Or, how I may have inadvertently started a mini online musical theatre writing revolution...
by Amanda Louise Miller, Frequent Facebooker
About a week ago, a friend sent me some info about a contest being held by the creative team responsible for the "Team Starkid" YouTube videos. (If you have never heard of Starkid, I strongly suggest you check out one of their original endeavors, A Very Potter Musical, here.) Starkid announced that they would be presenting a reading of a brand new show, "A Very Potter Senior Year" at LeakyCon next month, and--gasp!--that they would be including fan submissions for songs, set drawings, and costume renderings.
The prize for those whose submissions are chosen: a front row seat at the reading.
Hear that? That's the sound of StarKid fangirls the world over losing their shit at this announcement. ;)
Starkid's brand of cheeky satire falls right in my wheelhouse, so I sent off a couple of song submissions for the heck of it (still no word on who the winners are), but what has struck me the most aboutt his contest -- more than any prize or recognition I could win -- is the instant and global creative community that immediately sprang up around the contest event Facebook page.
Suddenly, thanks to this one upcoming reading, people of all ages from all over the world have been writing music, sharing that music with their peers, and communicating about what they created, supporting and critiquing each other in a supportive online community unlike anything I have ever seen.
Even more exciting: most of the songwriters and composers involved in the online discussion were girls, at something like a 5:1 girl:boy ratio.
However, in the world of musical theatre songwriting… it kind of is.
- Fact: At the 2012 Tonys, NONE of the nominated composers, lyricists, or bookwriters were female.
- Fact: At the recent Cutting Edge Composer Concert at NYMF, male composers/lyricists outnumbered females 14 to 4.
- Fact: In the Full Productions presented at NYMF this month, the male to female composer/lyricist/bookwriter ratio was approximately 3:1.
- Fact: In my music composition organization at OCU, guys outnumber girls at least 4 to 1.
But is it really possible that the answer to the question, “how can we get more women to forge ahead in the world of music theatre writing is: “bribe them with cute boys!” ???
The “I am woman hear me roar” feminist in me refuses to believe that completely…. but she is more than willing to capitalize on those cute boys to try and keep these girls writing and creating and collaborating.
Thus, “The YouTubeSical Experiment” has been born. (You can find it on Facebook HERE.) A combination of my passions for musical theatre, education, and online learning, it’s open to anyone – boys, girls, kids, adults – with an interest in collaborating online to write original musical theatre. As I am writing this blog post, the Facebook group has been in existence for less than 24 hours and already has 32 members, many of whom are already planning and collaborating on their first online musical. I am not sure what – if anything – will become of the group, but I’m planning a couple of projects for this next school year, and I’m extremely excited to see what this girl-heavy community can create. The more creative brains the better, even if we have to bribe the brains with boys to bring them to the table! :)
AMANDA LOUISE MILLER is studying music composition at Oklahoma City University, and is, as of yesterday, the administrator of The YouTubeSical Experiment
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