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image: Campus NewsLecture Notes
Trumpener and Bohlman explore the role of musicals in everyday life.

Musicals, according to Katherine Trumpener and Philip V. Bohlman, describe and transcend everyday life. In their course The Musical: Staging Everyday Worlds, the teachers offer two very distinct views of musicals. Trumpener, a professor in Germanic studies, comparative literature, and English in the cinema and media studies and general studies committees and the College, approaches the class with an interest in sound, text, and visual relationships. Bohlman, a professor in the music department, the College, and the Committee on Jewish Studies, is interested in the uses of music. Together, the two sets of interests result, says Trumpener, in the analysis of "film music, visual form, choreography, color, as well as the role of the musical in the 'dream factory' [Hollywood and other illusionistic cinemas] and in establishing ethnic and gender identity."

This spring, undergraduate and graduate students in the class will study three eras-early musicals of the 1930s and 1940s, "classic" Hollywood musicals, and "counter-musicals." The first era includes such films as The Jazz Singer, Der Purim Spieler, Le Million, and Shall We Dance? Musicals from the classic Hollywood era include A Star Is Born, Showboat, West Side Story, Oklahoma, and The Sound of Music. The final category of musicals includes what the teachers term "meta-/anti-musicals" such as Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Eighties and Windowshopping, and Distant Voices, Still Lives.

The course coincides with the spring quarter DOC film series "Songs in the Dark," devoted to questions of race, ethnicity, and the musical. Required for the course are a book report, two papers, and a final exam.-Q.J.



 APRIL 2001

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