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TRU Beginnings | How to Write a Musical That Works
Description

Next workshop (part 2: Conflict and Obstacles) will be Sunday March 24th!
Click here for details of workshop


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. Past panelists have included Ken Cerniglia and Jane Abramson of Disney Theatricals; Ryan Bogner of RKO Stage; producers Michael Alden (Bat Boy, Grey Gardens, The King's Speech on stage), Doug Denoff (Nice Work If You Can Get It, upcoming Peggy Sue Got Married, Just Believe), and Tom Polum (The Toxic Avenger, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, All Shook Up); dramaturg Nancy Golladay of the BMI Workshop; 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; producer Jim Kierstead (Pretty Woman, American Son, Ain't Too Proud, Kinky Boots, Pippin, Waitress); Jim Morgan, producing artistic director of the York Theatre Company; Tony winning director and lyricist Richard Maltby; and legendary Tony-winning lyricist Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello, She Loves Me). Facilitated by TRU literary manager Cate Cammarata and executive director Bob Ost.

Each workshop will accept up to 10 writing teams and/or producers who will share works in progress and get feedback from the panel. Cost is $100 total for non-members, $85 for TRU members. Audience members will also have a chance to offer their observations, participate in discussions and network sessions and enjoy refreshments. The cost for non-participants to attend for the full day, to observe the presentations and be part of the discussions, is $55 ($35 for TRU members).

Click here for quotes about this workshop. 

FEEDBACK WORKSHOP #1:
THE WORLD AND THE WANT

Submit up to the first 20 pages of your script in which you introduce the world of your show, and the main characters and their wants¬†‚Äď plus MP3s of the songs within only those pages.¬†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.

FEEDBACK WORKSHOP #2:
CONFLICT AND OBSTACLES

Submit¬†the section of your show in which conflict and obstacles arise ‚Äď the plot complications ‚Äď plus MP3s of the songs within only those pages. Also send a concise synopsis of the opening in which you introduce the world of your show, and the want of your characters and how it prepares us for the conflict in the section presented.¬†We will focus on three main aspects: 1) songs that express differing points of view, or conflict; 2) "Turnaround Songs" in which a character changes his course of action; 3) the climactic moment (sometimes the first act finale) that drives us forward into the resolution (note: "resolution" is¬†in workshop #3).

FEEDBACK WORKSHOP #3:
RECKONING AND RESOLUTION

Submit¬†the section of your show in which we head towards the summing up and conclusion of the plot and the resolution of the characters' wants‚Äď plus MP3s of the songs within only those pages. Also send a concise synopsis of the preceding action of the show, and how it leads to the resolution in the section presented.¬†We will focus on three main aspects: 1) songs that express the resolution of a character's "want," or the overcoming of obstacles, and how it leads to a final choice; 2) "eleven o'clock numbers," the big dramatic show stopper that sums up the (usually) main character's journey; 3) the finale, an effective and emotionally satisfying way of concluding your story and leaving the audience satisfied.


WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

I just wanted to take a moment to say how grateful we are for the opportunity to perform an excerpt from Oswald for you again. 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. ~Tony LePage and Josh Sassanella
 
I LOVED working with TRU.  Numbers Nerds was accepted into NYMF. Thanks to you and all the other panelists for your very helpful feedback in the fall,  our show is in much better shape.  ~Larry Little, writer 
 
Just wanted to thank you all once again for convening the [Reckoning and] Resolutions workshop on Saturday. It's a huge amount of work to coordinate something like that and it was much appreciated. I met a few folks I hope to stay in touch with, and most important, the experience was VERY useful to me on a creative level.  ~Liz Schiller, writer
 
Thank you for hosting such a helpful event.  Between you, Cate and the panel there was a lot of wisdom , valuable input and considered judgment.  I believe suggestions I received can be incorporated in straightforward fashion to strengthen the finale so thanks once again. ~Don Nolan, writer
 
Just want to say a word of thanks for your allowing me to be a presenter at this workshop.  I really appreciate your work at organizing and running this event.  I appreciate your work and kindnesses to me.  I learned a lot  and really enjoyed the experience.  ~Louise Epperson, writer

Events
  • How to Write a Musical, part 3 ... submit now!
    July 21, 2024
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

PART 3: RECKONING AND RESOLUTION Reformatted to virtual presentation on ZOOM Sunday, 7/21, noon to 7pm eastern Submission deadline: Wednesday 7/10 (Download application: TRUBeginnings-HWM3-app) 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 […]

  • Conflict and Obstacles
    March 24, 2024
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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 […]

  • The World and the Want
    October 8, 2023
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

PRESENTED IN ASSOCIATION WITH CREATETHEATER.COM Sunday 10/8, noon to 6:30pm Reformatted to virtual presentation on ZOOM 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 […]

  • How to Write a Musical, part 3 ... submit now!
    March 26, 2023
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

PART 3: RECKONING AND RESOLUTION Reformatted to virtual presentation on ZOOM Sunday, 3/26, noon to 7pm eastern Submission deadline: Wednesday 3/15 (Download application: TRUBeginnings-HWM3-app) 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 […]

  • Conflict and Obstacles
    October 30, 2022
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Presented in association with Cate Cammarata, founder Sunday 10/30/22, noon to 7pm eastern time Reformatted to virtual presentation on ZOOM Submission deadline: Wednesday 10/19 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 […]

  • The World and the Want
    June 26, 2022
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

PRESENTED IN ASSOCIATION WITH CREATETHEATER.COM Sunday 6/26, noon to 7pm eastern time Reformatted to virtual presentation on ZOOM Submissions now closed 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 […]

  • How to Write a Musical, part 3 ... submit now!
    February 27, 2022
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

PART 3: RECKONING AND RESOLUTION Reformatted to virtual presentation on ZOOM Sunday, 2/27, noon to 7pm eastern Submission deadline: Wednesday 2/9 (extended to 2/16) (Download application: TRUBeginnings-HWM3-app) 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 […]

  • Conflict and Obstacles
    October 17, 2021
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Sunday 10/17/21, noon to 7pm eastern time Reformatted to virtual presentation on ZOOM Submission deadline: extended to Sunday 10/3 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 […]

  • The World and the Want
    June 13, 2021
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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 […]

  • Conflict and Obstacles
    February 23, 2020
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Sunday February 23rd, 10am to 6pm – Submission deadline Wednesday 2/12 Studios 150, 150 W. 46th Street, 7th floor (buzz 6 to get in) Just wanted to send you guys a quick thank you for all the amazing feedback I got during the first leg of the feedback workshop. I‚Äôve been working hard on my […]