Magazine article International Musician

Touring and Theatre Special

Magazine article International Musician

Touring and Theatre Special

Article excerpt

I am proud to introduce this month's International Musician, which focuses on Touring and Theatre. Our cover story features the touring production of the most successful show in history, Disney's The Lion King, which has been on the road continuously since 2002.

Back then, there were no iPhones, a tablet contained sheets of paper, streams were bodies of water, and Facebook wasn't yet an idea. As technology advances, it eases life "on the road" for traveling artists who need to stay connected. It also presents challenges to maintaining the artistic integrity of live music in live theatre, as arrangers and orchestrators can replace musicians with digital sounds from electronic tools, which only improve over time. The historic Local 802 (New York City) strike against the Broadway League in 2003 brought these issues to the fore, as theatre musicians fought to keep canned music out of the pits of the Great White Way. As technology impacts the way theatre is presented, the role of the musician in theatre has changed as well. In the intervening years since 2002, we've seen professional musicians stretch their limits not only musically, but theatrically: 2005's Jersey Boys put musicians in period costume onstage, and that same year a revival of Sweeney Todd put instruments directly into the hands of actors, who served as their own "orchestra." The currently touring Once features 20-plus artists who further blur the line between musician and dancer, and musician and actor. …

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