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Topic: OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

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  1. #1

    OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

    Hi Guys,

    Anyone have any experience or knowlege about the process of composing for musicals? Maybe local theater or better? With some productions now successfully using a few live instruments backed by sample libs, or sometimes all synth with just live vocals, it seems like a viable venue for composers here. Never much talk about it though.

    Sorry for the strange topic.

    Joanne

  2. #2

    Re: OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

    I believe Bruce would be quite the expert on this.....

    Sorry, I have not.
    Jonathan Kerr
    J.Kerr Music, Inc

  3. #3
    andyt
    Guest

    Re: OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

    No, but check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/stageandscreen/, if you haven't listened to this before. Its a BBC radio programme that broadcasts (over the web too) on the Film and Musical genres. It tends to lean more toward the stage.

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

    Quote Originally Posted by andyt
    No, but check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/stageandscreen/, if you haven't listened to this before. Its a BBC radio programme that broadcasts (over the web too) on the Film and Musical genres. It tends to lean more toward the stage.
    Woow thanks for the resource Andy!
    I work as a stage composer too.

    Frankie
    Dell Precision T3500 (Xeon W3520, 12GB RAM) / Windows 7 x64 / Sonar 8 / VE Pro / WIVI 2.3 / Kontakt 4 / G-Player 1.2

  5. #5

    Wink Re: OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

    I wrote my own musical...I plan on publishing it as a novel and producing it as a movie once it hits the best seller list.

    It's not the quickest way to go, by far, but it surely offers the most control.

    Good luck!

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

    I wrote for the armpit orchestra once.

  7. #7
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    Re: OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

    Joanne,

    Not a strange topic at all. Although a focus has been on film music, there's a very large and vibrant world of musical theatre out there. It certainly is a viable venue for composers and arrangers.

    You may want to try asking over at the GPO Forum. One of our members has worked on numerous Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Another member is currently working on the world priemier of the musical "Robin Hood: The Legend Continues" written by the authors of "Annie".with music by Peter Sipos. And another is working on a local production of the Wizard of Oz. Another member helped compose the music for Storyeum, Vancouver's latest attraction with live performances on 7 stages. And another member is working on a show in Las Vegas.

    Using sample libraries alone or in conjunction with live players is being done in some venues and the trend is continuing.

    Gary Garritan

  8. #8

    Re: OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

    Thanks everyone,

    AndyT, appreciate the link.

    Gary, I'll search your forum on those play titles and see what I can learn.

  9. #9

    Re: OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

    I've written for theater quite a bit, Ms. Babunovic. Did you have any specific questions about it?

    Some composers like to try and write with precise timing like a film score, but I've never done that. Long tails...

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: OT: Anyone written for Musicals?

    I write for theatre all the time. I don't use any MIDI in performance, though...far too complex and risky in a huge show. The show I'm currently doing is about 200 cues, some of which are nested into some serious action sequences.

    The best tool for theatre playback, in my experience, is a system called SFX, by Stage Research. It is set up to run on a PC and play back cues with the same kind of control set which a light board uses.

    If you break down your cues into logical sections that can time out to the action, you can get a very cinematic-scale of music and sound design. Composing for theatre is rather like composing for games in a way, in that you must write a lot differently to accommodate the variation inherent in live performance.

    The great thing about SFX is that it can run a really huge system of discrete outputs. You can design things which fly through space, etc.

    I just did a production of The Importance of Being Earnest (still playing) where 1920s piano music started in the house (all scratchy and fluttered), and then it pans onstage as the curtain opens, to appear as if it's being played live by Algernon. I did the cue with a crossfade across speaker banks from a "Vinylized" cue to a clean, pristine cue, and all that is programmed in SFX to be executed on the Stage Manager's calls.

    It's interesting work. I can do about six theatre shows a year...any more than that, and I don't have time to scratch my hiney. But they're a good income stream.

    The great thing about musicals is that you can (and should) negotiate a piece of the house as part of the deal. I own 1% of the production of Christmas Carol I'm working on right now, so in addition to getting paid for coming in and remounting the production, I get my piece of the action when the show closes and the audit has been done.

    Theatre is very rewarding work. I have worked with some extraordinary artists, and I never fail to learn a great deal every time I do a show. Every TV or film job I've gotten has had its roots in relationships I built in theatre, so I recommend it highly.

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