Looking for an idea? Look, look, look to your childhood.
While the making of a musical from an idea is a tricky, tricky thing, I often find that most unsuccessful musicals go wrong much earlier than the actual execution. It’s the idea that often wasn’t meant to be musicalized.
I’m sure you can name a dozen or so titles that you knew weren’t going to work the moment you heard what they were about or what they were based on, right?
Why sure, every story can be made into a musical.
But not every story can be made into a successful musical.
Most producers I know are constantly looking for ideas for new musicals . . . They scour movie listings, Barnes & Noble bookstores (if there are any left), in between their seat cushions . . . hoping to find something that can make the leap onto the musical stage.
So if you’re looking for a new idea, here’s a trick that I’ve used a few times, and that I know others have as well. Think back to when you were growing up. What books, movies, musical artists, poems, fairy tales, limericks, etc. did you enjoy . . . that you still think about today? What stories stuck with you? What music stuck with you? What captured your imagination then, that still captures your imagination now?
Anything that can have an affect on you over several years, at different levels of maturity, is probably a super strong concept that affected others as well. And if it captured the imagination of a young person, it probably has just that right amount of fantasy or “special something” that is required for a successful musical.
Don’t buy this concept? Just look at the passionate responses to the Sunday Giveaway we did a few weeks ago about stories we ran into as kids, that we’d love to see done as shows today.
Craig Carnelia wrote a song called “The Kid Inside” Is There Life After High School. The musical didn’t work, unfortunately, but the song was dead on.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.