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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter investigates how differing pressures on the Broadway musical theater industry can contribute to certain vocal stylistic choices. The author considers the ways in which collegiate and professional training programs have responded to these needs through their musical theater curricula. The chapter brings into relief how vocal training in such programs ensures a sonic conformity, which presumably improves the marketability of the performer in an industry demanding predictable sounds. Specifically, it considers the pedagogical philosophies prevalent in Midwestern musical theater training programs where the author has worked as a vocal coach and where many Broadway performers cut their teeth. The chapter takes no position for or against the vocal ideas taught in these or other musical theater training programs, but makes some observations for the unique demands attached to such training and what demands those pressures make on singers today. Furthermore, the chapter suggests that the growth of the Broadway musical as a tourist attraction, the rise of the megamusical, and the formation of this Broadway sound are all interrelated phenomena enabled by a new corporatizing ideology in musical theater that has disciplined the body of the Broadway performer for decades and continues to shape the industry’s sound today.

Keywords: amplification, belting, Broadway, microphone technique, musical theater, musical theater curriculum, tourism, vocal coach, vocal pedagogy, vocal technique

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