Rather than investing in Lord of the Rings
, Lisa suggests, you could fund a musical theater workshop with a real orchestra. Broadway is dying for inventive theater. The only fresh stuff it gets comes from London, where the British government subsidizes the arts. Rather than throwing money at a big-money "sure thing" (which is, of course, not at all a sure thing), throw a little money at a lot of small shows. The Fantasticks
didn't rely on having an actual helicopter on stage. Why not use the money to promote small homegrown shows? (And keep my friend Denis in beer money?)
I'm paraphrasing, of course, because I'm hoping Lisa will just post her thoughts herself...
Just wanted to say that I've been reading your blog for a bit now and I love it. It's helped me through many a screenwriting questions at 3 am. Inspired me to start my own: http://sillypipedreams.blogspot.com
OK, here's my impresaria fantasy:
There are many places to workshop a straight play: Long Wharf, Eugene Oneil, Actors Theater of Louisville, Playwright's Horizons, et al. To my knowledge, there's no good place to workshop musicals. I suspect that many would-be musical writers/composers work in other genres (Fringe Festivals, etc) because they have no venue to create a "real" musical.
What if you had a one-month workshop where a group of selected musical writer/composers could workshop their shows? You could have an agreement with an orchestra that's in its "dark" season, and audition a group of actors/singers, who would work on multiple shows. THe chance to hear your words sung by real singers, accompanied by a real orchestra, would be an amazing thing for show creators.
As Alex noted, the Fantasticks didn't require anything fancy -- it actually started as a summer theater project at Barnard College. I saw A Chorus Line at the Public Theater -- it was a nearly blank stage, with some dancers in leotards. We think of Andrew Lloyd Weber as being the creator of overly lavish productions, but his first hit -- Jesus Christ Superstar -- had minimal technical requirements; you could do it on a blank stage and it would still be great.
I think that if writers/composers had a reasonable chance of mounting their shows, we'd see a lot more creativity in the genre.
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