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Rock in the Musical Theatre


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Alex Lacamoire Author's Note and Acknowledgements Introduction PART 1: HISTORY, AESTHETICS, AND LITERATURE Chapter 1: Background and Rock Aesthetics Chapter 2: Popular Song vs. Theatre Song PART 2: THEORY AND TECHNIQUE Chapter 3: Acting Values in Rock Theatre Songs Chapter 4: Musical Values in Rock Theatre Songs Chapter 5: Singing Rock: Vocal Production and Vocalism Chapter 6: Rock Songs: A Selective, Annotated Survey PART 3: PROCESS: COACHING SESSIONS Little Shop of Horrors: "Suddenly, Seymour" Rent: "Take Me or Leave Me" School of Rock: "When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock" Dreamgirls: "I Am Changing" The Lion King: "Endless Night" Beautiful: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" Kinky Boots: "The History of Wrong Guys" Tommy: "Pinball Wizard" and Spring Awakening: "The Bitch of Living" Bare: A Pop Opera: "Plain Jane Fat Ass" and "All Grown Up" Appendix: Rock Songs for Musical Theatre Singers Bibliography and Suggested Additional Reading Index

About the Author

Joseph Church is best known for his work as music director and supervisor of two groundbreaking Broadway musicals, The Who's Tommy and The Lion King. He has worked on countless other productions as music director, conductor, keyboardist, and/or arranger, on and Off-Broadway, nationwide, and worldwide, among them, In The Heights, Sister Act, Les Miserables, Little Shop Of Horrors, Randy Newman's Faust, and Radio City's Christmas Spectacular. Also an active composer, he has written for film, television, the concert stage, and over thirty plays and musicals. He is the author of Music Direction for the Stage: A View from the Podium (OUP, 2015).


"Joe Church's wide-ranging analysis of what songs and music actually do in modern music theatre is essential reading for anyone setting out to write or perform in a modern musical. Reading this book also reminded me that the way we sing on stage in a musical is very different to the way we might sing in other settings. That might seem obvious, but the differences are not so much subtle as mysterious. Joe has shared his long experience of intensive coaching of solo singers and chorus ensembles in music theatre projects. In so doing he unlocks a cask of information that has otherwise been hard to find." -- Pete Townshend "An enjoyable book, both academically precise, yet practical and approachable. Joe Church covers all the bases here! You've probably never analyzed rock songs the way he does, but he also gives real hard core advice about taking care of your voice; about how to approach a rock song for an audition or maintain it for a long running musical. His knowledge of the history of musicals is impressive, yet completely up to date. I can't wait to have my own copy with me on tour." -- Suzanne Vega "More than an indispensable how-to manual for young performers, Joe Church defines in this book the important ways rock music has transformed today's musical theatre. When it comes to rocking out onstage, Mr. Church is the most authoritative voice of our time, with an uncanny way of explaining exactly what makes rock powerful, and precisely how to achieve that power theatrically. A must-read for anyone working in musical theatre today." -- Dan Riddle, Music Director of the School of Theatre, The Pennsylvania State University

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