In this article, I’ll try to explain you what musical is about and at the same time, talk about the technical aspects that come with 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. It is a bit related to opera while it intentionally avoids conventions of opera in order to give it a general 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. As a matter of fact, this is a very common practice amongst various musical plays.
Musicals can last for few minutes all the way to couple of hours long. As for the average running time, it typically lasts for 2 hours and 30 minutes; this is with intermission halfway throughout the entire play. If the musicals isn’t that long however, they can perform it without intermission. As for the intermission, it takes 10 to 15 minutes when presented and for the average musical, it will carry at least 30 songs with short and long pieces.
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. Since it’s a musical, a song is used for highlighting the most dramatic moments in the play. The reason for this is that, these are the moments in which the creators like you to remember the most and it’s easier to remember if it’s a properly executed 3 to 4 minute song than it is recalling 3 to 4 minute spoken dialogue. Say for example that song alone won’t be enough in conveying strong emotions, what the director normally does is accompany it with dance choreography.
Whether you believe it or not, striking a balance between spoken dialogue and song may appear to be a walk in the park but it’s actually the opposite. On top of that, the writer needs to be careful in writing songs for every character that fits. So as a quick example, antagonists singing love and happiness are just odd. It is quite hard as well to establish drama in musicals as a 5 minute song has fewer words compared to the 5 minute of spoken dialogue. With this said, everything has to be planned and laid down properly in order for the musical to be carried out flawlessly.