Why Do We Need The Guild? | Speech

To protect and defend your copyright so the theater doesn’t become a work-for-hire arena where you get paid one sum for writing and then the producers own and profit from your material for as long as they want, as in the movies and television

To protect your copyright so nothing in your plays, musical books, lyrics, and music can ever be rewritten or cut, without your approval

To protect your copyright so you cannot be fired from your original project or replaced with another writer

To protect your copyright so no director or designer can claim or insist on the right of first refusal on future productions, without a contractual agreement from you

To protect your copyright so no director, actor, or dramaturg can ever claim part of your earnings or demand part of your subsidiary rights unless, and only for a Broadway production, you voluntarily agree that they were a co-author, that they were involved from the beginning, and have contributed something without which the piece would be unrecognizable

To certify your Broadway contracts and examine your LORT and off-Broadway contracts to make sure the producers are giving you your DGA negotiated royalties and your artistic approvals of director and cast, as well as the right to be at rehearsals.… Read the rest

Story Lecture

Wesleyan University 2006

Thank you for inviting me to give this lecture.  Because I have won prizes for writing plays, and teach the writing of plays, people always think I want to talk about the theatre, which I’m happy to do later on in the evening, if anyone has any questions.  But my subject tonight is stories, as you know from the poster.Read the rest

Craft Lecture

Southampton Writers Conference – July 2005

I am pleased to be asked to give a craft lecture, though truthfully, playwrights always feel a little odd in the company of poets and novelists and, you know, decent, honorable people.  Because writing plays and musicals and movies feels like a real low down life most of the time, though truly, I wouldn’t trade it. … Read the rest

Women Writing Plays

Women Writing Plays is the introduction to the book, Women Writing Plays, a collection of essays celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

n my lifetime, in America, women writing for the theater has gone from unheard of to nearly commonplace. Unfortunately, the production of plays by women has not made the same leap.… Read the rest

Notes on the Musical Book | A Page of Post-Its

Marsha is currently working on her book about the Musical Book.  These are quotes from some other book writers, and some from Marsha and some from Peter Stone and John Weidman.  Look at this page as a page of post-its. Many of these ideas are from, “Writing Musical Theater” by Allen Cohen and Steven Rosenhaus. 

Since musical theatre is about the expression and enhancement of emotion, it follows that stories that contain and evoke strong emotion, serious or humorous, are more suitable for musicalization than those that do not.… Read the rest

Throw Out The Lifeline | Speech

Keynote speech for the Kentucky Arts Council’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Conference –  CONNECTIONS IN THE ARTS
December 7, 1995

It is my very great pleasure to come give this address.  For it was this very organization, The Kentucky Arts Council,  that saved me, as a young Kentuckian, throwing out a veritable lifeline that would pull me forever into the safe harbor of the arts, keeping me away from the dangerous shoals of a career in advertising. Read the rest