Your New Musical: Why This? Why Now?

The creators of Book of Mormon on Broadway nailed the "Why this? Why now?" equation.

The festival of new musicals wrapped up last weekend at Village Theatre and I’m pleased to report it was a huge success! Village’s Executive Producer, Robb Hunt, and I took a moment to sit down over drinks to discuss where we envision each of the new musicals going in the future.

I can say without hesitation that all the festival shows were great. That’s a given. But just having a good or even great show doesn’t mean it will take off. Instead, we were looking at the musicals in the simple yet profound context of “Why this? Why now?” These are classic questions that writers and producers must ask as they embark on any new musical project.

Whether your musical is traditional or avant garde. Highly commercial or in an edgy niche. Referencing current pop culture or bucking musical theater trends. Your musical must have an intention and a solid reason for why this particular story need to be told in a musical way and why contemporary audiences will care. In other words: Why this? Why now?

Perhaps your musical addresses something universal that speaks to audiences today.

Perhaps it addresses a key piece of history that needs to be told in a musical way.

Perhaps it makes a statement or plays into current events, musical styles, or contemporary themes.

And I could go on. There are a lot of possible answers to the Why this? Why now? question. Think about the musicals you know that are successful right now and odds are you can come up with more than one of great answer for any given show – and so can that shows’ writers and producers. But, of course, the first musical you should apply these questions to is… your own.

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