Entertainment and Live Shows
Live entertainment often involves watching people perform in person in the form of live shows. These are often held in arenas such as theatres, studios and stadiums, yet performance can be held on the street, and open-air performances are popular summer past times. The most famous live shows are those that are associated with an individuals or groups showcasing their talent. Musical concerts have been performed in different forms for a great number of years. In the earliest times feasts and celebrations were often accompanied by individual musicians playing their music.
The 17th century saw concerts start developing as the great composers produced their music. Many German Universities maintained a “Collegium Musicum” for the performances of chamber music, and in the UK both Oxford and Cambridge universities held regular music meetings. The first concert that included an admission charge was given by the violinist John Banister at his home in Whitefriars, London in 1672. This was followed by Thomas Britton providing weekly concerts in a loft in Clerkenwell at a cost of 10 shillings a year. Once this idea was accepted live music flourished across all genres. Nowadays concerts can be held in the form of classical individual performances, ensembles and full orchestras, but also include many other different types of popular music.
Some groups are as popular for the live music they perform as they are for the actual records they create. The London rock band Queen were blessed with being able to combine great music with also being able to produce great concerts. They were able to do this as the band contained talented musicians who could recreate their music live, and they also had a great front man in Freddie Mercury who was able to engage a large audience.
The popularity of playing at outdoor venues, such as festivals has grown more and more as there is potential for larger audiences. In 1994 Rod Stewart played on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in front of an estimated 3.5 million spectators. Live performances have also been performed in terms of theatrical performances for a number of centuries. The ability to get onto a stage to remember countless lines and act in front of a paying public, is an attraction that has drawn both artists and public alike.
Many present-day actors and actresses will turn down the lucrative contracts offered by Hollywood films in order to take to the stages in either Broadway or London’s West End. This is where these professional artists learn and hone their craft. The Globe Theatre in London was built in 1599 close to Southwark Bridge in London and since then it has been rebuilt on a number of occasions. The original theatre was open air and could hold up to 3000 spectators. The pit at the front of the stage was the cheapest viewing area for standing only. It was more expensive to purchase a seat in the galleries.
Every city in the world now possesses an area set aside for theatrical performances. The theatres in which the productions are held are often magnificent structures and reflect architecture showcasing the city’s history. The Queens theatre in Londons West End is a fine example of a venue that attracts the best productions as a result of its location and its history. The venue holds around 1200 spectators and was opened in 2009. Its location in Shaftesbury Avenue puts it in the heart of Theatre Land and many of the top productions clamour to have their shows presented there. It is currently the home to “Les Miserable” which was first performed back in 2004, and in its history Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich, John Gielguld, Maggie Smith plus many more world class actors and actresses have graced its stage.
The production “Les Miserable” is a good example of acting and music coming together to produce a musical. Many of the shows that are presented in the world’s top theatres are classed as being musicals.