Student Musicales at Webster

The annual student musicale appears to have begun in 1945. Reviving a tradition of fundraising started by previous student vaudeville performances, the musicale's initial goal was to raise money for a new college gymnasium. ("Rehearsals begin for W.C. musicale", 1945.) That first year proceeds from the performances totaled $1,000 for the new gym. ("Student donation to new gym", 1945). The 1945 musicale is also notable for the debut of a new college alma mater which was written specifically for the event.

The musicale changed from a mix of student-written songs and skits to a Broadway musical production in 1959. It also represented the first time that men from the St. Louis area performed the male roles in a musicale. ("'Oklahoma!' opens tonight", 1959). While the Broadway musicals resulted in larger audiences and revenues, some students expressed concern over fewer numbers of students participating in the production and the increased emphasis on professional standards. ("Students debate musical plan", 1960).

In 1967, a number of changes were made to the Family Week schedule of events which had traditionally included the musicale. Instead of a student production, guests attended a matinee of the Repertory Theatre's production of Oh, What a Lovely War. ("Dinner Dance Feb. 4 to highlight weekend", 1966). With the emergence of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the Theatre Arts Department's conservatory-based curriculum, the era of musicals put on by the Webster student body came to an end.

The titles of student musicales presented from 1945-1958 were made up by the students.

References

Dinner Dance Feb. 4 to highlight weekend. (1966, December 2). The Web, vol. 44, no. 6, p. 1.
Oklahoma! opens tonight. (1959, February 6). The Web, vol. 35, no. 4, p. 1.
Rehearsals begin for W.C. musicale. (1945, March 9). The Web, vol. 21, no. 7, p. 1.
Student donation to new gym. (1945, June 1). The Web, vol. 21, no. 10, p. 1.
Students debate musical plan. (1960, March 18). The Web, vol. 36, no. 6, p. 2.

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