Wherein we ask the Moderators of the Dramatists Guild Fellowship three questions of monumental significance.
I met Richard Maltby when he was leading the ASCAP Musical Theater Workshop and I presented an original show I had written music, lyrics and co-book for. He continued to mentor me on the project and encouraged my far-fetched ideas while helping me to find ways to make them theatrically logical. I was lucky to be in the BMI Musical Theater Workshop during the last two years it was led by Lehman Engel himself. He decided he liked my work and wouldn’t allow the other workshop participants to pick it apart. I would play a song, Lehman would say, “Well, I think that’s just wonderful. Does anyone else have something to add?” No one dared to. It may not exactly have been mentorship, but it certainly was encouraging and that’s what I needed most.
During the last two years I have stewarded or led or mentored the musical theater Fellows, or whatever the verb is supposed to be – I actually don’t know so I make it up as I go along – I have found that the dramatist-panelists who help choose the participants invariably pick good composers and lyricists. Everyone in there can write a good song, and they do, frequently. I’d like to help them get their books up to the same level. And so, in addition to leading composers and lyricists, I’m inviting in terrific dramaturgs, noted playwrights, and top notch directors to make the sessions less about songwriting craft and more about the entire musical-in-progress.
More original musicals not based on a film, and with music that pushes the envelope.
I would tell me that believe it or not, “Phantom of the Opera” is still running.