More Musicals! with Dominique Royem

March 26, 2019

Music makes musicalFans of Dominique will know her expertise in (and love for) Musical Theatre. She’s back with “More Musicals!” this spring! We asked her to give us a little more insight into her fun and informative course.

WIH Reporter: You mention in your course description that Musical Theatre is the only true American art form. What makes this so?

Royem: The musical was created and popularized in America at the turn of last century. It has been exported to every continent except Antarctica, and is a billion-dollar industry every year. The musical is one of the most popular cultural exports of the US, permeating world culture. The intoxicating mix of music, drama and dance is an American original.

WIH Reporter: Which musical has been the most popular and what do you think has contributed most to its success?

Royem: The designation of “most popular” is a tough one. The longest running Broadway show is The Phantom of the Opera, which opened in 1988 and is still running on Broadway. Its popularity can be contributed to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and the romantic, gothic love story it is centered around. Other really popular musicals include Oklahoma!, which is revived all over the country, Chicago, which is the longest running revival on Broadway, and My Fair Lady, also revived all over the country.

WIH Reporter: Why are musicals important as an art form?

Royem: Musicals are the marriage of music and drama, adding to the best parts of both. They speak to many things in the American experience that are hard to translate to other art forms. Musicals are one of the most popular theatre traditions that bridge theater-goer and non-theater-goer alike.

WIH Reporter: How did Musical Theatre develop and is there an “inventor” of the Musical?

Royem: Musical Theatre came from the tradition of vaudeville during the turn of the last century. The first musical, The Black Crook, was a five-hour epic production that happened after a theatre burned down and stranded a Paris dancing troupe. They needed a reason to put the dancing girls on stage, so the producers added a story and songs to create a full evening’s entertainment.

WIH Reporter: We have to know… Do you have a favorite and can you tell us why?!

Royem: My current favorite always changes depending on the weather… but right now I really love Hamilton and The Music Man. Hamilton has been all over and is taking the world by storm. The Music Man will be performed by my orchestra, the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, in May so I’m studying the score now.

Register here for “How Music Makes the Musical: More Musicals!”