The Sandbox | NewMusicalsInc

Custom-design your own Musical Theatre Sandbox.

NMI’s Sandbox is for musicals which don’t fit a usual mold.  You want a little bit of THIS and a little bit more of THAT — a unique mix of feedback, workshopping, marketing advice, or perhaps some insider tips and tricks of the trade.  You’ll have nine 2-hour work sessions with your selected staff member to work on such topics as outlining, song-spotting, presentation of scenes and songs, marketing advice, budgeting, feedback, music preparation, song structure, consultation about demo recordings, etc. - depending on the needs of your musical at any given moment in the process.

Below, we’ve put together four samples of pathways you might choose — but again, you can design your own schedule …choose two from column A, three from column B, etc. — whatever’s best for you and your musical…at your pace. Use your nine sessions however you like. Online or in-person.



The goal of this approach is to complete first draft, from outline through final piano-vocal score.  You might use your nine sessions as follows:


  1. Outline feedback first session
  2. Outline feedback second session
  3. Outline feedback third session
  4. Rough draft feedback - Act One
  5. Rough draft feedback - Act Two
  6. Song spotting session
  7. Presentation of scenes/songs 1
  8. Presentation of scenes/songs 2
  9. Presentation of scenes/songs 3

The goal:  Your show is getting close; now you want to prepare it for producers to see.  Here’s a possible Sandbox approach to accomplish that.


  1. Presentation of existing material (excerpts, or possibly a full act)
  2. Revisitation of the outline, checking for plot holes, or lags in the action, or songs which need more oomph
  3. Song-spotting session; which songs are still delivering a punch; what new songs might improve the show?
  4. Presentation of Act One; feedback includes focus on formatting of script and score
  5. Presentation of Act Two; feedback on the final polish
  6. Marketing consultation: what’s the approach to producers?  Which producers are likely to be interested?
  7. Presentation of marketing materials:  synopsis, logline, artwork, CD, query letter
  8. Targeted campaign: who should receive the materials, and who/when?
  9. Six-Month Tune-Up — what’s the response been from producers?  What other approaches might you consider?

The goal:  a bookwriter wants to develop a script from outline to rough draft, and review some playwrighting fundamentals along the way.

  1. Outline feedback session
  2. Playwrighting concepts (character, theme, exposition, conflict, wants)
  3. Outline feedback second session
  4. Playwrighting concepts second session (clarity, order of events, increase stakes, ins/outs)
  5. First scenes - presentation/feedback
  6. Revision of first scenes - presentation/feedback
  7. Rough draft of book - part one
  8. Rough draft of book - part two
  9. Rough draft of book - part three

We have LOTS of videos, handouts and online courses which might be of interest to Bookwriters, but here’s a random selection which might make a nice supplement to the Sandbox:

Handouts on: Handling Exposition; Formatting the Book and Lyrics; Marketing Copy

Useful video lectures:  Handling Exposition; Outlining; Wants and Goals


The goal:  a collaborative team wants to create or revise a full draft, and pick up some additional writing skills in the process.  This team might put together something like the following:

  1. Presentation (existing material — outline, excerpts, song, or a full act)
  2. Tips and tricks session 1 - conflict, character arc, theme, character wants
  3. Revisit structure of show (generate new outline)
  4. Focus on lyrics: progressions, drama, comedy, prosody, character, rhyme
  5. Song-spotting session (which existing songs are functioning dramatically; which moments need different songs?)
  6. Presentation of new matieral
  7. Focus on formatting - script, score, lyrics; difference between formats for workshops and for producers/theatres?
  8. Presentation of new material
  9. Next steps — timetable, marketing materials, what theatres to target

A list of our videos, handouts and online courses which might be useful to composers, lyricists and bookwriters might include:

Handouts on: Lyric Analysis; Song Spotting; Formatting the Score

Useful video lectures:  Songspotting; Lyric Progressions; Setting a Lyric




The Sandbox includes 9 two-hour session with one NMI Staff Member for a price of $1500 (no matter the number of collaborative team members).  You can pay the full amount up front, or you can pay for three sessions at a time ($500 each).

To get started, just fill out the form below, make your payment, and then we’ll get in touch with you to set up a schedule.  (If you need more info before you sign-up, please feel free to contact us by phone - 818-506-8500 - or by email -

NOTE:  In order to see the form below, you will first need to register at the NMI site and set up your unique login and password.  If you are already registered, LOGIN to the website first.  If you are not already a member, please REGISTER FOR FREE HERE.


A three-minute excerpt of feedback. Discussion focuses on identifying the most dramatic moment of the action — and asks the writer to examine whether that drama is covered by the current song.

A “dramaturgical disclaimer” from NMI Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry.

Some thoughts on establishing consistent “rules” for your musical universe. 

A three-minute excerpt of feedback. Discussion focuses on the writers’ INTENTION, which seems to be more serious than the musical choices they’ve made?


Some thoughts on the concept of keeping jokes “funny but true”.


Some thoughts on where your show starts.