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Direct to you from New Musicals Inc.’s “Lyric Lab,” here are five ways to make sure your song is telling a story in your musical, and progresses the action!

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This video is from Unit 2 of “The Lyric Lab - Fundamentals” — an online course from New Musicals Inc.

Progression: an underlying organization which gives shape or movement to the idea of the lyric.

A lyric with progression will begin the listener at one point and deliver him to a different point at the end.

This video explores five different progressions you might use to make sure your musical theatre song forwards the action of your show.

  • Problem/Solution
    Viewpoint
    Pronoun Progression
    Past/Present/Future
    Calendar or Clock
    Geography

also of interest:

The Lyric Lab

The Lyric Lab is a hands-on class packed with videos, exercises, tests, handouts, and assignments, guiding you through essentials of writing musical theatre lyrics. The course is hosted by Emmy-nominated Scott Guy (Disney, NBC, PBS, Warner Brothers), with feedback from Larry Todd Cousineau (All That He Was, Flies! the Musical, 40 is the New 15).

The Lyric Lab has been helping hundreds of lyricists for a decade. And now it’s been completely updated, drawing from examples from contemporary Broadway musicals like Hamilton, Evan Hansen, Hadestown, as well as classic musicals from Golden Age.

In Lyric Lab I - Fundamentals, you’ll focus on key areas of craft, including musical theatre song structure, telling your story through lyrics, perfect rhyme and near rhyme, matching the accents of lyric to the music, how to decide which songs to write, and how to format your musical to get it ready to submit to theatres and producers.

You can take this course at your own pace. It’s designed for one unit a week, but you can take it faster or slower; from anywhere in the world. It’s all online.

Fill out the info form, and we’ll tell you how to get started on the Lyric Lab today!

The Book Lab

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 writing 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 in six units including: THE IDEA, THE OUTLINE, THE ROUGH DRAFT, ADDING SONGS, REVISIONS, and FINISHING TOUCHES.

Along the way, other topics are incorporated including: Unwavering Want; Character Diction; Adaptation; Action Loops; Dialogue; Incorporating Songs; Conflict; Song Spotting; Dealing with Feedback; Story Structure; Language of an Outline; Collaboration Agreements; Character Worksheets; Project Pitches; Exposition; Public Domain Ideas; and much more.

Now UPDATED with all new videos featuring NMI’s Artistic Director and Resident Dramaturge, Elise Dewsberry (author of the monthly vlog series “How to Get No Feedback from Elise”); and Elise is also the personal evaluator for the Book Lab.

Fill out the info form, and we’ll tell you how to get started on the Book Lab today!

Musical Theatre Writers' Resource Center

You might also be interested in NMI’s 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. Lists of contests, producers, theatres, tips and tricks, musical theatre history, and a fantastic Idea Generator filled with plays, stories, and idea-springboards yours for the taking (no rights restrictions!).

Fill out the info form, and we’ll tell you how to get access to the free Resource Center.


LIBRARY OF IDEAS (Royalty Free)

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.).

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:

      • Lonely Places (by Francis Buzzell)
      • Ching Ching, Chinaman (by Wilbur Steele)
      • Cabbages and Kings (by O. Henry)
      • The Winning of Olwen (by Andrew Lang)
      • Markheim (by Robert Louis Stevenson)