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The Musical

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The following article is related to putting on a Broadway Musical, but there are several points within it that I feel you might be interested in. The writing credits go to the author John Kenrick
Here it is
How does a stage musical go from first idea to opening night? And who does what to get it there?
These essays examine the birth process for a Broadway musical -- both as it was in the past and as it is in the present.
Elements of a Musical - The Score
Showtune Structure: AABA
You may have noticed that most showtunes have a verse and a chorus (or "refrain"). The verse sets up the premise of a song and can be of most any length, while the chorus states the main point of the lyric. For example, think about the title song to Oklahoma!. The verse begins "They couldn't pick a better time to start in life," and says how happy the leads will be living in a "brand new state." The chorus starts with "Oooooooooooo-klahoma," and sings the praises of that territory.
Since the early 1900's, the choruses of American popular songs have traditionally been thirty-two bars long, divided into four sections of eight bars apiece -- the AABA form. This format forces composers and lyricists to make their points efficiently acting more as a discipline than a limitation.
A is the main melody, repeated three times -- in part, so that it can be easily remembered.
B is the release or bridge, and should contrast as much as possible with A.
If you examine your favourite showtunes, you will find this format used time after time. From Cohan to Jonathan Larson, all modern Broadway composers have worked primarily within this structure. (In fact, AABA remained the standard for all popular music until hard rock threw many conventions out the window in the 1960's.)
Those showtunes that do not use AABA tend to use a variation of the form. For example, a song may double the number of bars (four sections of sixteen apiece), and other numbers will intentionally use a variation -- but the AABA structure and proportions are the norm.

Song Types
Songs built on the AABA structure can serve most any dramatic purpose. Some of the most common song types can be illustrated with these examples from Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady:
Ballads - usually love songs ("On the Street Where You Live"), but they can also philosophise about any strong emotion ("Accustomed to Her Face").
Charm Songs - let a character beguile an audience ("Wouldn't It Be Loverly").
Comedy Numbers - aim for laughs ("A Little Bit of Luck").
Musical Scenes - seamlessly blend dialogue and song, usually with two or more characters ("You Did It").
Traditional musicals varied the placement of song types, while musicals of the late 20th Century relied more heavily on ballad after ballad (after ballad . . .).
Song Placement
Songs in a musical libretto must be carefully placed at emotional highpoints where dialogue is no longer enough. When Dolly Levi comes down the stairs at the Harmonia Gardens, she and the waiters sing "Hello Dolly!" to express overwhelming emotions. (Having the maitre d'hotel simply say "It's so nice to have you back" might be more realistic, but it would make for banal entertainment.)
As a rule, the composer and lyricist work closely with the librettist (book writer) to plan song placement. Three song choices are of particular importance:
The Opening sets the tone for the rest of the show. It is frequently written after the rest of a show is in place. A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum originally opened by announcing that "Love Is In the Air," which left audiences expecting a romantic comedy. Consequently, it took half an act for them to get attuned to the bawdy farce that followed. Once Sondheim replaced it with the raucous "Comedy Tonight," the entire show got a better reception. Shows that open with extended dialogue still set the tone for the evening with their first songs (i.e. - My Fair Lady's "Why Can't the English Teach Their Children How to Speak?")
The Eleven O'clock Number takes place about midway through Act Two. It can be a ballad ("This Nearly Was Mine"), charm song ("Hello Dolly") or comedy song ("Brush Up Your Shakespeare") but it must be strong enough to energize the audience for the final climactic scenes of a show. (Note: since curtain times are earlier than in years past, this number now takes place around 10:00-10:30PM.)
The Finale should carry an emotional wallop, leaving an audience with a powerful last impression. This is usually done by reprising one of score's strongest numbers. Showboat closes with a family reunion as Joe sings another rendition of "Old Man River," and Les Miserables brings on the ghosts of the past for an encore of "Do You Hear the People Sing?"
A reprise is when a verse or two of a song is repeated to make a dramatic point and (usually) to end a scene. In the stage version of Funny Girl, Nick Arnstein sings a reprise of Fanny's "Don't Rain on My Parade" to signify his need for independence and end a scene. Fanny reprises the same song at the end of the show to declare that life will go on without Nick and to finish the final scene.
At one time, musicals were so loosely constructed that you could easily insert additional numbers by most any composer. Al Jolson's biggest hit songs (including "Swanee") were interpolated into existing scores, and no one cared that they had no connection to the story.
Today, every song in a musical should serve the story. To do this, songs must be clear enough for an audience to grasp on first hearing. Anything that confuses an audience damages the dramatic action of the play, so lyricists must make their points in a precise, fresh manner, while composers (and arrangers) must not drown out the words.
Lyrics: To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme?
Creative and entertaining use of rhyme has been a hallmark of musical theatre since William S. Gilbert's deft couplets left audiences laughing in the 1880's.
Rhyme is one of a lyricist's most potent tools, especially where comedy is concerned. The finest comedy lyrics use creative rhymes, both at the end of lines and within them (internal rhyme).
Sondheim's "Chrysanthemum Tea" in Pacific Overtures describes "an herb thats superb for disturbances at sea."
Cole Porter's "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" in Kiss Me Kate has such ingenious rhymes as heinous with Coriolanus and fussing with nussing ("nussing" being used as a playful corruption of the word "nothing.")
Creative rhyme is important in any type of Showtune. Cole Porter's ballad "I Get a Kick Out of You" has a famous five part rhyme ("fly-high-guy-sky-I") that audiences have loved since Ethel Merman first sang it in Anything Goes (1934).
Obvious, tired rhymes -- or worse yet forced non-rhymes (like those found in many rap songs) -- are distractions that can ruin the effect of a song. At today's ticket prices, people have the right to expect a smooth, professional effort. Of course, the witless scores of Footloose and Saturday Night Fever prove that some audiences will tolerate anything if the volume is deafening enough.
Elements of a Musical: The Book
What is "The Book"?
The book - also called the libretto - is the least appreciated and yet most dramatically important element of a musical. It is the narrative structure that keeps the score from being nothing more than a medley of songs.
For many years, the books of most Broadway musicals were a series of scenes, jokes and sight gags designed to get from song to song. The main point of most shows was to showcase a score and/or a major star. So long as the script provided excuses for Al Jolson to sing a few of his hits or Marilyn Miller to do her tap routine, theatregoers were satisfied.
By the 1940's, audiences were ready for something more, and shows like Pal Joey, Lady In the Dark and Oklahoma! made it imperative that the book and score interweave to tell a cohesive story. Now when a performer stopped the show, it was because the action had built up to a key moment of song and/or dance. This made for a much more satisfying kind of musical entertainment.
More than one expert has observed that musicals with great scores and bad books tend to fail, while those with mediocre scores and solid books have a better chance of succeeding. After all, the first job of every play or film - musical or not - is to tell a good story.

Key Book Elements
A musical book must do the following:
Keep the story line clear and easy to follow.
Create situations that call characters into song.
Cue into songs as smoothly as possible.
Hand over much of the plot and character development to the songs and choreography.
Make the audience care at all times. (If the action gets dull, nothing guarantees an audience will stay to learn the ending!)
Create characters that are easy to relate to, without resorting to stereotypes. (Good luck!)
And all this must be done within a skeletal script. After all, at least fifty percent of a musical's running time belongs to the songs and dances. Small wonder that so few playwrights are willing to attempt musical librettos.

Only a few musicals use 100% original story lines. Most are adapted from novels (Les Miserables, King & I), plays (Oklahoma, Hello Dolly) or films (A Little Night Music, Nine, The Producers). Others are inspired by historical figures (Rex, George M) or events in the headlines (Call Me Madam, Capeman).
When selecting a story for adaptation, the creative team must first determine that music will add to the effectiveness of the story. Not all stories sing, and relentlessly tragic tales are better suited to grand opera. The main requirement is to have a situation that allows characters to experience a wide range of emotions. It is in the transitions from hope to joy to despair to (hopefully) final triumph that characters can find something to sing about.
Since time immemorial people find it easier to connect with sentiments expressed in a song. So songs help audiences relate to the characters in a musical. Murder mysteries and French farces do not make good musicals because many of their characters are plot functions, not individuals we come to really care about. The Mystery of Edwin Drood does not disprove my point -- in the end we learn that Edwin is not dead, so there is no real murder mystery!
Getting historical figures to sing can be tricky, since many in the audience approach famous characters with pre-conceptions. 1776 successfully made John Adams and Thomas Jefferson sing, in part because American audiences wanted to like them. (British audiences loathed the same show, forcing it to close in just a few weeks.) Henry VIII's murderous marital habits made him desperately unlikable in Rex, but such popular figures as Jackie Robinson, Marilyn Monroe and Teddy Roosevelt all inspired flop musicals.

Scene Structure
As in non-musical plays, the scenes in a book musical must have a clear ending that projects the action forward. Since good showtunes often capture a moment of transition, realization or decision, a song (or a brief reprise) is often used to bring scenes to a neat close.
This is why librettists must work in close collaboration with composers and lyricists to determine where songs fit and how to get into song as seamlessly as possible. Audiences now cringe at obvious song cues ("Tell us about it, Jane.") Ideally, the book and score should be written simultaneously, rather than have either one built around the other.
The modern musical libretto is almost always written in a two-act format. Audiences are accustomed to it, and intermission sales (refreshments, souvenirs) provide theatre owners with crucial income. If nothing else, an audience forced to sit for hours is tougher to entertain. To put it bluntly, if you don't give audiences a pee break, they will take one in the middle of crucial scenes! Those who write a one or three act show can rest assured that others will eventually re-format it to two acts. (This fact of life has plagued the authors of Man of La Mancha, a one-act that is frequently performed with an intermission).
If nothing else, intermissions force book writers to make sure the story gets somewhere by a reasonable point -- at least enough to make an audience want to come back for Act Two. The first act does not have to end with a cliffhanger, but we should be anxious to see what happens next. Examples of memorable Act One endings:
Fiddler On the Roof -- A horrific pogrom ruins Tzeitel's wedding. How will Tevye's family carry on?
My Fair Lady -- As Liza dances off with the scheming linguist Zoltan Karparthy, will her secret be exposed and Professor Higgins' work ruined?
Annie -- Will an orphan find her long lost parents?
Les Miserables -- How will the many characters we've met in Act One get through the imminent revolution?
Musicals with weak first act endings are generally in trouble. This problem holds especially true with stage versions of screen musicals. The stage version of Meet Me In St. Louis turned "The Trolley Song" into a dream sequence, robbing it of any significance and doing nothing to point to the next act. The stage version of State Fair ended with "It's a Grand Night for Singing" -- a great song, but one that did nothing to set up what lay ahead. Both shows failed despite classic scores, primarily because their cinematic story lines did not adapt well to the two-act stage format.
The end of Act Two is even more important. It is what audiences walk out with, and a powerful final scene can make up for a lot of shortcomings earlier in the show. Having a great song helps -- many shows reprise their strongest ballad -- but the book writer must structure the play so that the last scene packs a genuine wallop.
The Sound of Music has the Von Trapps escape to freedom as the nuns sing "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," and Secret Garden has Uncle Archie embrace his niece Mary as the ghosts of the past depart to the strains of "Come To The Garden." These scenes leave audiences cheering through their tears. Few musicals are quite this powerful in the final scene, but many aim for it. Check a dozen of your favourite musicals, and you will find that most save a solid dramatic or comic kick for the finale.

All writers had better like rewriting! It is the nature of creation that one has to reshape and perfect one's work. This is especially true when one has to appease the army of collaborators involved in a musical. With the exception of Kiss Me Kate, every musical that ever opened out of town (or in New York previews) required book rewrites. It is only when a show gets on its feet in front of paying audiences that certain problems become evident.
Two book issues become paramount once a show is in pre-opening performances --
Keep the plot line clear - People won't sit through a show if the basic story does not make sense.
Get the curtain down by 10:45 PM -- this avoids expensive union overtime and gets audiences home before the babysitter's curfew. If you are positive your show is the next Les Miz and can afford to run till 11:15, more power to you -- but get yourself better medication and start cutting anyway.
When a show is in trouble, it is easier to blame the book. Adding new songs, recasting or changing directors costs amazing amounts of time and money, while changing the book simply means ordering the author to cut or revise.
I once worked on a musical (which shall go nameless) that was having a disastrous pre-Broadway tour. The score sucked, the director was inexperienced and the big-name star was woefully miscast -- so of course, everyone complained about the book! This was ironic because the book (by an acclaimed librettist) was probably the one solid thing the show had going for it. Thankfully, the star became ill and the show closed out of town. The book writer's reputation survived for better projects.

A Thankless Task
Now that many musicals are virtually sung through, librettists are less appreciated than ever. The international hit Phantom of the Opera is often thought of as the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber, while librettist Richard Stilgoe is practically unknown outside of his own family. (Sadly, the same can be said for lyricist Charles Hart.)
The book writer gets almost no credit if a show succeeds, and most of the blame if it fails. Peter Stone, the most successful librettist alive, got demeaning reviews for 1776, Woman of the Year, Will Rogers Follies and Titanic -- and received Tony Awards for each of them!
As a result, good librettists are few and far between. Most of the people who might once have worked in musical theatre take their talents to television. Who can blame them? When writing for a sitcom can bring a six-figure annual salary, why spend six years writing a musical that may never make a cent?
And yet, the madness still infects a few. Those of us who love the musical will keep our fingers crossed in the new century and hope that a fresh crop of solid librettists are set to appear.
Making a Broadway Musical
Key Players: The Production Team
Solo producers (Florenz Ziegfeld, David Merrick, etc.) had tremendous input into the creative shaping of a show. Many important Broadway musicals began because a solo producer had an idea and then hired the composer and writers of his/her choice. With production costs now in the tens of millions, it takes teams of a dozen or more producers to raise the funds -- making it impossible for any one of them to have real creative control over a project. Several independent producers (Fran & Barry Weissler, etc.) are still around, but corporate producers like Disney have the money and resources to make almost anything into a hit.
Traditionally, Broadway investors contributed no more than a few thousand dollars each to a new show. This entitled them to a pair of opening night tickets, a return on their investment if the show was a hit, or a tax deduction if the show failed. Today, investors contribute hundreds of thousands each, and there is little chance they will see much of a profit. They want the prestige of saying they have invested in a show -- and all too often think their dollars entitle them to creative input. These businessmen with frustrated theatrical dreams expect their suggestions to be listened to. In some cases, corporate sponsors can have far too much say in the creative process.
General Manager
General managers handle the everyday business involved in a show -- paying the salaries, dealing with complaints, supervising supplies, and making keeping the show's operating expenses as low as possible. (Lower expenses make it possible for a show to keep running when business slumps.) General managers at the Broadway level tend to oversee several shows at a time, hiring a Company manager to oversee the day-to-day needs of each production.
Stage Manager
This is the battle commander who makes sure the elements of a performance happen eight times a week, overseeing every actor, set, light cue and prop. To do this, the SM and a team of assistants have to be everywhere in the house, using a complex system of headphones, radios and computerized controls to communicate. Thanks to wireless communication, stage managers are no longer glued to their traditional backstage command podium. The complex demands of high-tech productions have made these men and women more important than ever -- the unsung heroes who hold shows together.
House Manager
While the stage manager oversees the cast and crew, the house manager takes care of everything that happens on the other side of the curtain, coordinating the House staff of ushers, box office managers, custodians, ticket takers, bartenders, souvenir salespeople and more. If a theatregoer has a problem, the house manager is usually the top person they can turn to for assistance.
Casting Director
Casting directors stay up-to-date on the ever-changing pool of acting talent in the theatre. Maintaining massive files, they are ready to call in a wide selection of actors to fit any particular role. When a director or producer wants to audition a particular performer (even a major star), they have the casting director arrange it. The top producers of the past often had full-time casting directors of their won, but most casting directors today are free agents who work with a variety of producers.
Producers hire an advertising firm to design a show logo, posters and window cards, print and TV ads, and all other advertising materials. Theatrical advertising is so specialized that only two or three New York firms handle every show in town.
Press Representative
The more press coverage a show gets, the better -- both before and after it opens. The Press Representative maintains contact with every newspaper, magazine, radio and television station, making sure that a show gets as much coverage as possible. They arrange interviews, special interest features and publicity events. They also make sure the critics are invited to press previews and treated as cordially as possible. They also try to dispel any negative rumours ("Miss Bankhead hasn't touched a drop since we started rehearsals!") that might hurt ticket sales.
Thought we'd never get to them, did you? For many years, the performers in musical theatre were divided into two distinct camps - singers and dancers. With the rise of the director-choreographers in the late 1950's, it became important for Broadway-level performers to prove their proficiency in both capacities. Right into the mid-20th Century, it was possible for chorus performers to make a fulltime living in the theatre, but that ended in the 1960's. Stage work is so uncertain that most professional performers have back-up careers as waiters, bartenders, administrative assistants, etc.
How Musicals are Made
How To Write a Musical
by John Kenrick
Have you noticed that almost all the books on how to write songs, lyrics or musicals are written by teachers, not working professionals? Real creators rarely try to explain how they do what they do, because what works beautifully for one person may not work for anyone else.
So lets settle this one right up front no one can tell you how to write a musical! A seasoned pro can offer pointers, and people who have a wide knowledge of the genre can tell you what has worked up till now, but there are no definite rules in this process.
The creative process is intensely personal, and no two people "create" in exactly the same way. Larry Hart could dash off a deathless lyric in minutes, scrawling it on any available scrap of paper. Others labour endlessly to get just the right rhyme. Alan Jay Lerner had a recurring nightmare that went something like this a group of friends come into a hotel room where he has been working for days, and ask what he has written in that time. Surrounded by mounds of crumpled pages, he holds up a sheet and reads, Loverly, loverly, loverly, loverly whereupon his friends cart him off to an asylum.
Aside from my own efforts as a lyricist for various projects, I know dozens of others who write or compose for the musical theatre. Based on that knowledge, here are things I think you should do if you want to write musicals:
See as many musicals as you can study the ones you like best and figure out what makes them tick.
Find collaborators you can work with comfortably.
Find or invent a story that gets you so excited you can spend five or more years of your life working on it with no promise (or even a reasonable hope!) of it earning you a penny.
Structure your life in such a way that it leaves you daily time to write and/or compose.
Write what you love, not just what you think has commercial possibilities.
Always remember that your goal must be to entertain not to teach or "enlighten." If you are really lucky, you are the one who will learn something from your writing.
Does all this mean you should not write musicals? Of course not. It means that working in the theatre is hard as hell, and you should only write musicals if there is no possible way for you not to. If the desire is so powerful that all the negatives cannot dissuade you, go for it you might be crazy enough to succeed! Just be sure that you have a solid means of paying your bills and recharging your spirits in the meantime. And be prepared for a rather long "meantime the only thing more valuable to an aspiring composer, lyricist or librettist than talent and luck is sheer determination.
In the early 21st Century, there are no clear paths to writing a show. If you do decide to venture forth into this forbidding field, my best wishes and the best wishes of thousands of theatre lovers go with you.
How Musicals are Made
Getting Your Musical Produced
by John Kenrick
As a lyricist/librettist and former assistant to several top Broadway producers, I would like to give seven bits of valuable, blunt advice to anyone who wants to write musicals. First and foremost . . .

1. Give up!
If there is anything else you can possibly do with your life, drop this show biz stupidity immediately! Go find enlightenment as a monk, spend a lifetime on a jungle hillside-observing gorillas, seek intelligent life forms in Florida whatever floats your boat. But please, run the hell away from writing musicals.
No matter how much talent or spunk you have, you've a better chance of winning a major lottery than you do of succeeding in musical theatre. Frank Wildhorn was the only new American composer to establish himself on Broadway in the 1990's, but none of his three shows turned a profit. Few who achieve some degree of acclaim manage to make a living in the musical theatre. If you don't believe me, I'll introduce you several friends who have won raves in the Times but still tend bar to make ends meet.
If you know what's good for you, burn your manuscript and demos immediately and find yourself a nice, wholesome pastime like bird watching, stamp collecting or atom splicing.
However, if you know in your deepest heart that there is no conceivable way you can live without pursuing this hopeless dream, read on. Just don't say I didn't warn you!

2. Remember, musical theatre is a business
Mot people in the theatre don't give a hoot in hell about making history. They just want to be part of a hit that makes money. Hits pay the bills flops do not.
You think that materialistic attitude is awful? Well get over it! The need to make money is a fact of life in every business, including charities, politics and the church. So don't get angry if people do not leap to put their careers and fortunes on the line for your untried masterpiece. Until a project shows signs of being commercially viable, its not going to be of much use to anyone.

3. Never send unsolicited scripts/tapes to producers
Producers look on unrequested scripts as junk mail. If your submission is not thrown directly in the trash, it is handed over to a semi-illiterate assistant for review. Then, whether the assistant likes it or not, it is filed and eventually trashed anyway.
Broadway producers are not artists they are business people looking to make a living. To do this, they must find projects with enough profit potential to attract investors. Be honest if you were a producer, would you put your reputation on the line for a new musical written by unknowns? Even if a producer was crazy enough to promote an unknown talent, serious investors (and with millions at stake, Broadway investors are extremely serious) would not put up the money for it.
Kander and Ebb are one of the musical theatre's all-time great teams, with Cabaret, Chicago and more to their credit. When they send out the script & demo for a new musical, you can bet it gets serious attention. But producers know that Kander & Ebb have not had a new hit in over twenty years, so few are willing to invest in their new works. Their musical version of Thorton Wilder's Skin of Our Teeth has been bouncing around since the mid 1990's because producers doubt its commercial strength. If Kander and Ebb get a sceptical reception, what do you think total unknowns are in for?
So don't waste time, paper, tape or postage sending things to producers or agents who have no reason to know you or your work. Instead, give them a reason to know you . . .

4. To get your show noticed, get it staged!
Instead of telling producers that your new show is a masterpiece, show them. Once it is staged, it can be reviewed and, with luck, start a buzz that attracts professional attention. How do you do this?
One option is finding a theatre company (regional, off-Broadway, etc.) interested in experimenting with new musicals. Do your research and you will find a number of such companies. They get numerous solicitations, so your stuff will have to be outstanding to get noticed. Rent got its start when The NY Theatre Workshop gave it a workshop staging in a small East Village theatre. A team of producers saw it, and the rest is history.
Another increasingly popular option is to stage the show yourself in a small theatre or cabaret. This is perfect for smaller shows. Nunsense, Forever Plaid and Forbidden Broadway started with acclaimed New York cabaret runs, and many are trying the same route today. When a composer can put together a cast of friends who agree to take a chance and share expenses, a cabaret production can be far less expensive than other options. You keep sets and costumes minimal, do your own publicity, and focus what cash you can on advertising.
By any route, it takes years to make a show a reality, so those who write musicals need patience and incredible tenacity. Jekyll and Hyde went through two studio recordings, several regional productions, and a two-year national tour before it finally arrived on Broadway.

5. Have alternate income
Nothing says you have to be poor to write musicals. I, for one, do my best work when my stomach is not growling. So you will need a steady source of income while pursuing your theatrical dreams. If you have generous parents, a large inheritance or a well-heeled spouse, then you are a lucky dog and can skip to the next section.
However, if you are not so lucky, you will need a job that keeps the bills paid. Popular choices include waitering, bartending and word processing primarily because these positions allow flexible scheduling.
Some people have a truly profitable career and write on the side. Attorney Ken Ludwig has written several hit plays and musical librettos (including Crazy for You), getting up each day at 4:00 A.M. and writing until he has to head to the office. Is it easy? No, but it beats the hell out of working like a dog for lousy money and trudging home exhausted to a roach-ridden apartment to write on a dying PC. This looks idyllic in Rent, but it soon palls as a lifestyle.
A side note -- it is almost impossible to have a theatrical production or administration job and still find the energy to write. If you care about the theatre enough to write for it, any theatre job is bound to become an emotional drain. In fact, I don't know of anyone who has written anything of consequence while working in a theatrical office. (Well, Bram Stoker did write Dracula while working such a job, but it was a novel, not a musical.) So seek your paycheck in a separate field.

6. Don't try to raise the dead
If you are going to write for the musical theatre, you have to be realistic about where the business is today. I would give anything to bring back the Broadway of the 1950's, with well-written hits librettos, sophisticated lyrics and soaring melodies. But that world is dead. You will have to come up with projects that people will fork over $90 a seat for.
Look at what is succeeding today musicals with no libretto and no new score (Fosse, Contact), and bloated Disney spectacles that can command international publicity (Lion King, Aida). You cannot buck this trend by writing a "good old-fashioned show." Producers, critics and audiences would not know what to make of it.
No producer is looking for a show that would have worked fifty year ago they want the next great thing, whatever that may be.

7. Don't let anyone dissuade you!
Much of what I have said here sounds negative. In today's theatrical environment, how did you expect honest advice to sound?
But if the dream lives in you, you can succeed you just have to give it everything. And I mean everything. All other aspects of life will have to take a back seat to the dream. This sounds cool until you actually have to do it. Things like finances, your quality of life and personal relationships will have to take a back seat, You will have to slog away against incredible odds with no idea of how long this struggle may last. Then, even if you do have a hit musical, you will have to relive the struggle with every new show you write.
Its like a pact with the devil, but those who sacrifice everything else can make it to what remains of the top of musical theatre. I have seen people do it, including a number of actors, composers, writer and producers. They seem rather happy once they get there, but there is something a bit terrifying about them. My belief is that they wound up losing their souls along the way. That may sound terribly clichd, but I can testify to the truth in it.
If you are one of the magical few who conquer all, clasp a spinning Tony and gaze fondly down on Central Park from a penthouse, do yourself a favour and look me up because I have this incredible idea for a new musical . . .

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