Musical theatre unit
Last year I directed my first musical (Annie Jr.). It was more fun than I thought, and not quite as hard as I dreaded. Also, choreographing the dances was relatively painless, and fun in an I'm-working-outside-my-normal-sphere-of-creativity kind of way.
So now I'm thinking of doing a musical theatre unit in my class, and I'd like some input. I'd like to start in the first week of February, and spend three to five weeks on it. Since my classes are 48 minutes long, and we'd have to take time at the beginning of class to strike the desks and at the end of class to reset the desks, I figure we'll have about 30 good minutes of working time a day, which leads me to believe we can stumble through one song each week.
I imagine I'll start with some numbers from Annie Jr., since I'm confident with them. I'll likely start with "NYC," since the choreography we used largely entails tableaus, and not that much "real" dancing. Then I might do "Hard Knock Life" or "Never Fully Dressed," but I'm worried that the boys might bristle at being forced to do "girl songs."
I'd like to give the kids the opportunity to work in small groups to choreograph their own numbers, but there are several challenges to this idea. First, what songs? I can't allow them to have free reign, or it'll just be a lot of grinding to Solja Boy. I also thought of teaching them a dance from a movie, but most are just way too hard (my wife suggested the dance from the end of Napoleon Dynamite, and I think that's a pretty good choice). I figure I'll need to give them a list of songs to choose from. Then, what about the noise? If there are four groups in the class, that's four CD players blaring, and four groups bumping into each other. I have a large room, but still. It sounds pretty tough.
I'd like to end the unit by teaching kids a number fron this year's musical. We're doing Willy Wonka Jr., and auditions are right after Spring Break, so we'll need to be done by then.
Have any of you ever done a musical theatre unit before? How do you combat all the "this is gay" and "I didn't sign up for a dance class" stuff? How do you let the kids be creative and set their own choreography, but not lose control of your class?