Person playing saxophone at concert

The network aims to stimulate new debate and exchange ideas about connections between musical theatre and jazz.

  • 17 May 2021
  • 2 min read

A new network to explore the relationships between jazz and musical theatre has been launched by the University of Portsmouth and Birmingham City University. 

Bringing together international scholars, musicians, actors and industry workers, the network aims to stimulate new debate and exchange ideas about connections between musical theatre and jazz. 

It is funded by a grant from the Arts Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research networking scheme. 

Dr George Burrows, Reader in Performing Arts at the University of Portsmouth, said: “This new network aims to explore what can be gained by working across or between the two forms. Musical theatre references jazz in its music and performance styles and in its representations of race, gender, sexuality and class. Conversely, jazz has adopted features of musical theatre in its repertoire of standards and approaches to performing, recording and marketing. 

“While such intersections have sometimes been acknowledged, the understandings, features and practices common to both forms have not been explored in detail before or considered for their meanings and developmental potential.” 

This new network aims to explore what can be gained by working across or between the two forms.

Dr George Burrows, Reader in Performing Arts

The network will discuss musicals such as Pal Joey, Gypsy, Chicago, City of Angels and Lady Day and will explore what happens when jazz musicians create work with musical theatre professionals. 

Its first events will take place later this month, which include keynote talks on ‘The growth of jazz dance on stage: how black movement transformed musical theatre’ and ‘Revolutionary Arias: Four Saints in Three Acts, Porgy and Bess and the Sound of the Black Feminist Avant-Garde’. 

To book a free place please visit Eventbrite.

For more information on the network please visit Musical Theatre and All that Jazz.

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