Last month I attended an Actor’s Fund 10 year anniversary concert of [title of show]. Though I did not see the original run a decade ago I was aware of the premise. Essentially a writer and composer team up to enter a show in the first New York Musical Festival. The problem is they don’t have any finished project to submit and the entry deadline is in just three weeks. So they set up to create a show based on them writing a show for the festival.
So, a very meta- musical. They invite two friends to join them and then write about them writing the show. Cute concept and very inside look at the struggles and triumphs and politics and relationships in creating a new work of art. Turns out in real life they did just barely meet the deadline but did not have a title so they just used the words on the line where they were supposed to write, you guessed it, [title of show].
They went on to win the prize for the festival, get picked up for an off-Broadway show and then, after some time, get picked by producers for a successful Broadway run. It featured the original performers (and thus creators) of the work. They were cheered mightily by an audience of aficionados who came to the one night event. My opinion is that it was an enjoyable and clever conceit but the first part about the creation of the work is far more interesting than the tagged on portion of the twists and turns of the subsequent productions.
What was fun is seeing the similar contortions that I experience when I am trying to give birth to a new play. There is a great song about “free-writing” that I had coincidentally just started to use in my own writing. I can only hope my results are as successful as theirs.