“Curtain up! Light the lights!
We got nothing to hit but the heights!”
-Stephen Sondheim, Gypsy
Well, it happened. My musical happened. In the most splendiferous way, with the most fabulousness muster-able, it happened.
I’m freaking out, people.
For those who don’t know, I, Broadway Lil, wrote a musical. And on Sunday it came to fruition and played in a fantabulous theater and I, Broadway Lil, freaked out and screamed and hugged people and bopped them on the head with my pink clutch and was out of my mind with amazed-ness that something like this would ever happen to me.
Who am I kidding? I was positive that something like this would happen to me.
When you write a musical a lot of things will occur. You will be elated and deflated and rageful and crying and and you will meet theatrical people with whom you will have spats and loud discussions about The Harry Potter Play and mostly you will develop a strange New York/Valley Girl accent which you will yell things in.* All in all, it is a very pleasant experience that I highly recommend.
I am only a teenager (Thought I was ageless? Most people do), but I think that for anyone, of any age, whether they be drama queen or lowly football player (sorry), sharing something, some kind of creation, is the most exciting thing ever.
So let me just tell you what happened. Because if I’m being honest here, and I usually am, more than needed actually, writing this musical was the most fabulous thing I’ve ever done and I think you should know what to expect if you ever write a musical. Because gosh knows you should.
It started with a table.*
A table, in a classroom, in a largish theater, in a weirdo** city, six months ago. I sat at the table next to my future collaborator, my hands shaking as I clutched a paper cup filled with coffee. I was quite nervous because
- I am actually more anxious in situations than one would think
- I didn’t know how to write musicals but I thought I did
- I can’t drink coffee
My future collaborator did not have coffee but he did have cheetos. I wasn’t sure how he had acquired them but I decided that it was Not Important. NOTE: I was right.
The man who was going to teach us how to write musicals came into the classroom and told us we were going to think of an idea and story-board it, and goshdarnit, since we were the only two people in the class, we were going to be partners. And thus it began.
After reading that prose you are probably asking yourself why I am not writing the next Pulitzer-prize-winning novel. I have no clue.
Let me continue.
Months and months passed. Songs were written, and a script. We met our director and we very excitedly held auditions for actors and then chose two absolutely perfect ones. As time went on I began to adopt the aforementioned New York/Valley Girl accent and I began to acquire an intensity about preserving the integrity of what I’d written.
I should be a little more dramatic, I think.
Two of the greatest struggles that I faced during this theatrical process were: Perfecting The Art of The Hustle (aka fighting for what I wanted) and forcing the staying-on-track part of things. My collaborator, bless his heart, has a tendency to be sucked into conversations about Broadway when we are supposed to be working and I am a person who has spent her life seeking out people to talk about Musical Theatre with, so it’s a struggle to keep everything flowing and organized when all you want to do is discuss Moritz’s hair style in Spring Awakening.
After many months, the whole writing palooza drew to a close. When the writing palooza draws to a close you know that
- It hasn’t really drawn to a close, because god knows you’re going to rewrite a bunch of lyrics on opening night
- You really need to get an outfit and it’s really freaking you out and it’s way more stressful than the writing palooza part
- You are sad, facades be darned***
The thing about writing something for a long time is that when you’re done you feel quite useless and strange. That’s why there is this thing called a premier where you dress up and people come and remind you how amazing you are but more importantly, let you know that what you wrote did actually mean something to them.
The premier of my musical was a huge and fabulous theatre fest and I still can’t believe it happened. I wrote a musical! I wrote a musical that people came to! What are the odds.
I really must write another one, goshdarnit.
* Hooray for HollyWeird!
**I am going to get very prosey and Dona Tartt-ish now, so you should probably leave. Just kidding.
***There wasn’t a facade so it was hard to darn it. I always tell people when I’m sad.