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Director’s Brief: What is a Concert Musical?

What is a concert musical?

I’ve come to expect—at the time of year when we’re producing our concert musical—that this question will arise.

Well, certainly we all know what a concert is. When one goes to a concert, at the Symphony or Red Butte Garden, or even Vivint Arena, you know what to expect. But your experience at each of those places is different, is it not? And so, it’s also different at a PTC concert musical.


The concerts are not full productions—they’re a different kind of theatrical experience.

What you will see:

  • you will see the whole show, both the script and the score;
  • you will see some costuming;
  • you will see some dance numbers;
  • you will see the orchestra or band—they’re on stage for our concerts!
  • you will see the actors holding their scripts, because our concerts have a significantly shorter rehearsal period, and there isn’t time for them to learn everything (but does it bother you that the musicians at the Symphony have music in front of them at their concerts?)


What you will not see:

  • you will not see very much scenery—just enough to give the concert the flavor of the setting for the show;
  • you will not see all of the musical staging you would see in a full production.

Our concerts are meant to whet your appetite for a show you might not be familiar with. Or remind you of an old chestnut you might have forgotten about. Or bring a back a favorite title you just can’t get enough of.

The concerts are live theatre at its most wonderful. Theatre that is flying by the seat of its pants. Running on adrenaline and talent and chutzpah. It’s rehearsal on steroids.

They are not meant to be perfect. They are meant to have a bit of the spontaneity that comes from the actors knowing what’s supposed to happen, but aren’t quite rehearsed enough to make it happen every time.

Does that help answer your question?


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