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A 3-part workshop for writers, directors and producers exploring the traditional structure and dynamic interplay of an effective libretto and score. We will examine successful musicals, discuss basic dramaturgical principals and why they work, and hear presentations of submitted new works and works-in-progress. A panel of producers and writers will evaluate how successful the songs and scenes presented are in fulfilling their purpose.

Sunday in October tbd, 10am to 5:30pm

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 network sessions and enjoy refreshments. Submission deadline for part 1: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 -

Click for application as a writable PDF
or Go to guidelines for application as a web page
plus instructions on emailing materials.

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. The cost for non-participants to attend for the full day, to observe the presentations and be part of the discussions, is $50 ($30 for TRU members). Click here to sign up.

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 the workshop (part 1) we will focus on two main aspects: 1) the opening number (or any number that invites the audience into the world of the show); and 2) the songs and scenes in which you introduce your characters. 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. Submission fee is $10 for members, $20 for non-members. If accepted, it will be applied to a participation fee of $100 ($80 for TRU members).

Our professional panel of commercial producers, directors and writers has included Michael Alden (Bat Boy, Grey Gardens, The Last Session, Disgraced, The King's Speech on stage), producer Doug Denoff (Nice Work If You Can Get It, upcoming Peggy Sue Got Married, Just Believe), producer Tom Polum (The Toxic Avenger, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, All Shook Up); composer/lyricist Skip Kennon (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.



October date TBA

February date TBA

July date TBA

You may apply for each workshop separately as we schedule them. Currently accepting submissions for Workshop #2, deadline September 20th. See application and guidelines for instructions on emailing materials. Priority space will be given to those who have taken previous workshop(s).

Follow the links for: Application and Guidelines
CLICK HERE to pay your $10 submission fee
(or the balance due for participation)


10 am to 10:15 am - check in.

10:15 am to 10:45 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?

10:45 am to 1:00 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.

(On your own. Great time to make new friends in the industry!)

2:00 pm to 2:30 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.

3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
- Five 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.

As a finale to the festival, panelists will vote on a “Best of the Fest” from the 10 sampled works. The musical selected earns a spot among the Top 8 or 9 finalists that will be considered for the TRU VOICES New Musicals Reading Series. (Note: winner might not be announced that same day if panelists need additional time to review submitted materials.)

Thank you so much for having me to participate in the workshop once again. It was a great day with invaluable information.  I was very happy with my feedback from the panel and even more so with the feedback and suggestions that were given to the other writers.  I felt like I got to see 10 mini Broadway shows and the talent of the writers was simply amazing.  Not to mention the talent of the performers we were all lucky to have help represent our work. I will submit for part 3 when it is announced. ~Roger Nehls

SO SO fantastic to be part of last Sunday! I'm SO happy to have been part of it... so much talent and such gracious people. ~Lina Koutrakos

Thanks so much for the opportunity to observe today. I found it very helpful as we continue the new draft of our piece. ~Dan Gross

I wanted to thank you for today. I felt honored to be there, and I learned a lot from your comments as well as those of the other panelists. A really enjoyable and worthwhile experience... and I'm looking forward to part 2 in the fall!! ~Arnie Roman

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the "Writing a Musical That Works" workshop last Sunday! I attended as an observer, and found it to be a very worthwhile experience. The discussions were interesting, engaging, and very thought-provoking. I feel like I walked away with several valuable tips on how to make my current "work in progress" more marketable. I am very much looking forward ... Part 2. I don't want to miss it! ~Kandi Krumins

Thanks again for the awesome workshop! Overall, I was extremely impressed with the high quality, and truly grateful for the experience and new knowledge.... I transcribed the notes I took and read through the three-part structure materials. Lots of amazing info, helpful in editing my script, making What's Upstairs, Isabella? better. All the panelists were sensational.... ~Alice Shapiro

**If accepted for presentation, there will be a participation fee of $100 ($80 for TRU members), which includes two seats for the entire day workshop as well as a 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 $20 per person.

** 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.

** Those selected for presentation are required to bring performers and accompanist. (We can make suggestions for locating talent.) If you are unable to produce a full 15-minute presentation, you may write on your application "Song Only".

** Those not selected will be invited and encouraged to attend the workshop as observers. The price is $40 ($25 for TRU members). We will be promoting this to writers, directors and producers, with the hope of generating a useful conversation to help us all develop the skills to create successful works for musical theater.

**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.


CLICK HERE to download TRU Voices Application and Guidelines as a PDF
CLICK HERE to download How to Write a Musical Application/Guidelines
Click here for TRU Voices Application as a web page

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