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Writing A Musical

Danielle Kalivretenos

Types of Musicals
Classical Musicals
Switch Period
Contemporary Musicals

Classical Theatre

Known as the Golden Age of musical theatre


Time Period: 1940-1960
Main Focus of the shows was escapism

shows offered a pleasant escape from reality


musicals were based on idealistic thoughts
usually lighthearted and comedic
had simple plots that were easy to understand
people enjoyed shows with young romance
shows almost always closed with a happy ending

Classical Theatre

Famous Writers/Composers:

Cole Porter
George Gershwin
Oscar Hammerstein
Richard Rogers

Musicals:

Annie Get Your Gun


Damn Yankees
Gypsy
Guys and Dolls
Kiss Me Kate

The Switch

The change from classical to contemporary musical theatre began with


the release of the musical Show Boat.
Florence Ziegfeld produced Show Boat in New York in December 1927

Show Boat was the first show to use realism


Plot was serious and demonstrated real life issues
Confronted racism and interracial marriage
It was considered the American Story
Ziegfeld understood that because it was an intense show, people might not enjoy it

There was no applause opening night, so Ziegfeld lowered the curtain. There was no
curtain call
He thought it had been a failure, until he saw the astonishing reviews the next day
Show Boats triumph could not be repeated

Contemporary Theatre

Time Period: 1960-Present


Modern shows focus on realism

Plots take on controversial topics in modern culture


Many plots are serious and revolved around real life issues
These topics include: racism, gangs, civil rights, poverty, and government

Contemporary Theatre

Famous Writers/Composers:

Alan Menken
Jason Robert Brown
John Kander
Stephen Sondheim

Musicals

Billy Elliot
The Drowsy Chaperone
Dogfight
Newsies
Urinetown

Overview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHmm8qncTp8

Script Layout

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnTOxfu2RXw
Title page

Title of the musical in the center of the page


Names of all the group members at the bottom

Script

alignment

Stage directions are right justified (stage directions that are separate from the
dialogue)
Dialogue is left justified
Character name is in the middle of the page
(1:30 in video)

Stage Directions

From the viewpoint of the actor

Upstage Right (UR)


Upstage Center (UC)
Upstage Left (UL)
Center Stage Right (CR)
Center Stage (CS)
Center Stage Left (CL)
Downstage Right (DR)
Downstage Center (DC)
Downstage Left (DL)
(Audience is closest to downstage)

Plot

Different stages

Exposition- background information about characters, plot, setting, etc


Rising Action- actions and events that lead up to the climax, starts after exposition
Climax- point in which the conflict has reached its peak and is overcome
Falling Action- begins immediately after climax, what happens after the problem is solved
Resolution- characters reach the final solution, can not further the plot more

Dialogue

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnLRV-ru95Y
Needs to advance the plot
Manipulated to sound interesting to the audience
It has rhythm

lines flow together

Characters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9ucWkyTrVM
Understanding the character

Who is the character?


What is their purpose?
What conflict are they facing?
What do they want?
How do they achieve this and overcome the conflict?

Everyone will be choosing an occupation and attitude

every character needs to be unique (bold choices)


give each character a purpose (how will they affect the problem or solution?)
be creative

Journal 12/22
What are 3 questions that you could ask yourself about your character? (For
example: How do they affect the conflict? What is their family background?
Etc)

Rules for Writing Plays/Musicals

Show, dont tell- show the emotions that the characters are facing, the
severity of events through actions (not descriptions)
Cut whatever isnt needed- avoid repetition, staying on one topic for a
long time, etc
Find the right place for songs- build up to the songs, place them so they
flow with the dialogue

Works Cited
http://literarydevices.net/exposition/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dramatic_structure
http://literarydevices.net/climax/
http://study.com/academy/lesson/falling-action-of-a-story-definitionexamples-quiz.html
http://study.com/academy/lesson/resolution-in-literature-definition-examplesquiz.html
http://www.musicals101.com/write.htm

Groups

Group 1:

Nina
Jon
Kayleigh
Sarah
Sana

Group 3:

Stephanie
Park
Sydney
Caroline

Group 2:

Maddie
Gabe
Zahraa
Allison
Emma

Group 4:

Mevie
Brittney
Christina
Emily S.

Group 5:

Emily E.
Bella
Grace
Zoha

Group 6:

Abby
Audrey
Megan
Carolina

Journal 12/23
What are some actions you could take to display your chosen attitude for your
character?

Journal 12/21
What is your favorite aspect of a musical? (singing,
dancing, acting, tech, etc) Why?

Journal 1/5
What is your favorite song from the song list?
Why?

Journal 1/4
What was something funny that you heard or saw over break?

Journal 1/6
No journal today, work day for scripts

Journal 1/8
Why is it important to incorporate blocking
into the dialogue? What is the importance of
blocking?