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core curriculum assignment detail

THE CRAFT LABS ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: SEPTEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: SEPTEMBER


In addition to monthly collaborative team assignments, each Core Curriculum participant will be required to complete one Craft Lab – (Book Lab, Music Lab, or Lyric Lab). Any participant can choose to take additional labs (for an additional price of $495 per lab), but we do not recommend that anyone try to take on all three labs in one season.

Completion of a lab is a pre-requisite for participation on a 15 Minute Musical team in that craft. In other words:
     - to participate in a 15 Minute Musical as a bookwriter, you must have completed the Book Lab by March 15
     - to participate in a 15 Minute Musical as a composer, you must have completed the Music Lab by March 15
     - to participate in a 15 Minute Musical as a lyricist, you must have completed the Lyric Lab by March 15

Note that if you complete TWO labs by March 15, there is no guarantee that you will be assigned to a 15 Minute Musical team in both capacities. For example: if you complete the Book Lab and the Lyric Lab, you might be assigned to a 15 Minute Musical team as bookwriter/lyricist – but there is no guarantee (because the assigning of 15 Minute Musical teams depends on how the numbers work out in each category for the whole group).

The Labs are delivered through our sister-site – www.WritingMusicalTheatre.com. Once you have been accepted into the Core Curriculum, you will be given access to begin the labs. If you are curious, you can visit the WMT website to check it out, and even visit the demos to see what the different aspects are like.

The Labs are divided into Units. Each unit includes at least one Video Lecture by the lab creator. You will want to begin each unit by watching the video.

Each Unit also includes Hand-outs that you print out to reinforce the material from the videos; and there are optional Exercises that you can complete. There are also online Tests that are graded immediately online – and you can take them as often as you want (until you pass them!).

Finally, each Unit will have at least one Assignment that you are required to complete and then submit for evaluation by your Lab Evaluator.

An overview of the assignments (and deadlines) for each of the Craft Labs can be found in the HANDOUTS for this assignment (links below). Specific Lab assignments will begin next month (assignments in October to be completed by the November sessions.)

NOTE: March 15th is the absolute last date you can turn in Lab Assignments; your required Craft Lab must be completed no later than March 15th in order for you to be considered for the 15 Minute Musicals.



ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



RHYTHM/UPTEMPO ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: SEPTEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: OCTOBER

Stay with The Big Sick. Use the PLAN you devised for a Rhythm/Uptempo Song in the previous exercise to actually write the Rhythm/Uptempo Song.

Composer and Lyricist:

Remember that a Rhythm/Uptempo song is characterized by the rhythmic nature of the melodic line. Rhythm/Uptempo songs are generally optimistic in content.

Write a Rhythm/Uptempo song for the moment the collaborators chose with these parameters:

1) The basic shape of the song will be A-A-B-A. However, there may be contrasting sections, melodic and harmonic development along the way. It’s best if the audience is treated to once through the “tune” of a song before including variations, but this is not a hard and fast rule (listen to I Remember from Sondheim’s TV musical, Evening Primrose for example).

2) Characterize the song. Who is singing? One or more people? What is on their mind at the moment? How does this affect the music? The composer must decide how to characterize the character(s) and the moment musically, just as the lyricist must decide how to explore the characters and the moment with words. All, however, must explore the moment in the context of the book itself. Remember – this song IS part of the book, an important part.

3) Make sure the song is in the form: A-A-B-A, where the three A sections are virtually identical rhythmically and melodically, with the possible exception of the last line of each A. The end of the first A does a musical “turn-around” to bring us back to the head of the song. The end of the second A prepares us for the B section, which is in a new key. The end of the final A may include a coda or extended note values at the end, to signal the ending is coming.

If you like, write more than one refrain (A-A-B-A); you may include an interlude between refrains; you may include an intro before the refrain the first time.

Composer: Specify the vocal range you have chosen for the character.

PARAMETERS: For this assignment, Lyricists will begin by writing ONE A SECTION ONLY. If the lyricist writes more than one A section, composers will only set THE FIRST A to music. Lyricists will then complete the rest of the A sections to match the first A. Remember the lyrics must match syllable for syllable AND stress for stress. (The B section does not need to be dealt with in this manner assuming there is only one B section being written, since it does not have to ‘match’ anything.)

MORE COMPOSERS AND LYRICISTS MAKE PROSODY ERRORS IN THEIR SONGWRITING THAN ANY OTHER KIND OF ERROR. REMEMBER, MATCH SYLLABLE FOR SYLLABLE AND STRESS FOR STRESS.

You will PRESENT this song in next month’s session. Please bring copies to share; and arrange some way to present the song. Play a recording; play an mp3 of the score file; invite a singer in to sing for you - whatever you like. (Check the NMI Talent Bank for potential singers. Especially check the Academy Repertory Company listings for adept sight-singers who need very little rehearsal.

Additional for Bookwriter:

On page 48, take a look at Beth’s line: “We know who you are Kumail.”

This implies that Emily has told her parents all about her relationship with Kumail and how it ended. Write a scene wherein Emily visits her parents and has this conversation. Keep the scene in character for all three – you will have to read the entire screenplay carefully to do this, since at this point no one knows Beth and her husband well yet. Keep this scene short – not longer than 5 pages, and not shorter than 3 pages.

PLEASE NOTE: Write this as if you are writing a scene for a MUSICAL version of the movie - meaning it should be in SCRIPT format and designed for the stage, not in screenplay format and designed for the screen. Use NMI’s Format Guidelines as outlined in the Handout associated with this assignment. (For more details on NMI’s Format Guidelines, see the entire document in the Core General Documents section.)

We will READ this scene in next month’s session. You do not need to supply actors, it can be read by other members of the group. Bring enough copies to share.

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



PROJECT PITCHES ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: JANUARY
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: FEBRUARY
READING DUE: Bookwriters: begin to research PUBLIC DOMAIN titles for possible adaptation

BOOKWRITERS:

Write a SHORT one page “pitch” for a show you might want to work on next season at NMI. The pitch should include the basic story line, including the ending, and reveal something about the way you want to treat the material. This idea MUST come from the public domain. You may submit more than one pitch if you like.

Take this seriously - you are actually PITCHING this project to your fellow Core members. We are hoping that you will be able to form teams around these pitches and actually write these shows next season. So - if you are PITCHING - you are trying to interest collaborators. If you are LISTENING - you are listening for a show for which you want to be part of the team.

You may use the SAME pitch for this assignment, and for the Book Lab Pitch Assignment.

NOTE: NMI has a library of some potential Public Domain stories. You can review the library at: http://nmi.org/the-front-row/resource-center/public-domain-ideas-listing/

An Example of a short pitch:
The Cotton Club. Set in Harlem’s most famous night spot, this is a musical story of those whose lives revolved around this fabled speakeasy and black performers’ zenith. Our story revolves around three different characters whose lives were entangled with this magical time and place: Lucille Wilson, a talented singer and dancer trying to break the “dark-skinned” taboo; Johnny Burke, an up-and-coming young mobster who gets in way over his head working for Owney Madden, the gangster and owner of The Cotton Club, and the chorus girl Sally Rivers, who can pass for white, pursued by wealthy Nelson Forrest who wants her as his mistress. Our lovers, Johnny and Sally, sadly are destined never to be together. A whirlwind of colorful characters and hot big band music.

IF YOU SUBMIT A DRAFT OF YOUR PITCH TO ADMIN@NMI.ORG NO LATER THAN THE LAST DAY OF THIS MONTH, YOU MAY RECEIVE FEEDBACK ON YOUR PITCH SO YOU CAN REVISE IT BEFORE PRESENTING IT NEXT MONTH.

Composers and lyricists may also submit pitches. However, you must be prepared to have a bookwriter on your team. This means you have to be willing to give the idea away to another writer, and we mean GIVE. Don’t add a bookwriter to your team and then try to control how the book develops.

FOR PRESENTATION: You will be reading your Pitch to the room. Please UPLOAD and bring copies to share.

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



PREPARATION FOR 15 MINUTE MUSICAL LAUNCH ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: MARCH
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: APRIL
READING DUE: 15 MINUTE MUSICAL BIBLE


Sunday, April 5 will be the official launch of the 15 Minute Musicals experience. We’ll begin the process at NOON SHARP - DO NOT BE LATE - we WILL start without you - by announcing who is on which collaborative team. You will also be asked to sign a Collaboration Agreement (sample included in this month’s handouts) which will clarify ownership of the work you are about to create.

Next, we will let you know what theme all the 15 Minute Musicals will have in common, and then there will also be some parameters to use as a launching pad that we will share with you.

A couple of hours later (probably no later than 4pm), you’ll have your parameters and you can begin to create your musical! You’ll probably want to meet with your collaborators for dinner/coffee as soon as the session is over, because your first deadline is Tuesday evening - a little more than 48 hours away.

What can you do to prepare for this session? You can:

******* RE-READ THE 15 MINUTE MUSICALS BIBLE *****

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



OVERNIGHT ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: SEPTEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: SEPTEMBER

This is an OVERNIGHT ASSIGNMENT. You are to complete this very SHORT assignment TONIGHT and bring it in to tomorrow’s session to share with the group. (You will NOT be uploading this assignment.)

Please note that there will be FEEDBACK on this Overnight Assignment - this is just an ice-breaker - for us all to start to get to know each other! So just have fun!

ALL PARTICIPANTS
Make sure that your Core Curriculum Application indicates your preferred crafts (Book/Lyrics/Music) in your preferred order (First; and Second if applicable); and that you have indicated YES or NO to being placed on a collaborative team for the September Assignments that will be given out tomorrow (and due in October).

To check/update your Core Curriculum Audition Application, login to your NMI Account Homepage and click VIEW/EDIT SUBMISSION next to your application listing; then click EDIT/UPDATE APPLICATION at the bottom of the next page if you want to make changes.

BOOKWRITERS
Character Diction in Dialogue
Write one line of dialogue that says “I hate you”, without using the verb hate or one of its synonyms. Write one line of dialogue that says “I love you”, without using the verb love or one of its synonyms. Write these pairs of lines to be said by the people in the following occupations (i.e., how would each of these characters say each line):
  • A former marine who is now an airline pilot
  • An executive secretary who is also an Olympic marathon champion
  • A deep sea diver who paints miniature watercolors of trees and flowers
  • An animal psychologist who used to be a high school algebra teacher
Please be prepared to read your sentences to the group.

LYRICISTS
Prosody and Character Diction in Lyrics
Write your own set of lyrics for the intro and opening refrain of the song “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” (LINK BELOW). The singer is either Darth Vader or Kamala Harris.
Please be prepared to read or sing your lyrics; or to ask someone to sing them for you.
OverNight_Assignment_Song

COMPOSERS
Melodic Development and Character Diction in Music
Write an 8 to 12 bar phrase based on the motive (SHOWN BELOW) for a minor character who needs to express how difficult it is for him (or her) to make choices when there is more than one option. This character is intelligent, but not highly educated, and is prone to procrastination.
Please be prepared to play your work on the piano; or to play it from a music file on your phone or on a thumbdrive.

Overnight_Assignment_Motive

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



MUSICAL SCENE ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: FEBRUARY
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: MARCH
READING DUE: THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED by Douglas Carter Beane

Step #1: All collaborators working together:

Read the play The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane. Focus on the final scene, beginning on page 48 (in the Dramatists Play Service, Inc. acting version), in the middle of the page where Diane says: “Mitch, you want to be a movie star.”

Have a careful discussion about what is happening in the scene. It is complex in the way it plays with space and time - not at all linear in the conventional sense.

Make some decisions about how to musicalize this scene: What will be the central musical idea? The central lyric idea? How can you take an AABA tune and manipulate it for these 4 characters to differentiate both their speech patterns and their attitudes in the moment of the play? Who is feeling what? How can the music and lyrics help communicate those feelings and, more importantly, transfer those feelings to the audience.

Who is feeling the most? What is that character feeling? How can you make the audience experience that feeling? Also: what can or should be spoken rather than sung - why? How can this be integrated into the musical scene? What, if anything, can be omitted?

Outline the musical scene. Do this as a group.

This musical scene will end the play. Make sure the audience feels something at the end: Happy, sad, hopeful, hopeless, etc. The writers ought to be able to answer the following questions;

• Which character has the most to gain?
• Which character has the most to lose?
• Which character has the most promising future?
• Which character is least likely to be happy next year?


Don’t tell anyone outside of your team your answers. Keep them to yourselves.

THEN:

Bookwriter:

Realize the outline in dialogue only. The scene as published is about 4 pages long. Reduce it by half while:
• Preserving the essence of the scene as originally written
• Emphasizing the points made in the group discussion above and de-emphasizing other elements of the scene (those deemed less important or omittable [new word!]).

Composer and Lyricist:
Create an AABA tune with a recurring lyrical and musical “anchor” that can be used by all four characters. This can be a phrase that means different things to different people, or a phrase that means the same thing to all four of them. Develop the musical scene around this anchor (musically and lyrically) so that it follows the outline, using the dialogue version created by the bookwriter as a guideline (not necessary to be slavishly tied to the dialogue version - feel free to take the sort of liberties required by the need to shape the lyric rhythmically, to rhyme, etc.) (Note that you are also free to add musically contrasting additional C or even D sections.)

Use underscored dialogue where and if necessary, based on your group discussion. MAKE SURE THERE IS ADEQUATE space in the music for any underscored dialogue. If possible, truly underscore the dialogue - that is, punctuate the dialogue with musical riffs and decorations at the appropriate points rather than just keep playing the tune while people are talking. This means there may be measures of little musical activity, perhaps only a sustained note in the strings, for instance, punctuated by an orchestral sting or clarinet riff to emphasize a word or phrase with particular import. (NOTE: Also make sure that pertinent stage directions are clearly indicated in the score.)

Deliver this completed song back to the bookwriter no later than ONE FULL WEEK PRIOR TO THE NEXT CORE SESSION.

THEN

Bookwriter:

Revise the scene and/or internal dialogue to accommodate the song.

AND

Entire Team:

Prepare a properly formatted, fully integrated script/score (ONE COMBINED DOCUMENT) per the ANMT Format Guidelines. Make sure this document is 3-hole punched - NOT stapled. We don’t want you to turn in separate book, lyric, and music pages - your team must completely collate and integrate the elements into one document before turning them in. And don’t forget running page numbers for the completed document. THE PREPARATION OF THIS DOCUMENT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ENTIRE TEAM.

1. We will be providing four sight-singers for your presentations. This means that ALL writing teams need to be prepared to present their Musical Scene piece on SATURDAY. Note that ELLEN will be a soprano; DIANE will be an alto; ALEX will be a tenor; and MITCH will be a lyric baritone.

2. At least ONE person on your writing team must arrive promptly at 2:30pm with enough copies of their song for all the singers, plus copies for John and Elise. Also UPLOAD your document to the website. NOTE: Bring double-sided copies, 3-hole punched (no staples). WE will provide binders. Please make sure you follow ALL FORMATTING GUIDELINES to make sure your rehearsal goes smoothly.
If no one on your team is able to be at NMI in person - with copies - you must contact Elise at least two days prior to presentation to figure out how to get physical copies into the room.

3. Then, the singers will rehearse and present all the songs from 2:30pm to 6:30pm (writers – you need to be PRESENT when your team is rehearsing.)

NOTE: WRITING TEAMS: we will NOT be providing a pianist. You need to bring a CD with tracks – or provide your own pianist – or ask a favor of someone else in Core. If you are going to provide a track – we recommend you make TWO tracks – one in which the vocal lines are played, and one with accompaniment only. Please use a clarinet or oboe to double the vocal lines - NOT a voice sample, organ, or guitar.) PLEASE NOTE that you will get a much better performance if you provide a track with vocal guides (because of the limited rehearsal time.)

4. We will all take notes rather than provide immediate feedback. The presentations will be recorded, and we will be able to watch them on Sunday before giving feedback.

5. ALL FEEDBACK will happen on SUNDAY.

6. If you are NOT prepared to present on Saturday, you will need to provide your own singers on Sunday.


A REMINDER OF OUR DEFINITION OF A MUSICAL SCENE:

A musical scene is defined as a moment in a musical when an entire scene is musicalized. This may mean that the sequence contains one or more songs and/or reprises, including underscored dialogue (if necessary, but not required). The section being musicalized must be a complete scene, with a beginning, middle, and end, and including a dramatic action.

Definitions of dramatic action will keep you awake nights, but the one we use is: The exercise of a character’s will in the face of an opposing force.

Musical scenes are useful when there are multiple conflicting forces on stage at the same time (Think “Tonight” from West Side Story), but they’re not merely crowd scenes. The focus of a musical scene is generally on one character who is working through a problem or confronting a conflict, though there could be multiple characters in action.

Ballads, rhythm/uptempo songs and comedy songs can all serve as the basis for musical scenes. “Tonight” from West Side Story is an example of a musical scene arising from a ballad.

Another example of a musical scene (even though it only involves one character) is “Soliloquy” from Carousel. It begins as a reflective moment and contains elements of charm in the songs “My Boy Bill” and “My Little Girl”. But at the end of the song, the young father-to-be realizes what his responsibilities will be. Consider the final lyrics: “I never knew how to make money/But I’ll try, by God, I’ll try/I’ll go out and make it or steal it or take it/Or die!” The reflection has caused him to make a decision, and we know he will act on it. Definitely a musical scene.

Not all musical scenes need to have such dire consequences as “Soliloquy” does to qualify. “You Must Meet My Wife” from A Little Night Music is a comedic musical scene. During the song, Frederick gives Desiree permission to hate his wife, Anne, by revealing her to be a perfectly horrible little simp, which she is, and Desiree announces her decision, albeit cleverly and comedically, to do the little witch in.

A caution: don’t create a musical scene simply by adding underscoring or vamps to a scene in a book. You want your music to have a dramatic function, and not simply mark time in order to make a scene feel as though it’s a whole musical sequence.

Examples of Musical Scenes

Classic:
“Tonight” (West Side Story)
“Tevye’s Dream” (Fiddler on the Roof)
“You Must Meet My Wife” (A Little Night Music)
“I’m Going Back” (Bells Are Ringing)
“A Weekend in the Country” (A Little Night Music)

Contemporary:
“The Money Song” (Avenue Q)
“That Horrible Woman” (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder)
“Gay or European” (Legally Blonde)
“Schuler Defeated” (Hamilton)

NOTE that you can LISTEN to these examples of musical scenes by visiting NMI’s online GLOSSARY OF TERMS (which you can link to from the Core home page.



ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



GETTING TO KNOW US ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: PRE-SEPTEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: SEPTEMBER

Welcome!

We’re so glad that you are planning to attend the September and October CORE CURRICULUM sessions to get a chance to see what we’re all about at the Academy for New Musical Theatre (the academic branch of New Musicals Inc.).

In order to prepare yourself for the September sessions, you will want to start by reading the HANDOUTS that go along with this pre-assignment (see the links below). If you wind up with questions after having read those handouts, you can send us an email at admin@nmi.org, or just bring your questions with you to the first session.

The current schedule will be listed under the “CORE SCHEDULE” tab on the Core Curriculum Home Page - so you can check the exact dates and times for the September and October weekend sessions. (All sessions are at our facility at 5628 Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood - just a few doors north of Burbank Blvd.)

Another tab available on the page is the “CORE READING LIST” - and on that you will notice that there is a play you will want to have read PRIOR to the September session so that you will be ready for the first assignment. Check out the reading list for the name of the play, and then you will find a copy of the play available for download under the “CORE GENERAL DOCUMENTS” tab.

If you are not able to join us in person for the sessions, you will be able to join us via live video-conferencing (or watch the recorded video-conference after the sessions). We use the video-conferencing software ZOOM. Check out all the info on the Core Curriculum Home Page for how to download your FREE software and be ready to join us in a Zoom meeting. You will only need a computer with access to the internet, and a webcam - no other equipment is necessary to take part in the video-conference.

Once you get in the room with us (either live or by video-conference) on the first Saturday, you will be treated to opening lectures by our Founding Director, John Sparks, which will give you the ground-work for what we will be doing for the rest of the season.

Please also make sure that you login to your NMI Account Home Page and check out three different important pages there:

1. Under the heading PERSONAL PROFILE, click the button that reads UPDATE YOUR PROFILE INFO. From here you can click UPDATE YOUR LOGIN/CONTACT INFO to update your name, email address and contact info; as well as update a picture and other information about yourself, including your pronouns.

2. Under the heading CORE CURRICULUM AUDITION APPLICATION, you will see a reference to your application, and a link to VIEW/EDIT SUBMISSION. Click that, and when you get to your application page, take a look at the toggles to the right-hand side of the page and open those up and have a look at the info. The toggles will tell you a lot of useful info about the audition process including: what to expect for the September and October sessions; info on the Craft Labs that are part of the program; a schedule of dates for the whole season; a listing of SCRIPTS you will want to read prior to each session (with links to the PDF documents) – including the script that you will want to have read prior to the September sessions so you will be ready for the first assignment; instructions for video conferencing; info and a link to a sample of the type of piano/vocal score we require from composer participants; and info on the fees for the season (which don’t kick in until AFTER the auditions).

2. Under YOUR PROJECT PAGES, click on the link to the Core Curriculum Home Page where you will find lots more info – in particular about the other participants who will be joining you for the audition process (HINT: Check out the “BIOS/INFO” tab to see pictures, bios, and other info about your fellow auditioners). Make sure to check out all the tabs, toggles, and links of this page - as it will be your home base for the rest of the season if you wind up staying with us after October.

NOTE: For some useful video tutorials on how to login, as well as how to update your contact info and input your picture and bio, check out the VIDEO TUTORIALS at http://nmi.org/website-tutorial-videos/

Remember, if you have any questions, go ahead and email us at admin@nmi.org.

Again - welcome! - and we look forward to meeting you all in a couple of weeks!

Elise Dewsberry, Artistic Director
John Sparks, Founding Director



ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



FORMATTING ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: MARCH
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: APRIL

Entire Team:

Revise the formatting of your MUSICAL SCENE assignment and create a properly formatted, fully integrated script/score; fixing any of the formatting issues from last month.

Make sure this document follows the ANMT Format Guidelines, and is 3-hole punched - NOT stapled. REMEMBER: We don’t want you to turn in separate book, lyric, and music pages - your team must completely collate and integrate the elements into one document before turning them in. And don’t forget running page numbers for the completed document. THE PREPARATION OF THIS DOCUMENT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ENTIRE TEAM.

NOTE: This assignment is NOT about content, you do NOT need to revise your Musical Scene – just turn in a properly formatted document in preparation for the requirements of the 15 Minute Musical process. You will not be presenting this song - just turn in ONE COPY for our review.

NOTE: If your team is able to prepare an electronic document with all of the correct formatting (including running page numbers), you may upload that document INSTEAD of turning in a hard copy.

Remember - THE PREPARATION OF THIS DOCUMENT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ENTIRE TEAM.


ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



ENSEMBLE ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: DECEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: JANUARY
READING DUE: GLITTER AND BEA by Ryan J. Haddad

All Collaborators (Bookwriter, Composer and Lyricist)

Read the short play Glitter and Bea by Ryan J. Haddad

This short play is an opportunity for an ensemble number, where the characters are eventually all united in a single activity - the creation of their own work of art. There is also, however, some dissent before they all come together, some potential for contrapuntal activity.

Bookwriter:
Write a short narrative (1 - 4 paragraphs) outlining the “plan” for the song - what will happen during the song, how will the audience know more about the characters, their struggles, aspirations, fears, etc. at the end of the song than they did at the beginning. How will the characters all be convinced to take part in the final art project. This should not be a narrative imposed on the songwriters by the bookwriter. Instead, it should be an agreement between the collaborators.

Composer & Lyricist:
Write the agreed upon song. It does not matter which comes first, the music or the lyrics. In the end, this must be a well-crafted ensemble moment, with dramatic development somehow contained within the song, a movement from condition A to condition B for at least one character (but maybe for several characters). At the center of this ensemble moment there should be a recognizable AABA tune - but once that shape has been identified, you are free to develop and vary it as the drama seems to require.

NOTE that there should be at least one moment when all the characters can come together to sing the same lyric.

Whatever you all do - you will realize that this is not an old-fashioned “merry villagers” moment. Everyone on the stage has something at stake in this scene, and these stakes should be attended to in the song.

NOTE:: We will be providing SIX SIGHT-SINGERS for you for the presentations. Three men and three women. You can decide which characters are which vocal types, but these are the general ranges you should write in:

Soprano
Second Soprano/First Alto
Alto
Tenor
Lyric Baritone
Baritone


Please make sure your CAST OF CHARACTERS page and/or your VOCAL RANGES page specifies which character is which vocal type - so your singers know which role they should be reading/singing.

ANOTHER NOTE FOR ALL COLLABORATORS: We will be expecting your script and score to follow ANMT’s Format Guidelines for an INTEGRATED SCRIPT AND SCORE. You will find a copy of the Guidelines in the GENERAL DOCUMENTS tab at the top of the Core Curriculum homepage. NOTE: Remember that even if your presentation begins with music and has no official “book” prior to the beginning of the song, you will STILL need at least ONE “book” page in your integrated script and score that will have the set up and the notation about the song cue (check the format guidelines for what this means).

As part of this assignment, you must PRINT OUT THE FORMAT GUIDELINES DOCUMENT and BRING A COPY TO ANMT on presentation day.

1. All writing teams need to be prepared to present their Ensemble piece on SATURDAY.

2. Writing teams should make sure at least ONE person on your team arrives promptly at 2:30pm with enough copies of their song for all the singers, plus copies for John and Elise, and copies to share with the room. (That means at least 7 copies – preferably 10-12 copies.). NOTE: Bring double-sided copies, 3-hole punched (no staples). WE will provide binders. Please make sure you follow ALL FORMATTING GUIDELINES to make sure your rehearsal goes smoothly.
If no one on your team is able to be at NMI in person - with copies - you must contact Elise at least two days prior to presentation to figure out how to get physical copies into the room.

3. Then, the singers will rehearse and present all the songs from 2:30pm to 6:30pm (writers – you need to be PRESENT when your team is rehearsing – YOU will be running their rehearsal.)

NOTE: WRITING TEAMS: we will NOT be providing a pianist. You need to upload tracks to the Core page; or bring a thumb-drive with tracks – or provide your own pianist – or ask a favor of someone else in Core. If you are going to provide a track – we recommend you make MULTIPLE VERSIONS of your tracks – one in which the vocal lines are played, one with accompaniment only; and one with vocal lines that is also at a much SLOWER SPEED than you intend for performance. This helps a lot with our short rehearsal time! Please also use a clarinet or oboe to double the vocal lines - NOT a voice sample, organ, or guitar, and make sure the vocal line is at a high enough VOLUME for us to hear.)

4. We will all take notes rather than provide immediate feedback. The presentations will be taped, and we will be able to watch them on Sunday before giving feedback.

5. ALL FEEDBACK will happen on SUNDAY. Please make sure that your script and score are also UPLOADED for Sunday’s feedback session.

6. If you are NOT prepared to present on Saturday, you will need to provide your own singers on Sunday.

NOTE: You will have SIX singers provided for you - three men and three women - so write your ensemble piece for no more than that!

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



DISAPPOINTMENT SONG ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: MARCH
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: APRIL
READING DUE: IN THE NEXT ROOM (or the vibrator play) by Sarah Ruhl

ABOUT THE “DISAPPOINTMENT SONG”

Think of it as “I didn’t get what I wanted.” And, if possible, avoid any hint of “poor me.” Many contemporary musicals present the poor me type of disappointment song, which I think is not engaging. In this play, Mrs. Givings is certainly disappointed when she takes the walk in the rain with Mr Daldry, a walk that somehow energizes her, and perhaps toys with a kind of intellectual infidelity.

Mrs. Givings is not getting what she wants, and she can’t describe it because she has never experienced it.

Think: I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face - in which Higgins is disappointed to find he misses Eliza. This feeling is 180 degrees away from his solid philosophy of male independence and dominance. The song seems to be about missing Eliza, but it is really about his self-discovery, not a happy thing, as evidenced by the “Damn! Damn! Damn!” that begins the song.

Think: Simple Little Things from 110 in the Shade - Lizzie sings about the very simplest things - all things she doesn’t have - and as she lists these things we feel her disappointment without her talking about it.

All Collaborators (Bookwriter, Composer and Lyricist)

Read In The Other Room (The Vibrator Play), by Sarah Ruhl.  Note the scene where Mrs. Giving and Mr. Daldry take a walk in the rain, leaving the stage on page 18 (in the TCG Edition).  Discuss what you think happened on that walk.  What did they talk about?  Do NOT think about songs or song placements during this discussion.  Think about the action(s) of the scene and the characters.

Bookwriter

After the discussion, write the scene between Mrs. Givings and Mr. Daldry.  Be sure to write the scene so that it quite naturally leads to Mrs. Givings entrance line on page 25:  “I must be a very inconsistent person!  I like to be wet and then I like to be dry and then I like to be wet again!”  Write the scene quickly, and give the first draft to the composer and lyricist.  After they have created a song for the scene, revise the scene to lead to the song so that it grows naturally out of the dialogue.  If the song does not end the scene, be sure to pay attention to how the dialogue continues after the song.  Leading TO the song and leading AWAY from the song are two of the most important moments.  Hint:  Generally after the song is over, something changes on the stage – a gun goes off, a character enters, etc.  Something happens to “get the engine” started again after the applause.  This is why so many songs include a few lines of underscored dialogue just before the song ends.  There is business to do before the scene ends, but it will feel unsatisfying after the song ends – so it’s done during the song as underscored dialogue, and the final bars of the song, usually a coda of some sort, create a little ending for the scene.

Composer & Lyricist:

Read the first draft of the scene.  Plan and create a song in the A-A-B-A format that the scene suggests to you.  You can employ variations once the form of the song is clear.  Variations within the A sections are permissible by design, but not by sloppiness.  An introductory section may be created to bridge the gap between dialogue and song, or you may choose to underscore some of the dialogue that precedes the song (but you won’t know exactly what this is until after you have a draft of the song and the scene is revised to accommodate it).  The song may be a solo for one of the characters, a duet or a badinage between them.  Be sure to let the music reflect the character singing in the moment of the scene.  Give the song back to the bookwriter in time for the book scene to be adjusted to lead to and away from the song if necessary.  After the book is adjusted, check the music and lyrics for any further adjustment you feel will clarify the musical moment.

PLEASE NOTE: THESE ARE NOT SEPARATE ASSIGNMENTS OF A SCENE AND A SONG. THIS IS A SCENE THAT HAS A SONG IN IT. YOU MUST WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

Make sure your team plans enough time to allow for the whole process: first draft of scene; draft of song; revised draft of scene that includes the song.

THE WHOLE TEAM - FOR PRESENTATON: Prepare the entire scene, lyric, and score into an Integrated Script and Score, following ANMT’s Format Guidelines for an Integrated Script and Score. For the purposes of this assignment, pretend this scene is Act 1, Scene 1 of a musical (for formatting practice).

NOTE: This integrated document is the responsibility of the ENTIRE TEAM and your formatting will be ASSESSED at the next session.

The team should also be prepared to discuss the process of adapting the original scene into a scene with a song - what was that like? What did you focus on? What had to go? How did the team make those decisions?

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



CRAFT LABS DUE IN NOVEMBER ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: OCTOBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: NOVEMBER

You have now all been registered for at least ONE Craft Lab. To begin your labs, proceed to www.writingmusicaltheatre.com and click the LOGIN button.
Your username will be the same as your NMI username; and your temporary password will be “nmi”.
If you are not signed up for a Lab you want to take, or you are signed up for something you don’t want, please contact admin@nmi.org ASAP.

PLEASE NOTE: The following are summaries of the Craft Lab assignments for this month. In order to complete these assignments, you will need to log in to www.WritingMusicalTheatre.com and watch the appropriate Videos, print out the Handouts; do the Exercises and Tests; and finally, complete and submit the Assignment for each Unit for evaluation by your Lab instructor.


BOOK LAB:

Unit 1: THE IDEA
Assignment #1: Action Loops
You will be asked to write a series of action loops for a hypothetical musical called Zoo Guard: the Musical, in which you will be exploring bringing your lead character to his unwavering want through a series of temporary goals.
Assignment #2: Conflict/Adaptation
In this assignment, you will be asked to write three different kinds of adaptations (all using different forms of conflict); an adaptation of “The Three Little Pigs”; a variation on the iconic “Boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy gets girl back” storyline; and a story using one of your favorite movies as a model. You will also be exploring the different forms of conflict: Extra-Personal, Personal, and Inner Conflict.


MUSIC LAB:


Unit One - The Musical Score
Assignment #1: Student Introduction
Assignment #2: Sample Score NOTE: The video for this unit will say that you are required to acquire THREE scores; but for the purposes of the ANMT Core Curriculum, you are only required to obtain ONE score.
Unit Two – The Female Voice
Assignment #1: Vocal Chart – Female.
Assignment #2: Color and Range – Female. This assignment is OPTIONAL for Core composers.
Unit Three – The Male Voice
Assignment #1: Vocal Chart – Male.
Assignment #2: Color and Range – Male. This assignment is OPTIONAL for Core composers.



LYRIC LAB:

Unit 0: Overview Assignment. In the Overview Unit, you will be introduced to some of the goals of the Lyric Lab. There is also a short video about writing in a structure, and an introduction to the AABA song structure.
Unit 1: Progression Assignment. The Progressions Unit introduces the concept of progression in refrains. Specific progressions discussed are: Problem/Solution, Viewpoint, Time Progression - Past/Present/Future, Time Progression - The Calendar or the Clock, Pronoun Progression, Geography Progression. Included is an extended session of optional examples, comparing structures in classic musicals to contemporary musicals.

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



CRAFT LABS DUE IN MARCH ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: FEBRUARY
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: MARCH

PLEASE NOTE: The following are summaries of the Craft Lab assignments for this month. In order to complete these assignments, you will need to log in to www.WritingMusicalTheatre.com and watch the appropriate Videos, print out the Handouts; do the Exercises and Tests; and finally, complete and submit the Assignment for each Unit for evaluation by your Lab instructor.

BOOK LAB:

Unit 6: FINISHING TOUCHES
Assignment #1: Pitch
You will be asked to write a short pitch for a one-act or full-length project that you actually want to develop next season (with an eye toward enlisting your fellow Core participants as possible collaborators).

MUSIC LAB:

Unit Eight - Formatting a Score
Assignment #1: Formatting a Solo Number in an Integrated Script/Score.
Assignment #2: Formatting an Ensemble Number in an Integrated Script/Score. This assignment is OPTIONAL for Core composers.

Unit Nine – Integrated Script/Score
Assignment #1: The Opening of Your Show


LYRIC LAB:

Unit 6 - Song Spotting Assignment. This unit discusses the purpose of songs in musical theatre: Exposition, Conflict, Action, Character Changes. One of the videos in this unit is dedicated solely to a discussion about songs whose purpose is some aspect of character: Self-discovery, Decision-making, Resolve Conflict, Enflame Conflict. The unit includes with a brief discussion about songs which are not driven by story, and concludes with a wild song-spotting session with Scott. In the final assignment, you are asked to spot songs possibilities for a play which doesn’t yet have songs.





ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



CRAFT LABS DUE IN JANUARY ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: DECEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: JANUARY

PLEASE NOTE: The following are summaries of the Craft Lab assignments for this month. In order to complete these assignments, you will need to log in to www.WritingMusicalTheatre.com and watch the appropriate Videos, print out the Handouts; do the Exercises and Tests; and finally, complete and submit the Assignment for each Unit for evaluation by your Lab instructor.

BOOK LAB:

Unit 3: THE ROUGH DRAFT
Assignment #1: Stranger/Neighbor Exposition
You will be asked to write short pairs of exchanges of dialogue between Mr. and Mrs. Cherry, a husband and wife of 35 years, in which the audience learns information of which both husband and wife are fully aware. In one of each pair, you will use inappropriate stranger exposition; and then you will convey the same information in believable dialogue, using neighbor exposition.
Assignment #2: Character Diction
You will be provided with a short scene purposefully written without much character in the dialogue; along with character sketches for the characters. You will be asked to rewrite the scene, giving the dialogue more specificity, with clues telling us what kind of people are talking.
Unit 4: ADDING SONGS
Assignment #1: The New York Song
You will be asked to write a short scene, and then revise it based on a song that will need to be incorporated into the scene.


MUSIC LAB:


Unit Five – Creating a Piano Arrangement
Assignment #1: Structure & Substitutions (Harmonization).
Assignment #2: Structure & Substitutions (Advanced).


LYRIC LAB:

Unit 3 - Scansion Subtleties Assignment. The Scansion Subtleties Unit covers some finer points of Scansion, including some problematic situations, with a look ahead at substitution and irregular meter. The video demonstrates scansion of some of the verses you will be scanning, and an explanation of some anomalies and how you might think about them.
Unit 4 - Rhyme Assignment. The Rhyme Unit covers rhyme in musical theatre. Topics included in this unit include: Single Rhyme, Double Rhyme, Triple Rhyme, Near Rhymes, Rhyme in Pop songs v. Musical Theatre songs, The Importance of Rhyme in Musical Theatre
This unit also includes an additional assignment as a fresher: Refrain Structure Review Assignment





ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



CRAFT LABS DUE IN FEBRUARY ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: JANUARY
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: FEBRUARY

PLEASE NOTE: The following are summaries of the Craft Lab assignments for this month. In order to complete these assignments, you will need to log in to www.WritingMusicalTheatre.com and watch the appropriate Videos, print out the Handouts; do the Exercises and Tests; and finally, complete and submit the Assignment for each Unit for evaluation by your Lab instructor.


BOOK LAB:

Unit 5: REVISIONS
Assignment #1: Ten Minute Play
You will be given choices of characters and location and asked to write an outline for a ten minute play. You will then revise your outline until you feel it has a clear beginning, middle and end, and that your lead character either accomplishes their unwavering want; or learns something important; or undergoes a significant change (or all three). You will then write the actual short play (10 pages maximum; using proper formatting.)


MUSIC LAB:

Unit Six – Formatting a Song
Assignment #1: Formatting a Solo.
Assignment #2: Formatting an Ensemble.

Unit Seven – Composing Incidental Music
Assignment #1: Underscoring a Dramatic Scene (from A Doll’s House.) This assignment is OPTIONAL for Core composers.
Assignment #2: Underscoring a Comedic Scene (from The Importance of Being Earnest).


LYRIC LAB:

Unit 5: Formatting Assignment. Preparing a manuscript for rehearsal/workshop, and the differences in the manuscripts sent to producers and theatres.





ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



CRAFT LABS DUE IN DECEMBER ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: NOVEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: DECEMBER

PLEASE NOTE: The following are summaries of the Craft Lab assignments for this month. In order to complete these assignments, you will need to log in to www.WritingMusicalTheatre.com and watch the appropriate Videos, print out the Handouts; do the Exercises and Tests; and finally, complete and submit the Assignment for each Unit for evaluation by your Lab instructor.

BOOK LAB:

Unit 2: THE OUTLINE
Assignment #1: Sample Outline
Following a crash course in outlining, you will be asked to go through the first two steps (Three Phrase Beginning/Middle/End and Premise) for the show that you pitched in the exercise from Unit #1 (or a show you are currently writing); and then go through the next three steps (Swill Outline; Rough Outline; First Draft of Outline) for the first two scenes of your show.
Assignment #2: Character Worksheet
You will be asked to design a Character Worksheet listing the personality traits and background information you feel you should know about a character before trying to invent that person’s speech pattern(s); and then fill in that worksheet for the lead character of the show you outlined in Assignment #1.

MUSIC LAB:

Unit Four - Working with Meter in Lyrics
Please note: The workload for this Unit is substantial; plan your schedule accordingly. There are FOUR assignments in this unit.
Unit 4 - Assignment #1
You will be asked to analyze a specific poem by marking strong and weak syllables; identifying poetic feet, rhyme scheme, alliteration, etc.
Unit 4 - Assignment #2
You will be asked to select three songs from the classic show you chose at the beginning of this course, and then analyze those songs by identifying poetic feet, rhyme scheme, alliteration, etc.
Unit 4 - Assignment #3
You will be asked to select one new lyric which you do not know written by Richard Rodgers, Frank Loesser or Stephen Sondheim, and to analyze it using the same technique as above.
Unit 4 - Assignment #4
You will be asked to create a new melody for the tune from the lyric from Assignment #3, based on the metrical analysis you have completed.

LYRIC LAB:

Unit 2: Prosody & Scansion. This unit introduces you to the study of prosody, and the fundamentals of poetic scansion. Topics in this unit include: Bad Prosody, Poetic Meter (v. Spoken Meter and Musical Meter), Repairing Prosody, Vocabulary of Scansion, The Reason for Scansion, Scansion Techniques. There are FIVE assignments for this unit:
Prosody Assignments 1, 2, 3, 4 (Prosody Assignment #4 is Optional)
Scansion Assignment




ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



CONFLICT DUET ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: NOVEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: DECEMBER
READING DUE: WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS by Lloyd Suh



All Collaborators (Bookwriter, Composer and Lyricist)
Read the short play Why We Can’t Have Nice Things by Lloyd Suh.

Have a discussion with your team about the play. What do you think is the theme of the play in a sentence or two? Although the play is purposefully generic about the “things” they are discussing, your team should have a discussion about what the SPECIFIC things will be for the purpose of this assignment, and how those specifics could contribute the shape of their argument and resolution. Also discuss the sex/gender for your two characters, and how that would impact on vocal type. The play says the characters can be any gender, age, and ethnicity - but once you start writing the duet, some more specific decisions will need to be made.

Bookwriter
Following the team discussion, rewrite this six page play into a three page scene, using the specific “things” your team has discussed. You can use as much or as little of the original dialogue as you choose - but make sure to define the items the couple are discussing, and to bring the dissenting couple to the eventual decision to purchase the item.

Your new three page scene (in very rough form) - prepared using the ANMT Format Guidelines for a script - must be uploaded by 10pm on the FRIDAY following the assignment.

Composer and Lyricist:
Read the bookwriter’s edited scene. Discuss the song possibilities you see in the material. What might be the topic of the song? Is there language in the scene that might be used in the lyric? How can you use the specifics of the argument about the purchase of this particular item to illustrate the core life values of the characters, and how these values lead them to their eventual decision.

1) The basic shape of the song will be A-A-B-A. However, there may be contrasting sections, melodic and harmonic development along the way. It’s best if the audience is treated to once through the “tune” of a song before including variations, but this is not a hard and fast rule (listen to I Remember from Sondheim’s TV musical, Evening Primrose for example).

2) Characterize the song. It is being sung by two very different people - this means the music and words must reflect these differences. Examples of this sort of characterization include I’ll Never Be Jealous Again from The Pajama Game and Like Everyone Else from Side Show. In the Pajama Game example, the music is quite different for each character, whereas in the Side Show example the two characters are delineated more by words and orchestration. In order to provide contrasting music to reflect the different attitudes of Rosemary and Anthony, you may want to create countrapuntal singing. Call and response might also work in this instance, especially if the response is contrary to the call. Other ways of providing subtextual information include reharmonizing portions of the song when the singer’s attitude changes, or creating different accompaniment figures to indicate underlying emotional intentions. These are tools, not requirements. The composer must decide how to characterize this conflict musically, just as the lyricist must decide how to explore the conflict with words. All, however, must explore the moment in the context of the book itself. Remember - this song IS part of the book, an important part.

3) If you feel you need any dialogue within the song (over the introductory instrumental, anywhere within the song, or before the final button) make sure you either use dialogue already written by the bookwriter, or that you REQUEST NEW DIALOGUE from the bookwriter. DO NOT write dummy dialogue and ask for approval. Just let the bookwriter know what you want, and request dialogue that will fulfill the need.

Return the finished song to the bookwriter NO LATER THAN ONE WEEK PRIOR to the next session, so that the bookwriter may do the next part of their task. You may continue to refine and revise the song - but make sure to keep the bookwriter updated on any changes.

Bookwriter AGAIN!:
Once you have heard the song and examined the lyrics, go back to your edited scene. First, remove anything in the scene that is now covered in the lyric. You can do this surgically, simply crossing out phrases, even whole sides of dialogue. What’s left may not make a lot of sense because of the missing parts. Now examine the song closely - what is it about? What is the energy level of the beginning of the song - low, medium, high? Where are these people in their negotiation as the song begins? Where does the song end? Is the lyric complete? Do you feel some transitional dialogue is needed between sections of the song? Have the songwriters asked for any? Imagine what the characters must be doing just before the song starts? How do they feel individually at that moment? How do they feel about each other at that moment? Comfortable, uncomfortable, frustrated, anxious, etc?

NOW revise the scene to get the characters to the song they will sing. Where does the scene start and how does it progress to the point where the song MUST begin. This is the real bookwriter’s challenge: Write the scene so that it moves inevitably to the song. It may race to the song. It may meander to the song. It may meander at first and then take a turn that sprints to the song. But the whole point of the scene is to LEAD TO THE SONG. We want to feel as if the first line of the song is somehow an extension of the dialogue. It’s often best if the audience doesn’t even notice the characters have started to sing…that we are so interested in what they are saying we are eased into the song effortlessly. (This is why so many theatre songs begin with an introductory verse, often sung colla voce or as recitative, conversationally, without rhythm.)

WHOLE TEAM FOR PRESENTATION: Make sure you are prepared to present this scene and song at the next session. Your team can sing, you can bring in guests, or you can ask someone in the group to sight-sing. Upload and bring copies of the scene AND the Conflict Duet as an INTEGRATED SCRIPT & SCORE that follows ANMT’s Format Guidelines. NOTE: The whole team will need to work together to prepare this document.

For info on how to INTEGRATE your properly formatting script and score, look for the CHEAT SHEET ON PREPARING AN INTEGRATED SCRIPT/SCORE in the GENERAL DOCUMENTS tab, or CLICK HERE.

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



COMEDY ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: OCTOBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: NOVEMBER
READING DUE: THE FERRYMAN by Jez Butterworth

All Collaborators (Bookwriter, Composer and Lyricist)

The team assignment is to create a musical moment in a scene from Jex Butterworth’s play The Ferryman. The moment will be for the character of Aunt Maggie at the very beginning of Act 2, from page 54 to 57.  In this scene Aunt Maggie is temporarily lucid, at least as lucid as she ever gets in the play.  The children ask her questions about their future and she answers them like a fortune teller. On page 57 they ask her about her own love life and she tells a long story about the one man she ever loved.

Comedy songs are generally naïve complaints.  For the most part Aunt Maggie’s story is bittersweet rather than funny.  However, it has two wrinkles:  She acknowledges that her “lover” probably was unaware of her or her feelings, and in retrospect she fantasizes a sexual encounter that shocks the children into laughter.

The entire team must discuss the play fully before planning the song. Since we have spotted the song for you, the team can only focus on the content of the song. Make a list of aspects of the character’s personality that might affect the song. Put some specific language on the list, nouns, verbs, and OK, if you must, adjectives and adverbs, that relate to the moment in the scene. Outline the progress of the song: What is the thesis, how does it develop and where does it end (beginning, middle, end). Do this as a team before the writing begins.

Bookwriter:

Have a serious discussion with the team regarding Aunt Maggie’s character and exactly what the topic and progress of this song might be.  How much of the content of the song will come from the text and what other content might be invented?  Why?  What can the team infer about Aunt Maggie’s love life based on what the play tells us about her?  This discussion should result in agreement by the team as to the topic and emotional timber of the song.

Composer and Lyricist:

Lyricists will write FIRST for this assignment.

Write the comedy song based on the discussion of the entire team.

Remember, 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.

Lyricist: make sure to get your lyrics to your composer no later than two weeks from the date of this assignment.

Bookwriter - SEPARATELY:

Write a scene for Aunt Maggie and the object of her affections, Francis John Patrick Maloney – not intended to be a template for the comedy song.  Instead let Aunt Maggie reminisce a scene she wishes in her heart of hearts had occurred, but which, in truth, never happened.  She has had many, many years of a barren life to embroider this story, and every time she tells it, she most likely adds a detail or two – spicy, sweet, spiteful, etc.  This is your version of Aunt Maggie’s imagination.  The scene should be at least 3 pages in the standard playscript format, and not more than 5 pages (with at least an inch margin all around!)  Have at it.

FOR PRESENTATION NEXT MONTH: You will be presenting your songs and the bookwriter scene next month; please bring copies to share in the room. Also UPLOAD your song to the Core Curriculum Home page for our distance participants and to save paper in the room.

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



COLLABORATOR PREFERENCE FORM ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: FEBRUARY
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: MARCH

15-MINUTE MUSICALS

COLLABORATOR PREFERENCES FORM

NOTE: The following is a list of ALL current Core participants (plus any “ringers” from the NMI membership) - HOWEVER only those participants who have completed their CRAFT LAB(S) and are completely paid up will be actually be eligible to write a 15 Minute Musical. Also - any participants who are listed in more than one craft might wind up only doing only one of those crafts, depending on how the teams need to be put together.

BOOKWRITERS:  Richard Holland, Kellan Meador, Stephen Nolly, Nicola Scott, Paloma Sierra, Lalit Sritara, Sergei Stern

LYRICISTS:  Julia Koyfman, Kellan Meador, Stephen Nolly, Jordan Toopes, Laura Watkins, Stacey Weingarten

COMPOSERS:  Ron Barnett, Ben Ginsberg, Evan Johnson, Dusty Sanders, Sergei Stern, Laura Watkins, Kat Zimmerman

********************************************************************

I would prefer NOT to work with any of the following people:







 

 

I would prefer to work with any of the following people:







 

 

I would prefer to be on: the RED PROGRAM     the BLUE PROGRAM     EITHER PROGRAM



 

 

YOUR NAME:______________________________



 

 



ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



COLLABORATION ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: SEPTEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: OCTOBER
READING DUE: THE BIG SICK by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani

Read the screenplay The Big Sick by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani. (You can find a link to a copy of the script in the READING LIST tab on the Core Curriculum Homepage.)

Discuss the central conflict in the story – Why do Emily and Kumail break up? What is behind the conflict with Emily’s parents and Kumail?

Step #1: All collaborators working together:
As a team, find spots in the existing play to place:
1. A ballad
2. A comedy song
3. A musical scene (which can contain a ballad, a charm song, or a comedy song)
4. A rhythm/uptempo song

As a team, decide upon a TITLE for each of these songs.

THEN (working separately):
Bookwriters:
Write a three paragraph synopsis of the script (maximum of one page altogether), divided into:
1. Beginning – identifies the central character, what that person wants, and the first step he or she takes to achieve the goal.
2. Middle – a series of rising and falling actions, successes, and failures, connected by cause and effect.
3. End – the final action(s) that indicate whether the central character achieved the goal, rejected the goal for a greater good, or failed.
The synopsis should be in present tense; cover all important action; and give a sense of the TONE of the story itself. (HINT: a synopsis for a comedy should be funny!)

Lyricists:
Write one paragraph for each song, describing its topic and development. These paragraphs should be based on the collaborative conversation(s) the team has had together. Do not actually write the lyrics – that is not the purpose of this assignment. This assignment is about PLANNING the lyrics.*

Composers:
Write an eight-twelve bar sample of what you have in mind for each song - full piano part and vocal line. Include a designation of what vocal range you are writing for. These samples should be based on the collaborative conversation(s) the team has had together. Do NOT write more than 8-12 bars. This assignment is about PLANNING the song, not writing it.* Do NOT write lyrics. (If you need to write dummy lyrics in order to compose, go ahead. But keep them to yourself – do NOT include them in your score.)

ALL: UPLOAD your work to the Core Curriculum Home Page (under the correct assignment, please!) and also bring a few hard copies of your work to next month’s session to present. For instructions on how to UPLOAD your work, visit the WEBSITE TUTORIALS page. You will find a LINK to that page on your Core Curriculum Home Page.

*NOTE: You WILL be writing the actual song for the Rhythm/Uptempo you spot (the second assignment this month): but not for any of the other songs. Please only write the paragraphs and the 8-12 bar sketch for the other spotted songs, but use this assignment to also plan the Rhythm/Uptempo that you WILL be writing.

**ANOTHER NOTE: Please DO write the lyric plan and song sketch for the Rhythm/Uptemp song FIRST and know that you WILL be presenting your plan and sketch next month. You will ALSO write the song (in the accompanying assignment) - and it may vary from your original plan and sketch - that’s okay. We want to hear the plan and sketch, and then also hear the final song.

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



BALLAD ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: OCTOBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: NOVEMBER
READING DUE: THE RABBIT HOLE by David Lindsay-Abaire

All Collaborators (Bookwriter, Composer and Lyricist)

The team assignment is to musicalize a specific moment in Act II, Scene 1 of David Lindsay-Abaire’s play The Rabbit Hole. In the play, this moment is a stage direction on page 76 of the uploaded version of the script:

Left alone, Howie is reeling but trying not to show it. He drinks his beer…

Discuss the problem in the play from Howie’s point of view. Who is having a harder time with the mourning process – Howie or Becca? Why? What is the impact of this on the stage direction in question? What is Howie feeling at this exact moment, and how does it affect Howie’s behavior in the following pages of the scene, especially the sequence with Jason?

Bookwriter:

Replace the stage direction with a monologue written for Howie. This is not intended to be a monologue that Howie will actually speak – but one that the song-writing team will use as a basis for a song. Write this monologue based on the team’s discussion of the moment. Write it quickly. Do not be precious with your words – they will be replaced by lyrics anyway. But be aware that the journey you take Howie on during this speech will be the basis for the song.

Read the play at least once before attempting to write the monologue. Listen for the rhythms of Howie’s speech pattern, his choice of words, his wit, etc. Pay particular attention to the moment in the play which is to be musicalized. The stage direction tells us he is reeling – which in itself suggests a level of discomfort. What is he feeling? Why does this feeling cause him to be “reeling?” The song must explore this moment in a way that the stage direction cannot.

Complete your monologue and turn it over to the composer and lyricist no later than midnight TUESDAY evening. (Remember to bring a copy of your monologue to the presentations next month.)

Composer and Lyricist:

Note: The SAME song-writing team will write both a Ballad and a Comedy Song. For the Ballad, the Composers will write first; and for the Comedy Song, the Lyricists will write first. This assignment is designed so that the team can plan both songs at Sunday’s Collaborator session, then the Composer can spend the first half of the month working on the music for the Ballad while the Lyricist spends the same time period working on the lyrics for the Comedy Song. Two weeks from tonight, the Composer and Lyricist will share their work, and the Composer will begin writing the music for the Comedy Song while the Lyricist writes the lyrics for the Ballad.

Composers will write FIRST for this assignment.

Write a ballad for the character of Howie to sing based on the monologue written by your bookwriter to replace the stage direction on page 76.

The parameters: This must be an A-A-B-A song. You may write a short intro to the song if you like. If you write more than one refrain consisting of A-A-B-A, you may write a contrasting C section between the refrains if you like. The song could have either of the following forms: A-A-B-A, A-A-B-A; A-A-B-A-C-A-A-B-A; or A-A-B-A-B-A (with or without intro in each case). You may invent other permutations of the form. However, make sure we hear once through A-A-B-A before you do anything creative with the form.

This is to be a ballad, which is characterized by the legato nature of the melodic line. Therefore, the words need to connect easily when sung. Avoid harsh consonants at the ends of words, glottal stops between words, etc. Look for words that flow easily…”Halloween nights are cool and clear…”

Composers – make sure to get your music to your lyricist no later than two weeks from the date of this assignment.

FOR PRESENTATION NEXT MONTH: You will be presenting your songs next month; please bring copies to share in the room. Also UPLOAD your song to the Core Curriculum Home page for our distance participants and to save paper in the room.

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



ADAPTATION – PART 3 ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: JANUARY
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: FEBRUARY

This assignment is with the same team from Adaptation Parts One and Two, continuing from the Lyric Plans and Song Sketches written last month.

All Collaborators: Choose one of the song sketches from Part 2 to be fully developed as a song.

Composer and Lyricist: Write the selected song, following the development sketched out in the previous assignment, and using the music, or at least the sense of the music (a motif, a rhythmic idea, etc.) to complete the song. Make sure the song has a strong form: AABA, ABAB, or some other form. Make sure you return the completed song to the bookwriter at least one full week prior to the presentation date.

Bookwriter: Revise your Rough Draft from Part 1 to include the song, being aware that you most likely need to EDIT and CHANGE your dialogue to make sure you are setting up and leading into the song, but not repeating material that will be covered by the song.

FOR THE PRESENTATION NEXT MONTH: Upload the Integrated Script and Score - as per the ANMT Formatting Guidelines - and bring at least a few physical copies for the room. If you are not able to create an integrated PDF of the entire document, it is fine to bring the separate script/lyrics and score to NMI and collate the materials there before handing the completed document to John and Elise. Handwritten running page numbers are fine!

NOTE that this Integrated Script and Score is the responsibility of the WHOLE TEAM. Please consider all the feedback you’ve gotten previously on the preparation of an Integrated Script and Score and make sure you have MASTERED this form in time for the 15 Minute Musicals. Re-read the ANMT Formatting Guidelines and follow them carefully. It is complicated, but not difficult. Once you master it, you won’t have to think about it anymore. And you do NOT want to be thinking about it while you are writing your 15 Minute Musicals. DO YOURSELVES A FAVOR AND TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



ADAPTATION – PART 2 ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: DECEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: JANUARY

This assignment is with the same team from Adaptation Part One, continuing from the Rough Draft written last month.

All collaborators working together:

As a team, review the Rough Draft written by the bookwriter, and find spots in the draft to place:
1. A ballad
2. A rhythm/uptempo song
3. A comedy song
4. A musical scene (which can contain a ballad, a rhythm/uptempo song, or a comedy song)

(Don’t worry that your 5-8 minute musical couldn’t include all four of these songs - this is just an exercise!)

As a team, decide upon a TITLE for each of these songs.

THEN (working separately):

Lyricists:
Use the SONG SPOTTING WORKSHEET and EXAMPLE (see Handouts) to show your plan for the lyric for each of the songs. These plans should be based on the collaborative conversation(s) the team has had together. Do not actually write the lyrics – that is not the purpose of this assignment. This assignment is about PLANNING the lyrics. NOTE: You will really really want to have completed the Lyric Lab unit on PROGRESSIONS before you fill out your Song Spotting Worksheet!!!

Composers:
Write an eight-twelve bar sample of what you have in mind for each song - full piano part and vocal line. Include a designation of what vocal range you are writing for. These samples should be based on the collaborative conversation(s) the team has had together. Do NOT write more than 8-12 bars. This assignment is about PLANNING the song, not writing it. Do NOT write lyrics. (If you need to write dummy lyrics in order to compose, go ahead. But keep them to yourself – do NOT include them in your score.)

FOR THE PRESENTATION NEXT MONTH:
Lyricists: UPLOAD your Song Spotting Worksheets and bring some copies to the session.
Composers: UPLOAD your song sketches (score file and sound file) and bring some copies to the session.



ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



ADAPTATION – PART 1 ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: NOVEMBER
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: DECEMBER
READING DUE: THE LAST FIRST by Chad Beckim


Read the short play The Last First, by Chad Beckim.

Entire Team:
Think about the characters – who they are, why they do and say the things they do and say. What do you think the story is about at its core – what is the theme? How could your team make use of this story as the basis for a very short musical? (Think 5-8 minutes tops.) Would you keep the location? The gender of the characters? Make some decisions about whether you will adapt the play as is or whether you will make a freer adaptation borrowing the thematic thrust and general structure but replacing the characters or the location or the time period of the original. Discuss the basic beginning, middle and end structure as your team plans to treat the story. Another possible adaptation strategy would be to keep the situation exactly as is but change the thematic thrust – make the show about something else. And note that the “confession” of the piece does not necessarily have to be about sexual orientation - your team’s adaptation could make it into a completely different situation and confession. PLEASE DO NOT DISCUSS SONG POSSIBILITIES YET. This will come later.

Bookwriter:
The bookwriter will formalize an outline of the story, confirm it with the rest of the team, then upload it to the Core homepage in the team’s folder for the Adaptation assignment, and send an email to admin@nmi.org letting us know that the outline has been uploaded.

You MUST use the ANMT format for an outline (see Handouts).

The initial outline must be uploaded by 10pm on the WEDNESDAY following the assignment.

Over the next few days, the bookwriter (in consultation with the team) will revise the outline based on feedback notes from the ANMT staff until receiving a green light to proceed.

Once a green light is received, the bookwriter will write a rough draft (dialogue only - no lyrics) of the short musical (maximum 5-8 pages).

FOR THE PRESENTATION NEXT MONTH: Bookwriter: bring SEVERAL COPIES of your Rough Draft for us to read during the session.

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS



15 MINUTE MUSICAL ASSIGNMENT


ASSIGNED IN THE MONTH OF: APRIL
DUE FOR PRESENTATION IN THE MONTH OF: MAY
READING DUE: RE-READ the 15 MINUTE MUSICAL BIBLE

See the 15 Minute Musical Bible for full details.

ASSOCIATED HAND-OUTS