Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to School: The 2011 - 2012 Broadway Curriculum

UPDATED!  See below in RED!

Just a year ago, as I was driving behind a yellow school bus, I thought to myself, "remember to leave earlier for work in order to not get stuck behind this bus next year."  Fast forward to this morning.  The bus was bright yellow and it stopped seven times on the main road near my house as the kiddies piled on headed for the local elementary school. 

Oh, I chastised myself for not remembering to start leaving earlier after Labor Day.  Then I tried to make the most of it - watching the "seasoned veterans" (3rd - 5th graders) push each other onto the bus and run to the back seats.  Some of them waved to me, others stuck out their tongues.  And I even teared up a bit as I watched a mom and dad bravely shepard their kindergartner onto the bus, all smiles and reassurances.  And as the bus pulled away slowly, my car following just as slowly, noting that same mom and dad holding each other sobbing.  Ah, parenthood.

Well, by stop three, my mind wandered again to Broadway and school.  Last year, I suggested a general curriculum of plays and musicals to cover a variety of subjects.  This year, I thought, "how much academic ground would be covered by only the shows currently and scheduled to appear this season?"  As it turns out, quite a bit!

Physical Education:
Lysistrata Jones - a course that covers both the rules and regulations of basketball and the physical prowess needed for cheerleading.

World Literature:
The titles speak for themselves:
The Phantom of the Opera
Mary Poppins
The Lion King (Hamlet)

World History:
War Horse - World War I
Yank! - World War II

African-American Studies:
Stick Fly
The Mountaintop
The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

Women's Studies:
End of the Rainbow
Funny Girl
Mamma Mia!
Venus in Fur

The Road to Mecca
Fat Pig
Private Lives
Other Desert Cities

The Columnist

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Man and Boy

Jersey Boys
Rock of Ages
Nice Work If You Can Get It

Foreign Language:

The emphasis this semester will be on drawing comics-style:
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
The Addams Family

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

American History:
The Mountaintop
Bonnie and Clyde

Comparative Religions:
The Book of Mormon
Sister Act
Jesus Christ Superstar (I'm thinking it'll come in this season...)

Gay Studies: (Hey, my school is liberal and progressive!)
Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Survey of the Arts:
Dance - Billy Elliot
Musical Theatre - Follies
Drama - Death of a Salesman
Music - Anything Goes
Acting/Vocal Master Class - An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin

I guess that goes to show that all theatre is a learning experience!

EXTRA CREDIT:  What "subject" would you use Ghost: The Musical to teach?  It is the only one I didn't use!

I ASKED, YOU ANSWERED!  If they recreate the pottery wheel scene onstage, you could probably claim "Art class". You might also make a case for criminal justice, since at the end of the movie, at least, the bad guy gets his reward. Maybe a stretch, but...
Keep up the excellent work, Jeff.

Well, thank you, Chuck!  And it seems that they do the pottery wheel scene...!

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