How Musicals Work

A practical guide to, and history of, musical theatre. What makes the great shows work, and why some never did.

How Musicals Work

Musicals are the most popular form of stage entertainment today, with the West End and Broadway dominated by numerous long-running hits. But for every Wicked or Phantom of the Opera, there are dozens of casualties that didn’t fare quite so well. In this book, Julian Woolford explores the musical-theatre canon to explain why and how some musicals work, why some don’t, and what you should (and shouldn’t) do if you’re thinking of writing your own. Drawing on his experience as a successful writer and director of musicals, and as a lecturer in writing musicals at the University of London, Woolford outlines every step of the creative process, from hatching the initial idea and developing a structure for the work, through creating the book, the music and the lyrics, and on to the crucial process of rewriting. He then guides the reader through getting a musical produced, with invaluable advice about generating future productions and sustaining a career. The book includes dozens of exercises to assist the novice writer in developing their craft, and detailed case studies of well-known musicals such as Les Misérables, The Sound of Music, Miss Saigon, Little Shop of Horrors, Godspell and Evita. An essential guide for any writers (or would-be writers) of musicals, How Musicals Work is a fascinating insight for anyone interested in the art form or who has ever wondered what it takes to get from first idea to first night. ‘A comprehensive and thoughtful guide to everything one must consider in order to write a successful musical. It would take at least a decade to learn all of this on one’s own. Invaluable.’ David Zippel (lyricist of City of Angels and The Woman in White) ‘If anyone knows how musicals work (I’m not sure I do), this highly entertaining dissection of every aspect of that bewildering art form reveals that Julian Woolford does.’ Tim Rice

More Books:

How Musicals Work
Language: en
Pages: 376
Authors: Julian Woolford
Categories: Music
Type: BOOK - Published: 2012 - Publisher:

Musicals are the most popular form of stage entertainment today, with the West End and Broadway dominated by numerous long-running hits. But for every Wicked or Phantom of the Opera, there are dozens of casualties that didn’t fare quite so well. In this book, Julian Woolford explores the musical-theatre canon
Lying in the Middle
Language: en
Pages: 192
Authors: Jake Johnson
Categories: Music
Type: BOOK - Published: 2021-09-28 - Publisher: University of Illinois Press

The local and regional shows staged throughout America use musical theater’s inherent power of deception to cultivate worldviews opposed to mainstream ideas. Jake Johnson reveals how musical theater between the coasts inhabits the middle spaces between professional and amateur, urban and rural, fact and fiction, fantasy and reality, and truth
Hollywood Musicals
Language: en
Pages: 218
Authors: Steven Cohan
Categories: Social Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2019-10-07 - Publisher: Routledge

Hollywood Musicals offers an insightful account of a genre that was once a mainstay of twentieth-century film production and continues to draw audiences today. What is a film musical? How do musicals work, formally and culturally? Why have they endured since the introduction of sound in the late 1920s? What
The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical
Language: en
Pages: 754
Authors: Robert Gordon, Olaf Jubin
Categories: Music
Type: BOOK - Published: 2016 - Publisher: Oxford University Press

The first comprehensive academic survey of British musical theatre from its origins, The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical offers both a historical account of musical theatre from 1728 and a range of in-depth critical analyses of key works and productions that illustrate its aesthetic values and sociocultural meanings.
Adrian Lester and Lolita Chakrabarti: A Working Diary
Language: en
Pages: 192
Authors: Adrian Lester, Lolita Chakrabarti
Categories: Biography & Autobiography
Type: BOOK - Published: 2020-07-09 - Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

“An exhilarating, fascinating and eye-opening journey with two of our most inspirational creatives. A must-read for anyone interested in the crafts of acting and writing or considering a career as a self-employed artist. Lolita and Adrian don't shy away from documenting the reality of our profession – the endless multi-tasking,