American Musical Theater: The Glass Christmas Tree
The Glass Christmas Tree,
a holiday musical by Billy Edd Wheeler and Ewel Cornett, focuses on children who work in a glass factory and a photographer named Lewis Hine who uses the images captured by his camera to help them. In this scene, the children sneak into the factory at night and encounter Hine, who explains why he is there. The children sing “Pitiful.” The segment is taken from a co-production of KET and the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts and is performed by Stage One, Louisville’s young people’s theater.
- Show as an example of a musical. Discuss how the music and acting are combined.
- Analyze in terms of the dramatic elements.
- Have students discuss or work in groups to plan how a story or book they have read might be adapted as a musical.
- This musical deals with child labor. Have students research the history of child labor and the conditions that young workers like those depicted in the play had to withstand.
- Lewis Hine was a real person. Have students research Hine and discuss the impact he and his work had on the development of child labor laws.