Musical Theatre Writers’ Resource Center | NewMusicalsInc

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.   


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How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 28 – CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT – FIFTH BUSINESS

The 28th post in the video blog from NMI Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry - How to Get NO Feedback from Elise. Part 3 in a short series on CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT - this one cautioning against creating a character who is only there to serve a plot purpose - also known as “FIFTH BUSINESS”.

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

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

September 2, 2019     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 24 – THREE TYPES OF SONGS ELISE DOESNT MUCH LIKE

August 5, 2019     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 23 – THE POWER OF SONG

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


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

      • VSA Arts Playwright Discovery Program (January 23)
      • Pataphysics (January 27)
      • Meet the Composer Programs (January 31)
      • Ted Arison Family Foundation USA (January 31)
      • Summerfield G. Roberts Award (January 31)



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!

      • The Singer’s Musical Theatre Anthology:

        by Richard Walters. MN, Hal Leonard Publishing Corp., 1986.

      • Triple rhyme:

        Perfect rhyme in which the accent involves three syllables; the first syllable is accented, the second and third are unaccented. Examples include: clamoring/hammering; fatefully/gratefully; devious/in a previous

      • Arc:

        A character’s change from beginning to end. Also referred to as “throughline.”

      • Comedy song:

        A comedy song is defined as a song in which the lyrics make us laugh out loud more than once. Comedy songs are generally complaints, and very often indulge in self-pity. Self-pity is only attractive when it makes us laugh.

        Ballads and uptempo songs are characterized by the style of the music, but in comedy songs the words take precedence. Frequently the music to a comedy song is very attractive and charming, but the audience seldom cares as long as it supports the lyrics, which make us laugh out loud.

        Topics for comedy songs are usually in the nature of a complaint of some kind, may be dripping with self-pity and always are rooted in some sort of problem. In “I’m Just A Girl Who Cain’t Say No,” Ado Annie thinks she has a terrible disease. She believes that the other girls don’t have the feelings she experiences when she’s with a “feller.” “Adelaide’s Lament” in Guys And Dolls is that her perpetual cold is probably psychosomatically induced by her unwed status. In Brigadoon, a young girl’s search for “The Love Of My Life” thinly disguises her questionable virtue. Tevye’s “If I Were A Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof is mainly about his misconceptions of wealth. In each case there is an element of complaint – and something real to complain about: poverty, lack of virtue, chronic sniffles or the painful realities of puberty. Normally a complaint is not attractive and writers eschew self-pity like the plague – and they ought to! Except when writing comedy songs.

        Comedy songs are much harder to write than they are to define. However, there’s at least one in every successful score, and two or three are to be hoped for. Audiences love to laugh. When attending a musical, the audience’s expectation is that a fair amount of entertainment will ensue. Originally, remember, the form was called “musical comedy”, and the responsibility to help an audience laugh remains strongly a part of the genre. Below are examples of Comedy Songs from both the Classic and the Contemporary repertoire.

      • Prosody:

        The alignment of stresses in music with stresses in the lyric for the purpose of clarity of meaning.

      *** 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.

“Sheridan & Mack, clog dancers”–Hand-written on verso. Photographer: J. Gurney & Son. Location: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts / Jerome Robbins Dance Division. From the collection Treasures of the American Performing Arts, 1875-1923


Here are the newest additions to our Writer Bank:

  • W.A.W. Parker - Bookwriter, Lyricist    SEEKING COLLABORATORS/PROJECTS
  • Carlos Benson - Composer    SEEKING COLLABORATORS/PROJECTS
  • Stephen Ken Nolly - Bookwriter, Lyricist    SEEKING COLLABORATORS/PROJECTS
  • Jordan Toopes - Lyricist    SEEKING COLLABORATORS/PROJECTS


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:

      • Manhattan Theatre Club (Accepts Musicals / Plays / )
      • Victory Gardens Theater (Accepts Musicals / Plays / )
      • Act II Playhouse (Accepts Musicals / Plays / )
      • Stage One Family Theatre (Accepts Musicals / Plays / Young Audience material / )
      • Triangle Productions (Accepts Musicals / )



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:

      • Lost Hearts (by M.R. James)
      • A Call (by Grace MacGowan Cooke)
      • The Apparition of Mrs. Veal (by Daniel Defoe)
      • The Voyage (by Katherine Mansfield)
      • After Twenty Years (by O. Henry)



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:

January 5, 1975     The Wiz opened on Broadway today, starring Stephanie Mills, Andre de Shields, and Hinton Battle (and, making her Broadway debut as a munchkin, Phylicia Rashad). The show ran for more than four years.

January 16, 1964     Hello, Dolly! opened on Broadway today to become one of the biggest smash hits of all time.

January 23, 1941     Lady in the Dark – with music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and book and direction by Moss Hart – opened on Broadway today with Gertrude Lawrence starring and Danny Kaye nearly upstaging her with the tongue-twisting showstopper “Tchaikowsky”.

January 12, 1946     Perennial song-and-dance man Andre De Shields, who got his first big break with the title role in the original production of The Wiz, was born today. He went on to star in Ain’t Misbehavin’, Stardust, Play On!, The Full Monty, and most recently has regularly appeared in Classical Theatre of Harlem productions in New York City.

January 19, 1917     John Raitt, who made his Broadway debut at age 26 in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel, was born today.

news feed:

Video Roundup: Laura Linney Accepts Golden Globes, Emmys, and More!

Laura Linney is back on Broadway in the new one-woman play, My Name is Lucy Barton Linney has won many awards throughout her successful stage and screen career, including 2 Golden Globes, 3 Primetime Emmys, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Webby Award, and a Muse Award. In addition, she has been nominated for 3 Academy Awards and 4 Tony Awards. Check out a roundup of some of her acceptance speeches

How My Fair Lady’s Shereen Ahmed and Adam Grupper Went From Broadway Understudies to Leading Players

Shereen Ahmed had just finished her gig as the lead singer on a cruise ship when she stepped off the boat in New York harbor to spend two weeks crashing on a friend’s couch and auditioning for everything she possibly could. Running from room to room at Pearl Studios, Ahmed was stopped by her friend. “She said, ‘Hey, no one’s in the room for the My Fair Lady open call’ because they were auditioning for Mrs. Pearce. ‘Why don’t you just go be seen by Telsey?’” Ahmed recalls. “I had no intention ofRead more

Come From Away Scribes David Hein and Irene Sankoff Reveal the Story Behind Their First Collaboration, My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding

David Hein and Irene Sankoff may have risen to fame with their smash Broadway musical Come From Away, but before they embarked on writing the true story of the thousands of passengers diverted to Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, after the 9/11 attacks, and the overwhelming generosity of the locals, they told another true story: My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding. A surprise sold-out hit at the 2009 Toronto Fringe and later the 2013 NYMF Best Musical winner, the musical returns for one nightRead more


Matilda the Musical is headed to the big screen

VIDEO: Renee Zellweger Talks About How She Prepared for the Role of Judy Garland on LIVE WITH KELLY AND RYAN!

Renne Zellweger talks about playing Judy Garland in ‘Judy’ and singing in the movie.

Read Reviews for My Name Is Lucy Barton on Broadway, Starring Laura Linney

My Name is Lucy Barton, starring Tony and Oscar nominee Laura Linney, opens on Broadway January 15. The Rona Munro play, adapted from Elizabeth Strout’s best-selling novel, premieres at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre following an acclaimed London run. The production, directed by five-time Olivier Award winner Richard Eyre, is presented on Broadway by Manhattan Theatre Club and London Theatre Company. In the monologue piece, Linney plays Lucy Barton, a woman who wakes after an operation to find—mRead more

Bat Out of Hell—The Musical Will Play Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood

Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell—The Musical will be the first musical presented at Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood following a new partnership between Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment and the Hard Rock venue. Scheduled to run April 7–19 in Hard Rock Live, the musical, based on the cult 1977 Meat Loaf album of the same name, utilizes Steinman’s music to tell a story of rebellious youth and passion. Songs include “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth,” “Bat Out of HRead more

Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young Will Lead HIT HER WITH THE SKATES at the Royal George Theatre; Full Cast Announced!

HIT HER WITH THE SKATES, a new musical about life, love and the roller rink starring American Idol power couple Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, has announcedfull casting for the world premiere of the Chicago production at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 North Halsted St., Chicago, IL, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Preview performances are slated to begin March 10.

Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: January 13

1925 Birthday of one of Broadway’s all-time greatest leading ladies, Gwen Verdon. She is nominated for the Tony Award as Best Actress or Featured Actress in a Musical six times, and wins four times, for Can-Can, Damn Yankees, New Girl in Town, and Redhead. She rises to stardom in a featured role in Cole Porter’s Can-Can and later creates the title role of Sweet Charity and originates the role of Roxie Hart in Chicago. A dancer all her life, she marries choreographer Bob Fosse in 1960. Her finalRead more

Billy Porter and More Join Season Two of THE TWILIGHT ZONE

CBS All Access has announced casting for season two of The Twilight Zone, according to Variety. Broadway and screen favorite Billy Porter has joined the cast, along with Morena Baccarin, Colman Domingo, Ethan Embry, Jenna Elfman, Tavi Gevinson, Tony Hale, Abbie Hern, Gillian Jacobs, Sophia Macy, Joel McHale, Chris Meloni, Jimmi Simpson and Daniel Sunjata.

new musicals ... illustrative


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:

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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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The same old hard luck stories from the hard luck boys.

--George M. Cohan

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Idea Library
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Writer Bank
Glossary of Terms

PERKS for PREMIUM Subscribers

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