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Musical Writerzine #21 - Winter 2013

Newsletter for Writers of New Musicals - intro

Carol de GiereFrom Carol de Giere

The Musical Writerzine newsletter is here to give you ideas about festivals, theatres, workshops, and other opportunities for new musicals. For this issue, William Squier interviewed the artistic director of the Penn State NU Musical Theatre Festival. See the "Growing Stages" column below.

Below, you'll also find other submission news, events, and even a little educational section. When a new musical is accepted somewhere, it gains status in the eyes of agents, producers, and other theater companies. So its worth the trouble to send in your show.

For future issues of our Musical Writerzine newsletter, if you are not already subscribed, please fill out the form on Musical Writerzine. To view back issues, see the links to the left.

[Carol de Giere is the website publisher for MusicalWriters.com and author of Defying Gravity, a career biography of Stephen Schwartz filled with musical development stories. William Squier has written numerous musicals and articles for a wide variety of publications.]

Making New Musicals - News for Writers

ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop in New York, March 27 - April 2, 2013

Stephen Schwartz is again serving as artistic director for this annual workshop. Submissions are due February 15th. It is also possible to attend as an audience member. See www.musicalschwartz.com/ascap.htm. UPDATE as of MARCH: SESSIONS ARE CLOSED THIS YEAR. SORRY.

Note from Carol de Giere: I'm taking a group to the revival of Schwartz's Pippin the weekend between session. If you're interested in joining us at the group discount rate, write to me at carol@musicalschwartz.com

Schwartz is also being interviewed by ASCAP's Michaek Kerker at the Kennedy Center on May 18th. Schwartz events

Rhinebeck Writers Retreat

Rhinebeck Writers Retreat siteRhinebeck Writers Retreat is accepting applications from musical theatre writers for eight retreats taking place between June 22 and August 25, 2013.  RWR provides a writing team with a weeklong residency to work on their musical in a private home near Rhinebeck, New York.

Applications are due February 28 and the submission fee is $20. The submitted musical can be at any stage of development, as long as it has not been published or licensed.  Writers pay nothing to participate, are reimbursed for travel from New York City, and receive a $300 stipend.  There are a limited number of travel grants up to $400 available for writers living outside of New York City. All information, guidelines, and online application can be found at www.rhinebeckwriters.org. (Be sure to read William Squier's interview with Kathy Evans in our Musical Writerzine issue 16 Musical Writerzine #16 - See the Growing Stages column, second article.)

ANMT's Opportunities in L.A. and Online

The Academy for New Musical Theatre offers workshops in Los Angeles as well as online classes, conferences, and more. Visit www.anmt.org.

Submit your show to ANMT for a chance to be considered in their search for new musicals: www.anmt.org/search_submit1.asp. They say this is a $20,000 opportunity that includes contest winner publicity, developmental support, professional feedback, workshops, and a concert reading at an L.A. theatre.

Davenport Theatrical support for Musical Writers

PRODUCTIONS AND MARKETING: The next session of producer Ken Davenport's "Get Your Show Off the Ground" seminar is being taught online, and the following one is in person in NYC. Go to Ken's seminars . They have also started a marketing company for shows, so if you're ready to go, find out what they can do to help. DTE agency for marketing shows


This may be more helpful to people writing regular plays than musicals, but it could be worth a try: Play Submissions Helper - The blurb on the site says, "My team has literally spent over 500 hours scouring playwriting websites, message boards, google, etc., and have compiled an insane list of HUNDREDS of play submissions opportunities…"

Script Evaluation at Main Street Musicals

William Squier profiled Tim Jerome's "Main Street Musicals" in the previous issue (musicalwriters.com/news/writerzine19.htm), and their evaluation program is now open for business. 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. Main Street Evaluations

Dramatists Guild Resource Directory

Find the latest issue of the Dramatists Guild Resource Directory. Musical writers Benj Pasek and Justic Paul have said: "A great all-in-one directory … an invaluable resource for writers!" The Dramatists Guild Resource Directory 2014: The Writers Guide to the Theatrical Marketplace [link updated]

Summer Festivals for New Musicals

Have you visited our festivals page? Many festivals or new musicals are held over the summer. Before making your summer plans, check out these possibities for submitting new works or just enjoying them. Musicalwriters.com Festivals page

Musical Writing Tips and Publications

Replacement Songs

A note from editor Carol de Giere

Musical Theater Wring Tips BookDavid Spencer made a comment on Facebook that inspired me to post the links below for your further study. (If you don't have David's book, you're missing out The Musical Theatre Writer's Survival Guide.)

Spencer discovered a Youtube video of "Happily Ever After," a finale song for Sondheim's Company. "Happily Ever After." He notes that the song gets "that slow trickle leading to an obligatory hand."

On the other hand, a professional performance of "Being Alive" always inspires a huge round of applause and even a catharsis in the audience. Here's one rendition: "Being Alive" sung by the amazing Raul Esparza Being Alive - Raul

In a very different example, when Pippin was trying out in Washington, D.C. before opening on Broadway, Stephen Schwartz's pop/rock score was working fairly well, with a few exceptions. For the character Pippin's Act II number in a scene with his prospective love interest, Schwartz wrote a piece called "Marking Time." It works well as an independent song but it didn't come across with the theatricality that the shown needed. Actor John Rubinstein, who plays Pippin, commented, "'Marking Time' was a perfectly good song, but that part of the show needed a punch, and that song was sort of an easygoing Laura Nyro-esque piece. Fosse asked Stephen to write another." From my Stephen Schwartz biography, Defying Gravity, p. 102.

Schwartz's new piece, "Extraordinary," offers us humor, character motivation, and something more for the actor to play and feel about Pippin's frustration.

Listen to youtube versions: Pippin "Marking Time" - Michael Rupert, recorded on Lost in Boston IV. Pippin "Extraordinary" - William Katt - from the DVD.

Source Material For Musical Adaptations

Howard Sherman, who was executive director of the American Theatre Wing from 2003 to 2011, writes about theater in his blog. In a post last year, he reflected on source material for musicals. Among his comments was this interesting piece:

"...The year A Chorus Line debuted, there wasn’t a single movie-based musical, so that might send you running to proclaim how great things used to be. In fact, you’d be further buoyed when I told you that season saw musicals based on classic Greek literature, Shakespeare and U.S. and world history. But I’d deflate you when I told you those shows were the major flops Home Sweet Homer, Rockabye Hamlet1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Rex. A pedigreed source isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be." Read the rest of his blog post at Howard Sherman's blog post about musicals

"Growing Stages"

A NURTURING ENVIRONMENT: Penn State NU Musical Theatre Festival

A number of colleges and universities throughout the country have incorporated the development of new works of musical theater into their curriculums. One of the largest and best-regarded programs is the Penn State NU Musical Theatre Festival (numusicals.psu.edu), headed by Raymond Sage. [Image: Penn State's Nu Musical Theatre Festival Website]


Information about this program has been updated for a Growing Stages Column in 2016. Please see the newer article in Musical Writerzine 35.


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



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