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Event Details
  • Conflict and Obstacles
    March 24, 2024
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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2024 – (Virtual) FEEDBACK WORKSHOP #2: CONFLICT AND OBSTACLES

Presented in association with

Cate Cammarata, founder

Sunday 3/24/24, noon to 7pm eastern time
Reformatted to virtual presentation on ZOOM
Submission deadline: extended to 3/15

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 2: Conflict and Obstacles" we will focus on three main aspects of your show: 1) Songs that express differing points of view, or conflict; 2) "Turnaround Songs" in which a character changes his course of action; 3) Plot complications that keep your characters from achieving their wants, and drive the action forward; in particular, the climactic moment (sometimes the first act finale) that drives us forward into the resolution (note: the actual "resolution" will be in workshop #3). 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. We have a team of tech advisors to help you: music directors and editors who will be available to play and record your tracks, and in some cases may be able to edit duets, trios and ensemble numbers from single tracks and sync them with your video recording. The suggested rate they will charge is $30-35/hour.
  • 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 25 pages of a show you are working on, plus mp3s of the songs within those pages that demonstrate conflict. These pages should be well after the opening number and the introduction of the main characters and their wants - think of it as the middle third of the show. Submission fee is $20 ($10 for TRU members).**¬†

Click for application as a writable PDF: TRUBeginnings-HWMusical2-newapp3
fill it out, and email to TRUPlaySubmissions@gmail.com - submission fee is $10 for TRU members, $20 for non-members.
Submission deadline Wednesday 3/13/24. 

**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:
  • 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 York Theatre;
  • Tamra Pica, London, off-Broadway and TV producer;
  • Tom Polum, producer (The Toxic Avenger musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), co-founder and CEO of StreamingMusicals.com (Estella Scrooge, Emma, Being Earnest, 1660 Vine, Frankenstein);
  • others tba

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, and panelists.

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. (You will learn a great deal from hearing presentations and feedback of the works of your fellow writers.)

Schedule

12:00-12:15 - check-in

12:15 pm to 12:45 am - Discussion: How to musicalize conflict, and are certain actions better expressed by dialogue or by song? How a character's want, and the dramatic obstacle, become plot points that drive the story forward.

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 10 minutes of a scene and song that show one or more characters in conflict, including disagreements, shared wants and persuasion songs. After each presentation, panelists will provide feedback.

LUNCH/ZOOM BREAK
(Stretch, rest your eyes)

4:15 pm to 5:00 pm -
Discussion: The dramatic journey of characters, including their "escalating want" and turnaround songs. Plus effective first act finales and engaging second act openers. 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 10 minutes that include one or more of the main characters' challenges, plus first act finales and second act openings. 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.

Panelists
  • 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‚Äôs 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‚Äô Guild Award for her work on ‚ÄúAs the World Turns‚ÄĚ, 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.

  • SKIP KENNON

    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.

  • TAMRA PICA

    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.

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