The best year of reading that I ever did was when I lived in NYC. All those trips on the subway were perfect reading opportunities. Living in LA and being stuck driving makes reading – actual reading, not audiobooks – very difficult.
So as part of a 2017 resolution to read more, I decide to track all the books I read and make this list. There’s not a lot of fiction on here, which I resolve to change in 2018, but if you’re into self-development and musical theatre – boy is this a list for you!
I love recommending books to friends, so while this isn’t exactly a BEST OF list, I did put stars next to my favorites from the year. Check them out below. Continue reading Books I Read in 2017
We’re super excited to hear the piece aloud with a cast of actors and have it play in front of audiences. It’s a big opportunity, and we couldn’t be happier.
Under the leadership of Executive Director, Michael Gennaro, Goodspeed Musicals is dedicated to the preservation, development and advancement of musical theatre and is the first theatre in the nation to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement). Passing Through was developed over the course of two years at Goodspeed’s Johnny Mercer Writers Colony, and the Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat.
Tickets are available here and are very cheap if you’re interested in coming up for the weekend or even the day. Our presentation is on Sunday January 14th at 1pm.
Click below to listen to “Cut You Out” – a song from the show.
Every now and then I get the opportunity to play piano for the Wicked auditions in Los Angeles. I haven’t done it too often, but it struck me this week as I played 16 bars for nearly 200 singers, that the last time I did was a year ago.
A year ago. Election week 2016.
I remember it vividly. I played two days that week. Monday and Wednesday.
When I left on Monday, the mood was exuberant. “See you after we elect our first female president!” I probably said leaving the room, skipping. Everything was possible. I skipped everywhere back in those days.
Sure Hillary wasn’t always a Popular candidate. People feared and mistrusted her simply because of who she was. Some even called her a witch. But though she was guarded, wonkish, and at times inaccessible, one thing she definitely was not is green. She had a lifetime of experience. When it came to running the country, I knew Hillary would be a Wizard and I was so excited to vote for her.
Anytime you are writing about your writing, you always want to think in terms of actions. Both the action of the plot, and more critically the action of your characters. To do this well, you must harness the power of Emotionally Charged Action Verbs.
Most dramatic writers are obsessed with dialogue. Dialogue is important, obviously, but it’s best to think of dialogue as the vehicle in which your scenes move. The engine is the actions. Doesn’t matter how slick your Porsche looks from the outside, it ain’t gonna go anywhere if it’s running on a Ford 4.2 V8 (and yes, I had to google that in order to make this metaphor work.)
Emotionally Charged Action Verbs are particularly useful when crafting a Logline because of the need for brevity. But let’s pretend the following is an excerpt from a synopsis, treatment, or outline. (More on those in another post).
Few parts of the job of a composer are as boring or tedious as music preparation, also known as copy work. And yet, when it comes to communicating your ideas to the other people who must execute them, no job is more important.
Copy work can be described as the visual presentation of music on the page. The people who do this work professionally are called copyists. In musical theatre, copyists are typically the LAST people to touch the sheet music. After the music has been composed, arranged, and orchestrated, the copyist will craft the individual charts that each musician will play from.
Unfortunately, it’s rare to be on a production where you can work with a copyist. Most of the time the task falls to the composer, the music director, or sometimes the musicians themselves.
The problems arise when these people have little to no experience in writing good charts. They may know how to write a vocal lead sheet, or a piano part, but what happens when they have to write a string part? A drum part? A GUITAR PART?? (Seriously you guys, guitar parts are the worst. Unless you play guitar yourself, give up. It’s a hopeless enterprise.)
A logline is a one to three sentence summary of the main elements of your story told in an emotionally engaging way. Think of it as your ultimate elevator pitch. The term logline is mostly used in the Film/TV industry, but I find it useful for any type of dramatic, narrative storytelling.
Loglines are incredibly useful when you’re trying to market a show, pitch an idea, or apply for grants and awards. The better you can succinctly communicate your story, the easier it is for people to jump on board.
But Loglines can also be useful for you, the writer, to help shape and heighten the arc of your characters and story. Let’s dive in. Continue reading WAYW: Loglines
One of the most important skills for a writer is being able to write ABOUT your writing. Ironically, this is often one of the hardest types of writing for writers to do, and many – if not most – do it badly.
When writers don’t know how to write about their writing it suggests a very damning truth: She hasn’t done the work to craft a strong, compelling, or emotional story. This isn’t just happenstance. Being a good writer and being able to write about your writing are tightly connected. In other words: good writers have an awareness of how their writing works. Bad writers either don’t know, or don’t care. Continue reading Writing About Your Writing (WAYW)
Earlier this month, Indiana University presented four workshop performances of Joe Schmoe Saves the World. The piece was provocative, empowering, and very well-received by a diverse audience of different ages and backgrounds.
Anonymity is a powerful strength. You often see it used to terrible effect by trolls on social media and comment boards. But it can be used for good by famous writers who take on a pseudonym in order to write outside their “accepted” genre. It’s also the reason that masks are so intriguing. We don’t know who it is behind the facade.
Another way this can be used, but often isn’t, is in casting. Producers, directors, and writers are often celebrity-obsessed. Celebrity being in many ways the antithesis of anonymity. Celebrities, of course, allows any project to more easily attract funding. But it can sometimes get in the way of allowing the audience to really see and believe the character.