Common symbols used in modern musical notation.
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Theatrical production that is characteristically sentimental and amusing in nature, having a simple but distinctive plot and offering music, dancing, and dialogue. Its roots can be traced to 18th- and 19th-century genres such as ballad opera, singspiel, and opéra comique. The Black Crook (1866), often called the first musical comedy, attracted patrons of opera and serious drama as well as those of burlesque shows. European composers such as Sigmund Romberg brought to the U.S. a form of operetta that was the generic source for musical comedy. George M. Cohan ushered in the genre's heyday, and in the 1920s and '30s it entered its richest period with the works of Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and Oscar Hammerstein. Kern and Hammerstein's Show Boat (1927) was perhaps the first musical to employ music thoroughly integrated with the narrative. The genre flourished in the 1950s with works by composers such as Leonard Bernstein, but it began to decline in the late 1960s, by which time musicals had begun to diverge in many different directions, incorporating elements such as rock music, operatic styling, extravagant lighting and staging, social comment, nostalgia, and pure spectacle. Later notable musical composers included Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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In the opening scene, we see Helsa is killed by a masked figure. We also see Elsa talking to a police officer, Michael Kelly, about some sort of undercover scheme. Both seem to be unaware of the maid's murder.
The next morning, we see Helsa again, only now her entire personality seems to have changed overnight. The guests Elsa has invited soon begin to arrive. They have been invited for a backer's audition to the Musical White House Merry-Go-Round.
The first of the invited guests is an Irish tenor named Patrick O'Reilly. He's quickly followed by a theatre director named Ken De La Maize, and a singer/dancer named Nikki Crandall. Nikki is followed in by a young (and bad) comedian named Eddie McCuen, who takes an instant liking to Nikki.
While talking, Eddie realizes that everyone coming (including Marjorie Baverstock, the producer, and Roger Hopewell and Bernice Roth, the writers) were all part of the creative team that made Manhattan Holliday, in which The Stage Door Slasher murdered three women. Eddie instantly wants to leave, but decides to stay after the rest of the team enters and woos him into staying.
After things get underway, Marjorie is murdered and the body of Helsa is discovered. It doesn't take long for everyone to figure out the identity of the actual murderer.