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How to Write a Musical that Works (Part #1: The World and the Want)

October 27, 2019 @ 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Theater Resources Unlimited
presents a 3-part feedback lab for new works,
How to Write a Musical that Works
(Part #1: The World and the Want)
Sunday, October 27, 2019 from 10am to 6pm at Studios 353

How To Write a Musical that Works (Part 1: The World and the Want) will take place on Sunday October 27, 2019 from 10am to 6pm at Studios 353, 353 W. 48th Street, Studio 1 (2nd floor), NYC. For application as a writable PDF: https://truonline.org/events/2019-feedback-workshop-1/ and email TRUPlaySubmissions@gmail.com – submission fee is $10 for TRU members, $20 for non-members. Submission deadline is Monday, October 14, 2019. The lab encourages directors and producers to attend and observe the presentations and feedback. The Observer fee is $55 for the full day.

This workshop is dedicated to fostering a conversation about musical theater structure not only for writers but also for producers, directors and everyone involved in the creation and production of new works. Each workshop will accept up to 10 writing teams and/or producers who will share works in progress and get feedback from a panel of expert evaluators. Audience members will also have a chance to offer their observations, participate in discussions and networking, and enjoy coffee and refreshments.

If accepted for presentation, in addition to the submission fee there will be a participation fee of $80 ($75 for TRU members), which includes two seats for the entire day workshop as well as a 20-30 minute presentation-plus-feedback slot. Space is limited. Any additional attendees from the musical team (including music director, additional collaborators and cast members) who wish to observe the entire workshop must reserve in advance and will be charged $25 per person. There is an additional price break for writers who presented the same show at previous parts of the How to Write a Musical workshops.

Writers or producers are invited to submit no more than the first 25 pages of a show you are working on, plus mp3s of the songs within those pages. In “Part 1: The World and the Want” we will focus on two main aspects of your show: 1) the opening number (or any number that invites the audience into the world of the show, and sets the storytelling rules); and 2) the songs and scenes in which you introduce your characters and invite us to follow their journey. We will discuss “I want” songs, “I am” songs and “I feel” songs, and the function of each, with special attention to the way they move the action. In addition, we will continually explore the delicate balance between script and song.

The professional panel of commercial producers, directors and writers will include:
Margot Astrachan, producer (The Prom, A Gentleman’s Guide…, Ghost the musical, Around the World in 80 Days, Nice Work If You Can Get It, On a Clear Day…);
Ken Cerniglia, former dramaturg and Literary Manager for Disney Theatrical Group;
Cheryl Davis, Kleban and Larsen Award winning librettist and lyricist (Barnstormer), Audelco Award winning playwright (Maid’s Door), general counsel for The Author’s Guild
Skip Kennon, composer/lyricist (Herringbone, Don Juan DeMarco, Time and Again), former artistic coordinator of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and teacher for two decades.
Bob Ost, executive director of Theater Resources Unlimited, and TRU Literary Manager Cate Cammarata will facilitate. The TRU Selection Committee will determine what song and scene from your show we want you to present, although you may tell us your preference. We will provide a room with a piano, refreshments, panelists and an audience.

“A wonderful idea. I know myself I’m working on a show right now and I cannot make up my mind about the opening number…. To have the opportunity to present something, and then get various viewpoints on it, and come away with something positive is wonderful.” ~Sheldon Harnick

“I just wanted to take a moment to say how grateful we are for the opportunity to perform an excerpt from Oswald for you. The feedback we received was truly invaluable and we are so very thankful to everyone on the panel who took the time to offer their expertise and insights. Our experience with TRU continues to be amazing and we thank you all so much.” ~Josh Sasanella & Tony LePage

10:15am to 10:45am – Discussion: how do you engage an audience in the world of your show? What constitutes an effective opening number? What does the audience need to know?
11:00am to 1:30pm – Five writing teams will explain their work’s overall concept (in 30 seconds or less) and present up to 12 minutes of the opening scene and song. After each presentation, panelists will provide feedback.
LUNCH BREAK (On your own. Great time to make new friends in the industry!)
2:30pm to 3:30pm – Discussion: How does the audience know whose story to follow? Who is the engine of your show? Do all of your characters have “wants”? Do they need to? Panelists will comment and invite additional audience feedback.
3:30pm to 5:30pm – Four writing teams will explain their work’s overall concept (in 30 seconds or less) and present up to 12 minutes that include the main characters’ “I Want” song or songs. After each presentation, panelists will provide feedback.

All writers are expected to be in attendance for the entire day, or at least the full half day session in which your work is presented.

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-seven year old 501c3 nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies.

TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program taught by prominent producers and general managers in New York theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop business skills. TRU serves writers through a Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab; programs for actors include the Annual Combined Audition.

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by public funds awarded through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as the Montage Foundation and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation.

For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit www.truonline.org.


October 27, 2019
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM


New York, NY United States + Google Map