Musical Theatre Writer's Survival Guide

ISBN-10: 0325007861

ISBN-13: 9780325007861

Edition: 2005

Authors: David Spencer

List price: $21.95 Buy it from $10.69
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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 TonyAward 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 careeror 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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Book details

List price: $21.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Heinemann
Publication date: 7/1/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 216
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

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 (

Establishing relationships
You're only as good as your partner - and vice versa, or : collaboration
That other collaborator, or : the director
The guards and the suits, or : agents and producers
The basic components
Throwing "the book" at you, or : the plainly visible secrets of successful libretti
Knowing the score, or : music and lyrics
Practical application
The spirit of the thing, or : adaptation
The bogus condition, or : writer's block
It ain't kid stuff, or : writing musicals for young audiences
Speed kills, shift happens, and other homilies, or : writing comedy
Well, maybe thou shalt steal, or : influences
You are what you submit, or : presentation, format, and packaging
Audio with pictures, or : the art of the reading
Acceptable margins, or : proper playscript formatting
Sound advice, or : demo recordings
Random thoughts, coda, and appendices
Afterword : random thoughts
The rave and the mix, or : deconstruction in action
Grants and development programs
A better-than-average shelf life, or : the "additional reading" list
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