Episode 101: The Show Must Go On
Ms. Julie and her devoted assistant Gus welcome a new group of young performers to the Green Room Workshop. When a disaster ruins their plans to put on a show, they find a way to persevere with the help of Idina Menzel and the Broadway musical “Wicked.”
Featured Art: Theater Arts
Anything can happen in the theater!
In preparation for her time with the Greenies, Ms. Julie has put together the pieces for a production of the smash hit musical, The Wizard of Oz. But when a pipe bursts in the basement, all the props, sets, and music are ruined!
Julie’s Greenroom opens with a basic introduction to musical theater. The Greenies learn what a basic musical needs: props, scenery, music, and a story. In addition, we learn the answers to questions like, what is a Ghost Light? And why do we call the area above the stage “The Flies”?
Musical theater is much more than just broadway. Believe it or not, people have now been performing in plays for thousands of years. Theater has roots that range all over the globe, and across many different cultures. “Theater” itself is a Greek word, derived from “theatron,” the place where such performances were viewed. Performances now range from a single individual to a massive production featuring bright sets, eye-catching costumes, and complex group dance numbers. Topics and characters range from historical figures, like Richard III, to inventive fictional worlds, to popular modern icons such as Spiderman, the President, or Roald Dahl’s “Mathilda.”
Musical theater has certainly caught on in the U.S. One survey from Neilson Scarborough estimates that almost fifty million people in america attend a live theater event each month, and Broadway monthly receipts routinely top a billion dollars. With that in mind, however, funding for the arts at a local level can be hard to come by. Many theaters are supported by a foundation or a wealthy patron. And in Julie’s Greenroom, that role belongs to Mrs. Edna Brightful, played by theater legend Carol Burnett.
And while shows can certainly be glamorous, Julie’s Greenroom is all about appreciating the hard work behind the scenes. The amount of time and preparation required to put on a show are enormous, from remembering lines and composing the music all the way through hanging the lights. And with only 5 people (and one duck), each of the Greenies will need to take on multiple roles in order to actually bring their musical to life!
Tony Award-winning icon Idina Menzel has a diverse career that traverses stage, film, television and music. Menzel’s voice can be heard as Elsa in Disney’s global box office smash FROZEN, in which she sings the film’s Oscar-winning song “Let It Go,” and in the follow-up short, FROZEN FEVER. After Menzel’s performance of the multi-platinum song at the 86th annual Academy Awards, she made history as the first person with both a Billboard Top 10 hit and a Tony Award for acting. Menzel capped 2016 with the release of her fifth solo studio album idina. She was most recently seen in Lifetime’s remake of Beaches, which premiered January 2017, in which she portrays the role of ‘CC,’ made famous by Bette Midler.
Garnering huge critical acclaim, Menzel reached superstardom on Broadway with her Tony Award-winning performance as ‘Elphaba,’ the misunderstood green girl in the blockbuster WICKED, and in her Tony-nominated role as ‘Maureen’ in the Pulitzer Prize winning RENT. Menzel’s most recent Broadway role as ‘Elizabeth’ in the original production IF/THEN earned her a third Tony nomination. Other notable projects include Glee and Disney’s Enchanted. In addition to cast albums, Menzel’s prolific recording career includes the solo albums I Stand, Here and Still I Can’t Be Still. Her first-ever Christmas album Holiday Wishes, released October 2014 on Warner Bros. Records, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Holiday Albums chart, broke into the top 10 on Billboard Top 200 Album Chart and received rave reviews. Menzel received the Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award at Billboard’s annual Women in Music event the same year.
Philanthropy is also important to Menzel, who co-founded the A BroaderWay Foundation in 2010. This organization is dedicated to offering girls from underserved communities an outlet for self-expression and creativity through arts-centered programs. The emphasis is on building self-esteem, developing leadership qualities and striving for personal and social achievement. In 2014, Menzel was recognized as one of Variety Magazine’s Power of Women honorees for her work with the organization. For more information on A BroaderWay, visit http://www.abroaderway.org/.For more information, please visit www.idinamenzel.com.
Warm Up Game: Basic Warm Up
To introduce the Greenies to the theater, Ms. Julie starts with an important part of theater: the distinction between Stage Left and Stage Right.
Warm up stage left
Warm up stage right
Next, one of the most important warm-ups of all: stretching. Whether it’s dramatically climbing a set or dancing across the stage, theater can be physically taxing. Stretching helps performers build focus and prevent injuries. (Before more intense physical activity, experts suggest ‘dynamic stretching,’ a more mobile version). Ms. Julie mentions our muscles specifically:
Warm up your muscles to make them less tight
Reach up to the rafters and down to the stage
Warm up your shoulders and now your rib cage
But our Greenies have to warm up their voices as well! So the next steps are to warm up your lips and your voice, like so:
Warm up your lips
Warm up your heart and warm up your voice
La La La La La la La La La
It’s a classic nine-note scale on the piano. Try going through all of them at once, or simply follow along with the Greenies!