The Magic of Musicals Part 2: More of Broadway’s Biggest Hits

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We continue our joyous exploration of Broadway’s biggest shows with this new series from Michael Rubinoff, the Olivier Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated producer of Come From Away. Both a follow-up to “The Magic of Musicals”, his wildly popular series on the Golden Age of Broadway, and a fun new series that can be enjoyed on its own, this course will pull back the curtain even further on the development of new musicals, revealing how each of them came to life and left their mark on history.

Watch part 1 of the series here.

Led by producer Michael Rubinoff, the founder of the Canadian Music Theatre Project.  Based on an idea of his, the CMTP originally developed the hit global musical Come From Away, for which he serves as a producer and creative consultant. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross by the Governor General of Canada for his role in creating Come From Away.

Course registration: $49 (Hot Docs Members: $33, $27, Free)

Curious Minds Speaker Series sponsored by

Hollywood Suite

The six lectures in this series are now available to stream. You can access each lecture at your leisure by clicking on links in your confirmation email, or by visiting your My Shows page.

Lecture 1: Toronto to Broadway: Kiss of the Spiderwoman (1993) and Ragtime (1998)
The Live Entertainment Corporation of Canada, Livent, established by Canadian producer Garth Drabinsky, dominated the development of new Broadway musicals in the 90s. Toronto became the launch pad for a number of Broadway hits including Kiss of the Spiderwoman and the legendary original production of Ragtime. We explore the drama on stage and off in the creation and production of these now iconic musicals.

Lecture 2: Disney on 42nd Street: Beauty and the Beast (1994) and The Lion King (1997)
The period between 1989-1999 is known as the Disney Renaissance as Walt Disney Animation re-established itself as the leader in animated films with hits like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. At the core of these movies were original songs composed by leading Broadway songwriters. By 1994 Disney made the leap from screen to stage with two wildly different adaptations of their animated films Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. We explore Disney’s arrival on 42nd Street and the vision it took to move from animation to the Broadway stage.
Lecture 3: The Jukebox Musical: Mamma Mia! (2001) and Jersey Boys (2005)
In 2001 the music of super group ABBA arrived on Broadway. An existing catalogue of music was used to advance the plot of an original story. It set off a wave of what became known as jukebox musicals. This extended to using an existing catalogue of music to tell the story of a group or singer, the bio musical. Through two international hit musicals we explore how Billboard chart toppers were reinterpreted for Broadway, leaving audiences dancing in the aisles.

Lecture 4: From Movie to Musical: Billy Elliot the Musical (2008) and Back to the Future The Musical (West End 2021)
Broadway has tacked on “The Musical” for the transition of hit movies to the stage. Movie adaptations have been plentiful and met with varying degrees of success. We explore what makes a successful adaptation from film to stage with an examination of Billy Elliot and a look forward to the next Broadway screen-to-stage hit, Back to the Future, now playing in London’s West End. 

Lecture 5: Lin-Manuel Miranda: In The Heights (2008) and Hamilton (2015)
No other artist has had a bigger impact on the contemporary musical and the current state of Broadway than Lin Manuel Miranda. His musical In The Heights welcomed fresh new storytelling and a positive representation of underrepresented groups in the musical theatre. His follow up musical Hamilton has revolutionized Broadway and changed the genre for the better. We explore the creativity, innovation and impact of Lin Manuel Miranda.

Lecture 6: Beyond Broadway: Come From Away
In The Magic of Musicals Part 1, we explored Michael Rubinoff’s personal journey of Come From Away from idea to opening night on Broadway. Michael closes Part II by exploring the show’s journey beyond Broadway and shares stories about international productions in London, Toronto and Australia and non-English language productions in Finland and the Netherlands. This lecture will also explore the effects of the global pandemic on Broadway and the current recovery.

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