• ‘Does anybody have a map?’ The impact of ‘Virtual Broadway’ on musical theatre composition

      Chandler, Clare; Scheuber-Rush, Simeon (Song, Stage and Screen, 2017-06-19)
      In contemporary popular music, ‘There are no longer subjective gatekeepers controlling who gets let “in”, promoted and exposed. The choice is ours. Now, anyone can be famous.’ (Price, 2011). This is a transformation also evident in musical theatre, where an upsurge in ‘YouTube musical theatre composers’ (Pasek & Paul, 2015) and social media engagement challenges the dominance of the book musical. Opportunities for self-promotion on the internet are vast, and allow composers to reach a more diverse audience, but in what ways do these emerging opportunities also influence the form of works produced. For instance, online audiences often lack time to invest emotionally in a long theatrical piece, and prefer songs that deliver similar emotional arcs in condensed form. If humans on-line have an average attention span of 8 seconds (Riecke-Gonzales, 2015), for example, this paper considers how musical theatre might evolve to meet the requirements of millennials. The growing popularity of Dear Evan Hansen, arguably the first truly ‘digital age’ musical (Takiff, 2016), provides a present instance of the impact of ‘virtual Broadway’ (Pasek & Paul, 2015) on the musical theatre model. It is both possible and timely to debate the extent to which this hybrid has ‘democratized access to creation and distribution tools’ (Bhargava and Klat, 2017), allowing new voices and models to break through, or has actually limited the genre’s scope.
    • Je suis Katie – free speech in post-truth verbatim musical theatre

      Chandler, Clare (American Theatre and Drama Society, 2018-10-26)
    • ‘Learn To Do It’ – performer training across the pedagogies

      Chandler, Clare; Griffiths, Rachel (TaPRA, 2018-09-05)
    • Musical Theatre Composition: how Digital Broadway has changed ‘What’s Inside’

      Chandler, Clare; Scheuber-Rush, Simeon (Association for Theatre in Higher Education, 2018-08-01)
      Song form, structure, function and ideology are culturally and genre specific. Boiled down to its most basic elements, a pop song is about emotional connection and engagement, whereas its musical theatre cousin is concerned with narrative progression; ‘pop songs are to adjectives what musical theatre songs are to verbs.’ (Lambert, 2015) Lambert articulates a binary perspective on genres, which are actually overlapping in unprecedented ways, in terms of authorship, style, means of distribution, and popularity. This paper explores, not the distinctions, but the points of contact between song forms, with a view to understanding the current creative moment, and, perhaps, anticipating future trends. In contemporary popular music, ‘There are no longer subjective gatekeepers controlling who gets let “in”, promoted and exposed. The choice is ours. Now, anyone can be famous.’ (Price, 2011). This is a transformation also evident in musical theatre, where an upsurge in ‘YouTube musical theatre composers’ (Pasek & Paul, 2015) and social media engagement challenges the dominance of the book musical. If humans on-line have an average attention span of 8 seconds (Riecke-Gonzales, 2015), for example, this paper considers how musical theatre is evolving to meet the requirements of millennials.