‘Next you’re Franklin Shepard Inc.?’ Composing the Broadway musical, a study of Kurt Weill’s working practices
AbstractThis article contextualizes the working processes of musical theatre composers, revealing their work to be profoundly immersed in collaborative practices. Several recent publications have destabilized the authority of the author figure, by addressing the practicalities of referring to Broadway musicals as the work of one or two creative figures: Dominic McHugh’s recent exploration of the work that post-World War II Broadway musical theatre composers do reveals a network of interactions between the composers and amanuenses, orchestrators, and vocal arrangers. Even within this framework Weill is seen to be unlike other Broadway composers, since he does much of this work himself. This article proposes that the term ‘Broadway composer’ is unhelpful in fully understanding what Weill and others like him actually do, beyond putting notes on a page. The article lays out Weill’s actual working practices; collaboration in proposing new projects, the pre-production and rehearsal process, utilizing music after publication across different mediums, and his careful management of his own public reputation. Having done this, it calls for McHugh’s paradigm to be extended much further in order to acknowledge what composition in Broadway musical theatre involves – writing Broadway musicals means necessarily being a composer-as-collaborator.
CitationWhitfield, S. (2016). ‘Next you’re Franklin Shepard Inc.?’ Composing the Broadway musical, a study of Kurt Weill’s working practices. Studies in Musical Theatre, 10 (2), pp 163-176.
JournalStudies in Musical Theatre
The following licence applies to the copyright and re-use of this item:
- Creative Commons
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/CC BY-NC-ND 4.0