How Do You Workshop a Musical?
The Good Night Theatre Collective is so excited to spend this summer working with an original musical: David & Lucy, created by Luke Tatge and Ruth Sturm. This musical has been in progress for over a year, with numerous rounds of edits, song additions, scene and character shifts, and more changes. Now the writers want to move into another stage of musical development: the workshop process.
But what does it mean to "workshop" a musical? That’s what we wanted to explore in this blog.
The word “workshop” can refer to many different processes in the theatre world. Workshops were first established as a part of the musical development process by the musical A Chorus Line. Creator Michael Bennett wanted to write a musical about the experiences of chorus dancers. So he gathered a group of performers to discuss their experiences. These stories were later turned into the famous songs of the show.
After the enormous success of A Chorus Line, many other producers and playwrights began to use a workshop as an opportunity to develop or improve work before it advanced to the stage. The process that Good Night is coordinating is most reminiscent of a series of readings. These readings (involving some enormously talented performers) will hopefully allow the creators of David & Lucy to answer three major questions:
In which type of space would this show work best?
Some musicals, like Wicked or The Lion King, cry out for a grand stage with a 2,500 person audience. Others, such as The Last Five Years or The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, feel more natural in an intimate space.
How will the audience react?
It is, of course, impossible to fully know how an audience will react to a new work without eventually putting it through a full production. However, the workshop process gives writers a small insight into how well the actors, director and other viewers react to the piece.
And of course, arguably the most important of all…
Is the musical ready for actors/singers to play?
It is incredibly important to ensure that the musical is actually ready for actors to work with. This involves aspects such as a fully developed plot, appropriate stage directions, and a well-written musical score.
If you’re intrigued by the workshop process or by David & Lucy, stay tuned on our Facebook page: we’ll be posting pictures and updates on the workshop process throughout the month of July.
Do you have a theatrical work you want to move towards production? The Good Night Theatre Collective loves new theatre, and we are passionate about helping those that create it. Drop us a line with the form below: let’s talk more about whether or not our theatre company can assist you in making exciting art!