1. shakespear57
    Offline

    shakespear57 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Wagga Wagga NSW Australia

    Musical Script too Cliche?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by shakespear57, Feb 1, 2012.

    I have an idea for a play that i want to write, only i'm not sure if it's too cliche??
    Basically it's set in the 1800's and starts off at a party for the coming of age of Clarice, the daughter of a wealthy race-horse stud owner. At the party she dances with Roderick, the son of her father's friend, and both their dad's talk and say they should be married. Then Clarice sees one of the stablehands from her fathers stud and leaves Roderick so she can dance with him. At the end of the night, he tells her to wait for him the following evening, and she is ushered out of the room. Theygo for a walk the next night, and then when Clarice knows she is in love with him, her father tells her she will be married to Roderick. She flees to her room with her sister Chrisie, who is truly in love with Roderick, and tells her she will not marry him, she loves someone else.
    Act II starts with Clarice crying as Chrisie is doing her hair, dressed in her bridal finery. Then she is walking down the aisle to be married to Roderick. When they ask if anyone objects, Clarice throws down her flowers and tells him she cannot marry him. She runs off, leaving everyone else in shock. She goes to the man she loves and tells him that she loves him. He asks her to marry him. She says she will but now she has to go back and face the music. IN the end they get married.

    Basically three things I'm unsure about - first, is having Chrisie in love with Roderick too cliche?
    Second - I don't knwo what to happen in the middle sections of both acts ?
    Three - Does the fact that she runs to her love and he asks her to marry him sound too much like Phantom of the Opera????

    Any help would be aprreciated !!!!
     
  2. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    it's very, very cliche, sorry to say... and i don't see anything new and fresh enough there to make it a doable new version of the so often done basic plot, as a play...

    that said, if it's to be a musical, none of that will matter, if the songs and dance numbers lift it out of the realm of the trite into a timeless theatrical experience... just look to 'my fair lady' as only one example of how a much done theme can be turned into box office magic...

    in musicals, it's not the book that matters, it's the music, the sets, and the choreography...

    so, can you write songs that the audience will leave the theater humming and remember for decades?
     
  3. shakespear57
    Offline

    shakespear57 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Wagga Wagga NSW Australia
    thing is, i can get the ideas, and some of the lyrics, for some songs, but i cant get a decent tune for half of them and they lose the lyrics halfway through ... or keep them going too long ... ??
     
  4. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    I agree with maia. The only thing that matters is the quality of the songs and the performance.
    Otherwise, you can dress this theme into some new clothes and it might be perfectly ok. Like steampunk, it being quite Victorian, it would suit the story well but the crazy outfits and props would make it quite entertaining and new.
     
  5. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,680
    Likes Received:
    2,532
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    In musicals, cliche is often not only okay, it can be desirable.
     
  6. topeka sal
    Offline

    topeka sal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    6
    I agree with the others: your idea is cliche but in a musical cliche is not necessarily a problem.

    Some thoughts:

    Setting: You say it takes place "in the 1800s". Ok so far, but which part of the 1800s? and where? I see you're from Australia. Will it be set there? In that case (forgive me if my Australian history is faulty!), you'll need to think about what kinds of people and subcultures were there at the time. My understanding is that Australia was for a very long time a penal colony of England. Would any of your characters be convicted criminals sent into exile (or the child of criminals?). Maybe one of your characters (Rodrick? C's dad?) came to Aus. as a criminal but is covering up their background... trying to make a fresh start or be a "pillar of society"? Or whatever... this is just an illustration of how defining your setting will help you to define your characters and also perhaps some interesting plot or sub-plot points.

    Also related to setting: are there any background events (like war, or a big horse race) happening in which some of the characters are involved? Some research into regional history might help you to create a sense of place and time and also give your characters something other than the love story to think/sing about. What else is at stake for the characters? Are there consequences to their actions (or threatened consequences). These don't need to big or dire, esp. if this is to be a comedy, but they will help your story and give you many more ideas for songs and scenes.

    Characters: In a musical the characters don't need a lot of depth, but they do need to be engaging. So who are these folks? Is Rodrick a baddy? Who is the sister? Are Clarise and stud boy simply lovers or do they have other interests, etc. Give us a reason to care about them besides the fact that they love each other. Also, and this goes back to setting, ask yourself about the plausibility of their social relationships. For instance, assuming that the dad is a wealthy stud owner and a member of high society, why would a stagehand be present at his daughter's coming of age party? You may need to think of other ways for them to meet.

    As you define your setting and background you might also start to see your characters more clearly. Giving them a context, a world, things to do, perils, joys, will help you to understand who they are and why they deserve their own musical. :D

    About the songs: Are you a musician? If not, you may want to work on the songs with a composer or form a song-writing team. My advice would be to flesh out your story and song ideas before approaching a partner. You need to grab their interest.

    Good luck to you!
     
  7. SeverinR
    Offline

    SeverinR Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    New Madison Ohio
    First I will admit, I am not a musical genre person,
    But the few I have seen, the story line was cliche.
    But people go back to see the same musical over and over...and over... (and so on) again.

    The cast of the musical makes it unique. Much like a chorus. You almost never hear a lesser chorus sing original songs, but the chorus makes the entertainment.
    I assume the serial musical viewer must hear the difference in the songs, or maybe just likes hearing them.
     
  8. shakespear57
    Offline

    shakespear57 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Wagga Wagga NSW Australia
    so far its not been planned to be a comedy, but would that make it any less cliche?
     
  9. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    it's the songs that will make or break it, so if you're not musical and not a good enough lyricist to write truly brilliant lyrics, then you'll need to collaborate with both a professional quality lyricist and a composer and content yourself with writing the book...

    actually, if that very trite plot is not given a comic turn, it's much less likely to succeed...
     

Share This Page