musical theatre writers' resource center NEWSLETTER


UPCOMING CONTEST DEADLINES

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INSIDER TIPS AND ADVICE


April 1, 2024     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 79 – The moment BEFORE and AFTER the Song

April 1, 2024     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 78 – ACTIVATING THE “ENSEMBLE” SONG

February 5, 2024     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 77 – ACTIVATING THE “SOLILOQUY” SONG

January 1, 2024     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 76 – Activating the I AM Song

December 1, 2023     How to Get NO Feedback from Elise: Vlog 75 – Revisiting the Statement of Fact

*** Visit the INSIDER TIPS page to see the full listing of insider tips and advice videos. ***

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SAMPLE PUBLIC DOMAIN IDEAS


The Mirror

by Catulle Mendes

EXCERPT:

There was once a kingdom where mirrors were unknown. They had all been broken and reduced to fragments by order of the queen, and if the tiniest bit of looking-glass had been found in any house, she would not have hesitated to put all the inmates to death with the most frightful tortures.

Now for the secret of this extraordinary caprice. The queen was dreadfully ugly, and she did not wish to be exposed to the risk of meeting her own image; and, knowing herself to be hideous, it was a consolation to know that other women at least could not see that they were pretty.

You may imagine that the young girls of the country were not at all satisfied. What was the use of being beautiful if you could not admire yourself?

They might have used the brooks and lakes for mirrors; but the queen had foreseen that, and had hidden all of them under closely joined flagstones. Water was drawn from wells so deep that it was impossible to see the liquid surface, and shallow basins must be used instead of buckets, because in the latter there might be reflections.

Such a dismal state of affairs, especially for the pretty coquettes, who were no more rare in this country than in others.

COMMENTS:

A chilling unforgettable final image; but not much else in this story about a queen who refuses to accept her lack of beauty. You might look at the final moments and fashion a song, or a tableau.


The Question Of Latin

by Guy de Maupassant

EXCERPT:

This subject of Latin that has been dinned into our ears for some time past recalls to my mind a story–a story of my youth.

I was finishing my studies with a teacher, in a big central town, at the Institution Robineau, celebrated through the entire province for the special attention paid there to the study of Latin.

For the past ten years, the Robineau Institute beat the imperial lycee of the town at every competitive examination, and all the colleges of the subprefecture, and these constant successes were due, they said, to an usher, a simple usher, M. Piquedent, or rather Pere Piquedent.

He was one of those middle-aged men quite gray, whose real age it is impossible to tell, and whose history we can guess at first glance. Having entered as an usher at twenty into the first institution that presented itself so that he could proceed to take first his degree of Master of Arts and afterward the degree of Doctor of Laws, he found himself so enmeshed in this routine that he remained an usher all his life. But his love for Latin did not leave him and harassed him like an unhealthy passion. He continued to read the poets, the prose writers, the historians, to interpret them and penetrate their meaning, to comment on them with a perseverance bordering on madness.


The Diary Of A Madman

by Guy de Maupassant

EXCERPT:

He was dead–the head of a high tribunal, the upright magistrate whose irreproachable life was a proverb in all the courts of France. Advocates, young counsellors, judges had greeted him at sight of his large, thin, pale face lighted up by two sparkling deep-set eyes, bowing low in token of respect.

He had passed his life in pursuing crime and in protecting the weak. Swindlers and murderers had no more redoubtable enemy, for he seemed to read the most secret thoughts of their minds.

He was dead, now, at the age of eighty-two, honored by the homage and followed by the regrets of a whole people. Soldiers in red trousers had escorted him to the tomb and men in white cravats had spoken words and shed tears that seemed to be sincere beside his grave.

But here is the strange paper found by the dismayed notary in the desk where he had kept the records of great criminals! It was entitled: WHY?


Bargain Day At Tutt House

by George Randolph Chester

EXCERPT:

“Atrocious!” she exclaimed. “Atrocious! Simply atrocious, Belmont. This is a house of public entertainment. They can’t turn us out in this high-minded manner! Isn’t there a law or something to that effect?”

COMMENTS:

A delightful premise, with a great deal of potential for musicalization. Two couples are utterly determined NOT to be out-done by the other, and are willing to spend their considerable fortunes in order to stay ahead of the other couple, socially. They play out their feud at an isolated inn, giving greater and greater sums of money to the innkeeper to deny the other couple a decent night’s lodging. The innkeeper is all-too-happy to comply. A cast of eight could have a ball with this piece. It feels a bit like a Steve Martin movie. It might be very possible to update, if that’s important to you.


The Kite, the Pigeons, and the Hawk

by Ambrose Bierce

EXCERPT:

Some Pigeons exposed to the attacks of a Kite asked a Hawk to defend them. He consented, and being admitted into the cote waited for the Kite, whom he fell upon and devoured.

COMMENTS:

Sardonic. Cynical. Fun.


*** Visit the PUBLIC DOMAIN IDEAS to see the complete stories ***


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As a Musical Theatre Writers’ Resource Center subscriber, you receive this newsletter once a month.

In it, you will find a listing of videos with insiders tips and advice; a listing of upcoming contest deadlines; links to our newest featured video releases; listings for new Writer Bank Members who have joined recently; some sample public domain ideas from our library; and some fun samplings of pictures, lyrics, and musical theatre historical trivia.

Make sure to visit the RESOURCE CENTER online to see complete listings; as well as listings of theatre companies, useful links, and links to online musical theatre videos.

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Billboard for “Oh! Calcutta”; Times Square; Forty-Second Street, New York. 1981. Photograph by Andreas Feininger (1906-1999). From the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York.


It’s the little things you share together,
Swear together,
Wear together,
That make perfect relationships.

--Stephen Sondheim

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MUSICAL THEATRE ARCHIVES

April 10, 1952     Singin’ in the Rain opened across America today

April 22, 1993     First it was a record album, then a movie, then, inevitably, a stage musical: The Who’s Tommy opened on Broadway today.

April 16, 1927     Edith ‘Edie’ Adams was born today. Adams won a Tony for Best Featured Actress as Daisy Mae in L’il Abner. Then, she played Julie Andrew’s Fairy Godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s television version of Cinderella.

April 25, 1996     Rent opened the door for a new era in contemporary musicals, which opened today.

April 26, 1970     Company opened on Broadway today.

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We don’t need that flow’ry fuss.
No, sir, madam, not for us.

--Lorenz Hart


The New Yorker – 1925. From the New Yorker Cover Gallery Website.


Come blow the horn, start celebrating.

--Fred Ebb

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