Notes from the director... - September 2023
Vaudeville on stage and in the classroom!!!
While Vaudeville may seem like an older art form, at The Shedd there are several ways we keep Vaudeville alive! Our E. Y. Harburg Academy’s Vaudeville Hour, The Music Box class, and The Magical Moombah performance series provide many opportunities to participate. Vaudeville may be a performance art, but it can teach so much more to students than just being onstage!
Vaudeville is a true variety show, ranging from song and dance acts, to juggling, to comedy, to acrobatics, to magic, and beyond. The Magical Moombah, our homegrown performance series, combines classic vaudeville sketch routines with music, comedy, and guest performers in 4 different productions each season. The Friday performance is available to school groups and Saturdays have two performances with a special Music Box class included in between.
Our E. Y. Harburg Academy Vaudeville Hour gives students grades 5-9 the chance to learn these great skills and have a ton of fun putting together their own show with the help of Shedd faculty and guest instructors from The Shedd Theatricals. Students develop performance skills that will transfer to acting and musical theatre, while building confidence and presentation skills that lend themselves to public speaking and many other avenues in life.
The Music Box gives younger students hands-on experiences with more than 20 different instruments, comedy, puppet-making, and movement styles, while encouraging them to make musical connections and discoveries on their own. The Magical Moombah encourages creativity by showing the audience they can have a fun time and a great adventure with minimal technical resources. We want kids to “try this at home!”
The Magical Moombah, The Music Box, and The Vaudeville Hour focus primarily on traditional American Songbook and Musical Theatre music because we believe that the music and theatre styles that helped shape modern music should be understood and celebrated. We share songs with the youngest generations that they might not learn elsewhere these days.
Many comedians, actors, singers, and dancers from the Golden Age of Hollywood got their start in Vaudeville. Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Julie Andrews, and Carey Grant (who performed under the name Archie Leach) are just a few of the big names in film and television who started on stage, along with composers and lyricists such as George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, and Jerome Kern. Shedd students learn this musical history and context.
The Music Box, the Vaudeville Hour, and the Moombah gently encourage your youngsters to join in the fun and rewards of lifelong music-making. Come join the fun!