers
Here’s something else you may not be aware of–I now sell drama products on Made By Teachers Marketplace. This is a fairly new company busting with enthusiasm and quality. If you want to help a blossoming company, I suggest you look into The Wheel. And…..if you want to try one of my drama education products (I have over 300 but working on putting up my best 25 at the MBT), you can check me out at: Dramamommaspeaks Store on Made by Teachers
I hope you consider teaching with a Broadway musical lesson in the near future. Do check back often, because as I mentioned, I’m always adding another to the store.
Want some free stuff? Check out my page FREE Stuff.
What do you like about musicals? I’d love to hear from you. Contact me at DhcBaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net