Musical Theatre Writers’ Resource Center | NewMusicalsInc /* Mobile Menu Retract ---------------------------------*/

NMI’s RESOURCE CENTER for musical theatre writers

…producers, theatres, contests, ideas, feedback, definitions, links, glossary, insider tips and advice, and free videos

Welcome to the musical theatre writers’ Resource Center.

This is a FREE page provided by New Musicals Inc.  We’ve gathered in one place lots of info we think will be useful to writers of musical theatre:
  • hundreds of musical theatre contests
  • over 700 theatres and producers where you can submit your work
  • an idea library of thousands of royalty-free public domain stories and plots
  • a Writer Bank of potential musical theatre collaborators
  • a glossary of musical theatre terms (with audio/video examples)
  • a page of useful links to other resources for musical theatre writers
  • access to short videos filled with tips and advice from NMI staff

You can see the full listings for FREE!  You just need to register.   Take a look at some random highlights from the feature boxes of the Resource Center below.

We also offer a paid Premium version of the Resource Center which gives you the ability to SEARCH all the listings for contests, theatres, and ideas which are relevant to you and your work; and includes a monthly e-newsletter with up-to-date listings that come straight to you.   


Already a member? LOG-IN


How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 30 – YOUR LEAD ACTIVE IN OWN FATE

The 30th post in the video blog from NMI Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry - How to Get NO Feedback from Elise. Part 5 in a short series on CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT - this one urging you to make sure your lead character is ACTIVE in their own FATE and not just acting UPON by fate and/or the other characters.

To see more fom this series, subscribe to the vlog at

February 1, 2020     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 29 – CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT – FUNNY BUT TRUE

January 1, 2020     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 28 – CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT – FIFTH BUSINESS

December 1, 2019     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 27 – CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT – EXPOSITION

December 1, 2019     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 26 – CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT – DICTION

October 6, 2019     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 25 – THINK LIKE A DIRECTOR

*** Visit the INSIDER TIPS page to see the full listing of insider tips and advice videos. ***


FREE LISTING of hundreds of contests for plays and musicals.

Premium Subscribers: get the additional ability to search by keywords. Who’s running contests for ten-minute musicals or one-acts? Who’s looking just for musicals? Dramas? Comedies? Or search by special interest, or geography.

Here are some random samples from some upcoming contests/submissions listings:

      • Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Development (April 1)
      • Centre Stage New Play Festival (April 1)
      • Page 73 Productions (April 5)
      • Edinburgh Fringe Festival (April 10)
      • North Carolina New Play Project (NCNPP) (April 12)



Here are some samples from our Glossary of definitions of musical theatre terms. We will be adding to this over time - as well as adding actual sample scores and sound recordings. Check back often!

      • Chorus:

        The Chorus is particular type of refrain, usually shorter than the traditional refrain, often bearing repetitive phrases, often designed for chorus (or audience) to sing along. The musical theatre chorus is distinguished from the chorus in pop music. In pop music, the structure is typically verse/chorus, verse/chorus…which is equivalent in musical theatre to verse/refrain, verse/refrain. The chorus in musical theatre is much shorter, and most closely resembles the “na na na na” section of a pop song (like “Hey Jude” or King George’s “ba da da” from “Hamilton”). Musical theatre songs with singalong chorus include: “You’ll Be Back” (Hamilton) and “Schmuel Song” (The Last Five Years).

      • Swing rhythm:

        musical notation in which notes with the same value are performed with unequal durations, usually as alternating long and short. If the word “swing” does not appear, these notes are played with even values.

      • ABAC:

        A refrain structure in which an initial A section is followed by a section of contrasting musical material (“B section”), followed by a repetition of the initial A section, and concluded with new material (“C section”). Lyrics change in each section, but there is usually a repeated lyric in the same location of each A section (e.g., lyric is repeated either the beginning or the end of the A sections). Generally this corresponds to a refrain of typically 8-bar sections. ABAC refers to the structure of the Refrain, not the structure of the song.

      • Assonance:

        The repetition of vowel sounds in a passage.  Hamilton is ripe with assonance.  Assonance in contemporary (hip-hop) music can function similarly to internal rhymes, allowing words to resonate against each other.  See, for instance, for instance at all the ten trisyllable words from “Right Hand Man” (Hamilton) which have vowels similar to “elephant” in the following:

        The venerated Virginian veteran whose men are all
        Lining up, to put me up on a pedestal
        Writin’ letters to relatives
        Embellishin’ my elegance and eloquence
        But the elephant is in the room

      • Score:

        Refers to the piano-vocal version of a musical. In developmental phases, the score contains all the dialogue which happens while music is being played; in publication, dialogue is often truncated and incomplete.

      *** Click to access the full glossary. ***


Watch this FREE video to learn how to implement the FORMAT GUIDELINES specifically designed by New Musicals Inc. Make sure your script and score look professional and are ready to go into development.

Will Rogers, circa 1920’s. From the Musical Theatre History collection of the Library of Congress.


Here are the newest additions to our Writer Bank:

  • Tyler Edward Arle - Lyricist, Composer    SEEKING COLLABORATORS/PROJECTS
  • D. Michael O'Dell - Bookwriter, Lyricist, Composer    SEEKING COLLABORATORS/PROJECTS
  • Dennis Hanrahan - Bookwriter, Lyricist    SEEKING COLLABORATORS/PROJECTS
  • Christopher Moore - Bookwriter, Lyricist, Composer   


You may peruse the Writer Bank for potential collaborators.

If you are a logged-in registered (free) user, you are also welcome to enter your own information into the Writer Bank.

Not yet registered? Just look for the registration form at the bottom of this page.


FREE LISTINGS of nearly 700 producers and theatres for potential submission of your work.

Premium Subscribers: get the additional ability to search by keyword or genre to identify who’s most likely to be interested in YOUR musical. (Large/small; comedy/drama; full-length/one-act; special interest like “women” or “LGBT” or youth theatre, etc.)

Here are some random samples from our listings of theatres and producers:

      • 11th Hour (Accepts Musicals / )
      • Sorg Opera Company (Accepts Musicals / )
      • Arden Theatre Company (Accepts Musicals / Plays / )
      • Triarts Sharon Playhouse (Accepts Musicals / Plays / )
      • Black Spectrum Theatre (Accepts Plays / )



Here is one of our featured new musical theatre videos:


FREE ACCESS to a library of 1000+ downloadable royalty-free stories, plays, plots and other inspiring indeas we’ve found in the public domain for you. There’s a brief excerpt of every item in the library, so you can take a quick glance to see whether or not you want to read the whole text. In addition, the NMI staff has made annotations and recommendations for many of the titles in the library about their potential to become musicals. Save hundreds of hours of research and reading!

Premium Subscribers: get the ability to search the library for genre (Comedy, drama, suspense, ghost story, fairy story, etc.).

Here are some random samples from our listings of story ideas in the public domain:

      • The Daughters Of The Late Colonel. (by Katherine Mansfield)
      • A Forfeited Right (by Ambrose Bierce)
      • Discovery (by Guy de Maupassant)
      • The Gazing Globe (by Eugene Pillot)
      • Ali and Gulhyndi (by Adam Oehlenschlager)



New Musicals Inc. offers a whole series of professional online LABS for bookwriters, lyricists, and composers who are serious about improving their craft. This video is a FREE sample of one of the lecture videos from the all new Lyric Lab 1 - Fundamentals.



Here is some musical theatre trivia about events that happened during THIS month in the past:

March 6, 1948     Stephen Schwartz was born today. He first hit the scene contributing lyrics to Leonard Bernstein’s Mass in 1971. That same year, Godspell opened off-Broadway.

March 3, 1975     Goodtime Charley opened today. Playing opposite Joel Grey was Ann Reinking. The 104-performance flop lost $1.1 million.

March 22, 1930     Stephen (Joshua) Sondheim was born on this day, in New York City, to Etta Janet (nee Fox) and Herbert Sondheim.

March 10, 1954     The Threepenny Opera opened at the Theater de Lys off-Broadway today. It was the first major American production of the jazz and opera-infused musicals by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht.

March 22, 1948     Pop rock musicals would never have been the same or maybe they would never have been at all. Andrew Lloyd Webber was born today.

news feed:

Opera Star David Daniels Fired From University of Michigan Over Sexual Assault Charges

On Thursday, The University of Michigan fired renowned countertenor and vocal professor,David Daniels, following 2019sexual assault charges brought againstthe singerand his husband, Scott Walters.

Recapping Smash 2.03: Steam Heat

With Bombshell still in limbo, Eileen wants Tom and Julia to consider bringing on a dramaturg, which is the most horrifying thing either of them has ever heard. (Note: Dramaturgs working on a show are a pretty common occurrence.) Julia’s concern is that people hear about it and start gossiping about the show being in trouble. Or worse, the dramaturg sues for credit! (isn’t that what contracts are for?) Luckily, the dramaturg is played by Daniel Sunjata, so that should calm Julia down. As Julia sRead more

The College Showcase Must Go On (Virtually!) – Part 7

We’ve been compiling videos from college seniors all around the country for our new daily showcase series. Although their performances were cancelled, the show must go on– virtually

The Daily Distraction: Pearl Bailey Goes Medieval on the Muppets

These are frightening times, and we all must take necessary precautions as we social distance and self-isolate. That being said, you deserve a break every now and then. Welcome to Playbill’s Daily Distraction. Day 13: Pearl Bailey Is Madame Rose But Also a Renaissance Queen and the Muppets Are There?? The Daily Distraction is the Bailey Distraction for today, as Pearl Bailey was born March 29, 1918. Though the entertainer is known for musical performances like Hello, Dolly! and on screen in CarmRead more

VIDEO: See Cynthia Erivo Sing ‘He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands’

Cynthia Erivo took to Instagram today to post a video of herself singing ‘Somewhere’ From West Side Story.

Alvin Ailey Launches Online Streaming Series With Screening of Revelations

The Ailey organization will launch a new online streaming series, Ailey All Access, March 30 with a screening of the acclaimed dance piece, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. The move to online programming is one of many in the industry as theatres, concert venues, and other cultural hubs temporarily close their doors in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. In addition to screenings of full-length works, Ailey All Access will feature virtual dance classes, original short films from the dance comRead more

Lincoln Center Theater Postpones Summer Plays From Sarah Ruhl and Bryna Turner

Lincoln Center Theater has announced the postponement of its summer season.

New York City Ballet Cancels Entire Spring 2020 Season

The New York City Ballet has scrapped its entire Spring 2020 season, which was due to kick off April 21 and run through May 31. The cancellation affects all performance and events, including workshops and the May 7 gala “In Pursuit of Beauty.” All performers and additional staff will receive pay and benefits through the spring performance schedule; dancers and musicians are still expected to resume rehearsals in the coming months for summer engagements. In response to the financial blow (a projeRead more

Raul Esparza Talks Learning to Play the Piano For COMPANY, Chats With Annette Bening & More on STARS IN THE HOUSE

The Actors Fund has teamed with SiriusXM Broadway hostSeth Rudetskyand his husband, producerJames Wesley, to produce a daily mini-online show, entitled Stars in The House, featuring stars of stage and screen singing and performing live from home on social media to promote support for The Fund’s services for those most vulnerable to the effects of Coronavirus COVID-19.

Look Back at the Shows Terrence McNally Brought to Broadway

Terrence McNally, a five-time Tony Award recipient whose plays often featured explorations of contemporary gay life and a reverence for classical music, died March 24 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida. He was 81. McNally, who was the recipient of the 2019 Tony Awards’ Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre Honor, frequently explored history and the queer experience in his work. “I love it when I remember the artists who try to help us understand the devastation of AIDS even when they were stRead more

new musicals ... imaginative


Premium Subscribers receive a monthly email that lists upcoming contest deadlines; the newest members of the Writer Bank, some sample public domain ideas; as well as some fun musical theatre trivia like random lyric quotes, pictures from the archives, and listings of things that happened in the musical theatre world during this same month in the past. We know that it's not always easy to remember to come back to the Resource Center to remind yourself of what contest deadlines are coming up soon - so this newsletter will come to YOU.

FREE ACCESS right now; just register with us and pay no fees. But for $50 a year, Premium Subscribers get all the extra stuff listed on this page.  Here’s a summary of the additional perks for Premium Subscribers:

 Free v. Subscription?


Free Subscribers
Insider Tips
Contests Custom search
Producers/Theatres Custom search
Idea Library Custom search; recommended titles
Writer Bank
Glossary of Terms
Monthly Newsletter
Format Guidelines $15 FREE
Creative Services $50-$400 off
Advice $50 off

advice, and online classes

The Resource Center is a very powerful clearinghouse of information and source material. But what it does NOT include are workshops, feedback, or advice on how to get produced, all of which have some fees involved.

However, premium subscribers to the Resource Center get discounts on our services, ranging from $50-$400.  Here are some links to pages describing how New Musicals Inc. supports writers and composers of new musical theatre:

New Musicals Inc. Creative Services — Script Analysis, workshops, table readings, concerts.  You’ll also find here some options about developing your musical.  (Hint:  look at “The Sandbox” — and create your own pathway according to your budget and timetable.)

PREMIUM Subscribers get up to $400 off.

Consulting/Advice — We’re known for our supportive, practical consultations on producing, raising money, putting together budgets, as well as artistic issues like music notation, script doctoring, etc.

PREMIUM Subscribers get $50 off.

Format Guidelines — Want your script and score to look as professional as possible when making submissions?




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Write more, work hard.

--Stephen Sondheim

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FREE to Registered Users

Insider Tips
(Subscribers get access to custom SEARCH options)
(Subscribers get access to custom SEARCH option)
Idea Library
(Subscribers get access to custom SEARCH and recommended titles options)
Writer Bank
Glossary of Terms

PERKS for PREMIUM Subscribers

Custom search/filtering options
Monthly Newsletter
Format Guidelines for FREE
DISCOUNTS on Creative Services
(from $50 to $400)