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TRU Beginnings/How to Write a Musical That Works – Part Three: Reckoning and Resolution

February 27, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - March 17, 2022 @ 7:00 pm

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) presents TRU Beginnings – How to Write a Musical that Works, Part Three: Reckoning and Resolution on Sunday, February 27, 2022, noon to 7pm ET, on Zoom. This workshop is dedicated to fostering a conversation about musical theater structure, not only for writers, but also for producers, directors and everyone involved in the creation and production of new works. Each workshop will accept up to 10 writing teams and/or producers, who will share works in progress and get feedback from a panel of expert evaluators. Audience members will also have a chance to offer their observations and participate in discussions. Submission deadline: Wednesday, February 9, 2022. https://truonline.org/

The third part of this series will focus on the last scenes of a musical and how songs help resolve both the story and the characters’ journeys, exploring: 1) songs that express the resolution of a character’s “want,” or the overcoming of obstacles, and how it leads to a final choice; 2) “eleven o’clock numbers,” the big dramatic show stoppers that sum up the (usually) main character’s journey; and 3) the finale, an effective and emotionally satisfying way of concluding your story. We will discuss the function of songs, with special attention paid to the way they move the action. In addition, we will continually explore the delicate balance between script and song. 

Up to ten teams will present a song and scene from their shows to a professional panel of commercial producers, directors and writers, including:

  • Ken Cerniglia, former dramaturg and literary manager of Disney Theatrical;

  • Cheryl Davis, Kleban and Larsen Award-winning librettist and lyricist (Barnstormer), Audelco Award-winning playwright (Maid’s Door);

  • Nancy Golladay, literary consultant (NY Shakespeare Festival, O’Neill Conference, more), moderator of the BMI Librettists’ Workshop; 

  • Skip Kennon, composer/lyricist (Herringbone, Don Juan DeMarco, Time and Again), former artistic coordinator of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and teacher for two decades;

  • Tamra Pica, London, off-Broadway and TV producer.

Bob Ost, executive director of Theater Resources Unlimited, and TRU Literary Manager Cate Cammarata will facilitate.

Writers and producers are invited to submit no more than 25 pages of a show they are working on. See website for submission requirements. The submission deadline is Wednesday 2/9. To apply, download the application, fill it out, and email to TRUPlaySubmissions@gmail.com. Submission fee is $10 for TRU members and $20 for non-members. If accepted, the fee will be applied to an overall participation fee of $100 ($85 for TRU members).

The cost for non-participants to attend for the full day, observe the presentations, and be part of the discussions, is $55 ($35 for TRU members). 


Noon to 12:15 pm – check in.

12:15 pm to 1 pm – Discussion: How do you bring the action of your show to an effective dramatic (and musical) conclusion? Is resolution better served by song or by dialogue? Do all shows need a big “eleven o’clock” number, or are there other ways to leave an audience emotionally satisfied?

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – Five writing teams will explain their work’s overall concept (in 30 seconds or less) and present 10-15 minutes of a song and scene that demonstrates a resolution of the show’s major conflict or a coming to terms for one of the characters, the resolution of their ongoing “want.” After each presentation, panelists will provide feedback.

LUNCH BREAK (Zoom break, leg stretch)

3:30 pm to 4:15 pm – Discussion: The dramatic journey of characters: how wants and goals may evolve over the course of a show. Panelists will comment and invite audience feedback.

4:15 pm to 6:15 pm – Five writing teams will explain their work’s overall concept (in 30 seconds or less) and present 10-15 minutes of a song and scene that musicalizes the action leading to the resolution, or leads up to (and includes) a satisfying finale that leaves the audience with a sense of completion.

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-eight-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies. TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; presents monthly panels as well as the new weekly Community Gatherings; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program taught by prominent producers and general managers in New York theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop business skills. TRU serves writers through the TRU Voices Play Reading Series, Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab. Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by the Montage Foundation, The Storyline Project and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation. For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit www.truonline.org.


February 27, 2022 @ 12:00 pm
March 17, 2022 @ 7:00 pm
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