Musical Theatre Speech Paper

Write your speech paper on one of the following musicals :
West Side Story 1961
Miss Saigon 2016
Chicago 2002
Cabaret 1972
Les Misérables 2012

Write your speech paper on one of the following musicals :

  • West Side Story 1961
  • Miss Saigon 2016
  • Chicago 2002
  • Cabaret 1972
  • Les Misérables 2012


Take a look at the Module titled “Suggested Speech Topics for Musical Theatre.” You will see topics like Theme, Music, Dance and Character. You should notice that all the

topics are from Aristotle’s 6 elements of theatre as defined in his work The Poetics. You need to choose ONE topic and write a paper on how that one element contributes to the play and it’s intended messages.

You will notice that each Topic has several questions underneath it. You should use those questions to help guide your paper. You do not have to answer all of the questions in your paper but you should consider addressing 2 or 3* of them. For example, your paper might look like:

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction
    • Your introduction should introduce Aristotle’s 6 elements of theatre and explain the one you are focusing on for your paper on your selected musical film. Your intro should address how the 6 elements of theatre as defined by Aristotle are present in the modern musical film you saw.
  • Paragraph 2: Answer to one of the topic questions with examples from the show
  • Paragraph 3: Answer to another topic question with examples from the show
  • Paragraph 4: Answer to one last topic question with examples from the show
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion.



*if your analysis in paragraphs 2 and 3 end up being long, you don’t need to include a third question. Not sure how to judge? Your paper should be around 2-3 pages. If it’s longer than that, then you can cut one of the topic questions.

Suggested Topics for Musical Theatre Speeches:


We know that Aristotle critically examined theatre and organized it into Unities of time and place, and broke down the 6 elements of theatre. For this assignment we will take a look at how modern theatre still incorporates these same 6 elements to produce a show. After watching a modern musical, your paper will focus on just one of the elements used in the show.

Write a speech on just ONE of the theatrical elements listed below. Use the questions listed under the themes to help you form your paper. You only need to submit your paper.

Purpose: To present your analysis of the specific area of the play. What was distinctive about it as theatre?  How was it dramatically effective?

  • pages


Organization [Intro, Conclusion, Transitions]; Clarity of speech [articulation, volume, and pace]; Focus on topic; Analysis [Use of examples]; Perceptiveness [original insights]; Thoroughness [e.g. staying focused on the question]

Write your paper on one of the following musicals :

  • West Side Story 1961
  • Miss Saigon 2016
  • Chicago 2002
  • Cabaret 1972
  • Les Misérables 2012


Choose just one of these topics listed in bold. Use the questions provided under them to help you formulate your paper.


  • What is this show about? Can you list at least five single words that represent ideas in the play?
  • Does the musical have a goal, a purpose? What was the intention in writing the show?
  • Was the creative team making a thematic statement? About Government? Racism? Body Image? Acceptance? Others? Is this statement evidenced in examples from the play?


  • Is there a song that represents a theme? What lyrics in the song highlight the theme, and what do the lyrics suggest?


  • What is the general quality or tone of the music? What adjectives can describe it?
  • What does the quality of the music contribute to the story? What emotions does the music bring up?
  • Where do the songs support the plot or character of the story in Hairspray? Point out examples where Music, Theatre and Dance are integrated to reveal character or plot.
  • How would you describe the style of dancing? Does it add to the story line or themes? What does the style of movement communicate?


  • Is this musical theatrical in any way? What draws our interest in a visual way to an important moment? Does it work?
  • What moments give the play a theatrical lift?
  • What is the most theatrical moment of spectacle in the musical and why?



Describe one of the characters using adjectives. Show evidence from the musical to support each attribute. Also describe them based on what they actually do in the musical.

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