MMU: The Movie Musical: Screening the Stage

Series: Movie Madness University

This course will explore movie musicals that originated as stage shows. With an emphasis on the creative ways that filmmakers have married the magic of cinema with the magic of musical theater, we’ll dig into the unique possibilities—and the unique challenges—of the musical film adaptation. Class lectures will contextualize films in their historical moment and cover the details of their theatrical origin stories. Through discussion, we’ll tease out an understanding of how film and musical theater evolved side by side in the 20th century. Films screened will range from the “Golden Age” of musical theater to contemporary releases.

(For a list of specific titles that will be featured in the course, please email with “‘musical class titles” in the subject line.)

Movies will be screened at the Movie Madness Miniplex, followed by an instructor-led discussion. Classes will begin on March 2 and be held Wednesdays through March 23 at 7:00pm. Proof of vaccination and masks are required for all students and instructors.

Tuition is $75 for the four-week class, $60 for members. Class size will be limited to 18.

This class will be taught by Max Swanson, a nonfiction/experimental filmmaker/performer, writer, educator, and organizer based in Portland, OR. They currently teach at NW Doc and PSU, and work as a freelance story consultant. They are also a co-producer of the local drag and art collaborative Max & Mars Present.