CLASSES for WRITERS of MUSICAL THEATRE 

CRAFT OF LIBRETTO WRITING FOR MUSICAL THEATRE

SIX WEEKS • TUESDAYS  6-8PM • OCTOBER 27, 2020 –DECEMBER 1, 2020

SAVE 33% • DISCOUNT PRICE $300

Instructor: LEE SUMMERS (bio CLICK HERE)

Course Description/Information:

This course provides an overview and application for writing the book (libretto) of a musical

Required Texts:

Playwriting Brief and Brilliant by Julie Jensen

 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • To study, analyze and apply the components of musical theatrical writings.

 

Course Objectives:

  • The student will be introduced to the terminology of musical theatre.

 

  • The student will study the forms of action as it relates to the plot, character, language, setting alongwith key elements which allow musicals to “sing.”

 

  • The student will read assigned chapters and be prepared to participate in online class discussion.

 

  • The student will be introduced to various characteristics of the people in theatre including the actor, playwright, director, and designers.

 

  • The student will be exposed to examples of script formatting in Word and script formatting software

 

  • Under guidance of the instructor, student will write a 3-5 character, 10-page play (as a beginning to alarger work or as a short play) followed by (possibly) a Zoom reading festival with fellow students.

 

Technical Requirements:

Reliable high-speed Computer Internet access to Zoom and YouTube. Access to Microsoft Word (Not

Pages) and Adobe Acrobat for compatibility with pdf documents

 

View and critique an online Live Theatre Production:

During the six weeks, students may be expected to view an online live theatre musical production pre-approved

by instructor.

BASICS OF MUSIC FOR LYRICISTS AND LIBRETTISTS

WHO NEVER STUDIED MUSIC

A Zoom class taught by composer/ lyricist/screenwriter /playwright Mark Saltzman

SIX WEEKS • THURSDAYS 6-8PM • OCTOBER 29, 2020 – DECEMBER 10, 2020

(No class Thanksgiving) 

SAVE 33% • DISCOUNT PRICE $300

Instructor: MARK SALTZMAN (bio CLICK HERE)

Course Description/Information:

A quiet place where writer's questions about music, no matter how basic, can be safely asked with no fear of mockery by sarcastic musicians. You know who they are. 

So many writers, playwrights, screenwriters, and pop lyricists are trying their hand at writing musical theater. But the process can be bewildering, especially if you're a writer who has only written non-musical projects and may not be acquainted with even the most basic principles of music. If Mom didn't force piano lessons on you, if you weren't in a high school garage band or church choir, how do you, as a lyric writer, librettist, or book writer,  navigate this daunting world with its in-crowd jargon and mystifying concepts?   

You’ll be encouraged (though not obligated) to bring in a current project you’re working on and address specific songs or problems you might be having communicating with a composer-collaborator or other members of the music department. 

Some topics that will be covered:   

READING MUSIC: Really, what are those dots and spots and lines? Tip: The more ink used on a note, the quicker it is played. Yes, it seems like it should be the opposite – more ink would weigh down the note and make it slower. But that’s how it’s done and it doesn’t make sense to us either. But with a few more tips, you’ll be able to follow along on the page when music is played, even when there are no lyrics. 

KEY: What does it mean, when they say “it’s in the key of C”?  And what is this business about changing keys? 

ORCHESTRATION: What does this mean: How does it differ from “Arrangement”

RHYTHM AND TEMPO: What do these things really mean, are they the same thing? 

THE GROOVE: Are the musicians being ironic when they talk about it?

HARMONY: doesn't it mean people singing together? But these music people are talking about harmony in a whole different way. Sometimes “harmonics” or “harmonic progression.” What is all that? Do I need to know? (Yes.)  

VOICE: You’re going to be dealing with singers, you ought to know the basic types: Baritone, tenor, soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto and the now-extinct (was it an asteroid?) contralto. Head voice and chest voice and why they matter. And then how does “falsetto” fit in?  

SONG STRUCTURE: The traditional AABA song. The verse-chorus song. Through-composed versus scene-song structure for a show. 


COLLABORATION COUNSELING:  How to argue with your composer and more importantly, how to avoid it. Tip: In a musical, plot and character issues can - should!  - be solved musically. Bring your composer into those discussions.  And make sure you’re working on the same show. 
 

THE GENERAL POINT: This class will be guided by Mark Saltzman, but steered by the students – what immediate issues you need to address, what musical problems you need to solve, and what musical concepts you need to understand to solve them.  

© 2020 by Amas Musical Theatre, a 501 (c)3 not-for-profit arts company

contact: amas@amasmusical.org • (212) 563-2565