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A Playwright’s Potential to Excellence — August 10, 2017

Posted on Aug 10, 2017 in PLC BLOG

Apply this to you, the Playwright (Composer, Lyricist) and to each of your characters. It sort of goes along with what I wrote last time, but since humans have been talking about this for at least 2000 years, I thought it would be good to mention it again. “Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Therefore give yourself FULLY to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character [yours and those in your play] through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast…and one day you will build something that endures; something worthy of your potential.” –Epectitus, Roman teacher and philosopher — 55-135 AD I think Epectitus should have been a playwrighting teacher. This advice is perfect for creating characters in your plays and musicals...

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Why Do You Write For The Theatre? — July 27, 2017

Posted on Jul 28, 2017 in PLC BLOG

Why do you write for the theatre? A Playwright, a Lyricist, a Composer? What gets you up in the morning to begin? What keeps you up at night, because the words or melodies in your head won’t leave you alone? What can interrupt any moment of any day, just so you can jot something down? Why won’t they leave you alone? What have you done to insure that you will always want to write? Can you define why you write? What drives you? If you can you will be on the road to a long and satisfying career, whether amateur or professional––or somewhere in-between. If you cannot, then don’t bother. Dedication and commitment are the two things that are necessary for any writer, let alone a writer of theatre. (Or should that be a ‘wrighter’ of theatre?) Your answers...

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Conflict — July 20, 2017

Posted on Jul 20, 2017 in PLC BLOG

You know — many playwrights struggle over conflict. Some even wonder if they can do without it. Some think it is fine, but how do they use it? Some don’t like conflict, so they try to avoid it. Others prefer to just let their characters talk things out. In just trying to decide if you want, need or should write conflict, you have proven that conflict is essential and inherent in every story, in every relationship, in every thought process. You cannot do without conflict. Every scene, every ‘moment’ must have some level of conflict in it; some relationship to the story of the play. If we look at the acting system distilled from the Stella Adler school of acting, we come up with: Objectives, Obstacles, Tactics. (Which, of course, is based in The Method of another great acting...

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Character Arc What and Why – May 25, 2017

Posted on May 25, 2017 in PLC BLOG

What is a Character Arc and Why is it necessary? A Character Arc is the journey that a character takes through his or her life in the play. It encompasses backstory, yes, but it’s biggest focus is what happens to the character during the course of their two hours on stage, and maybe secondarily, what their future might hold after the play ends. I believe each character has an arc. Others would disagree. Some arcs are huge, covering a lot of ups and downs, plenty of emotional shifts, wide changes in behavior and/or thought. Others may have very little movement; but no character is entirely static. If you have a completely static character, why have them in the play at all? Their interruptions, distractions – conflicts with others – might best be handed by another character. Each character has...

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Submitting To A Theatre – May 5, 2017

Posted on May 5, 2017 in PLC BLOG

Submitting a Play or Musical to a Theatre There are many opportunities for this to happen, here are just a few: If you write musicals, then there is a very good resource for you to join with, or become aware of. The Musical Writerzine by Carol DeGuire is an exceptional help in discovering quarterly who is accepting what and from whom. Contact Carol: carol@musicalwriters.com VISIT:(www.musicalwriters.com) For writers of all sorts of theatrical enterprises the New Play Exchange offers a lot of visibility for your product. You register as a writer (I think it’s a $10 yearly fee). It is a database with notifications depending on what you select as categories. You will get email notifications from the producers/theatres who are listed and looking for new plays like the ones you write. VISIT: https://newplayexchange.org/ Also Ken Davenport, a Broadway/Off-Broadway producer...

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The Process of Theatre Writing – April 20, 2017

Posted on Apr 20, 2017 in PLC BLOG

What can I say about playwrighting that can take you from the ideas, to the words, to the page, to the stage? Not a lot in one sitting. BUT– I have written the scripts for a dozen or so musicals and written the music and lyrics for more than 30 more. I was commissioned at the age of 18 to write my first musical. At age 19 I finished it, together with some of my closest friends, and the commissioners actually produced it and it was quite successful. That was in 1973. I have won awards, been produced across the world, and have spent more hours inside a theatre in rehearsal, than some people have been alive. I have quite enjoyed the process of writing.  I spent years as a professional actor, then a director/choreographer, then a teacher in...

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Submitting to a Publisher – April 13, 2017

Posted on Apr 13, 2017 in PLC BLOG

Well, this one can be complicated. Each publisher has different requirements for play and musical submission. Some are agented, (which means that only if you have an agent can you be placed with that particular publisher). Some only publish from certain markets, (which means if you have not had a New York City production you can pretty well count on not being read, let alone accepted, by some publishers (especially in the Musical market). Some accept unsolicited manuscripts! (not many). If your play has not been produced — do not send it to anyone but an agent or directly to a producer. (Those are entirely different strategies than submitting to publishers.) For open submissions policies, there are usually 3-steps you have to go through. Never send anything unsolicited! Ever! Nyet! Ka-put!!! Even if they say they accept unsolicited manuscripts....

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How many characters should I write for? – March 3, 2017

Posted on Mar 30, 2017 in PLC BLOG

In a recent post on a Facebook Playwrights page the number of characters in a play or musical was discussed. Now: Number of characters does not necessarily mean the number of actors needed to play them. Double-casting, or multiple casting, is usually a directors choice, but sometimes a playwright may choose the device of one, or all, of his/her performers, playing multiple characters, including opposite gender casting. It is wonderfully theatrical! My collaborator and I are working on a musical that is looking like 8 characters will be portrayed by 8 actors. Our previous musical ended up having 8 characters needing 8 actors to tell the story. Anyone see a pattern developing? If you are expecting professional and regional theatres to produce your play, the cast numbers (not necessarily character numbers) must be lower (musicals can get away with...

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