Theatre vocabulary: Superhero = Record-breaking musical

Check out the theatre vocabulary in bold throghout the article and then find out the meanings in the vocabulary glossary at the end.

First it was a comic-book. Then it was a cartoon show. Further on it became a film franchise. Next it was a video game. Now it is a successful Broadway show in New York. Yes, Spider-Man has now reached all forms of entertainment! It was reported a few days ago that the musical has also just broken the record for the highest single-week takings in Broadway history. It took almost a huge £2million over a nine-day period during the festive season.

The rock musical’s full-title is Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and it is a pretty much based on the film about the origins of Spider-Man. It actually opened last summer and is the most expensive theatre production of all time, with the music and lyrics done by Bono and the Edge of U2. It did not begin well though as there were opening night delays, injuries to some of the cast during rehearsals, and critics initially giving it bad reviews. However, the show has overcome all these problems to continue to be a sell-out, and played to over 600,000 people over the last year.

Broadway is famous for its shows and musicals, with 40 theatres competing for audiences. Before Spider-Man broke it, the previous record set was by ‘Wicked’, followed by ‘The Lion King’. Both of these also run in London’s West End. If anyone has seen them, they can tell you that it is well-worth going, regardless of whether you are in the stalls, the circle or the front row. Although I can’t speak for Spider-Man, the costumes, numbers and choreography for ‘Wicked’ and ‘The Lion King’ are really something magical. Once the curtain goes up, you are immediately impressed and a huge round applause is totally deserved when it ends too. Spider-Man seems to be just as exciting, with audiences constantly giving it a standing ovation every night.

Even though Spider-Man is a hugely popular film and comic book character, it is funny how it can successfully transfer itself to the stage, as people usually assume that audiences for the theatre and cinema are distinct. It just goes to show that musicals can break down any barriers! Sooner or later, I have no doubt that the show will come to London. When it does, I am sure that Owen (our amazing theatre/tour guide teacher on the SGI social programme) will be able to get the best seats at an amazingly discounted rate for our students!

Theatre Vocabulary

A Musical
A type of theatre entertainment containing music, songs, and, usually, dance
Receipts, especially of money
Opening Night
premiere/first performance for a new theatre show
The cast
all the actors involved in the show
Practice sessions in which the actors and technicians prepare for public performance through repetition
A sell-out
An event for which all the tickets are sold
The spectators or listeners assembled at a performance
the seats in the front part of the theatre
The circle
A curved section or tier of seats in a theatre
The front row
the first line of seats at the front of the theatre
the clothes worn in a show
A number
a specific song and performance from a musical
the set-up and arrangement of a dance
A hanging cloth or similar barrier for concealing all or part of a theatre stage from the audience
praise given by the clapping of hands
A standing ovation
enthusiastic recognition of a great performance, especially one accompanied by loud applause and the audience standing and cheering
A stage
the platform in a theatre where actors perform

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