Notes jotted down from the first evening of the ASCAP/Dreamworks Musical Theatre Workshop with Stephen Schwartz. The other panelists for the evening were Bill Damaschke, head of Dreamworks Theatrical, and Suzi Dietz, producer.
- Writing a musical theatre show is hard. Writing an ORIGINAL musical theatre show is harder.
- Schwartz: The first 20 minutes are hardest to write. How do you launch your show? How do you make exposition into character action so that it doesn't feel like you're spewing exposition?
- An "I Want" song can be made stronger if it coincides with character action.
- Good lyrics fall on the ear with ease and are understandable (not as in enunciation, but as in the words are set to the music and rhythm in such a way that the audience does not need to strain to understand what is being sung/said).
- Find the meat of your story, and make sure we don't arrive to the meat too late.
- Avoid the "traveler-in-a-new-land-gets-mugged-on-her-first-day" cliche.