John Coyne


Original document was submitted as an honors thesis requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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Good musical theatre writing is generally assessed by how intentional it is in telling its story. Since it is a very difficult thing to tell a story using music, writers must exercise extreme caution in allowing a story to unfold in an effective, economic way. Recently, there has been a trend in theatre for projects to be developed in a way that utilizes less time of writers sitting alone in a room, and more of material being developed on its feet. Devised theatre, as it is often called, is anathema to the traditional practices of musical theatre writing. The results of this project, the music and lyrics for a modern adaptation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata, shed light on musical theatre writing and its relationship to collaboration. Though the songs that were generated as a result of Lysistrata were often fraught with errors in terms of structure, rhyme, and meter, the artistic ambition contained in the songs was at least slightly commendable. If devising has a place in musical theatre writing, it is as a method of generating new material, not as a way of refining material with high standards.