So what next?

As I write on and on, the book is shaping up nicely. It will definitely need a rewrite when it’s all there, but that is expected. It will get a lot of rewrites before it’s done. What is firming up nicely is the structure of the story and opportunities for the characters to interact. I’ve been working on the opening of act two after Lincoln has run off and his encounter with George, the Abe Lincoln impersonator from act one. George has a tragic backstory, and Lincoln can empathize. It ends up as a lesson in dealing with grief, something that I have spent a lot of time dealing with myself. It also gave birth to more lyrics for a song called “Broken.”

When I close my eyes, I see our daughter dance again

And in my dreams, her smile and yours are just the same

When I reach out to you and take your hands in mine

And I feel the joy in calling out your names

I don’t want to see the morning. I just want to stay asleep

For in my dreams, you’re here with me, and I can feel complete

I can feel your heartbeat, smell your hair, and throw my child up in the air

And we can fly together through the clouds and live the lives without a care

And get as close to heaven chasing rainbows if we dare

But then I found

you never came down.

How do you just go on and on when you’ve been broken

How do you rise up every day when there’s no reason

How can you sing your song when no words can be spoken

Why should you celebrate the turning of the seasons

How do you just go on and on when you’ve been broken

How do you rise up every day when there’s no reason

How do you keep the dream alive with your eyes open

How can I stand up when all I feel is beaten

What is most evident to me is that although I can write a decent melody, they all start sounding alike after afterwhile. Even more evident to me is that I have no formal training in music. Despite 47 years as a musician and churning out original tunes, I have no clue as to orchestration other than noodling around on a keyboard and a workstation until something sounds decent enough. Welcome to playing by ear. That’s not a good way to write a musical. I can’t even do lead sheets for singers, much less scores.

So the next step for me is to find a composer/arranger/orchestrator to partner with to not only get fresh ideas for melodies on a lot of these tunes but also to handle incidental music, scoring for both the onstage brass band and piano, and the potential and optional pit orchestra as well. This is an almost never-ending job until the play is ready for opening, as every modification to the book or substitution of a song that just isn’t working gets cut or replaced, every vocal that needs to be transposed for that actor’s range, etc., means more modifications.

This is a partnership kind of thing. This will be the other name on the creator credits. This is someone to come in as an equal. For me, that is scary. I am an INFP. This stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving, personality. I can get on stage and make a theater laugh, but I can’t stand in a room of people and make small talk. I can write and think deep philosophical arguments, but I’ll blather on like an idiot in spur-of-the-moment encounters. I’m very emotional, which is evident in my plots, and sensitive. I’m also an egalitarian humanist and always look for deep, authentic relationships and advocate for them, sometimes to the detriment of my own well-being. That introvert part is strong. I need a lot of alone time. I’m not a happy boy when stressed, but I’m reasonable when given the time to unwind a bit.

This may or may not make me a great business partner, depending on their personality. It’s not to be taken lightly, and I certainly don’t. I’m making myself vulnerable, and as an introvert who wants to make everyone around me happy, that’s a lot to open up to. But I will. I need to. For the play, and for my own good, I need to find someone to trust, who sees this story, this idea, as worth their time and effort. That’s a lot to ask of them as well. So that’s settled. The next step for me could take a while, but the search is on for a collaborator with musical theater scoring training to handle the majority of the music. Wish me luck.

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