summer boot camp | NewMusicalsInc

summer boot camp

The Musical Theatre Boot Camp is a summer series of workshops, lectures, and practicums designed to give participants a chance to work quickly over a concentrated six week period.  It’s also a great place to check us out before committing to our full curriculum in the fall.

The courses listed below are from the summer of 2019. Please check back in the spring of 2020 for a listing of courses that will be offered in next summer.

Courses for Musical Theatre Bookwriters, Lyricists, and Composers

Music Theory for Lyricists

MUSIC THEORY FOR LYRICISTS with John Sparks and Wayne Self

TWO four-hour sessions.

Sunday, August 11 from 2pm to 6pm
Sunday, August 18 from 2pm to 6pm

Course Fee: $50.00 (cheap at the price!)

Learn just enough to do it right!

This class will teach you how look at a piece of music and tap out the melodic rhythm, counting each beat and fraction of a beat, and giving the proper musical rhythmic accents. You’ll learn how downbeats, melodic shape, and note length help to form musical prosody. 

When the words come first, you will learn to analyze your lyrics rhythmically so you can talk to your composer about prosody, tempo, time signatures and the “feel” of a planned theatre song. When the music comes first, you will learn to analyze the music to understand where and how the words should “fit” the rhythmic patterns the composer has established.

Whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes – it’s merely 4th grade arithmetic!  Waltz, March, Swing, Beguine, Samba, Rock, Punk, HipHop – they are merely different “feels” and make use of different time signatures and rhythmic structures.  And you can know it all!

PITCH Boot Camp


Instructor: Scott Guy

SIX 30 to 60 minute online sessions - scheduled around YOUR schedule

Course Fee: $595

You’ve written a great musical….now what?  How do you get producers to give your musical a look?  What do you need before you’re ready to approach producers and theatres?

This six-session Boot Camp is designed to get you up and running in about a month and a half.  (One session a week.)  You can complete the Boot Camp faster if you like…but not slower.  You can start any time you like, but once you do start, there’s no procrastinating.  New Musicals Inc.’s Executive Director Scott Guy will put your feet to the fire as you complete and polish the following, all of which you’ll want:

One-sentence elevator pitch
One-minute pique pitch
Five-minute hook pitch
100 word synopsis
half-page synopsis
Wall-street paragraph pitch
song-synopsis (“record jacket”)
demographic description
query letter
authors’ bio

You’ll also get all the knowledge and materials you need to prepare:

a successful demo (how many songs? how well produced?)
website to present your musical
legal protection/copyright
a targeted list of producers and theatres to approach
secondary targets:  festivals, workshops, contests
a timetable of your next steps

Here’s how it will work:

Session One:  Planning Ahead
This session is all online.  A pre-taped lecture, introducing you to the syllabus, the worksheets, and a list of things to do/write before your next session.

Session Two:  Taking Stock
A one-on-one session with Scott (one hour via teleconference), going over your preliminary pitches and half-page synopsis.  Discussion about demographic and spin.  Goals and timetable for demo, website, launch of pitch campaign.

Session Three:  Polishing Materials
Teleconference (half hour) with Scott, discussing your 100-word synopsis, Wall Street synopsis, elevator pitch.  Review/reiterate your theme and demographic.

Session Four:  Practice Pitch
Pitch to Scott.  Tips, tricks, feedback.  The query letter.  Half-hour teleconference.

Session Five:  Marketing Campaign
One hour teleconference with Scott, reviewing timetable and targeted producers/theatres.  Realistic goals and next steps.  Final practice pitch.

Session Six:  Follow-Up
2-3 months after you’ve launched your campaign, you’ll have a follow-up half-hour teleconference with Scott to determine what’s working and what’s not; how are producers responding to you and your musical…what steps of your campaign warrant revising?

$595; includes all six sessions, five teleconferences, handouts, worksheets and pre-taped lectures.



Instructor: John Sparks

Six Tuesday evenings from 7pm to 10pm

July 23, 30 and August 6, 13, 20, and 27

Course Fee: $395 (per team)  Only five teams can be accommodated

Writing teams of two or more will be involved in this 6 week immersive experience designed to give each team a rough draft of a new musical.  The first two weeks consist of detailed analyses of the characters, the plots and themes of the proposed shows.  Each subsequent week requires the submission of 10 to 25 pages of dialogue, culminating in the rough draft (usually 60 – 90 pages), ready for song-spotting and the subsequent revisions that will occur as the scores develop after the workshop ends.

Each team should submit at least a sketchy outline of the proposed work prior to the first session.  At a minimum the outline must clearly state the beginning, middle and end of the story, identify the central character and important supporting characters, and have the general agreement of the writing team which must consist of two or more people.  There should be a brief discussion of the planned style of the show (rock opera, contemporary musical with notes on the musical genre(s) in mind – but the outline SHOULD NOT attempt to title or otherwise identify any songs the team plans prior to the workshop.

All team members must attend every session.  The enrollment fee covers the whole team regardless of how many writers are involved.



Instructor: John Sparks

Four sessions from 7pm to 10pm

Monday, August 12
Thursday, August 15
Monday, August 19
Thursday, August 22

Course Fee: $50 (maximum enrollment 10 persons) 

100 years of Musical Theatre from Showboat to Hadestown, one show from each quarter century beginning with Showboat.  We will analyze them for their use of the crafts of bookwriting, composition and lyric writing using our standard measuring sticks from the core curriculum to see how the craft is weathering the test of time - what has changed, what has survived and where it might all be going.  We will read the librettos and listen to the scores as we examine the shows in detail.



Instructor: Rachel Bailit

One four-hour session from 10am to 2pm
Saturday, August 24

Course Fee: $80

This four-hour class will engage writers in the acting process to help the create and further develop their characters in scripts, plays and books.
Writers will participate in indepth character work, training, and improvisational acting and writing. In this small and supportive environment, students will have the opportunity to explore and embody subtext and character in their writing.

Rachel Bailit is Faculty member at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and teaches in LA and Boston. She also created Acting for Animators which she teaches at Warner Animation Group, Dreamworks, The Animation Guild and in private classes. She is an Educator at The Getty Museum and volunteers teaching Acting for Military at SAG-AFTRA.


Instructor: Angela Parrish

Four Monday evenings from 7pm to 10pm

August 5, 12, 19, 26

Course Fee: $300 

Are you a songwriter interested in composing for musical theatre, but the notation and chart-making process is holding you back? Do you play and write by ear, but have no idea how to translate the music in your mind to the page? Are you a musical theatre composer who wants to take your notation skills to the next level? “Core Composer Warm-Up” will prepare you to enter NMI’s Core programs with notation confidence. You’ll learn how to use GarageBand and Logic in conjunction with Finale or Sibelius to up your composer game and prepare written charts for musical theatre and beyond!

Angela Parrish is an LA-based singer-songwriter, session vocalist, and pianist. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in Jazz Piano and Music Education from Wichita State University (KS) and her master’s in Jazz Piano from the University of Northern Colorado. Her voice can be heard opening the 2016 film ‘La La Land,” singing “Another Day of Sun.” She has also recorded with Florence +The Machine and performed live with Paul Williams and Ben Folds. Angela writes music in a range of genres from Americana to musical theatre. She is a 2016 John Lennon Songwriting Award winner and currently developing projects under the guidance of Elise and Scott at NMI.


with Noel Katz
A lecture in two parts.

In a brisk, emotional and entertaining talk punctuated with vocal and piano performances, theatre historian Noel Katz tells the story of how musical theatre came to be, how it evolved, and what it’s become. Learn how a composer’s gambling addiction led to a whole new genre. Laugh at what Hammerstein was wearing when he first met Rodgers. Cry at how the most talented lyricist of all thought himself too unattractive to be loved and turned to the bottle. Discover how musicals now running on Broadway comment upon or subvert classic shows. Legends, fables, opinions and jokes make this two-part history far more fun than any educational experience anywhere.

The author of more than a dozen musicals produced in New York, Noel Katz taught for more than twenty years at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre School, thirteen years at Fairleigh-Dickinson University and taught a generation to improvise songs at Second City, Artistic New Directions and the People’s Improv Theatre. Awards include the Talkin’ Broadway Citation, the NYMF award, the Brick Prize for Playwriting and, for an industrial musical comedy video, the Telly. He was the youngest member of both the BMI and ASCAP writing workshops. His Murder at the Savoy (or, Pulley of the Yard) sold out at the 50th Edinburgh Festival, got five stars from The Scotsman, and has been produced five times in Great Britain. His other shows include Such Good Friends, Area 51, The Christmas Bride, On the Brink, The Pirate Captains, and The Heavenly Theatre but, most famously, his 2003 wedding to casting director Joy Dewing was a musical in which everyone from parents of the bride to preacher to 4-year-old flower girl sang an original song.


Wednesday, August 7 (7:30pm to 9:30pm)


Saturday, August 10 (10:00am to 12:00pm)


Thursday, August 8 (7:30pm to 9:30pm)


Saturday, August 10 (1:00pm to 3:00pm)

Course Fee: $25 per part (OR purchase Part One AND Part Two for $40)




Instructor: Elise Dewsberry

Course Fee: $395 (discounted from the regular fee of $595)


The Book Lab is designed as an introduction to writing the book of a musical while also outlining the collaborative steps involved in creating a new musical with the whole team. The book of a musical is not just the spoken words, but encompasses the entire story of the musical. The Bookwriter is officially responsible for the writing of the book, but the entire writing team needs to collaborate on the story.  The collaborative process is explored through six units including:


Along the way, other topics are incorporated including:

Unwavering want
Character Diction
Action Loops
Incorporating Songs
Song Spotting
Dealing with Feedback
Story Structure
Language of an Outline
Collaboration Agreements
Character Worksheets
Project Pitches
Public Domain Ideas
and much more.

This course qualifies as the Book Lab element of the Academy for New Musical Theatre’s Core Curriculum.



Instructor: Elise Dewsberry


Course Fee: $395 (discounted from the regular fee of $595)

Video lectures, exercises, handouts, and tests are all available online. Submit your assignments for personalized feedback delivered by audio recording.

An outline can be an invaluable writer’s tool for clarifying the structure and story arc of a musical idea. It can then serve as a blueprint for the rough draft that the collaborators will use to develop the new musical. Writers who skip this important step in the development process are likely to find themselves bogged down with a partially written new show that is riddled with logical inconsistencies, and does not compellingly deliver the intentions of the creative team.

In the Outlining Lab, you will be lead step-by-step through the process of developing a musical idea from concept through to a working outline, with detailed constructive feedback along the way. By the end of this ten-unit course, you should have a well-developed and detailed outline that will solidly prepare you for the collaborative task of writing your new musical.

Along with the basic six steps to an outline, other topics dealt with will include:
Types of Conflict
20 Questions for your Outline
Language of an Outline
Dealing with Feedback
Pitch and Synopsis
One-Liner and Logline

Don’t start writing until your outline is rock solid!