Portal:Musical theatre

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Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining music, songs, spoken dialogue and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole.

Musical theatre works, usually referred to as "musicals", are performed around the world. They may be presented in large venues, such as big budget West End and Broadway theatre productions in London and New York City, or in smaller Off-Broadway or regional productions, on tour, or by amateur groups in schools, theatres and other performance spaces. In addition to Britain and the U.S., there are vibrant musical theatre scenes in Germany, Austria, Philippines, France, Canada, Japan, Eastern Europe, Australia, and other countries.

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Chicago (musical) is a John Kander and Fred Ebb musical set in prohibition era Chicago. The book is by Ebb and Bob Fosse. The story is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice, and the concept of the "celebrity criminal." The musical is based on a play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins based on actual criminals and crimes she reported on. Chicago's 1996 Broadway revival holds the record for the world's longest-running musical revival on Broadway and, as of June 2007 has played for 4,400 performances.

The original 1975 Broadway production ran for a total of 936 performances and was followed by a production on London's West End. Several touring productions and international productions of Chicago have also been staged. Bob Fosse choreographed the original production, and his style is strongly identified with the show. A film version of the musical was released in 2002.

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Stephen Joshua Sondheim (b. March 22, 1930) is widely seen as his generation's leading writer of the stage musical. Described by Frank Rich in The New York Times as "the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater," he is one of the few people to win an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards (seven, more than any other composer), multiple Grammy Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize. His most famous scores include (as composer/lyricist) A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, A Little Night Music, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, and Sunday in the Park with George, as well as the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy.

Stephen Sondheim was born to Herbert and Janet ("Foxy") Sondheim, in New York City, New York, and grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and later on a farm in Pennsylvania. Herbert was a dress manufacturer and Foxy designed the dresses. While his mother had grown up in an Orthodox Jewish family, Sondheim had no formal religious education or association, did not have a Bar Mitzvah, and reportedly did not set foot in a synagogue until he was 19. An only child of well-to-do parents living in a high-rise apartment on Central Park West, Sondheim's childhood has been portrayed as isolated and emotionally neglected in Meryl Secrest's biography, Sondheim: A Life.

Sondheim traces his interest in theater to Very Warm for May, a Broadway musical he saw at the age of nine. "The curtain went up and revealed a piano," Sondheim recalled. "A butler took a duster and brushed it up, tinkling the keys. I thought that was thrilling."

When Stephen was 10 years old, his father Herbert, a distant figure in Stephen's life, abandoned him and his mother. Under the laws of the day, Sondheim's mother retained full custody. Unfortunately for young Stephen, he saw his mother "Foxy Sondheim" as narcissistic, emotionally abusive, and a hypochondriac. Stephen "famously despised" Foxy; he once wrote a thank-you note to close friend Mary Rodgers that read, "Dear Mary and Hank, Thanks for the plate, but where was my mother's head? Love, Steve." When Foxy died on September 15th 1993, Sondheim refused to attend her funeral.....

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The show is explicitly an homage to the PBS children's television program Sesame Street. Both Marx and puppet designer/original cast member, Rick Lyon have previously worked for Sesame Street, as have the other puppeteers in the original cast. However, unlike Sesame Street, Avenue Q openly addresses adult topics such as racism, infidelity, and masturbation; in fact, because of its adult language and content and "full puppet nudity" (including simulated sex between puppets), the show specifically disclaims any connection to the Children's Television Workshop or The Jim Henson Company. In an interview with Britain's The Times, addressing the question of potential conflicts with Henson, Marx claimed, “During early previews in the States we invited Jim Henson's widow and children and they could see that what we were doing was a homage and love letter to 'Sesame Street.'”

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