I'll admit that I am a theatre enthusiast. (only wish my budget allowed me to see more productions that come to Southern California or take some weekend trips to NY just for fun). But as a teacher, I am always looking for alternative texts and narratives that tell stories in different formats. Students are inundated with texts - in class, in their community, on their phones, on television, at home, etc. But very few of my students have the opportunity to experience live theatre. Having participated in drama during high school, I developed a profound appreciation for the intricate details that go into a fully staged production. Plays and musicals are more than just actors on a stage.
Sometimes a show is produced that has a profound impact on my understanding of historical narratives, whose story is told, and what that story means to us today. In this post, I want to highlight four musicals that continue to fascinate me and renew my thinking about the past sneaking into our contemporary world.
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
There are, of course, many other musicals that could be used in history classes. We can look at these musicals as texts themselves: how do the lyricists and composers interpret historical events or how do actors/actresses portray historical characters? How can we use historiography to explore the narratives told (or not told) in these musical interpretations?