$275 – $325

DGI SPRING 2019: Architecture of Musicals (Online)

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“In musicals, everything is more important than anything,” says lyricist/librettist Tom Jones. But how do you keep your perspective on everything? Especially while you’re writing and it feels like everything’s in flux? Or when you’re collaborating and one “small” change that someone wants affects everything?

One of the biggest challenges for musical theatre writers is the need to see both the forest and the trees. We must constantly shift perspective through the writing process, and we must do it as a team. While crafting individual scenes and songs, and working collaboratively over the looooong gestation periods that musicals sometimes have, writers can lose a sense of the shape of the story. Yet good musicals require- possibly above all else- good bones.

This ten-week class is about good bones. Really, it’s about great bones. We’ll excavate a variety of musical theatre masterworks, including six of the nine musicals that have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. We’ll dig deep into both the timeless craft principles and the breathtaking innovations that drive each musical’s success. We’ll look at both the “forest” (musical genre, storytelling style, overall dramatic structure), and the “trees” (song forms, lyric craft elements, character arc through song, key scenes.) We’ll talk about the unique story and song challenges the architects of these musicals faced, and the innovative solutions they discovered. Along the way we’ll also share some gritty behind-the-scene anecdotes about the creation and evolution of some of these shows. It wasn’t always pretty, but looking at the finished products, it was well worth it.

Musicals we’ll discuss in this class include (but are not limited to) South Pacific (1949), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962), Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope (1971), A Chorus Line (1975), Working (1977), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Rent (1994), Ragtime (1996), Next to Normal (2008), Fun Home (2013), Hamilton (2015), and Dear Evan Hansen (2016).

Instructor: Cheryl Coons
Meeting time: Mondays, 8pm - 10pm EST
Fee: $275 (DG members) $325 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: February 11, 2019
Limit: 20 Students

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