The Musical Comedy Book

The following seminar transcript originally appeared in the winter 1989 issue of The Dramatists Guild Quarterly.

Illustration by Tom Funk
Composite of illustrations by Tom Funk for The Dramatists Guild Quarterly

We are going to discuss the musical book, breaking the study down into three parts. We are going to start with a history of the form itself. We are going to talk about some of the technical aspects of writing a book. We are going to examine the nature of collaboration; and then we’ll look at some of the problems the bookwriter faces when it comes time for production.

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Peter Stone
Peter Stone

(February 27, 1930 – April 26, 2003) was a playwright, screenwriter, and musical bookwriter winning the Oscar, Emmy, and two Tony Awards for his work. For the musical theatre, he wrote the book for Kean, Skyscraper, 1776, Two by Two, Sugar, Full Circle, Woman of the Year, My One and Only, The Will Rogers Follies, Titanic, Annie Get Your Gun (revised book), Curtains, and Death Takes a Holiday (with Thomas Meehan). For eighteen years, Stone served as the member-elected president of the Guild from 1981 to March 24, 1999. He resigned his presidency so a “new crew could take over.”