Sunday June 13th, noon to 7pm eastern time
Reformatted to virtual presentation on ZOOM
Submission deadline: Monday 05/24/21
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, and participate in discussions.
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, so it is important that you present a continuous portion of scene and song from your show.
- Due to the virtual issues of lag and latency, we will need writers to record and edit any musical presentations that involve more than one singer. Music director Benjamin Doyle will be available to play and record your tracks, as well as edit duets, trios and ensemble numbers into a recorded format that we can play for the feedback panel and the room, and he is offering his services at a very affordable rate.
- You may, of course, use your own music director, editor or other resources to help you produce a professional presentation.
- We do NOT need a recorded presentation when you submit, only when you are accepted.
- 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).**
Click for application as a writable PDF: TRUBeginnings-HWMusical1 - fill it out, and email to TRUPlaySubmissions@gmail.com - submission fee is $10 for TRU members, $20 for non-members. Submission deadline Monday, 05/24/21.
**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 places 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. For clarification: you presentation is limited to 8-12 minutes including a song plus scenes leading into and/or out of the song. The remaining time is for panel feedback.
Our professional 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;
- James Morgan, producing artistic director of the York Theatre;
- Tamra Pica, London and off-Broadway producer
- Tom Polum, producing partner at StreamingMusicals.com, producer (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Toxic Avenger, All Shook Up).
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 zoom room, access to a music director and editor, actor and director suggestions, panelists, and an audience.
Those selected for presentation are required to create their presentation using a music director providing a solid piano track, and zoom-savvy talent. A sound engineer will be needed to help mix the separate tracks for each voice. You may have a solo number performed "live" with a track, but make sure your singer has adequate virtual tech set-up and a pre-recorded track that they can play from the location where they are performing. We will also have a tech advisor to help you.
Those not selected will be invited and encouraged to attend the workshop as observers. The price is $55 ($35 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.
12:00-12:15 - check-in
12:15 pm to 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.
**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.
is a veteran dramaturg, writer, and creative executive. He dramaturged the innovative Broadway hits Hadestown (8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical) and Peter and the Starcatcher (5 Tony Awards). As resident dramaturg and literary manager for Disney Theatrical Productions for 16 years, he developed over 60 titles for Broadway, touring, international, and licensed productions, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Freaky Friday, Aladdin, Newsies, The Little Mermaid, High School Musical, and Tarzan. He recently conceived and developed Marvel Spotlight, a collection of one-act plays with teenage super hero protagonists who tackle real-world problems in a diverse society. Other dramaturgy includes the chamber opera Blood Moon (PROTOTYPE 2020); the new musical Bridges (Berkeley Playhouse); Passion Trilogy (Fisher Ensemble/Loyola Marymount University); and Bud, Not Buddy, The Gift of Nothing, The Cricket in Times Square, and OLIVERio: A Twist on Dickens (Kennedy Center). Ken is a frequent guest lecturer, artist, and adjudicator at conferences, universities, and festivals around the world. He is immediate past president of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), co-founder of the American Theatre Archive Project, and Artistic Director of Two Turns Theatre Company. He holds a Ph.D. in theatre history and criticism from the University of Washington.
CHERYL L. DAVIS
received the Kleban Award as a librettist for her musical Barnstormer, (written with Douglas J. Cohen) about Bessie Coleman, the first Black woman flyer. The show received a Jonathan Larson Award through the Lark Play Development Center. Her play Maid’s Door received great reviews, won seven Audelco Awards, and was a finalist for the Francesca Primus Prize. Her play The Color of Justice (commissioned by Theatreworks/USA), received excellent reviews in the New York Times and Daily News, and tours regularly. Her musical Bridges, which was commissioned by the Berkeley Playhouse, received its world premiere in February 2016 to great reviews and three award nominations from the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. She received a Writers’ Guild Award for her work on “As the World Turns”, and was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award. Her work has been read and performed internationally, including at the Cleveland Play House, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Kennedy Center. She is the General Counsel of the Authors Guild.
was the overall Artistic Coordinator of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and the teacher of the first year there for two decades. He wrote the music for the one-man musical Herringbone (Playwrights Horizons - starring David Rounds, Hartford Stage - starring Joel Grey, Edinburgh Festival, Philadelphia's Prince Music Theater, Chicago's St. Nicholas Theater, 2007 season opener at Williamstown Theater Festival - starring B.D. Wong), the music for Here's Our Girl (workshopped at the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater), and the music and lyrics for the musical version of The Last Starfighter (Storm Theatre, Village Theatre Festival of New Musicals - summer 2006, New York Musical Theatre Festival readings - fall 2006), Blanco (Goodspeed Opera House at Chester, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, National Music Theater Network), Feathertop (WPA Theater, Pennsylvania Stage Co.), and Time and Again (Manhattan Theatre Club, San Diego's Old Globe Theater, Eugene O'Neill Center National Music Theater Conference). Kennon also wrote the music and lyrics for the one-act musical Plaisir d'Amour (book by Terrence McNally), which was produced at New York's Triangle Theater and seen in workshop at Circle Rep, as well as the music for the one-act musical Afternoon Tea (book & lyrics by Eduardo Machado), which was performed at Theater Row Theaters in 2005 by Ed Harris and Amy Madigan. He was a classical music critic at the Hollywood Reporter for five years.
is the Producing Artistic Director of the acclaimed York Theatre Company in Manhattan, now celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is the only theater in the city, and one of few in the world, with a commitment to producing both new and classic musicals. He is an award-winning scenic and graphic designer whose work has been seen on Broadway and off and in regional theaters around the country.
producer and casting director for Write Act Repertory. Tamra's theater and television work spans 33 years and over 250 productions as a prop designer, AEA Stage Manager, producer and casting director of plays, musicals, dance and ice shows. She produces both Off Broadway, as well as, managing the Los Angeles theater presence for Write Act. Recent credits include the long-running Frankenstein, Wicked City Blues, and Swing. Other credits include: Lili Marlene, Caldwell’s Bomb for the New York Venus/Adonis Theater Festival, Renewal, Your Name on My Lips at Theater for the New City and the long running musical Fabulous! Queen of the New Musicals where she served as a casting director and producer. Alongside theater, Tamra’s work production, casting, and development television work can be seen for companies such as Disney, Sony, Cartoon Network, NBC Studios, TBS, CBS, MTV, ABC and FOX. She currently works on the animated Disney series Mira, Royal Detective.
Founding member of Streaming Musicals, producing the films of Emma, Marry Harry, No One Called Ahead, Pride and Prejudice. www.StreamingMusicals.com. Author of Mambo Italiano which had it's world premiere last August at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. Outer Critic's winner Best Off broadway musical for The Toxic Avenger; produced the Houston production of The Toxic Avenger, following the off-Broadway New York premiere of about the first superhero from New Jersey by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) and David Bryan (keyboardist and founding member of Bon Jovi) and directed by Tony Award-winner John Rando. He also co-produced Last Call, a musical documentary by Broadway director Christopher Ashley (Xanadu, Rocky Horror Show, All Shook Up) and is developing the musical comedies Mambo Italiano (based on the Canadian film starring Paul Sorvino) and Zombie Honeymoon, as well as other musicals, including Heloise and Abelard, The Toxic Avenger Christmas Chaos and Finding Frida Kahlo. Past credits include the tour of Broadway’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Tony nomination for Best Musical).