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Introduction

The Black Crook was a hit musical in 1866.

Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Although musical theatre overlaps with other theatrical forms like opera and dance, it may be distinguished by the equal importance given to the music as compared with the dialogue, movement and other elements. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called, simply, musicals.

Although music has been a part of dramatic presentations since ancient times, modern Western musical theatre emerged during the 19th century, with many structural elements established by the works of Gilbert and Sullivan in Britain and those of Harrigan and Hart in America. These were followed by the numerous Edwardian musical comedies and the musical theatre works of American creators like George M. Cohan at the turn of the 20th century. The Princess Theatre musicals (1915–1918) and other smart shows like Of Thee I Sing (1931) were artistic steps forward beyond revues and other frothy entertainments of the early 20th century and led to such groundbreaking works as Show Boat (1927) and Oklahoma! (1943). Some of the most famous musicals through the decades that followed include West Side Story (1957), The Fantasticks (1960), Hair (1967), A Chorus Line (1975), Les Misérables (1985), The Phantom of the Opera (1986), Rent (1996), The Producers (2001), Wicked (2003) and Hamilton (2015).

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A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant is a satirical musical about Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard, written by Kyle Jarrow from a concept by Alex Timbers, the show's original director. The one-act musical lasts about an hour. Jarrow based the story of the musical on L. Ron Hubbard's writings and Church of Scientology literature. The musical follows the life of L. Ron Hubbard as he develops Dianetics and then Scientology. Though the musical pokes fun at Hubbard's science fiction writing and personal beliefs, it has been called a "deadpan presentation" of his life story. Topics explored in the piece include Dianetics, the E-meter, Thetans, and the story of Xenu. The show was originally presented by Les Freres Corbusier, an experimental theatrical troupe and debuted in November 2003 in New York City, where it had sold-out Off-Off-Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. Later performances have included Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Atlanta and Philadelphia. Productions of A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant in 2003, 2004 and 2006 were well received. The musical received an Obie Award for the 2003 New York production, and director Alex Timbers received a Garland Award for the 2004 Los Angeles production. The play also received positive reviews in the press.

Selected biography

Angela Lansbury in Deuce 2007.jpg

Angela Lansbury CBE (born October 16, 1925) is a Tony-winning, Golden Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated, and Emmy-nominated English actress, best-known for playing mystery writer Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote.

On Broadway, Lansbury received good reviews from her first musical outing, the short-lived 1964 Stephen Sondheim musical Anyone Can Whistle, which co-starred Lee Remick. Two years later, she was offered what proved to be the biggest triumph of her theatrical career, the title role in Mame, Jerry Herman's musical adaptation of the novel and subsequent film Auntie Mame, which had starred Rosalind Russell. Opening at the Winter Garden Theater on May 24, 1966, Mame ran for 1508 performances. Lansbury's portrayal, opposite Bea Arthur as Vera Charles, earned her the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. She and Arthur became life-long friends.

Lansbury returned to the Broadway stage for the first time in more than 25 years in Deuce, a play by Terrence McNally, co-starring with Marian Seldes. The play previewed at the Music Box Theatre on April 11, 2007, and opened on May 6, 2007 in a limited run of 18 weeks. Lansbury received a Tony nomination in the category of Leading Actress in a Play for her role in this production, but did not win the Tony that year.

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Ebcosette.jpg

The original illustration by Émile Bayard, upon which is based the ubiquitous logo of Les Misérables.

Les Misérables (pronunciation /le mi ze 'ʀɑHb/), colloquially known as Les Mis, is a musical composed in 1980 by French composer Claude-Michel Schönberg on a libretto by Alain Boublil. Through-sung, it is perhaps the most famous of all French musicals and one of the most famous and most performed musicals worldwide. On October 8, 2006, the show celebrated its 21st anniversary and became the longest-running West End musical in history and is still running (though it has changed venues). The musical is based on the novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. Its Tony award-winning score includes the songs "I Dreamed a Dream", "Do You Hear the People Sing?", "One Day More", "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" and "On My Own." Another popular song is "Master of the House".

Les Mis tells the stories of paroled convict Jean Valjean who, failing attempts to find work as an honest man with his yellow parole note, tears up his shackles and conceals his identity in order to live his life again; the police inspector Javert, who becomes obsessed with finding Valjean; Fantine, the single mother of Cosette, who is forced to become a prostitute to support her daughter; Marius, a French student who falls in love with Valjean's adopted daughter Cosette; Eponine, the young daughter of the Thénardiers who falls in love with Marius; the Thénardiers, who own an Inn and exploit their customers; and Enjolras and the other students, who are working toward freeing the oppressed lower class of France.

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