Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) announces a Virtual Feedback Workshop: How to Write a Musical that Works Part One: The World and the Want on Sunday, June 13, 2021 from 12pm-7pm ET. 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 musical works. Submissions are due Monday, May 24, 2021. For more information and to submit, visit https://truonline.org/events/2021-virtual-world-and-the-want/.
Each workshop will accept up to ten 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 and participate in discussions.
“Even as we tiptoe closer to the end of shutdown, we continue to embrace the advantages of virtual programming that allows theater professionals from outside the New York area to be part of TRU,” states executive director Bob Ost. “Our lab has been adapted to virtual, with great care and some adjustment, and is ready to invite writers to take a structural look at the art of writing for musical theater.”
Part One: The World and the Want will focus on two main aspects of a 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 characters are introduces and audiences invited to follow their journeys. Topics for discussion will include “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, the workshop will continually explore the delicate balance between script and song, so it is important that a continuous portion of scene and song is presented from the show.
Due to the virtual issues of lag and latency, writers will need to record and edit any musical presentations that involve more than one singer. TRU music director Benjamin Doyle will be available to play and record the tracks, as well as edit duets, trios and ensemble numbers into a recorded format that can be played for the feedback panel and the room. Writers may also use their own music director, editor or other resources to help produce a professional presentation.
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. Submission fee is $20 ($10 for TRU members). A recorded presentation is not required to submit.
The professional feedback panel of commercial producers, directors and writers will include:
- Ken Cerniglia, former dramaturg and literary manager 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;
- plus 3 others to be confirmed.
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 the show will be presented, although preferences are taken into account, and a zoom room, access to a music director and editor, actor and director suggestions, panelists, and an audience will be provided.
Schedule12:00-12:45 am – 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?12:45 am to 3:15 pm – 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/ZOOM BREAK (Stretch, rest your eyes)
4:15 pm to 5:00 pm – 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.
5:15 pm to 7:15 pm – 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 presentations, panelists will provide feedback.
Theater Resources Unlimited(TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-eight-year-old 501(c)(3) 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; presents monthly panels as well as the new weekly Community Gatherings; 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 the TRU Voices Play Reading Series, Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab. Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by the Montage Foundation, The Storyline Project and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation. For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit www.truonline.org.