Broadway musicals are synonymous with choreography. For years, whilst other musical art forms have been documented, recordings of choreography have been notably absent. For a long time, this art form was largely ignored by critics thus losing out on valuable art. The only way these beautiful moments could be recorded was through repetition, learning and reperforming through the years. It wasn’t until 1960 that the musical Bye Bye Birdie fully recorded its choreography that this was changed forever. Once this was done it soon became commonplace and the world of choreography, particularly on Broadway evolved into the world we know today.
About Broadway Musicals
There are many musicals that have been made famous by Broadway but equally there are many shows that have been famous in other mediums and still made a successful transition to musical. Disney movies for example, already full of song have been adapted to fit the setting of the stage. The songs were there already and in some cases there were animated dance routines that could be reimagined. Others, for example, The Lion King, the choreography were developed from scratch, whole dance numbers created to capture the feel of the African rhythm and environment. The Lion King, as a prime example became a mesmerising display of dance and spectacle. Likewise, Beauty and the Beast too recaptured and in some ways even improved upon the original animation.
The Importance of Choreography
Whether we realise it or not, choreography is an integral part of a musical. Bad dancing will jar and remove the audience from being as immersed into the story. Brilliant choreography adds to the storyline and draws theatregoers right into the action. Garth Fagan, The Lion King’s choreographer not only had to contend with people but also puppets when creating the dance numbers. So challenging was this task that initially he didn’t even want the job! Fagan’s already Afro-Caribbean style of choreography won him the part and as history attests was a resounding success. In the end he incorporated not only these forms of dance but also ballet and modern dance as well all in an effort to create realistic animal movements through dance.
The true spectacle of a Broadway show is something to behold. Unmatched by anything on screen it has to be seen live to truly be appreciated. With the ability to record everything, choreographers are finally getting the recognition they so richly deserve.