Practice-Based Research Results in Critically-Acclaimed Musical

2 Nov 2015
Clinton: the Musical, by PhD candidate Paul Hodge

Practice-based research by UQ PhD candidate Paul Hodge has resulted in a hit Off-Broadway musical about former United States President Bill Clinton.

Dr Robert Davidson, the principal advisor of Paul's PhD project, said that Clinton: The Musical was the culmination of years of innovative scholarly work by Paul.

"Musicology has tended to shy away from musical theatre," Dr Davidson said.

"Through writing this musical, Paul has been researching the creative process of music theatre production, and speaking to many leading practitioners in this field," he said.

Paul and Dr Davidson have a shared interest in politicians as inherently theatrical public figures.

"Clinton appealed to Paul as a larger-than-life character with immediately recognisable speech patterns, catch phrases and quotes," Dr Davidson said.

"This was a point of connection for us, as we're both interested in finding the theatre inherent in when politicians speak," he said.

Dr Davidson had previously composed significant works about Australian politicians that included spoken word extracts from their own speeches, including Julia Gillard's Misogyny Speech.

Clinton: the Musical has received critical and popular acclaim during its run in New York.

"Paul phoned me in great excitement the night after Stephen Sondheim attended the show and gave a standing ovation," Dr Davidson said.

Planning is underway for Clinton: the Musical to be launched in Australia.

Read The New York Times Review

Read The Newsweek review

Update: Clinton: The Musical opens at Perth’s Heath Ledger Theatre on 31 August 2016. Read an interview with Paul and Michael Hodge in The Australian Arts Review.