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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PECI1240 Introduction to Musical Theatre

20 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Prof George Rodosthenous

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Module replaces


This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will provide a guide to the history and development of the Hollywood, Broadway and West End musical. Students will listen to and study examples of musicals from a range of twentieth century composers. There will be an exploration of the relationship between cinematic and theatrical narratives and musical structures. Students will consider the impact of economic, political, social and technological factors upon the musical/ film industries. This module will also examine the social/political propaganda in the musical, narratives and sub-texts, 'dream sequences', the 'exotic musical', non-mainstream musicals and recent trends of the musical, the ‘mega musical’, ‘juke-box musical’, etc.


On completion of this module, students should be able to: * Understand the historical development of the musical * Explore the relationship of song and dance as performative gestures * Study the complexities and hidden narratives of the genre

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:

1. Understand and be able to utilise the basic vocabularies of the form appropriately

2. Recognise the structural conventions of a range of examples of the genre

3. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the music and the dramatic components of the genre

4. Explain key socio-political contextual themes within their analysis(es).

Skills Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:

5. Demonstrate the ability to apply genre-specific terminology appropriately in written and verbal communication, facilitating clear and accurate expression within the field.

6. Demonstrate proficiency in explaining how musical elements enhance and interact with the narrative aspects, contributing to the overall impact of musical theatre.

7. Contextualize socio-political factors within analyses, showcasing a nuanced understanding of how broader themes influence and intersect with the genre.

8. Acquire and demonstrate proficiency in effective presentational skills.


Indicative Themes and Structure: - Introduction to the Musical (Functions, audiences and context) - Narratives and Sub-texts (American in Paris/South Pacific) - The ‘modern’ musical: cultural fusion (West Side Story) - Behind the ‘scenes’ (Singin’ in the Rain) - Representation and Authenticity (Cabaret) - Myth and adaptation; stage to Hollywood. (La Bohème to Moulin Rouge) - The Rise of the Rock Musical. (Lloyd Webber – Superstar) - British Musicals Billy Elliot/Matilda - American musicals (Across the universe / The Spider Man)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours176.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The two hour lecture/seminar includes small group activities, with formative feedback from teaching staff, to supporting learning and assessment. Students are further regularly reminded to make use of staff office hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,500 word essay70.00
Presentation15 minute group presentation30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 05/02/2024


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