When you hear of Broadway and Musicals you may think of Phantom Of The Opera, Cats, Rent, even modern musicals such as Rock Of Ages. But rarely do we know more about the terms that the Musical world have come to know as almost a second language. Well, we here at boom wanted to help explain a few terms you may have heard but never knew what they meant. So here are just a few that you can use to show off to your friends in conversation!
Advance - Advance tickets are sold before the show opens, whether it be online or at a box office. It's usually for garanteeing yourself a spot at a popular show ahead of time. Nobody likes to show up on opening night and wait in line (especially if it sells out before you reach the front).
Ballad: A dramatic song, usually romantic, song with the lyricism based around a single event. The pace is usually a slow to medium tempo, but that's not a requirement. If it is slow paced, overly romantic and can be described using the words 'sappy' 'soft' or 'heartfelt' (or anymore combination of those!) you can almost bet it's a ballad.
Here's some examples, we're certain you can come up with some more:
Some 'sappy' ballads:
With or Without You - U2, Open Arms - Journey, I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
Some 'soft' ballads:
Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton, Drive - The Cars, Hey Jude - The Beatles
Some 'heartfelt' ballads:
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd, Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan, Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin
Book: The plot and dialogue that carries the story of the musical between the musical numbers. This portion of the musical is usually written by somneone other than the composer or lyricist.
Broadway: The world famous theater district in New York City. The big leagues in the world of theater. Here's what's playing on Broadway now: http://www.broadway.com/
Choreographer: The person who creates all of the dance routines. During a number, the choreographer determines where everyone is, what they are doing, and how they are doing it. Musical movies like 'Step Up' also have choreographers for their dance numbers, and other films have choreographers for their fight scenes. Here's a montage of musical theater choreography:
Chorus: A chorus is a group of singers composed of males, females or a mix of the two that sing the melodic lines in a number. Essentially, it's like a choir.
Chorus Line: You probably know that this is already. A chorus line is a group of singers, usually female performing a number together. The emphasis on a chorus line was almost always on the appearance of the woman in the line, and not their talent. Here's an example of a chorus line:
Company: The term 'company' refers to the entire of a show. That one was pretty simple, eh?
Ensemble: An ensemble is the possible groupings of performers. Each amount is known by a different name:
Duo/Duet - 2 performers, Trio - 3 performers, Quartet - 4 performers, Quintet - 5 performers, Sextet - 6 performers, Septet - 7 performers, Octet - 8 performers.
Intermission: A break between the acts in a musical or theater production in which the house lights are raised and the audience is free to leave their seats. Usually, this also indicates the inevitable crowding of the snack stand and, more importantly, the bathrooms.
Overture: An instrumental number at the beginning of a play. It usually indicates that the show is about to begin and that the audience should return to (or proceed to quickly find) their seats. Usually, an overture contains a number of melodies from other songs in the production (Essentially foreshadowing them). Here's an interpretation of the Overture from Mamma Mia, see how many Abba songs you recognize in it!
Rehearsal Pianist: During early rehearsals of a production, a rehearsal painist duplicates the songs played by the orchestra for a simpler and quicker rehearsal of the musical numbers.
Reprise: A reprise is a melody that has already appeared in full performance during a production and returns later, usually with a modified tone or lyrics.
Show Stopper: A musical number that is so well-received by an audience that the cheering and applauding from them that follows literally stops the show breifly as performers wait for the audience appreciation to calm down before they resume the performance.
Virtuoso/Virtuosa: An extremely talented performer, simple as that.
West End: The theater district in London, the equivalent (on a smaller scale) of Broadway in Europe.