Submissions and Rewrites

Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been bombarded on both sides of the theatre industry–acting and writing.


It’s prime audition season at the moment which means I have no life, BUT there are a number of Musical Theatre Festival submissions that are due within the month, which to me is almost worse than hitting up 5 auditions in multiple states, on the same day (which I have done).

I went to an open mic the other night and saw my friend Kit (another composer/librettist).  She was lamenting the same thing.  Essentially every Musical Theatre Festival wants the same thing, but their applications are different enough that you spend hours tweaking each answer to essentially fit the same question.


Kit mentioned a fantastic idea and I don’t know why it hasn’t been implemented.  There should be a common application for Musical Theatre Festivals.  Why not? We have one for college.

Something to ponder oh Theatre Gods of the Universe…

Then there’s the actual uploading process that you fret and stress over.

“Why is it not loading?!”
“OMG this needs to be submitted within the next 10 minutes and MY COMPUTER SCREEN IS FROZEN!!”


There’s also the usual screams, cursing, and exclamations that my family is subjected to.

Me: “bleep. Bleep! BLEEP! AHH!!”
Dad: “Honey, are you ok? Can I help you with anything?”
Me: “This stupid, bleeping, file won’t merge with this other stupid, bleeping file to make one bleeping file!! UGH! But, thanks for asking, Dad. Unfortunately you can’t help.”

Eventually there are tears, hair pulling, and finally a sigh of relief when that confirmation e-mail pops up in your inbox.

Then it’s on to the next one!

The rewriting process is somewhat entertaining, albeit just as much work.  We’ve been getting questions about how we write and rewrite lately.  They’re usually done in the same way, although a little differently depending on the mood we’re in.  If we’re working on music or lyrics we’re usually in the studio, by the piano.  If we’re working on the book, we work in one of two ways.

1. We’re in the same room. (usually mine because I have my desk and a comfy chair for the bro to sit on–even though Robby keeps trying to get me to work in his room, but his chairs are horribly uncomfortable and he knows it.  He tries to make them seem better than they are by adding a red pillow on them.  Lies.  They’re rickety and old.  I DON’T GIVE IN.)

Right, this would seem like the best way to work on a script together right?  Normally, it’s fine, but we are siblings and sometimes we annoy the bejeezes out of each other and don’t want to be on the same continent let alone in the same room.  This is where method #2 comes in.

2. We work in separate rooms and communicate via….ready for this?….AIM.  Remember AIM? AOL instant messenger.  Yep. that’s right.  We’ll read through the script and discuss any comments or suggestions through AIM.  Hey, everyone needs a break from each other every once and a while.

As difficult as rewrites can be, they’re also a lot of fun.  You come up with horrible lines that cause you to laugh uncontrollably.  For instance, I wanted to include a line about how Loretta was so good at being “a radio star”.  We immediately burst out with “Video killed the radio star!” and laughed for a good 5 min.  Needless to say, that line was not added to the script.

( ^ Now you all must listen to it because I’ve had it stuck in my head for days)

Those sorts of things happen throughout the writing process.  You come up with the cheesiest, most outlandish material and don’t realize how horrible it is until you say it to someone else.  I think the most infamous one to date was a line I wanted to add (trust me, Robby comes up with doozies as well, I just can’t seem to remember them at the moment!) in “In New York”.  The song is about Jack and Loretta arriving in NYC for the first time and all the cliché horrible things that NY is known for.  Somehow I thought a line about “leaping rats” would be genius; that is, until I said it out loud and we both couldn’t stop laughing for a good 15 min.  There was something about a “furry” animal as well, but I can’t remember what animal it was.

These are the things our minds come up with as we’re writing.  I think it’s normal (or at least I hope it is) because it allows us to get to the good stuff.  As stressful and tiring as writing and rewriting is, it’s also a ton of fun (as evidenced by the leaping rats).  Believe it or not, writing with my brother is kinda cool (even if I do want to throw the occasional water bottle at his head).  That’s why we end up laughing half the time.  We’re not afraid to say, “That’s ridiculous.  Did you just hear yourself?” and then realize the other was completely right and start into hysterics.  It’s times like that which keep me going and remind me why I started this blog.  To remember the fun parts.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress of the moment and the next deadline, but those crazy writing moments are small reminders to enjoy it now because one day, I’ll look back and wish I could relive writing about those leaping rats and radio stars all over again.



  1. […] scene or what we want to accomplish.  Then we either sit near one another or in separate rooms and commune via AIM.  We both start writing the scene.  Half way through we ask one another, “Do you have […]

  2. […] scene or what we want to accomplish.  Then we either sit near one another or in separate rooms and commune via AIM.  We both start writing the scene.  Half way through we ask one another, “Do you have […]

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