Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I started writing Meanwhile, Back at the Castle after I saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat the first time. That was almost 30 years ago (I am so dating myself). I wanted to write a sung-through musical based on a story that was familiar to most people. What show is more familiar than Cinderella? Not many.

So, I started writing a sung-through musical about Cinderella. And it was horrible. I still have that first draft, and it makes me laugh, and cringe. Going through rewrites, I realized that I really enjoy writing dialogue. I threw out the idea of making it sung-through, and as I started writing scenes with dialogue, I began to like what I had. I wrote songs, and I threw songs out. I created characters, and I threw characters out. I wrote scenes and I took scenes out. I even changed the title a few times.

The show that exists now has pretty much no resemblance to that first draft. Thank heavens! However, there is one song that remains from that draft. It is one of my favorite songs, and is an audience favorite. I could never take it out of the show now, no matter how many more small rewrites it goes through.

A great show is not written, it's rewritten. No first draft is perfect. (The same is true for novels.) One of the hardest things is knowing what to keep and what to change. It's important to find someone whose opinion you trust to read your script and give you feedback. You don't have to take all of their suggestions, but it's good to have fresh eyes look at it for you. It's also a good idea to put the script away for a period of time (I would say for at least a month), and when you come back to it you can look at it with fresher eyes.

Writing is a very personal thing, but your final goal is to share it with as many people as you can. You want that final product to be the best it can be, so the best thing to do is rewrite.

Friday, February 10, 2012


The plot of Meanwhile, Back at the Castle is very simple.

In this retelling of the classic Cinderella story, Emma is infatuated with Nick Sheridan, a popular movie star. When she learns that she has an opportunity to meet Nick in person, Emma is so caught up in the moment that she faints.

Emma awakes to find herself in a strange world where everyone calls her Cinderella and where it is not uncommon for everyone to break out into song and dance.

In her musical fantasy, Emma discovers that her father’s fiancee is Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and Prince Charming is none other than her handsome crush, Nick Sheridan.

Having finally met the man of her dreams, Emma decides to play along, knowing that Cinderella will live happy ever after – or will she?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I watched the pilot of Smash on Monday, and two things happened. First, it made me want to see Meanwhile, Back at the Castle produced again (and someday a production on Broadway), and second, it made me want to write another musical. 

I hope that Smash is a smash, and that it inspires would-be writers, composers, actors, dancers, and directors. But then that would mean more competition for me, so...

No, I hope it inspires performing artists everywhere. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Changes for the Better

I can't believe how much my musical has changed since that first production. I totally believe the person who said, "An artist doesn't finish a work, he merely abandons it." Each subsequent production has had major changes to scenes, songs (much to the chagrin of my arrangers), and some characters. And I have made changes since the last production. I believe the changes have made the musical better. I won't be able to know for sure until the next production, and I'll be working on that soon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Musings of a Playwright

This year marks the 10th annversary of the first community theatre production of my musical, Meanwhile, Back at the Castle. The production was produced by Wasatch Theatre Company.

I was excited to see the musical that I had worked on for so many years finally on the stage. It was not a perfect production. It was performed in the fellowship hall of a Presbyterian church, the set was minimal, and we had just a piano for accompaniment. But the actors were enthusiastic, the costumes were wonderful, and the production was sold out almost every night. It was a joy to see it each night, to hear my words spoken and my songs sung by actors.

Since that first production, Meanwhile, Back at the Castle has been produced two additional times, once again at Wasatch Theatre Company, and almost four years ago at Draper Historic Theatre. I hope to see it produced many more times, and, like a true playwright, I hope to one day see it produced in New York City, even Broadway, or London on the West End.

In this blog I will document my experiences in writing and productions of Meanwhile, Back at the Castle.