The first draft of the script

Yesterday R.C. sent me the first draft script and I immediately printed it out (I like to print stuff out) and read it through twice. I like to read things through twice so that I don’t let any expectations cloud what is there. I tend to like things exactly as I first imagined  and that’s a really great habit to get out of. Reading it through a second time means that you can save the ire for the second reading, and let the first one just be reading for pleasure. It usually works.

R.C. has put together a script without any songs. He has basically written a play with occasional monologues that he uses to help develop songs later. This is a great way of writing songs that will naturally sing in the same tone of the scene that they sit in. It’s also a good lyric writing exercise. With the script free of lyrics it’s easier to see where songs can go and what dialogue can be swallowed up and what can be extenuated. As this show is a mystery, there are plenty of clues and set-ups that need to be sung loudly.

Writing and producing a musical in a year.

Over the next year I and my collaborator R.C. Staab and my creative time in my home city of Norwich will be staging a musical that I and R.C. are currently writing. The energy and inspiration for this swift turnaround is the marvelous production of our ‘Zombie Wedding: A Musical Zomedy’ at the Pavilion Theatre Gorleston and ‘One Way Ticket’ will be staged there in November of 2013.

R.C., who is a New York resident, visited me and the Zombie production during the olympics and during his visit we worked for a couple days on the plot for a murder mystery musical. A couple months later R.C. came to Norwich again to see the show and to spend a day finishing off out plot.That was a month ago to this day. Since then I have been unwinding from the show and thinking musically about the era in which the show it set; the late 1930s.

R.C. is currently writing the first draft of the script while I work on the first draft of the song. By the end of December I plan to have a very very rough draft of the music and will host a table reading with music in late December with actors.

Putting On A Musical – The Venue

If you are going to stage your own musical you need to find a venue before anything else. It’s counter-intuitive, scary and finite but it has to be done. All your time frames are based around the opening night and you cannot have an opening night without a venue.

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Putting On A Musical – Introduction

Okay, here goes.

(Not being a particularly consistent, consistent or successful blogger this may turn out to be terrible. There’s your warning.)

This coming October I am having my musical Zombie Wedding staged in my local area. As I am just at the beginning of this journey I thought to myself “Hey Daniel, why don’t you blog it?”. Since I was in no mood to argue with myself I turned on my computer and stared typing. This is the fourth or fifth sentence of that session. Over the coming months I am going to try to document as much as I can all the whats, whys and wherefores of putting on a musical, in particular my own musical.

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Sell it! or, on loving Dougal’s album

A Review of Dougal Irvine’s Acoustic Overtures

Dougal Irvine is an actor and writer for musical theatre. He is the lyricist for Stratford East’s Britain’s Got Bhangra! and his first musical Departure Lounge won the MTM Award for Best Musical and was by all accounts a good show.  To add to his continuing successes he has just released an album of his own material, some from shows and some new. Ladies and gentlemen it gives me great pleasure to finally say “This week I are been mostly been listening to Dougal Irvine’s debut* album”





*I’m not sure what if an album made up of selections from various musicals and some originals, all sung by various musical theatre singers and Dougal himself really qualifies as, is it a debut for all the composer or songs or what? But I prattle on.

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On writing ballads

Obviously as you might have observed by my less than frequent postings of late, I am busy, and it only takes the slightest bit of work to make me feel overwhelmed. Anyway, to force me into posting something now and then I have decided to start mini-blogging. Not micro-blogging, I do that here. No, instead I will be posting regular and short musings and ideas as I think of them. I have gone as far as to outline essay-like postsonly to abandon them becauase I failed to find a good closing paragraph. But not anymore. The future is one hundred words or less.

So here goes…

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Writing Easy Band Parts

It’s late and right now I am trying to write band parts for Zombie Wedding, which I’m flying out to help with rehearsals for in a few days. Eek. And if that wasn’t eek enough, we have a band. A four piece band. Thats drums, keys, bass and lead. I have to write the parts for that band. For that four part band. How well will I do? Find out in this *essay*. I will update it as and when I get more information and try and make this as concise a piece about writing for band parts as it can be.

Photo of a pit band

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Goin’ to America

I have not blogged in about a year and a good amount has happened in my little musical theater life. At least one leap that has meant that in not very long I will be flying out to New York. And not as a tourist. I will try and wrap it up in one concise and short blog post. Namely this one.

The Manhattan Island Skyline

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Laying out a Piano Score

Sometime in 2010, It must have been in the Spring, R.C. Staab and I submitted Zombie Wedding to the Academy for New Musical Theatre in LA for a screen cast open reading. This is a service the Academy staff offer in which the senior faculty read through and then review a few scenes or a couple songs from a musical in development. I found the whole experience very helpful and would certainly recommend it for anyone doing anything a little ambitious. Aside from general lyrical and musical notes, much breath was spent belying my piano score, from the size of the cord symbols, the use of ties notes and other such and such that one would think was rather petty considering the show was only in an early reading. Well one would be wrong.

Sheet music.

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