Instructions How to Write

Musical Theater Speech

West Side Story 1961
Miss Saigon 2016
Chicago 2002
Cabaret 1972

THEMES:
What is this show about? Can you list at least five single words that represent ideas in the play?
Does the musical have a goal, a purpose? What was the intention in writing the show?
Was the creative team making a thematic statement? About Government? Racism? Body Image? Acceptance? Others? Is this statement evidenced in examples from the play?
Is there a song that represents a theme? What lyrics in the song highlight the theme, and what do the lyrics suggest?

MUSIC AND DANCE:
What is the general quality or tone of the music? What adjectives can describe it?
What does the quality of the music contribute to the story? What emotions does the music bring up?
Where do the songs support the plot or character of the story in Hairspray? Point out examples where Music, Theatre and Dance are integrated to reveal character or plot.
How would you describe the style of dancing? Does it add to the story line or themes? What does the style of movement communicate?

PLOT:
Describe the shape of the play. Is there an overall pattern of causality in the action, where one scene causes another to happen?
Does the plot have a Conflict with dramatic action that creates a rise of tension? Describe the two opposing forces in the conflict.
Is there an Inciting Incident (an event that set things in motion before the play begins).
Is there a Point of Attack (a moment when the conflict is set up)?
What is the climax of the play?
What is the resolution of the play?

SPECTACLE:
Is this musical theatrical in any way? What draws our interest in a visual way to an important moment? Does it work?
What moments give the play a theatrical lift?
What is the most theatrical moment of spectacle in the musical and why?

CHARACTER:
Describe one of the characters using adjectives. Show evidence from the musical to support each attribute. Also describe them based on what they actually do in the musical.

Paragraph 1: Introduction
Paragraph 2: Answer to one of the topic questions with examples from the show
Paragraph 3: Answer to another topic question with examples from the show
Paragraph 4: Answer to one last topic question with examples from the show
Paragraph 5: Conclusion.
*if your analysis in paragraphs 2 and 3 end up being long, you don’t need to include a third question. Not sure how to judge? Your paper should be around 1-2 pages. If it’s longer than that, then you can cut one of the topic questions.

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