Thursday, July 7, 2011

Carlos II of Spain

I saw a show a couple of weeks ago. Shan't mention which one because I do wish to continue working in this industry. But when I call my agents and ask them to be extra special nice to any client in that production, you know there's a problem.

The creative pedigree looks great on paper, but the result is akin to royal end up with Carlos II of Spain.

And like him, it ain't pretty.

What a music theater piece needs to thrive...

1. A tone. (And no...a patchwork quilt of tones will not suffice. Weave them through...seamlessly, please.)

2. To know what it's about.

3. Who the protagonist is.

4. Give the protagonist the "I want" song that reflects what the show is about. And make it one of the best songs in the show.

5. A reason for the show to start. (see #6)

6. Do not "passover" what makes this night different from all other nights.

7. Give the 11 o'clock number to the protagonist. Make it one of the best songs in the show (please) and try not to follow with an inconsequential duet between secondary characters at 11:15. Bring it on home.

8. Employ a director who understands this very particular art form.

9. Listen to the soundscape...make sure you have the "la la" and the "blah blah" in the correct magical balance to project your piece forward.

10. Write spectacular gezintas for the songs.

11. Compose songs within a range where you can understand the words/ideas/emotions being expressed.

12. Make sure all your characters are there for a reason. Aimless bodies wandering through the landscape rarely focus a piece.

There are other "rules." Please feel free to write in about them, dear bleaders.

I bring these 12 up because they were all missing. Each and every one of them. There are always exceptions to the rule. Rules change. You can miss one or two (Not 1-3, 5 or 6.) , but ALL? By doing this you make my colleagues' jobs very difficult. VERY difficult. And my colleagues aim to please. They're good kids. They want to be loved. But they are often quite smart. Most of them way smarter than I am. And they know when these elements are awry. And they lose heart. And get frustrated.

And they know you're blaming them for lack of audience response.

And that pisses me off.

First, do no harm. If you're not going to follow any of these rules, blog. In the blogosphere you can be the crazy-ass inbred ruler of your own domain.



  1. You forgot rule 13: when the first 12 rules are broken resort to rule 13....find a semi-talented, unemployed tv star, preferably from the 1970's and cast them in the lead.

  2. Perhaps you could get a job as a consultant for theatrical production companies? I would *so* love to go to a show where all of those rules were met!


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