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Critiques—Feedback and Workshopping of New Musicals


It's been said that musicals are not so much written as they are rewritten. Receiving helpful feedback is an invaluable part of the process. On this page you will find some details about available consultants or workshop programs. You've heard of "story doctor" or "script doctor" - here are a few that will help musical book writers. We also list general evaluators who cover music as well. Read below or follow direct links from these categories:


SCRIPT REVIEW: Steve Cuden, Story Consultant; Anne Hamilton Dramaturgy; David Spencer; Stuart Spencer

OVERALL REVIEW AND SUPPORT: CateCam Productions; NMI - full range of support; Mainstreet Musicals Evaluation; Script Coverage from Davenport Theatrical; Harry Cohen

Carol de Giere - Feedback Service

From Carol de Giere, MusicalWriters.com website publisher and newsletter editor, and author of Defying Gravity and The Godspell Experience.

To help support MusicalWriters.com and the Musical Writerzine newsletter I'm starting an evaluation service for musical writers. For $95 you'll get a fresh pair of eyes on your musical in development. If you're at least half-way finished with your show and have demos (no matter how rough) of songs, I can provide written feedback about how well the show seems to be working. This is not a line-by-line script or lyric doctoring service, but I will offer specific suggestions for your next steps.

For more information please contact me at carolmusical@gmail.com with the word FEEDBACK In the subject heading.

My background: As the author of two books on musical theatre, I've worked for many years with creative principles for writing and rewriting. For musical evaluations, I draw from my own behind-the-scenes research on hits and flops, my dozens of interviews with Stephen Schwartz and his colleagues about musical making, and lessons I've learned while attending ASCAP musical theatre workshops.

Steve Cuden, Story Consultant for Musicals

Are you struggling with your musical? Are you looking for special insight that may take your musical's story to the next level, maybe all the way to the top?  Steve Cuden can help you with expert evaluation and analysis of your musical's story or book.  Steve is the co-creator and co-lyricist of the Broadway and international hit musical, Jekyll & Hyde, and the author of the renowned book, Beating Broadway: How to Create Stories for Musicals That Get Standing Ovations. Steve’s tips and suggestions are frequently featured in the Musical Writerzine. For more information and to contact Steve, please go to www.beatingbroadway.com.

Consultations and Tips from Hamilton Dramaturgy

When is it time to send your new musical to a dramaturg?

Need a Musical Script Consultant or "Script Doctor"?

Anne Hamilton is the principal of Hamilton Dramaturgy, a consulting practice now located in Bucks County, PA. She has eighteen years of experience in the professional theatre in New York City, across the country, and internationally. The majority of her clients are located in New York and Los Angeles, and she welcomes clients from any corner of the world. Her clients have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur "Genius" Award, the Tony ® Award, and a Royal Court International Residency. Last year, STAGE DIRECTIONS magazine named her a "trailblazer" in American dramaturgy. She spent twenty years singing in some of Manhattan's biggest venues.

For writers of musicals, Anne offers a specialized service including: an intake session where the authors voice their concerns about any aspect of the book, lyrics or music to which she should pay special attention; a line by line read through of the book, with comments made in the body of the script; a careful review of the music and lyrics; a list of recommendations; and an hour-long follow-up consultation with the collaborators on the subject of their choice.

For consultation rates, please email hamiltonlit@hotmail.com

Read Anne's bio, etc. at Hamiltonlit.com about us page

David Spencer Tips and Consultations

David Spencer is the author of The Musical Theatre Writer's Survival Guide--a book that many writers have found valuable. He is a successful musical book writer and lyricist. David Spencer is also a script consultant for musicals. Contact him through his website www.aislesay.com/

Stuart Spencer Script Consultations

Stuart Spencer, a playwright, script consultant, teacher, and author of The Playwrights Guidebook, supports musical writers through feedback conversations. His work is ideal for the career writer who would like to culture his/her ability to make better artistic decisions. Here is his description of the service:

My approach is based on the same philosophy that you will find in my book, The Playwright's Guidebook. My emphasis is to encourage you to take risks and to expand your understanding of the craft in a safe environment. After I read your manuscript we will have a conversation about what your intentions are with your musical and how you can best attain them. Although we can certainly go into details, we'll begin with any macro challenges the script may face.

I offer an hourlong consultation, with the possibility of extending the conversation if you prefer. My strength is on the book, but I'm also qualified to give general feedback on lyrics. Please contact me at StuartSpencer@nyc.rr.com or visit StuartSpencer.net if you'd like more information.

CateCam Productions

Cate Cammarata works with playwrights at all stages of creative development to develop plays and musicals toward commercial production. She offers freelance and production dramaturgy, script consulting, and more. She provides one-on-one guidance through the page-to-stage process. She also manages all aspects of TRU's reading series. Contact her at TRUPlaysubmissions@gmail.com.

New Musicals Inc – Many levels of feedback

For a specific fee, as listed on their website, Elise Dewsberry or others from New Musicals Inc of Los Angeles (NMI) will provide whatever feedback you need. They offer such things as:

They also offer services as an hourly rate: song spotting, lyric crafting, marketing, and producing advice. Many of the levels of feedback also include submission in the SEARCH for New Musicals – an annual contest which awards a workshop and concert reading in Los Angeles.

See NMI.org - incubator page

Mainstreet Musicals Evaluation and Readings

Mainstreet Musicals experts are offering an evaluation service for new musicals that also provides the potential for a live reading with actors.

Each submission is read by two Evaluators who each complete a written Evaluation Report. Evaluators also grade the works, and later, they are ranked. From the six top-ranked shows, Mainstreet's Guest Artistic Director will select three winners who will receive a staged reading of their show. Mainstreet Musicals - evaluaton

Read the complete article about Mainstreet Musicals

New Musicals Script Evaluations at Davenport Theatrical

Producer Ken Davenport and others at his office offer "Script coverage and consultation" service. They provide dramaturgical feedback for works in development. They can also comment your show's commercial potential and possible next steps. Go to Davenport Theatrical Script Coverage

Harry Cohen - Consultant Offering Feedback

Harry Cohen

From the website: "In years of working with many a musical, I have seen few that were producible as submitted to me. But I have seen many that could have been and were made producible with the proper revisions. Even a musical with no weaknesses has a hard road to fruition - one with flaws is destined for perpetual limbo.... I do an exhaustive analysis of every aspect of writing a musical: book; dialogue; character; tone; structure; and more..... see www.musicalsconsultant.com/

More Workshops for New Musicals

Be sure to subscribe to the Musical Writerzine. Musical Writerzine Newsletter. The Musical Writerzine newsletter regularly lists opportunties for new musicals submissions to workshops or readings.

Also see our Production page for festivals, workshops, and other programs where you can submit new musicals for readings as part of your development process.

To send suggestions, comments, or questions write to carol@musicalschwartz.com

Above: Beating Broadway: An essential how-to book for writing musicals

Below: How Musicals Work - a valuable guide for writers




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