Here in this article, I am going to try and explain what makes a musical, a musical and discuss the more technical aspects of it. Technically speaking, this is the form of musical theatre art has a blend of dancing, music, songs as well as spoken dialogue. Some would say that it looks like an opera but, it intentionally avoids its convention to be able to give it a universal appeal.
As for the musical components used in a musical, it is all called as a score. Sung lines are being referred as lyrics compared to plain spoken dialogue which is just dialogue. 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. Some musicals however go straight through if it isn’t that long. Intermissions when presented are about 10 to 15 minutes long and the average musicals have 20 or 30 songs with some short pieces while others are long.
Most of the musicals often starts with overture that is used to highlight some songs that will be played and at the same time, used to set the mood of the audience for what they’re about to expect. 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. If ever the emotion that has to be conveyed is so strong even for a song, then in such cases when dance is added or put in place of singing.
As a matter of fact, being able to strike balance between song and spoken dialogue seems easy but it is the exact opposite. The writer in addition has to be careful when writing songs for every character. 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.