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Creating the Musical

Students in the Creating the Musical Module will explore the arts of book writing, lyric writing and composition, while also cultivating an understanding of what constitutes effective and healthy collaboration in Music Theatre. Offered in collaboration with The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP), the Creating the Musical Module is designed to maximize the opportunity for the highest caliber of Music Theatre writers to offer mentorship, master classes and course work to the module’s students. Northwestern already offers an unprecedented variety of extra-curricular writing opportunities (Mee-Ow, The Waa-Mu Show and the Johnny Mercer Workshop); this module advances knowledge and practice of the Music Theatre writing craft through focused curricular opportunities. These include courses in Music Theatre book and collaborative writing, musicianship, composition, music direction, lyric writing, theatre orchestration, and song styles and genres.  The module also offers a wide variety of co-curricular opportunities. AMTP will construct master classes, seminars, focus discussions, and mentoring experiences, as part of the professional artists’ participation at Northwestern while producing a workshop, reading or production of their new musical work. Students will be encouraged to observe or participate in the creative process, as world class professional composers, lyricists, book writers, directors and music directors are in residence at Northwestern. AMTP annually brings fifteen to twenty international artists to the university and will encourage unprecedented access for our students to engage with them. The module also offers extensive practicum opportunities on musical productions both at the university and beyond.

Sponsoring Department: Theatre

Module Coordinator: David Bell

Instructional Committee:  Masi Asare,  Ryan S. Cunningham, Ryan T. Nelson,

Module Advisor: John Haas

Learning Objectives

  • Offer a working knowledge of the history and practice of book writing, lyric writing and composition
  • Provide the opportunity for an in-depth exploration of at least one of the components of Music Theatre creation – composing; lyric writing; book writing and music direction
  • Create a practical collaboration with at least two students to better understand the strategies of effective collaboration
  • Offer experience that re-creates the process and product of creating a new musical theatre piece, from “pitch” to an “opening” in front of an audience – mentored by theatre professionals and produced by AMTP