Here in this article, I am going to try and explain what makes a musical, a musical and discuss the more technical aspects of it. Technical definition of this is, it’s a musical theatre in form of theatre that combines dancing, music, songs as well as spoken dialogue. Some would say that it looks like an opera but, it intentionally avoids its convention to be able to give it a universal appeal.
As for the musical components used in a musical, it is all called as a score. As for the sung lines, these are called as lyrics compared to plain spoken dialogues which is simply as it. The person who writes the lyrics of the musical is not the same person who has written the actual storyline. The truth is, this becomes a norm in different musical plays.
Basically, musicals range from few minutes to couple of hours long. On the other hand, average running time for contemporary musicals is roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes with intermission about halfway through the entire play. Some musicals however go straight through if it isn’t that long. The intermissions when they’re presented are around 10 to 15 minutes long and average musical have 20 to 30 songs some are short pieces while some others are quite long.
Majority of the musicals are starting with an overture which is used to put emphasis on some songs that are used in the play and also, used to set the tone of the play and mood of the audience. Oftentimes, the highlights and the most dramatic moments of the musicals are carried out in a song. The main reason for this is, these moments are the ones that the creator would want the audience to remember most and it is a lot easier to remember if it’s well done in a 3 to 4 minute song rather than in a 3 to 4 minute spoken dialogue. If the emotion that needs to be conveyed is strong for a song only, then dance will be used to express what is wanted to be shown.
Many think that achieving balance between spoken dialogue and song is quite simple but it is the contrary. Apart from that, it is imperative that the writer takes into account the character who will sing the song. To give you an example, it is unlikely to see the protagonist singing songs of sorrow and anger. It is hard to establish drama in a musical too since a 5 minute song has fewer words to say than a 5 minute spoken dialogue. With this said, everything has to be planned and laid down properly in order for the musical to be carried out flawlessly.