"Casting" Songwriters

edited May 2016 in Theater
Here's a question that I've been pondering.

When writing a musical, how do the director and producer decide which songwriters are right for the show? Do they need to audition for them, or do they simply approach them with a pitch for the show, and see what they think of it?


  • Since so many projects are self-started by writers these days, I don't know if writers are "cast" anymore lately. But I can think of two examples from years past--

    1) Jerry Herman had to audition four songs (which he wrote in one weekend) for David Merrick in order to get HELLO, DOLLY!, because after his "Israeli operetta", MILK AND HONEY, Merrick did not know if Herman was "American" enough for such a nostalgic piece.

    2) Ahrens and Flaherty participated in a contest involving many other songwriters and teams who had to submit four "spec" songs for RAGTIME. They won over the other writers. That was sort of unheard of twenty years ago, but the show's producer, Garth Drabinsky, did a lot of unheard of things. (Some uncouth things, may I add.) It might be more common after his started the ball rolling, though.

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