R991 Tricksters, Sages, and Other Colorful Archetypes in Broadway Musicals
Saturday, 1:00–3:00, May 5
Rose Gallery at Reston Community Center Lake Anne
Instructor: Barry Bortnick
Dramatic reader: Sharon Newman
Coordinator: Marianne Metz
Note date and time
Like other forms of culture, musicals often draw for their appeal on underlying and enduring kinds of characters and stories, giving audiences the chance to respond on some deeper level, and at the same time—since these are, after all, “musicals”—to be entertained, inspired, invigorated by the stories of which these “archetypes” are a part and the songs they get to sing. Utilizing a wide range of video selections , this class provides a delightfully fresh perspective on the breath, power, and variety of musicals by looking at the role certain archetypes play and how they are brought to life in song, word, and performance. Focus is especially on:
- Tricksters, beguilers and bamboozlers
Including the likes of Pseudolus, J. Pierpont Finch, Dolly Levi, PT Barnum, Bloody Mary, Max Bialystock, and the “Music Man”himself, “Professsor” Harold Hill, this archetype touches on the age-old fascination with those who shake things up, turn things upside down, become playful ,mischievous, or downright subversive , often against a backdrop of an order so conventional or stuck or stifling.that something in us wants
to see it shaken up. What are the different forms this fascination has taken and why does it seem to have such a special place in musicals?
- “Sages,” mentors, practical voices of wisdom and experience—particularly as displayed by older characters in relation to the journeys taken by the young. Dispensing encouragement, perspective, cautionary wisdom, or humor , this archetype too comes in many shapes and sizes– from Oklahoma’s earthy Aunt Ella to Guys and Dolls ‘ shrewd Uncle Arvide to Pippin’s life-embracing grandmother to Evan Hansen’s initially beleaguered but ultimately comforting mother to George Washington’s mentor -like role in
Gain new insights about favorite shows , moments,and characters or make the acquaintance of new ones in this intriguing class.
Barry Bortnick, PhD,
is a composer, lyricist, and book writer of musicals performed on both coasts and in London. He is the former program director for humanities at UCLA Extension and founding director of the UCLA OLLI. He received his PhD from Harvard University where he did research on creativity and the development of interest in the arts. He has taught courses on the American musical at various OLLIs around the country.
has been an acting teacher, audition coach, talent manager and stage director. She is a former director of the American Conservatory Theater’s Young Conservatory, has taught at a number of professional acting schools in California, and helped seniors fulfill their lifelong dreams of performing. She holds an MFA from the University of Utah and BFA from the University of Miami.