SOUND OF MUSICALS WITH NEIL BRAND (2017)
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Series in which composer Neil Brand explores how musical theatre evolved over the last 100 years to become today's global phenomenon. Neil hears the inside story from leading composers and talent past and present, and recreates classic songs, looking in detail at how these work musically and lyrically to captivate the audience.
(Total Running Time: Approx. 3 hours)
Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'!
Episode 1 of 3
In the first episode, Neil finds out how the modern shape of the musical was established through a series of pioneering works, from Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's Show Boat in the 1920s with its bold take on America's racial divide and innovative use of songs that further the narrative, to Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's My Fair Lady, which made a star of Julie Andrews in the late 1950s. Neil also reveals the songwriting secrets of some much-loved numbers, including Ol' Man River, Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin', and If I Loved You.
Episode 2 of 3
In the second episode, Neil explores how a new generation of composers transformed musical theatre by embracing more gritty, challenging subjects, from the mean streets of 1950s New York in West Side Story, to the Dickensian London of British blockbuster Oliver!. Neil learns the stories behind Broadway hits Fiddler on the Roof and A Chorus Line, and celebrates the groundbreaking work of Stephen Sondheim. He also takes us step by step through the secrets of some classic numbers with the help of star performers Robert Lindsay and Frances Ruffelle.
Seasons of Love
Episode 3 of 3
In the concluding episode, he explores why musical theatre is thriving in the 21st century. He charts the rise of the 'megamusical' phenomenon, with shows like Cats and Les Miserables, learns the behind-the-scenes story of how Disney transformed The Lion King from a cartoon into a record-breaking stage success, and sees how musicals have captured contemporary life in shows like Rent and Avenue Q. Neil recreates classic numbers to reveal the secrets of their songwriting, including The Rocky Horror Show's Sweet Transvestite, Don't Cry for Me Argentina from Evita, and Les Miserables' Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. Neil meets a host of top musical theatre talent, including master lyricist Tim Rice, Lion King director Julie Taymor, and leading composers Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast) and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q and Frozen).