Basic, REALLY Basic, Fundamentals of Music for Lyricists and Scriptwriters of Musical Theater | NewMusicalsInc /* Mobile Menu Retract ---------------------------------*/

Basic, REALLY Basic, Fundamentals of Music for Lyricists and Scriptwriters of Musical Theater

Basic, REALLY Basic, Fundamentals of Music for Lyricists and Scriptwriters of Musical Theater


Thu, Jul 12

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm


New Musicals Inc.

5628 Vineland Avenue

North Hollywood, CA 91601

Instructor: Mark Saltzman

Thursday, July 12 from 7:00 to 10:00pm

Course Fee: $90

It can seem like a foreign language, with that talk of tempo and rhythm (are they different?) and altos and mezzos (are THEY different?)

Here’s the safe place you’ve craved, fellow writers — the non-judgmental room where you can ask all your questions about music that you thought were too un-cool to ever articulate. But if you weren’t in a garage band or marching band , chances are you haven’t learned the basics, since musical education has been absent in American public education. But you want to – you ARE – writing musicals. Here’s the place to fill in the gaps in your learning.

Not just about what those strange spots on the lined page mean. (Tip: The more ink on a note, the faster it gets played.) But you’ll feel free to finally learn the difference between a tenor and a baritone and a….bari-tenor! And why the word “harmony” seems to shift meaning every time the composer speaks of it. And what exactly is an arrangement? Is it like an orchestration? Bring your own questions that you always felt too shy to ask. Nothing is too basic.

Apart from the fundamentals of music, we’ll move on to specifics of musical theater writing: How to find the perfect place in the story to put a song, and the perfect song for that place, remembering at all times you are writing a score, not just a song; How to avoid the trap of too many passive songs in which characters do nothing but reflect on previous plot events; How to decide when a song and dialogue is the right solution, or if it’s better to musicalize an entire scene.


Mark Saltzman is a multiple Emmy-winning television writer and songwriter, a Hollywood screenwriter, and a New York produced playwright.

He began his career in New York with Jim Henson, writing for the Muppets. His Sesame Street sketches and songs (including “Caribbean Amphibian” and “New Way to Walk”) earned him seven Emmy Awards. But behind Kermit’s back, Mark was writing cabaret shows and musicals that played at The Ballroom, Soho Rep, 13th Street Theater, and the Village Gate, where he co-wrote the long-running revue A, My Name is Alice.

For network television, Mark wrote Mrs. Santa Claus, the CBS holiday musical starring Angela Lansbury with songs by Jerry Herman. For the movies, he wrote The Adventures of Milo and Otis and Three Ninjas Kick Back and has written screenplays for SONY, Universal, and Disney. His TV movie, The Red Sneakers, directed by and starring Gregory Hines, aired on Showtime and was nominated for a Writers Guild Award. In 2007, Mark served as writer-producer of the Disney Channel TV show< Johnny and the Sprites.

Mark’s musical play, The Tin Pan Alley Rag opened at the Pasadena Playhouse in 1997 and was nominated for five Los Angeles Ovation Awards, including Best Musical. Tin Pan Alley Rag made its New York debut at the Roundabout Theater where it was nominated for an Outer Critics Award.

Mark’s musical comedy, Romeo and Bernadette, played at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, where it won a Carbonell Award, and New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse. His play, Mr. Shaw Goes to Hollywood, based on the 1933 visit of George Bernard Shaw to the MGM studio, premiered at the Laguna Playhouse in April 2003 and has been optioned for a film. Complete bio and credits at His newest musical, Another Roll of the Dice, based on Damon Runyon stories with songs by Frank Loesser will have its world premiere at North Coast Rep in 2019.

Mark is a graduate of Cornell University. He serves as president of the Arnold Glassman Fund, a charitable foundation that provides grants for documentary film projects.



Bookings are closed for this event.