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Musicals have a long and rich history that has given way to the huge industry that is seen today. From local theater to broadway shows to film and tv musicals, there is plenty to enjoy. If music and acting are something you love, Im sure you are already into musicals and have seen several.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Musicals resources. We have a Musicals forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Musicals how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Musicals books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis



Musicals have always been a very important part of human culture and though they are no longer the main focus for entertainment, they are still a beautiful and important part of life today. The three main components of a musical are the music, the lyrics, and the story. For those who want to learn to appreciate musicals or to become a part of musicals themselves, knowing the history and some of the most popular musicals, is a step in the right direction.


Musical theater has existed since the time of the ancient Greeks. They would often include music and dance numbers in their theatrical performances. The ancient Romans even created tap shoes in order for the sounds of the dancer’s steps to be audible in large outdoor theaters. Even in ancient India it was common for music to be included in plays and performances.

Throughout the Renaissance it became common for long plays to be broken up by a short musical play. It was during this time that a number of different opera types became popular and these forms of entertainment would eventually evolve into the type of musical that is popular today. It was in 1752 that theatrical performances first came to the United States when a London entrepreneur sent an acting troupe managed by his brother to the U.S.

It was not long before other forms of entertainment started to become popular in the United States, particularly in New York. In the 1800s theater began to progress to downtown New York with performances like those of P.T. Barnum. Then musicals began to hit the Broadway stage with The Elves in 1857 being the first “long-run” musical. But even at this time London was still leading the way in musical theater.

In the 1920’s musicals began to change as movies began to take the stage. Things changed even more in the 1930’s when the depression and talking pictures took to the stage. With the depression funds were very limited so people could not spend as much on musicals as they once could. Therefore going to see musicals at the movies became much more affordable. But for those that could afford to see musical theater the entertainment was some of the best ever offered.

Once the economy rebounded, the musicals took center stage once more. By the 1950’s and 1960’s musicals began to transform as not only Broadway gained attention but off-Broadway as well. Some musicals even began to incorporate rock music and controversial themes, which made them the talk of the town. The 1980’s saw the introduction of Pop Operas in which musicals would feature pop music or even music that was popular at the time. In recent years musical theater has taken to adapting movies to the musical stage and theatrical musicals are making their way to the big screen.

Watching Musicals

Appreciating musicals is often something that takes time. Beginners should make it a point to learn the musical’s story before going to see the performance live. The reason for this is that many musicals might seem disjointed or confusing if someone does not know the story beforehand. It is also important to note that the style of music can range from rock and pop, to classical and operatic styles.

Performing in Musicals

For those who want to be involved in musicals sometimes the best idea is to look into helping out a local theater group. This is a great way to get started in either acting or working behind the scenes of a musical. It is important to realize that these groups often have a wide range of performances and talents so you may have to work your way to getting a significant role or responsibility.

On the other hand it is a great learning a experience and a great way to break into even bigger productions. There are also plenty of theaters that run on the help and volunteer efforts of individuals, this can also a be a great place to start to get experience and make some connections.

Local colleges or community centers may also offer classes in acting and theater production that might be a great place to get started and to really learn the tricks of the trade. Often the teachers will help you find work or make some connections that will help you get involved in real productions. Many times these classes will put on productions of their own so that you can get firsthand experience.