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Course Catalog

IN-PERSON: Giants of the American Musical Theater   


**This class will be taught In-Person**

We will explore important works by three of the most important composers of American Musical Theater, Jerome Kern, Rogers & Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim.

Of course, as we explore the history of these important composers and their works, we will enjoy many video performances by some of the greatest performers of the American Musical Theater. 

Week by Week Outline

In the first session, we will take a deep dive into Jerome Kern’s masterpiece Showboat, with a brief look back into European operetta, the art form that spawned what we now call “Broadway Musicals”.  Showboat, with its complex plot and characters, is considered by many to be the first true “Broadway Musical”. 


The second session will be devoted to the musicals of Rogers & Hammerstein.  Their composition Oklahoma ushered in the Golden Age of the “American Book Musical.” Their other compositions, including Carousel and South Pacific shattered barriers and advanced innovations that pioneered significant changes in the art form.


The final session will explore the works of the innovative, daring, and brilliant lyricist/composer, Stephen Sondheim. No one helped the American Musical Theater evolve farther or faster than Stephen Sondheim.  As a young man in his twenties, he wrote the lyrics to West Side Story. He went on to write an astonishing range of works, from the frothy and lyrical plays A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and A Little Night Music, to dark and brooding works like Sweeney Todd and Assassins. 


This class is not available at this time.