Magic of the Musical

Ref: C2224436

This a course for anyone intrigued by the musical- whether stage or film versions. The seeds of its development from baroque and ballad operas through operetta to the modern musical will be examined. The course will be illustrated by both audio and film excerpts and the work of composer-songwriter teams examined including Gilbert and Sullivan, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Lerner and Loewe, Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. The key message is that the musical has been a valuable shop-window to examine the political and social state of countries over a long period of time- most recently with the musical Hamilton.

Course aim

To explain how the musical has evolved from baroque music dramas to current mega-musicals and the musical's place in social, political and economic history

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explain the origins of the modern musical
  • Identify examples of how certain musicals have challenged accepted formats
  • Discuss and reflect on ways in which specific musicals have reflected social themes relevant to different historical periods

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

Magic of the Musical


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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