How to Collaborate in a Collaborative Art

by Betty Comden

This article originally appeared in the Winter 1979 issue of The Dramatists Guild Quarterly.

Photo collage depicting collaboration

If you will kindly sit at these four knees, I will try to tell you something about collaboration. These four knees are composed of my own two, plus the pair belonging to my partner Adolph Green, without whose knees I haven’t done much writing to speak of. His are usually facing mine across whatever relatively empty room we happen to be working in. In our respective homes in New York we each have a work room, and that is where most of this happens.

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Betty Comden
Betty Comden

(1917-2006) was one-half of the musical-comedy duo Comden and Green, who provided lyrics, libretti, and screenplays to some of the most beloved and successful Hollywood musicals and Broadway shows of the mid-20th century. She and Adolph Green wrote On The Town, Bells Are Ringing, Singin’ in the Rain, Hallelujah, Baby!Applause, On the Twentieth Century, and The Will Rogers Follies, to name a few. She served on the Council of the Dramatists Guild from 1949 to 2006.