The purpose of this activity is to spark students' interest in the play by providing background information. Students will explore the Web site for "The Producers," which contains information on the cast and creators as well as selected scenes from the musical.
1. Have students work in small groups to explore the Web site for "The Producers" at http://www.producersonbroadway.com.
2. Ask each group to select the feature they most enjoyed and share it with the entire class.
The purpose of this activity is to create background knowledge regarding musicals. If possible, choose a musical that will complement curriculum areas.
1. Select a Broadway musical video to watch with your class. Discuss students' reactions to the production. Some possible suggestions include SOUTH PACIFIC, GUYS AND DOLLS, MY FAIR LADY, A CHORUS LINE, SWEENEY TODD, CATS, WEST SIDE STORY, and LES MISÉRABLES.
Discuss the following questions with the class:
- Is the music an integral part of the story?
- In what ways does the music enhance or hinder the plot?
- How are different elements of music used to enhance the dramatic nature of the performance?
- What did you like or dislike about the production? Why?
The purpose of this activity is for students to research the history of Broadway musicals. They will use the information they have learned to create an imaginary news broadcast on the topic.
1. Ask the students to work in small groups to research the history of Broadway musicals. Some excellent sites to begin researching include:
History of the Broadway Musical
(Scroll to History section)
The New Tuner's Theater Musical Theatre History Resources
Click on Broadway Historical Timeline.
2. After they have completed their research, ask the students to create an imaginary news broadcast. As a class, decide how you will organize the broadcast. Some things to consider include:
3. If possible, act out your news broadcast in front of an audience.
- Categorizing and synthesizing the information from the varied Web sites
- Selecting key information that will be included in the broadcast
- Deciding on the most effective use of visuals
- Deciding on the most effective use of sound
- Deciding on the group members' roles
- Designing a set for the broadcast
- Creating a working broadcast script
The purpose of this activity is for students to develop background knowledge about Mel Brook's life and work.
1. Have the students research the life and works of Mel Brooks. Provide students with a large sheet of butcher-block paper. Ask the students to create an artistic rendering that features scenes from the life of Mel Brooks based on what they have learned. (In honor of the wacky spirit of Mel Brooks, you may also choose to have the students design wrapping paper instead of using chart paper.) Include both biographical information and information based on his movies and musical compositions, quotes, captions, pictures, drawings, comics, etc.
Some good sites to begin researching include:
2. Hang the students' work for others to view.
In "The Producers," Mel Brooks teaches us to laugh at and learn from mistakes. In this activity, students will research how costume, scene, and lighting design elements are used in a theatrical production. The students visit the Web site of The International Theatre Design Archive, which is a compendium of online indexes of plays that features professional theater designs. They will write a scene based on a mistake from their own lives and apply these design elements to create a presentation.
1. Divide the class into small groups, and send them to the site of the International Theatre Design Archive at http://www.siue.edu/ITDA/y.html. The Web site is divided into the following three categories: scene design, costume design, and lighting design. Ask each group to select three plays from each category to examine. Ask the students to record words and ideas that they feel describe the selected scene.
2. Have each group share its responses to the varied theatrical elements with the entire class. Create a class chart that contains the student-generated descriptors for the three categories.
3. In small groups, ask the students to share examples of mistakes from their own lives. Have each group choose one example and create a skit based on the incident. Ask the students to decide how they will use scene, costume, and lighting design to tell the story of their experience.
4. The groups may choose to describe their scene in a written passage, create a visual representation of the scene, or stage a performance.
5. Each group should share its creation with the whole class.
The purpose of this activity is for students to research and plan an imaginary trip to see a production of "The Producers."
1. Have the students visit http://www.playbill.com to plan an imaginary trip from their homes to Broadway to see "The Producers." Include the following:
2. After the students have completed their research, ask them to create a travel brochure entitled "My Trip to Broadway."
- Ticket prices
- Ticket availability
- Where to purchase tickets
- Theater location
- Map to theater
- Travel costs
- Other sites of interest you will visit
1. Ask the students to visit http://www.playbill.com/cgi-bin/plb/who?cmd=list&tcode=B37, which lists a variety of theatrical jobs. Tell them to choose a job that interests them from the list and prepare a report that describes what it entails and how one would prepare for it.
2. Have the students select a cast member from the "The Producers" to research. A good place to begin researching is the "Who's Who" section of www.producersonbroadway.com. Have the students prepare a presentation based on the chosen person to share with the class.
3. Have the students visit the site of the Tony Award Archive at http://www.tonys.org/archive/. Ask them to view the list of categories in which awards are given and to choose a particular production that interests them. Have the students write a brief newspaper article about it and share it with the entire class. Compile students' work in a class file to share.