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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

TCM's Scheduling to Correspond with Online Class "Mad About Musicals!"

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) for the fourth year in a row is offering an online summer course about classic cinema. In the past the focus has been on Noirs, Slapstick, and Hitchcock. This time the class will pay homage to the glittering world of Hollywood musicals. And the month's schedule of films will correspond with the online course. Mad About Musicals! celebrate timeless movie musicals including all time favorites, The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ in the Rain, and Cabaret.

TCM is once again partnering with Ball State University and the online education provider, Canvas to offer a free multimedia course tied to special programming about the history of the musical genre and its evolution with cultural and technological shifts. Enrollment is open until June 17. Fans can sign up for the course by using the above image as a link to Movie musicals have been a part of pop culture since films began to talk. Mad About Musicals! will feature more than 90 musicals over Tuesdays and Thursdays in June. The films to be covered include the first produced for the screen in the ‘20s. These productions cover the development of the genre right at the dawn of sound technology in films. The Second Best Picture winner Broadway Melody (1929) as well as The Love Parade (1929) will be among these early examples.

1930s examples naturally include Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, (the most-loved musical couple of the decade) and, of course, the 1939 technicolor dream Wizard of Oz. Musicals of the ‘40s wouldn't be complete without other Judy Garland films, such as Meet Me In St. Louis (1944), or Gene Kelly vehicles like On the Town (1949). The decade itself would prove to be the genre's greatest moment.

In the 1950s the Hollywood musical hit its peak with Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). While the 1960s would provide multiple opportunities for Oscar gold with such spectacles as My Fair Lady (1964), and Oliver (1968) receiving the statuette for Best Picture, and Barbra Streisand winning Best Actress for Funny Girl (1968). The ’70s marked an age when movie musicals were largely based on stage hits with films like Cabaret (1972) and Fiddler on the Roof (1971).

The network’s fourth annual Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will run concurrently with TCM’s programming and lead students through the history of the musical. With more than 44,000 participants enrolled in TCM’s past three successful MOOCs, it's easy to verify the popularity of these classes. And statistics show industry-leading completion rates as well as very high satisfaction rates. Another great outcome is the success the series has enjoyed exposing new audiences to TCM and the wonderful world of classic cinema. Jennifer Dorian, General Manager of TCM & FilmStruck and EVP of 360 Brand Strategy for Turner had this to say, “At TCM we are constantly looking for ways to create immersive experiences so our fans can engage with us on a deeper level, and our annual online courses tied to an on-air programming special have proved to do just that. This fan experience we create with our partners at Ball State University and Canvas helps take our mission of context and curation to the next level.”

The free, month-long multimedia course explores the musical’s place in cinematic history, features course lessons with movie clips curated by Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament, a former Actor’s Equity performer, a successful Hollywood Foley artist (Die Hard, Edward Scissorhands), and the Endowed Chair of Telecommunications at Ball State University. If there are better credentials for teaching a course on musicals then I'd like to see them! The course also includes interviews with guests such as Academy Award-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom, discussing sound in the Hollywood musical, and film scholar Richard Edwards examining the connection between musicals and melodrama. Dr. Ament will also conduct on-air film introductions alongside TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz during the first week of June.

And then there's the social aspect with fun and challenging online games to test expertise and create friendly competition, ongoing social conversation with fellow participants on TCM message boards, and social media interaction with the hashtag TCMusicals. Canvas, the online educational platform for this year’s MOOC, will utilize Arc, a hands-on video platform that turns content into collaboration. It empowers learners to collaborate with peers and interact with content by allowing them to comment and offer feedback within the video timeline. For more course information and programming details, see

I've taken the three previous courses and I really enjoyed them. I'm certainly looking forward to Mad About Musicals! and expect to have the same level of enjoyment I've come to expect. I encourage anyone who's remotely interested in the subject to use the above image as a link to the class' registration site. Then, maybe just like me, you'll make the event an annual summer experience. I hope to see you in class!

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