Writing Musical Theater

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This complete guide to the modern musical covers the entire process of creating a show, from finding and working out the initial idea, through the writing of both songs and libretto, to the ways in which writers can market a finished show and get it produced. This comprehensive book, for the interested theatergoer and writers, new or experienced, is written in a lively and user-friendly style and illustrated with numerous examples, containing a how-to tutorial approach to its subject matter that has never appeared in print. With years of theatrical experience between them, Steven L. Rosenhaus and Allen Cohen have written the best and most comprehensive guide to the Broadway musical.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403963956
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 2/7/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 470,231
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven L. Rosenhaus has written music and/or lyrics for several musicals, as well as incidental music for plays, film scores, and commercials. His concert works in a variety of genres have been performed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. He has over a hundred original works and arrangements in print, and several works recorded on compact discs. Dr. Rosenhaus serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Composition at NYU, teaching both classical and musical theater composition, and also teaches songwriting and other subjects at Nassau Community College.

Allen Cohen has written the scores for several musicals, four films, and two off-Broadway plays. He has conducted, or written dance music for, six musicals on Broadway and many shows off-Broadway and around the country. His concert music has been performed throughout the world and recorded on several compact discs. Currently Assistant Professor of Music at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Dr. Cohen is a former member of the BMI and ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshops. He is the author of Howard Hanson in Theory and Practice and the children's book That's So Funny I Forgot to Laugh!, which has sold more than half a million copies.

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Table of Contents

Part One: The Elements
• Theater Basics
• The Idea
• The Libretto
• The Characters
• The Lyrics
• The Music * Part Two: Writing a Show
• Getting Started
• Writing the Score
• Rewriting
• A Brief Historical Overview
• Tools
• Logistics and Legalities
• Required Reading (and Listening)

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2006

    Writing Musical Theater

    Allen Cohen and Steven L. Rosenhaus¿ most recent book ¿Writing Musical Theater¿ may become the definitive text in the field. Unlike many texts that present theoretical and technical information in a sterile way, this book is highly readable while maintaining an overall professional tone. It is written with clarity. The authors not only explain ¿what¿ something is, but ¿why¿. They use interesting real life examples to illustrate their points. This keeps the book moving and helps the reader remember the information. The book is very well organized. You go through the process of writing a musical, in detail. I have always felt that it was very important to fully understand the context of any job. As a young lawyer many years ago, I didn¿t have this. I simply worked, without understanding the purposes behind certain clauses or traditions. I would have loved one book that filled me in on the information I needed to know in practice. Law school doesn¿t really do that. Writing Musical Theater compiles ¿all that stuff¿ to make the business a richer experience. Actors as well as writers may benefit from this read because it provides information in perspective, in context. It fills informational gaps. I kept thinking, ¿Ah, that¿s why.¿ You¿ll find out why certain theaters have the numbers of seats that they have, or the function of overtures, and all sorts of background details. Sometimes people in an industry acquire their information piecemeal from this or that program, part, workshop, or instructor. This book weaves it all together. For those who need to know why they are doing something, this book provides an excellent framework for understanding musical theater.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2006

    Reviewing: Writing Musical Theater

    This book was recommended to me, and I have been quite pleased with the depth and structure with which the book gradually leads the reader through the complexity of first understanding what makes musical theater tick, and then in Part II, takes us on a journey of how to shape an idea into the reality of a full blown musical show. This book is filled with excellent references, and examples, in clear, easy to understand forms, and takes the reader through the benefit of many years of obvious on-the-job development from both the authors. Drs. Cohen and Rosenhaus have definitely hit a chord with this book. On to Book 2 gentlemen! I hope this becomes a staple of every Musical Theatre Program across the country, as it's an excellent, comprehensive guide to understanding how musical theater works, and why. From students experiencing their first musical to professionals in the field starting into the journey of writing a musical, this a book they do not want to be without. If a student listened to each reference song in Part I of this book alone, they'd have a thorough schooling in the history of musical theater. I recommend this book to anyone looking to understand how to write, what to write, and the context that the writing needs to address in the broad spectrum of Musical Theater today.

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