Event—Adult Education

Curtain Up on Broadway: Exploring the Magic of Great Musicals


This class will explore the magic of Broadway musicals from the turn of the century up through the present.

Publicity photo of Carol Channing and David Burns in Broadway play, Hello Dolly. 1964. Source: King c/o Sabinson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Class Description

Everyone enjoys a great Broadway musical! The miracle of this repertoire is that it's so spectacularly varied, with a show to suit every taste. This class will explore the magic of Broadway musicals.

The evolution of Broadway musicals is fascinating, moving from the operetta-like shows at the turn of the century and the giddy, upbeat shows of the 1910s and 20s to the matchlessly witty shows of the 30s (Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart). From there, Broadway musicals evolved into the fully integrated "musical plays" of the 1940s and '50s (Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Loesser, Styne, Bernstein). The 60s saw the extraordinary transition from conventional shows to rock musicals (from Fiddler on the Roof and Hello, Dolly! to Hair). The '70s witnessed the emergence of Stephen Sondheim as the great musical-theater genius of our time, and in recent decades, we’ve been treated to a dizzying array of shows, from the exquisitely intimate to the hugely grand scale.

Roger Pines, former dramaturg of Lyric Opera of Chicago, is a nationally recognized opera professional. He currently works as a freelance writer for major opera publications and as a broadcaster, teacher, vocal competition adjudicator, vocal coach, and repertoire consultant for singers.

Materials List


  • Instructor-Distributed Materials

First Reading:

  • No first reading assignment

Cost and Registration

Five sessions, $205 ($184.50 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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