Essay Example on Ethnic Musical Theatre

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1059 Words
Date:  2024-01-08


Musical theaters are forms of theatre performances that combine songs with acting, spoken dialogue, and drama and dancing. Ethnic is a group of different people who share common attributes that distinguish them from the rest; this could be traditions, culture, and other things. The ethnic musical theatre will entail the theatrical performances performed in combination with songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dancing in line with a particular ethnic group. Therefore, having musical theatres will represent the perfect ethnic group performances from the other based on ethnicity regarding culture and traditions. There are many ethnic groups globally, with some countries having more than 150 different ethnic groups. The many ethnic groups that we have will mean that if the groups met for musical theatres, they would be many versions of the performances that will be done based on ethnicity (Hirsch, 2005).

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The major racial and ethnic categories globally are American Indian, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, white, Black, and Afro American. When it comes to different ethnic groups, they come in variety and may take time to count one by one.

Ethnic musical theaters are communal activities that involve most people of society. The role played by musical theaters in bringing people together has been known to foster unity, peace, and harmony for the people. The roots of ethnic music theatres can be traced back to religious rituals of the pre-historic background. Since then, when the primitive tribes practiced it, the ceremonies involved a couple of modern ethnic musical theatres. Costumes, props, choreography, and music were among the forms used. Drums and other traditional musical instruments are also in the list of the early ways ethnic musical theaters were promoted.

Ethnic Musical Theatres

To understand ethnic musical theaters well, it is prudent to know what musical theaters are. Musical theatres are forms of theatre performances performed in combination with songs, spoken dialogue, dancing, and acting. In the 20th century, musical theatres were often referred to as musicals.

A musical is a stage, television, or film production that utilizes popular style songs to narrate a story or showcase talents possessed by the writers or performers with dialogue as an option. A musical generally seeks to tell a story via songs and skits. Musicals blend in music, dance, and other virtual arts that seem entertaining and evoke the audience response, especially the physical and emotional response.

Musical theaters should not be confused with dramatic theater. They combine songs, spoken dialogue, and dances to tell stories instead of dramatic theaters that actively involve the audience but passively through their emotions. The difference between a musical and a play with music is that the music gives some importance to the songs and music as other production elements.

Musicals are also differentiated from operas by the fact that they usually avoid certain conventions. Most musicals are performed in the language that the audience is family with, hence adopting the name ethnic musical theatre as it is based on the ethnic group(s). For example, musicals produced in the West End were mostly sung in English since most people are comfortable with the language.

The Origin

Ethnical musical theatres have been there for as far back as Shakespeare theatre times or even far back in the ancient Greece times in the rituals they conducted. Elizabethan plays that companies musical sections called masques are also among the early forms of ethnic musical theatres. Despite them lacking some fundamental parts of the structure of what can be called ethnic musical theatres, they are considered to be part of the early forms of ethnic musical theatres. The integration of plays with music made the Elizabethan plays more acceptable in ethnic music theatres. Masques were very popular until the 1650s, with the most popular costume and set designer of the time being Inigo Jones.

Some early forms of ethnic musical theatres were ballad operas and comic operas. The operas have been confused by many people with ethnic musical theatre. In the 18th century, the operas reigned supreme in Britain. The operas had original scores or mainly had borrowed melodies from melodies that were making hits then. Some of the most famous Ballad operas were The Beggar's opera written in 1728 by John Gay.

Ethnic Musical theaters are developed from stories and thoughts that people have composed to suit a certain plot for the audience. For example, for a book musical, it should have the parts of a book, music, and the lyrics for it to be called an ethnic musical theatre. The vocals and the piano play an important role in the musical and are together called the score. Among the best composers of ethnic musical theaters were dominantly the lyricists and some of the musicians of the mid-1900s. Some notable ethnic musical theatre writers are Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Ira Gershwin.


When performing an ethnic musical theater, there are leads and other members. The lead actors, just like in plays, have a critical role in acting or being the lead characters. The lead characters are then supposed to deliver the narrative to the audience. The other members act as the support base of the leading names and usually work as an ensemble.

Acting an ethnic musical theatre is usually different from most dramatic theatre, where the audience is very much outside of events. In an ethnic musical audience, there is more of a sense onstage of acknowledging the audience. Dialogue and action are directed and angled outwards for their benefit. Musical theatre is non-naturalistic by the very convention of bursting into song.

Characters in an ethnic musical theater usually have more roles and are expected to deliver much compared to dramatic theatre. The facial expression, gestures, eye contact, or direct address are the main ways the performers engage.

The whole cast in an ethnic music theatre is called a company. The number of people in the company is derived from the theme or the intent of what is to be performed. The performance of ethnic musical theater is synonymous with modern-day acting in theaters.


When coming up with a musical show, the audience and the message delivered are the most important things to consider. The musical scope is also critical, as well as the design and lighting on the stage. The number of people you expect is also considered when composing a musical.

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