How to write a script for a musical play

Advice from Playwright Jessica Bylander This is a guest post by Jessica Bylandera writer, editor, and playwright.

How to write a script for a musical play

how to write a script for a musical play

The Bad News Have you noticed that almost all the books on how to write songs, lyrics or musicals are written by teachers, not working professionals? Teachers can offer theory and analysis of form, but that doesn't shed any light on the act of artistic creation. A seasoned pro may offer pointers, and people with a wide knowledge of the genre can tell you what forms and approaches have worked up to now, but the bad news is that no one can give you a method or road map to creating a musical.

Gilbert wrote all his drafts in expensive leather-bound journals, saving every idea and deleted line for possible use in the future. These meticulous notebooks are still preserved after more than a century, providing a goldmine for researchers.

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Gilbert always wrote a complete version of the book and lyrics for a new comic opera before submitting anything to composer Arthur Sullivan -- then, as Sullivan composed, Gilbert would make revisions as needed. Hart would listen to a new tune once or twice, then dash off the lyrics with amazing speed, scrawling on any available scrap of paper -- sometimes just filling the spare space in a magazine ad.

The libretto would be rewritten through the final weeks of rehearsal, and was subject to major revisions right up to its opening night on Broadway.

Oscar Hammerstein II also worked with Rodgers, but in their collaborations the book and lyrics were usually written first. After the two men discussed the dramatic intention of a potential song, Hammerstein retreated to his Pennsylvania farm, where he curled into a chair and labored over every lyric for days or weeks at a time, neatly organizing his ideas on legal pads, then typing them out himself.

While the first drafts of scripts were finished long before the first rehearsal, they were subject to extensive revision during pre-Broadway tryouts.

Alan Jay Lerner's habit of flying halfway around the world to avoid writing commitments frequently left his collaborators in a frustrating state of limbo, sometimes for months on end.

Lerner was so crippled by nerves that he wore white cotton gloves to avoid chewing his fingers raw while working on a new project. The books and lyrics for his musicals were usually completed during high-pressure tryouts, adding tremendous tension to the process.

After creating My Fair Lady, Lerner had a recurring nightmare about a group of friends coming into a hotel room to ask what he had written after several days locked inside.

How to format your script | Playwrights' Center

Each of these men had their share of hits and flops, so it is impossible to define any method as right or wrong. Each writer, composer or collaborative team must figure out usually by trial and error what works best for them. Compelling Need If you are going to write a musical, you are setting out to offer an audience a story.

What makes a musical compelling, what commands audience interest? A musical must have characters who need or want something desperately, and that need comes up against an equally powerful obstacle. All successful book musicals involve characters who have something or someone they are willing to put everything on the line for.

In Guys and Dolls, each major character is eventually willing to radically redefine their life in order to marry the person they love. Sweeney Todd will stop at nothing to kill those who sent him to prison on a trumped-up charge.

Audiences are fascinated to see Todd's need for revenge consume everything he once loved. Singin' In the Rain has movie star Don Lockwood simultaneously trying to save his screen career and win the love of Kathy Seldin, the girl he loves.

In Wicked, gifted witch Elphaba is willing to abandon her dreams of respectable success in order to stand up for what she believes to be right.

How do you know if your story is compelling?Glossary A Page A revised page that extends beyond the original page, going onto a second page.

how to write a script for a musical play

(i.e. Page 1, 1A, 2, 3, 3A) Abbreviations shortcuts used . Chapter 13 Lyrics. If you're writing a musical or a "play with music," if words are to be sung, they need to be set apart from spoken dialogue. Lyrics are written in ALL CAPS, but in all other respects, lyrics are written in dialogue format.

Nov 18,  · Writing a musical can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are a fan of the genre and are trying to create one for the first time.

You may decide to write a musical as a creative challenge or be assigned to write one for a class. To write a musical, start by determining the storyline%(53). A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just are performed at a variety of levels, from Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theater, to Community theatre, as well as university or school are rare .

When I decided to write a play, I came across many helpful articles online. I use the standard screenplay formatting (Courier, point font) for all my scripts (some use Times New Roman for plays, but my actors have yet to complain about the font).

If you would like a telephone consultation on general questions about how to write a musical, marketing a musical, or if you are writing a musical in progress, please leave - via e-mail - your name, number, and best time to call, and Mr.

Cohen will call as time permits.

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