Civic Artifact Essay Rough Draft

Civic Artifact Rhetorical Analysis Essay

(Rough Draft):


The intricate costumes, haunting melodies, spectacular choreography, riveting dialogue, earth-rocking vocals, and valuable stories that together constitute the civic artifact of musical theatre create one of the greatest tools of civic engagement whose subliminal function of societal contribution often goes unrecognized in contemporary time. Once the curtain falls, however, and the starkness of reality sinks in, people are no longer seduced by the mere external attractiveness of the musical theatre experience.

Thesis: Once people take the time to look deeper into the minute aspects of a given musical, there is substantial evidence that this musical, whatever it may be, has several underlying purposes that contribute significantly to society.

  • Communication

Throughout the course of civilization, communication has been one aspect of civic engagement that has remained essential to daily life. The messages that are conveyed between individuals vary, just as the methods of communication used to spread the messages have evolved to reflect societal trends and the integration of new technology into common communication techniques. One such method of communication that has stood the test of time, although often underestimated, is musical theatre.

  • Ancient times – music was a form of expression

[Research about history? Citations?]

  • Express certain ideas or feelings about a topic

The underlying plot of a musical typically reflects the author’s opinion of a certain topic, as is mirrored in contemporary works of writing or expression. The ability of the actors and actresses to physically perform the story and bring these ideas to life adds a whole new layer of information and resonance to the audience’s understanding of the musical’s content. In certain musicals, the writers incorporate social topics that the performers interpret artistically, using their talents to essentially become key instruments in the way that the audience members themselves interpret the musical’s message.

  • Able to reach a mass audience

A musical’s role as a conductor of communication is only as effective as its audience’s ability to understand the content; therefore, although music itself is generally appealing to all audiences, some musicals express content that is not necessarily fit for audiences of certain maturity levels.

  • Able to re-tell classic stories with a “modern” twist – appealing to the audience through certain styles of music

Idea of association – a certain style of music paired with a particular topic cause the audience to then associate both the music with the topic, help to remember the story and the experience of seeing the musical itself

Not only do musicals act as communication tools, but they also function as rhetorical commonplaces.

  • Share ideas

Musical theatre is a field in which it is extremely rare to see one person put on a show completely independent of help from other individuals. Cooperation and teamwork is essential to understanding, developing, and executing a successful musical performance. Years of research, preparation, and idea refinement are essential among teams of people for a show to hold significant merit in the world of theatre. Seeing a musical as a member of the audience also grants an individual the opportunity to take part in this sharing of ideas by listening to what the actors are conveying during the performance.

  • Actors’, Writers’, musicians’, etc. talents

For a musical’s ability to function civically, the combination of talents provided by the writers, directors, producers, musicians, stage crew members, and actors themselves are essential. A show may spread the knowledge of a certain story, but it also brings everyone involved in its production together. Being a part of the team that puts on a large-scale event such as a musical allows each individual member to create something bigger than his/herself. It creates a feeling of community and inclusion into a society that values artistic expression in all forms and showcases a number of talents that otherwise would be simply uncultivated.

  • Common themes

Many musicals reflect ideals of society and topics that are potentially controversial or interesting to the intended audience. [Expand on this.]

  • Feelings – pathos

The ability of the audience to compare and contrast the music and the story’s plot points offers an opportunity for pathos to play a significant role in influencing the audience to view the musical in a certain way. [Expand on this.]

The actors themselves play key roles in determining the relationship between the audience and the emotions the writers and directors intended the audience to experience at different points in the show.

  • Popularity, ability to relate with others in the audience

When an individual chooses to see a musical, it is essentially because s/he wants to experience a night of fun entertainment, usually with one or more companions. This is because most musical are, from the superficial perspective, reliable sources of pure entertainment. The ridiculously complex dance numbers, the insanely powerful vocals, and the blissfully simple ability of the audience members to enjoy a night of sensory exposure provided by fellow human beings are all factors that contribute to a musical’s popularity. Also, in sharing the experience of a musical with the other members of the audience, a common subject of conversation becomes instantly available to everyone in attendance, thus bringing individuals closer together as members of the same society.

  • Physical commonplace – a theater

In a more literal sense, musical theatre offers an opportunity to create an actual commonplace where individuals gather to share in the same experience of enjoying a performance; this commonplace is known as a theater or performing arts center.

[Historical aspect/function of theaters?]

Musicals are essentially calls to action

  • There can be found in almost every story an ulterior purpose or lesson that the author attempts to convey.
  • Nearly every musical in existence was once a story, historical occurrence, play, or any form of an idea that other individuals decided deserved stronger recognition than it was currently receiving.
  • The combination of all aspects of the typical musical – singing, dancing, and music – as well as the social awareness aspect leaves the audience with an unconscious desire to learn more about a certain story that resonates particularly strongly with each individual. [Expand on this.]


  • Restate basic ideas and thesis. [Expand on this.]

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