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Modern Musicals In Verse

Max Myers
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Modern Musicals In Verse#1
Posted: 3/23/20 at 2:31pm

I have a dilemma and would love opinions. Having had a long career writing films, last year I wrote my first musical with the dialogue as spoken.  However, for my new book, after having finished multiple drafts and now 15 songs in, the composer I’m working with feels that because I don’t write lyrics in rhyme, the dialogue should be as juxtaposition. It’s a cool idea and I’ve started reworking the first scenes, but now I’m not so sure. I’ve read that rhymed dialogue is passé and very frowned upon in modern musicals. I have no intention of attempting to write Hamilton inspired raps, but very quick dialogue handed back and forth between the actors with single or double syllable handoffs at the end of most, not all, but most lines. Yes? No? Crappy idea? Clearly I lack musical experience so any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

Alex Kulak2
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joined:9/11/16
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Modern Musicals In Verse#2
Posted: 3/23/20 at 2:37pm

So spoken lines in rhyming verse, but lyrics in unrhymed recitative? That actually sounds really cool

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jacobsnchz14
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Modern Musicals In Verse#3
Posted: 3/23/20 at 2:49pm

The book of Head Over Heels is written in verse, I believe. It's not common, surely, but there's always room for new musicals and different styles. There's no set way of writing one. Best of luck!

Max Myers
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Modern Musicals In Verse#4
Posted: 3/23/20 at 2:50pm

Thanks for taking the time to respond and I really appreciate your supportive response. Made me smile. 

Max Myers
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Modern Musicals In Verse#5
Posted: 3/23/20 at 2:52pm

Yes, I agree with you in that anything is possible. Thanks for your thoughts. 

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darquegk
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Modern Musicals In Verse#6
Posted: 3/23/20 at 6:11pm
The Fantasticks is in extremely free verse; the characters slip from prose to irregular rhymed poetry almost at random between the songs.

The Wild Party by Lippa works similarly.
Max Myers
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Modern Musicals In Verse#7
Posted: 3/24/20 at 1:34pm

The Fantastics is a great recomendation. Much appreciated. Thank you. 

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Fan123
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Modern Musicals In Verse#8
Posted: 3/25/20 at 2:17am

That sounds like an interesting idea!
If interested, you could perhaps take a look at 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' as a semi-related example. It premiered in 1971, so its modernity is a matter of opinion. IIRC, most of the dialogue is Shakespeare's verse (though only some parts of that are rhyming), while the (rhymed) song lyrics are mostly in the then-modern vernacular (1970s). I dimly recall reading that the idea was to keep the show Shakespearean, but use the songs to make it more accessible and less stodgy-seeming.

Max Myers
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Modern Musicals In Verse#9
Posted: 3/29/20 at 12:13pm

Sorry for my tardy reply and thanks for your comment. I did listen and agreed, it was very interesting. I'm still pondering the direction as the last thing I want is to be labeled a poor man's Hamilton, as I have no intention, or desire, of even trying to write like Mr. Miranda.

Thanks again.

Max. 

 

 


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