Course overview

This course examines the development of musicals over the course of the twentieth century, how they reflected historical events and often revealed the personal opinions of the writers. We will cover what is usually described as the first musical in the modern sense - Show Boat, some of the film musicals of Hollywood's golden age through the prism of the Production Code (Hays Code), the great musicals of the post-Second World War era, and some of today's blockbusters, including Les Misérables.

Course description

This is a history course based on some well-known musicals. Writers of these works often dealt with complex social, political and historical issues while providing an entertaining show with great songs. Show Boat, described as the first true musical, is set in the southern states of America under conditions of systematic discrimination against the black population after the abolition of slavery - and when the first performance took place, black people were still being cheated of the freedom they had expected following the Emancipation proclamation. Racial tensions also feature in West Side Story. Paris has often been the focus of books and theatrical works, and two of the best-loved musicals in recent years are set there - Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera. The course will examine the history behind them and look at other popular stage musicals of more recent years. Also included in this course is the strange censorship of the Hollywood Production Code (the Hays Code) which had several clauses specifically aimed at film musicals and which was in operation from 1934 until the mid-1960s.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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