The Musical Theatre Writer's Survival Guide

Overview

David Spencer has written a book full of truths a young writer will not find articulated anywhere else. Most of us in the theatre gained our "experience" by making mistakes and learning from them. David's book lets you gain the "experience" and skip the mistakes part. Anyone maneuvering the treacherous waters of musicals will find it not nearly so lonely or baffling with this remarkable volume as a companion.
- Richard Maltby, Jr., ...

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Overview

David Spencer has written a book full of truths a young writer will not find articulated anywhere else. Most of us in the theatre gained our "experience" by making mistakes and learning from them. David's book lets you gain the "experience" and skip the mistakes part. Anyone maneuvering the treacherous waters of musicals will find it not nearly so lonely or baffling with this remarkable volume as a companion.
- Richard Maltby, Jr., Director/Lyricist, Miss Saigon, Ain't Misbehavin', Baby

Consider The Musical Theatre Writer's Survival Guide your new best friend in the business.
- Alan Menken, Oscar recipient and Tony-Award nominee, composer, Little Shop of Horrors and Beauty and the Beast

At long last: a how-to book written by someone who actually knows how to. It hits so many nails on the head I could barely get through it for the sound of all that hammering.
- Larry Gelbart, Award-winning co-librettist, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and librettist, City of Angels

For its practitioners, musical theatre is an art, a passion, and a lifelong love. But it's also a complex landscape involving not merely principles of craft about book, music and lyrics, but also principles of collaboration, script/demo presentation, project/production development, venue, business, and - everybody's area of uncertainty - politics.

In The Musical Theatre Writer's Survival Guide, award-winning musical dramatist and teacher David Spencer provides a guide-to-the-game that helps you negotiate all those aspects of the business and more. This professional handbook will walk you through:

  • getting your name and your projects into the hands of producers, instead of the rejection pile
  • choosing the right producer, agent, or director, instead of surrounding yourself with people uninterested in your work and your career-or interested for the wrong reasons
  • bringing your vision to life through stage-savvy writing, instead of watching it sputter due to flaws in craft
  • living a happy, healthy life in musicals, instead of dying a slow, showbiz death.
If you're taking your first steps, Spencer's counsel, anecdotes, and instructions will save you years of blindly stumbling about without results. Likewise, if you've been around the block a few times, The Musical Theatre Writer's Survival Guide can rescue you from the kinds of career-stalling traps, bad habits, and false assumptions that lead to dead ends.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325007861
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 7/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 958,598
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

David Spencer won a 2002 Richard Rodgers Development Award (as composer-lyricist for his current project, The Fabulist), a 2000 Kleban lyrics award, and two Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation grants. He has been the lyricist-librettist for two musicals with composer Alan Menken: Weird Romance and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. He made his professional debut in 1984 with the English adaptation of La Boheme at the Public Theatre and has since written music and lyrics for Theatreworks/USA's all-new, award-winning TYA versions of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables and penned the original Alien Nation novel, Passing Fancy. He is on faculty at the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and is webmaster and principal New York drama critic for Aisle Say (www.aislesay.com).
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Sect. 1 Establishing relationships 1
Ch. 1 You're only as good as your partner - and vice versa, or : collaboration 1
Ch. 2 That other collaborator, or : the director 11
Ch. 3 The guards and the suits, or : agents and producers 18
Sect. 2 The basic components 27
Ch. 4 Throwing "the book" at you, or : the plainly visible secrets of successful libretti 27
Ch. 5 Knowing the score, or : music and lyrics 57
Sect. 3 Practical application 89
Ch. 6 The spirit of the thing, or : adaptation 89
Ch. 7 The bogus condition, or : writer's block 96
Ch. 8 It ain't kid stuff, or : writing musicals for young audiences 101
Ch. 9 Speed kills, shift happens, and other homilies, or : writing comedy 113
Ch. 10 Well, maybe thou shalt steal, or : influences 120
Sect. 4 You are what you submit, or : presentation, format, and packaging 127
Ch. 11 Audio with pictures, or : the art of the reading 127
Ch. 12 Acceptable margins, or : proper playscript formatting 134
Ch. 13 Sound advice, or : demo recordings 147
Sect. 5 Random thoughts, coda, and appendices 172
Afterword : random thoughts 172
App. I The rave and the mix, or : deconstruction in action 177
App. II Grants and development programs 189
App. III A better-than-average shelf life, or : the "additional reading" list 195
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