PSU Professor Creates Revolutionary Hi-Tech Study Guides for Broadway’s “Ghost the Musical”

May 31st, 2012 by Elizabeth
Theatre Professor

Professor Paul Mroczka

PLYMOUTH, N.H. — Plymouth State University Professor of Theatre Paul Mroczka, in partnership with All Tickets Inc. of New York, has created two technology-rich interactive study guides to the hit Broadway production, Ghost The Musical.

The free study guides (http://www.ghostonbroadway.com/tickets/guides/) will assist educators in meeting core standards for English language arts and literacy in history and social science, science, and technical subjects as set forth by the Common Core Initiative which has been adopted by the great majority of states.

Mroczka says the study guides “harness the power of interactive learning and the digital age, while including unprecedented access to the original creators of a Broadway musical.” This is a logical approach to studying a production of which the Evening Standard said, “Gasp-inducing ingenuity and technical wizardry make Ghost The Musical an unearthly hit!”

Study Guide Cover

Study Guide Cover

After reviewing more than 35 different study guides for Broadway shows, Mroczka felt  they were not offering students insights into the show or a way to prepare to see it or to utilize their experience after seeing it. “We approached the producers with a detailed outline that included various people involved with creating the show, “ Mroczka explains. Such access is uncommon, but the study guides use these conversations and videos to make learning about technology, vision, challenges faced and overcome, dynamic—connecting effectively with today’s students. We thought, “what a great way to connect with students, giving them this link to some of the top pros in the business and to such an innovative musical,” he said.

The study guides, one for teachers and students and one examining careers in the arts, offer multiple different projects in three levels, on topics such as adaptation as a stage production, insights from the playwright, characters, style of the show, design elements, major study elements, communication and relationships and the bully as antagonist. It suggests that until students discover the message of a play and how to use it in their lives, “they haven’t begun to tap into the full power of the theatre experience.” The study guides are devoted to enabling clear-minded discussion and learning in an active, creative manner.

Navigation links throughout the guides make accessing material within the guides quick and easy. Other links connect to video clips of the original New York cast, creative team and producers. A third set of links introduces students to valuable theatre resources on the Internet.

Study questions to prompt students to think about particular aspects of a production are also included throughout.

Molly and Sam

Molly and Sam

Some material targets students and teachers who will have opportunity to see Ghost The Musical and prepares them to do so. “Part II: The Career Connection,” is designed to expand students’ awareness of the many career opportunities associated with the theatre. More than 60 different careers are defined; some having biographies and video links to interviews with some of the actors in the production.

An advisory committee for the study guides, comprising theatre educators, university professors, music and theatre professionals and others involved in arts education provided insight, reviewed the document and commented on its efficacy as a teaching tool regarding the theatre profession, musical theatre and the play.

Mroczka has been actively involved in professional theatre for more than 35 years and in educational and university theatre for the past 25. He has directed more than 50 productions and written many plays. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, a Shubert Fellowship and the Jason Miller Award for Playwriting, along with numerous commissions.

As Director of Theatre at Plymouth State University from 1994-2003, Mroczka helped to shape the theatre major with his colleagues, creating a competitive and highly selective program with an expanded production season, a focus on mentoring and an emphasis on developing each student’s full potential. Along with directing and teaching, Mroczka also runs his own writing business, E-Right, specializing in arts, entertainment, social media and video.

All Tickets Inc. is dedicated to fostering educational experiences and an appreciation of theatre, the arts and culture. Recently, they have undertaken initiatives designed to connect students and teachers with quality experiences, such as Camp Broadway workshops and special programs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the development of materials to enhance student appreciation and enjoyment of theatre.

The study guide project exemplifies their belief in educating students regarding the art and craft of theatre, fostering discussion of important aspects of life and focusing on the development of student academic skills.

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