Printer Friendly - Where are all the Broadway Book writers?


Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by MusicalProducer 2013-01-20 05:52:43


Looking for a Book writer for a new musical - but everyone appears to be too rich or too busy and unavailable. Frustrating or what!

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by dramamama611 2013-01-20 06:47:58


This part of the creative process is a pretty incestous group. What you need to find is someone that is at the same level professionally as you/your composer/your lyricist.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-20 07:49:10


Finding a book writer can't possibly be as frustrating as actually writing the book for a show. That's why its hard to find one at any level.

(No, I don't count Terrence McNally.)

Seriously, writing a musical book requires at least as much skill as writing a play, then you get all the blame for the evening while people rave about the songs.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by James885 2013-01-20 11:27:41


^^^

This. Being a book writer is a very thankless job. Some people seem to think that all the book writer is responsible for is the words between the songs, when in reality the book writer is usually the one who structures the entire musical.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by MusicalProducer 2013-01-20 16:23:41


The thing is that I just adore writers. I appreciate that there is no story without the writers and that is crucial to the success of any musical. I've got a top Broadway composer and an internationally renowned lyricist - but can I find my book writer. Where is the new Jonathan Larson?

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by Kelly2 2013-01-20 16:58:15


"Seriously, writing a musical book requires at least as much skill as writing a play, then you get all the blame for the evening while people rave about the songs."

^ This. I know a few brilliant writers who won't touch the idea of writing a musical, purely because you get all the blame and none of the praise.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2013-01-20 17:00:04


I'll do it.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by dramamama611 2013-01-20 17:00:57


Sent you a pm.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-20 17:03:22


This is so not on the level.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by MusicalProducer 2013-01-20 17:24:41


I'm totally sincere. What's so not on the level about my current frustration?

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by bdn223 2013-01-20 17:43:42


The only current book writters who recieve recognition (aka book writer name's musical) who are not lyrisists as well are in my opinion Harvey Fierstein and Douglas Carter Bean. Fierstein was initally f***ed over by Jerry Herman, who took his monologue for Albin in the second act of La Cage and turned it into "I am who I am", giving Fierstein esentially no credit despite the fact he basically wrote the lyric to La Cage's most famous song that became a number 1 hit on the billboard hot 100. His saving of Newsies book though gave him selling point status though, with Kinky Boots being billed as Fierstein and Lauper's musical. It is stories like what happened to Fierstein during La Cage that make many playwrights extremly cautious about book writing, since as Fierstein experienced their intellectual property/work can be "stolen" by the their composer. Add to that, as others have mention book writers are always the ones blamed when a show is panned.

DCB on the other hand fell into book writing on a broadway level with Xanadu. The fact that his first major foray into Book Writing was for a show with an already established score, meant the reviews fell soley on him. Add to that he was able to take a terrible movie and turn it into a hilarious musical his skills were praised. Then when he was called in to essentially rewrite Sister Act's book, which unlike most shows with rewritten books, was lauded. His book thus became the selling point he and his partner, Lewis Flynn's Lysistrata Jones. Now he is doing R &H's Cinderella. If there is a lesson to learn from DCB it's to ony write books for musicals that already have a score written or your significant other since even if they use your work you still get the benefits.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by wecrazy 2013-01-20 18:05:11


If you have such a renowned composer and lyricist, they should be able to connect you to a good book writer. Start by looking within their agencies.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by PalJoey 2013-01-20 18:36:51


If you have such a renowned composer and lyricist, they should be able to connect you to a good book writer. Start by looking within their agencies.

If you have such a renowned composer and lyricist, they should fire you by humiliating them by starting a thread on BroadwayWorld to find a collaborator for them.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by nasty_khakis 2013-01-20 18:37:29


Eileen Rand, is that you?? Are you replacing Julia Houston??!! I know her book for Bombshell got negative reviews out of town, but I think she can pull it together now that her neckware isn't constantly choking her!

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-20 19:31:29


I think the Johnathon Larson comment is the most mystifying. Is his book-writing considered the gold standard?

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-20 19:50:22


bdn, Jerry Herman didn't "f*** over" Fierstein; that's how musicals are usually written: the songwriter(s) find the emotional highpoint in a scene and turn it into a song. Yes, it is something book writers have to accept about the form, but it isn't unusual and it isn't a wrong on the part of Herman. (If you think Sondheim invented every line of "Rose's Turn" from scratch, you haven't read his book.)

And "credit" is given through the book writer's show credit and his thanks is the considerable fortune Fierstein has made off LA CAGE.

What do you want Herman to do? Put an asterisk on the sheet music that reads "I got the idea for this song from Harvey Fierstein"?

(BTW, the same basic epiphany occurs in the film. Must Fierstein add another asterisk thanking the screenwriters?)

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by CATSNYrevival 2013-01-20 19:55:11


^Does Rent even have a book?

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by dramamama611 2013-01-20 20:16:27


Gaveston is 100% correct. The emotional high points need to be in song. That's kind of the conceit of musicals. We sing because our emotions are too much for mere words.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by elphaba.scares.me 2013-01-20 22:35:44


A friend of mine is a great writer, but not yet known as a musical theatre writer. If you PM me some information about the show, I can forward it to her and see if she'd like to meet with you!

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by Xman8 2013-01-21 04:32:34


I am an aspiring librettist/lyricist currently working on a musical and yes I am in need of a composer. Sorry to jack the thread, however, if you are looking for book writer and you are open to someone just starting out let me know, I am interested.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by bdn223 2013-01-21 10:32:09


I am not areguing the fact that the emotional high point on a musical needs to be a song. What I am arguing is Herman musicalizes Fierstein's monlogue and turned it not into the show's high point, but also the opening number. Herman could have credited Fierstein with "Additional Lyrics", although I think that it is more of a modern credential, that likely stemmed out of senarios like La Cage.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by bdn223 2013-01-21 10:32:10


I am not areguing the fact that the emotional high point on a musical needs to be a song. What I am arguing is Herman musicalizes Fierstein's monlogue and turned it not into the show's high point, but also the opening number. Herman could have credited Fierstein with "Additional Lyrics", although I think that it is more of a modern credential, that likely stemmed out of senarios like La Cage.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by PalJoey 2013-01-21 10:41:42


Herman could have credited Fierstein with "Additional Lyrics", although I think that it is more of a modern credential, that likely stemmed out of senarios like La Cage.

You completely lack understanding about how book writers and composers/lyricists work together.

To posit that it is one against the other is to completely misread and misunderstand everything that has been written and said on the subject by people like Fierstein, Laurents Sondheim and Herman.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by Mister Matt 2013-01-21 11:27:46


I Am What I Am was the result of a collaborative effort. The song is brilliant and became iconic, but it is also highly repetitive (a Jerry Herman trademark), which works well in song, but not for a monologue. While the song may have mined the essence of a monologue, story goes that it's the title of the song that was actually used in the lyrics and inspired the song which was discussed during the creative process. It's clear the decision was made for the good of the show, which is how a good musical collaboration works. The score and the book go hand in hand and find inspiration from each other.

Where are all the Broadway Book writers?
Posted by Hackasaurus_Rex 2013-01-21 15:33:33


I think a good book writer is often required to check their ego and go into the process understanding that in the best case scenerio their contribution will be rather transparent... The actors will seem like they created the lines themselves, the story moves effortlessly, and the songs are tee'd up to be the thing you leave the theater remembering. Those three things happen and you have done a great job.