Sunday, June 29, 2008

In the Beginning...

... the "educational musical" was without shape or form and void. And lo, there appeared upon the deep stories and sagas of princesses and princes and doctors and plantation owners and missionaries and cannibals... all created to teach impressionable children, from middle school to college, a right and proper sense of musical theatre.

And most of it wasnt Good.

So at this little corner of the Internet, we'll explore some of these little-known (for good reason, usually) shows. Most were published from 1910 to 1950, which was pretty much when the format died out. But it left a legacy of fascinating material that, in some cases, demand a new acquaintance. After all, they started us down the road that has led to the endless productions of High School Musical we have today.

In addition, there will be the occasional sound file (generated using a software called Notion), but bear in mind that many of these, although no longer in print, are probably held under "grey-area" copyrights. I'll do my best to ascertain their status before posting, but in some cases, it simply may not be possible. As such, if someone requests a sound file be deleted because of copyright violation, it will go away immediately. Nevertheless, given that these are posted for fun more than profit, I'm not gonna sweat too much whether or not something written in 1935 is still protected.

I may also provide my own interpretations of a play's production requirements, only because, in some cases, they're just too much fun to ignore. I've worked in the past as a set and costume designer pro bono for various schools around the country, and this project will be a neat little way to keep that skillset up and running, if only for the theatre inside my mind.

Okay, this is important. Bear in mind that these are all products of their social times. Some will no doubt be seen as offensive, for a variety of reasons. It's easy now to look at them and roll your eyes in distaste, but by the same token, there's no reason to ignore their place in the time's wider social fabric. For those with delicate social constitutions, I'll leave plenty of warning.

And should you have any of these playscripts/scores lying around you'd like to contribute to the library, let me know at joey_aristophanes@yahoo.com.