Courses

PD COURSE

Teaching Musical Theatre in the Drama Classroom

by Colin Oliver

Colin Oliver leads this introduction to teaching Musical Theatre in the Drama Classroom.

In this course, you will learn how to build musical theatre into your dramatic courses of study. “Why might you want to do that? Singing is scary! You want me to teach my students how to do it? I don’t even know how to do it.” This course approaches musical theatre preparation performance much as we would approach preparing a monologue in drama. If you use script analysis in monologue preparation in your class, you can teach musical theatre.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a great, full-body physical warm-up, a student-driven research assignment, character development exercises, a little bit of musical theory, and a performance assignment complete with assessment.

So, join us for teaching Musical Theatre in the Drama Classroom. It’s as easy as Do-Re-Mi!

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Units

UNIT

Musical Theatre

by Anna Porter

Musical Theatre has two components that separate it from straight plays: song and dance. This unit gives students the opportunity to try out both. In musical theatre, music signifies heightened emotion. We can’t express ourselves with just words, we need music (and through extension, song and dance) to take it further.

This unit includes three lesson plans:

1. Acting the Song - “Musical Tactics”
2. Acting the Song - “Textual Analysis”
3. Introduction to Dance

A solo performance assignment is also included, and the unit includes assessment tools - rubrics, reflections, and self-evaluations.

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UNIT

Improvisation in Musical Theatre

by Annie Dragoo

Understanding basic improvisation skills will help musical theatre performers understand that musical theatre is more than just singing and dancing. It’s about using all the tools (voice, body, and mind) an actor has at their disposal to create a character.

This unit focuses more on the improv aspect rather than the musical theatre aspects - in fact students need no prior musical theatre knowledge. Annie Dragoo, creator of the unit, uses this material as her first unit in her musical theatre class. It’s a great introduction and will get your students in the right frame of mind to approach musical theatre.

The lessons explore a variety of improv skills such as vocal responses, movement, character study, sensory awareness and culminate in an improv scene and unit essay.

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UNIT

Musical Theatre History Museum Project

by Annie Dragoo

Musical Theatre is a uniquely American art form, explored through this unique unit by instructor Annie Dragoo.

It is divided into two parts: first, students view a documentary called Broadway the American Musical - available on YouTube. Students will reflect after each episode and there is an available viewing quiz.

After viewing, discussing and reflecting on each episode of the PBS Documentary, Broadway: The American Musical, students will research a specific topic in order to create and design a musical theatre museum exhibit. It’s a great three-dimensional demonstration of knowledge, and there is a rubric provided for the completed exhibit.

This is not your traditional textbook history learning!

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UNIT

Creating a Musical: Project

by Annie Dragoo

Want a fun project that has your students collaborating and creating? In this unit by Annie Dragoo, students in groups will write and perform an original musical by adding modern songs to a traditional fairy tale story.

The six lessons take students from writing their script, to choreography and planned movement, to rehearsing, performing and evaluation.

The Rubric will focus on student performance. That means vocal delivery, emotional delivery, blocking/choreography, energy, focus, and characters.

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UNIT

Creating Your Own Musical

by Laramie Dean

Instructor Laramie Dean uses this unit as the final project for his Drama 2 students. Drawing upon any of the skills students have developed throughout they create a product that could be used within a new piece of musical theatre.

Students start by analyzing three musicals, study guides included, and practice creating musical elements. They are then giving class time to prepare in groups as many elements as their can for a new musical using devised theatre techniques.

There are 24 lessons in this unit which culminates in a final assessed performance.

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UNIT

Introduction to Musical Theatre: Movement

by Annie Dragoo

Musical theatre performers use their bodies to sing, to dance, and to act. We must think of our bodies as instruments and learn to use our instruments properly in order to be better musical theatre performers.

The overall objective with this unit, by Annie Dragoo, is for students to demonstrate an understanding of the use of good movement as it connects to musical theatre. Some of the activities include using action verbs, moving as animals and inanimate characters, nonverbal communication and situational movement. Students will then perform a scene that will allow them to put to practice all the movement techniques they have learned.

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Lesson Plans

LESSON PLAN

Emergency Lesson Plan: Fallen Phrase Puzzle - Musicals

by Lindsay Price

In this ELP, students complete a Fallen Phrase Puzzle using quotes from musicals.

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LESSON PLAN

Group Musical Poster

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will read the description of a musical then break into groups to create a poster for the show. Each group will present their poster to the class and explain their representation. Note: This lesson works well if students have had a basic introduction to musical theatre.

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LESSON PLAN

Acting the Song - “Musical Tactics”

by Anna Porter

Students will understand how they can identify and create their own musical tactics and interpretation of a song by breaking down its music and lyrics. Students will build upon/review their understanding of basic music terminology and apply it to performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Acting the Song - “Textual Analysis”

by Anna Porter

Students will understand how to analyze a song to find meaning, objective, and tactics through textual analysis.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction to Dance

by Anna Porter

Students will understand the importance of endurance, emotion, and commitment in movement when performing. They will also gain an understanding of how to pick up choreography by learning the concepts of routine and anticipation.

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LESSON PLAN

Final Project

by Anna Porter

This unit includes the opportunity for students to choose and perform a musical theatre piece using the oral techniques and textual analysis that they learned in the lesson.

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LESSON PLAN

Emergency Lesson Plan: Musical Theatre Licensing Masterclass

by Lindsay Price

In this ELP, students participate in an online masterclass on directing and complete a viewing quiz.

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LESSON PLAN

Acting vs. Performing a Song

by Annie Dragoo

In musicals, it is important to remember that acting does not stop when the music begins. In this lesson, students will learn to find meaning behind the lyrics of a song so that they can convey the character’s feelings while performing.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction to Musical Theatre Conventions

by Annie Dragoo

Students will explore the different theatre conventions through various activities and then apply this knowledge to musical theatre by viewing musical theatre numbers.

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LESSON PLAN

Intro to Improv for Musical Theatre

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate an understanding of improv guidelines by using them in an exercise. This is an introductory improv lesson that is designed to build upon the actors’ tools in future lessons.

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LESSON PLAN

Improv with Vocal Responses

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate ability to respond vocally by participating in various improvisation activities.

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LESSON PLAN

Improv with Movement

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate ability to improvise movement by participating in a various activities.

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LESSON PLAN

Improv for Character Study

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate ability to develop a character by participating in various improvisation exercises.

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LESSON PLAN

Improv Using Sensory Awareness

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate sensory awareness by improvising an everyday activity while paying attention to as many sensory details as possible.

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LESSON PLAN

Improvisation Scenes

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate ability to use voice, body, and imagination/mind together by planning and performing an improvised scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Reflection (Essay)

by Annie Dragoo

Students will evaluate the value of improvisation in musical theatre by writing a five-paragraph essay.

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LESSON PLAN

Character Analysis - Musical Theatre Version

by Annie Dragoo

Use this lesson plan as a response activity connected to viewing a video of a musical in class. For example: At the end of semester or if you need a lesson plan during tech week - watch the musical and then do the exercise.

After viewing a musical, students will exhibit their ability to analyze a specific character from a musical by creating a visual character profile.

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LESSON PLAN

The Musical Theatre Audition Slate

by Annie Dragoo

Making a first impression is the most important part of an audition. By learning to slate with confidence, students will learn how to introduce themselves in an musical theatre audition.

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LESSON PLAN

A Podcast Musical Analysis

by Annie Dragoo

Students will listen to and analyze a podcast musical called 36 Questions by Christopher Littler and Ellen Winter, starring Jonathan Groff and Jessie Shelton. This lesson is intended for senior grades only (11 & 12). Please see content warning in the lesson plan (p.1).

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LESSON PLAN

Reading Basic Musical Dynamic Markings

by Annie Dragoo

Students will be able to identify musical dynamic markings that will allow them to vocally interpret the music effectively. Understanding musical dynamic markings will help you navigate a song, and you can do this even if you do not read music.

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LESSON PLAN

The Musical Theatre Audition Porfolio Project

by Annie Dragoo

Part of the audition process is preparation. And that is not just memorizing a single monologue or one song. It’s preparing a wide variety of material for a variety of situations. By preparing an audition portfolio, students will be ready for any type of audition that may arise. The portfolio will also help students explore different genres of musical theatre.

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LESSON PLAN

Give My Regards to Broadway

by Annie Dragoo

By viewing this documentary, students explore Broadway’s history from the vaudeville shows and operettas of the 20th century to 21st-century extravaganzas such as Hairspray and Wicked. In this lesson, students will view, discuss, and reflect on Episode 1.

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LESSON PLAN

The Charleston, Jazz, and the New American Slang

by Annie Dragoo

In this lesson, students will view, discuss, and reflect on Episode 2.

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LESSON PLAN

Broadway Gives Hope

by Annie Dragoo

In this lesson, students will view, discuss, and reflect on Episode 3.

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LESSON PLAN

The Golden Age

by Annie Dragoo

In this lesson, students will view, discuss, and reflect on Episode 4.

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LESSON PLAN

Broadway Reinvents Itself

by Annie Dragoo

In this lesson, students will view, discuss, and reflect on Episode 5.

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LESSON PLAN

Broadway and the Global Economy

by Annie Dragoo

In this lesson, students will view, discuss, and reflect on Episode 6.

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LESSON PLAN

Topic Research and Exhibit Planning

by Annie Dragoo

In Part Two of this unit, students will research the influence of a musical theatre topic in the past and present. Students will apply their knowledge by creating, designing, and presenting a musical theatre museum exhibit.

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LESSON PLAN

Museum Day

by Annie Dragoo

Students will showcase what they have learned about their musical theatre topic in a museum exhibit. Students will also learn about additional musical theatre topics by viewing other exhibits and answering questions found in the Museum Exhibit Questionnaire Book.

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LESSON PLAN

Writing the Musical

by Annie Dragoo

Students will write a musical by adding modern songs to a traditional fairy tale story.

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LESSON PLAN

Choreographing the Musical

by Annie Dragoo

Students will choreograph their original musicals by planning and rehearsing the movement for each song.

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LESSON PLAN

Blocking the Musical

by Annie Dragoo

Students will block/stage their original musicals by planning and rehearsing the movement for the dialogue.

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LESSON PLAN

Rehearsing the Musical

by Annie Dragoo

Students will rehearse their original musicals, putting finishing touches and memorizing lines, blocking, and movement.

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LESSON PLAN

Performing the Musical

by Annie Dragoo

Students will apply everything they have worked on throughout this unit: writing, choreography, blocking, and rehearsing.

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LESSON PLAN

Evaluating the Performance

by Annie Dragoo

Students will evaluate their performances in their original musicals.

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LESSON PLAN

Introducing Devised Theatre

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, we define devised theatre and use a piece of music for students to create their own performance inspired by the music.

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LESSON PLAN

Practicing with Devised Theatre

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, we try a different devised theatre technique using a photograph to inspire students to create their own performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Introducing the Musical Theatre Form

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, we define musical theatre and spend a little bit of time on the history and structure. Students also receive information on their performance and their independent written projects.

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LESSON PLAN

The Musical Theatre Form

by Laramie Dean

In these two lessons, we begin and continue viewing Singin’ in the Rain. Students will watch carefully in order to complete the required sections in their study guide.

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LESSON PLAN

Practicing with Devised Theatre; Singin' in the Rain

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, students will finish watching Singin’ in the Rain (if you need additional time) and complete a devising activity based on the film.

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LESSON PLAN

Practicing with Devised Theatre; Sweeney Todd

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, students will present their devising pieces and prepare to watch the next musical, Sweeney Todd.

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LESSON PLAN

Musical Theatre Form; Sweeney Todd

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, we begin viewing Sweeney Todd. Students will watch carefully in order to complete the required sections in their study guide.

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LESSON PLAN

Sweeney Todd, Continued

by Laramie Dean

In these two lessons, we continue viewing Sweeney Todd. Students will watch carefully in order to complete the required sections in their study guide.

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LESSON PLAN

Devising Activity; Sweeney Todd

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, students will finish watching Sweeney Todd (if you need additional time) and complete a devising activity based on the film.

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LESSON PLAN

Practicing with Devised Theatre; Dreamgirls

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, students will present their devising pieces and prepare to watch the next musical, Dreamgirls.

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LESSON PLAN

Musical Theatre Form; Dreamgirls

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, we begin viewing Dreamgirls. Students will watch carefully in order to complete the required sections in their study guide.

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LESSON PLAN

Dreamgirls, Continued

by Laramie Dean

In these two lessons, we continue viewing Dreamgirls. Students will watch carefully in order to complete the required sections in their study guide.

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LESSON PLAN

Devising Activity; Dreamgirls

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, students will finish watching Dreamgirls (if you need additional time) and complete a devising activity based on the film.

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LESSON PLAN

Presenting Devised Pieces

by Laramie Dean

In this lesson, students will present their devising pieces and prepare to create their own musicals.

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LESSON PLAN

Creating Musical Components

by Laramie Dean

In this series of lessons, students will use class time to work in groups to create as many musical components as they can given the time available.

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LESSON PLAN

Independent Musical Project

by Laramie Dean

This is the last lesson before students present their pieces for assessment.

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LESSON PLAN

Original Musical Presentation & Final Assessment

by Laramie Dean

Students present their original musicals components for assessment.

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LESSON PLAN

The Body is Your Instrument

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the body’s importance to an actor.

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LESSON PLAN

Movement and Action Verbs

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate their understanding of actable verbs by using them in a scene. They will be introduced to the concepts of motivation, objective, and tactics.

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LESSON PLAN

Physicalizing an Objective

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate their ability to physically achieve an objective by using their bodies in a musical scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Movement for Inanimate/Animal Character

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate their ability to move like an inanimate object by performing a scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Nonverbal Communication

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate their ability to use physical variety by utilizing three levels of physicalizing emotions to music.

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LESSON PLAN

Simple Actions

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate their understanding of simple action by performing or coaching the performer to deliver a love poem while using three simple actions.

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LESSON PLAN

Situational Movement

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate their understanding of situational movement by performing a scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Occupation While Waiting

by Annie Dragoo

Students will demonstrate their ability to find occupation while waiting by performing a scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Final Movement Performance

by Annie Dragoo

Students will rehearse and perform a scene plus song incorporating specific movement. After the performance, students will complete a self-assessment checklist.

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LESSON PLAN

Improv a Musical

by Ed Reggi

In this lesson, students will explore how to make their own Broadway musical through improvisation. Broadway musicals like The Book of Mormon, Urinetown, and Forbidden Broadway were developed from improvised work. Students will learn how to improvise an original musical in front of an
audience. There are excellent opportunities for both the singer and non-singer who wants to explore improv like never before. This is also a great opportunity for singers to become far more confident with their performances. There are hands-on activities for students at all levels.

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Resources

RESOURCE

Masterclass with Jim Hoare: Musical Theatre Licensing

Masterclass is a series of one-on-one interviews with experts, creators and innovators in the world of Theatre that you can study in-depth, or share with your classes. Think of this series as ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ for Drama Teachers.

This Masterclass with Jim Hoare from Theatrical Rights Worldwide is all about Musical Theatre Licensing, and is hosted by Matt Webster.

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RESOURCE

Vocal Warm-up

Learn a great vocal warm-up "What a to-do" from DTA instructor Todd Espeland. It promotes diction, projection and breath control.

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RESOURCE

Musical Theatre Vocal Warm-Up

This warm-up takes students through the 3 key components of warming up the body before singing: Stretching, Breathing, and Resonator and Articulator exercises.

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RESOURCE

Cinderella Movie Viewing Quiz

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is available to watch for free on Youtube. Have students research and answer
the questions below before they watch.

Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xkQjuwihYI&t=25s&has_verified=1

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PLCs

PLC

Musicals

Hosted by Matt Webster, Roxane Caravan, Tricia Oliver

Our host and panel discuss budgets, production options, student/parent contracts, and the tips that make staging a musical worthwhile.

Hosted by Matt Webster, joined by Tricia Oliver, Roxane Caravan, and Lindsay Price.

Recorded on January 12, 2016 at 8pm

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PLC

Musicals: Rehearsals

Hosted by Matt Webster

You've got the rights, the music, the script... now where do you start with your student actors? Learn from Matt Webster, Craig Mason, Cindy Sams and Tricia Oliver as they lead you through how to get rehearsals started and the process up to opening night.

Recorded on March 8, 2016.

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