This Broadway Song-Writing Duo Scores Big With ‘The Prom’

In 2010, Broadway producer and Encores! Artistic Director Jack Viertel had a concept for a musical. What if 4 narcissistic New York actors descend upon a small Indiana city to assist a 17-12 months-vintage lesbian excessive school pupil who’s averted from taking her lady friend to the prom? The diva performers, who suppose they know the entirety, are satisfied that their desirable deed will rate splendid pr and salvage their fledgling careers. But rather than assisting, the actors greater or much less make a debacle of the whole lot.


At the time, Viertel became running with prolific director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw (Mean Girls, Disney’s Aladdin, Elf, The Book of Mormon, The Drowsy Chaperone) on a few projects. So he pitched his idea to Nicholaw, who fell in love with the possibility of this worlds-colliding show. “I stated, ‘I’m in!’ remembers Nicholaw. “I noticed the capacity of these two one-of-a-kind worlds and how cool and funny the situations could be.”

But the show turned into now not most effective rife with comedic opportunities. Inspired from several stories of equal-intercourse couples barred from going to their proms, Nicholaw noticed how the musical might be packed with emotion and humanity. Viertel and Nicholaw also knew the right songwriting crew who may want to bring the proper blend of coronary heart and humor into the songs: Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin.

Rewind to the Nineties. Beguelin, a hopeful writer who was mentored at New York University employing playwriting titan Doug Wright, despatched his script to Andrew Barrett. Back then, Barrett was the literary supervisor of the musical incubator Musical Theater Works. Although he was rejected, Beguelin changed into unstoppable. “I become genuinely determined to end up a creator. So I wrote him lower back and asked, ‘Can I take you to lunch and get a few notes on my script?’” By the time they met, Barrett had said, ‘I re-read your stuff and definitely find it irresistible. But you want a collaborator.’”

Meanwhile, Matthew Sklar, a virtuoso musician who bought his first song to The Mickey Mouse Club whilst he changed into 14-years-antique, turned into song directing an NYU manufacturing of Godspell. Barrett approached Sklar after the performance pronouncing, “I honestly like what you did. Do you write musicals?” Sklar’s reply? “I’m dying to, but I actually have no one to write with me.” So Barrett had the perfect answer.

Beguelin and Sklar had their first assembly because they shuttered Astor Riviera Cafe throughout from the Public Theater. They sensed an instant bond and creative connection. “I do not forget being straight away cozy talking to Chad,” says Sklar. “And we had been each famished to jot down.” They also had comparable tastes in track and theater. “I thought Matt’s track was beautiful and splendid. We also have such similar personalities,” provides Beguelin.

They estimate that over the last twenty-5 years, they’ve, in all likelihood, fought a total of two instances. “And via combat, I suggest I get quiet, and Matt asks, ‘What’s wrong?’” stocks Beguelin. “We have each been through enough remedy that we will have creative conversations and even battle without taking it, in my view.”

Not best had been they hungry, Musical Theater Works had an to be had the slot to place on a musical in 3 months. Suddenly they had been musical theater writers with manufacturing in New York City. “It all passed off very speedy,” says Sklar in their Oedipus-inspired Wicked City, which befell within the 1940s. “We had no concept that you are not imagined to write a musical in 3 months. But we did it due to the fact we didn’t realize any higher.” That first guerrilla-writing enjoy changed into value for the duo. They noticed that they could create fast and harmoniously.

In the twenty-five years, the initial Astor Riviera Cafe meeting, Sklar and Beguelin have written several Broadway musicals such as Elf and The Wedding Singer. ( Separately, Beguelin wrote the e-book and co-wrote lyrics to Disney’s Aladdin.) They obtained numerous awards like the ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons and the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Awards. Aside from Broadway, their shows were produced around the globe, from Japan to Australia to Sweden to Argentina. Between them, they had been nominated for 8 Tony Awards, five Drama Desk Awards, and one Emmy.

So returned to Viertel and Nicholaw. When they decided to move forward with the musical referred to as The Prom, Viertel counseled that they convey on the house run crew who worked with Nicholaw on Elf: Chad Beguelin, Matthew Sklar, and book author Bob Martin. Nicholaw didn’t hesitate. “My answer became ‘Yes!’” Shares Nicholaw. “And they got it written pretty quick.

Jaclyn H. Dempsey
Jaclyn H. Dempsey
I’ve worked in education since my first year of college when I tutored students in Spanish. Since then, I’ve helped students prepare for standardized tests, master algebraic equations, and write poetry essays. I am an adjunct instructor at NYU’s Center for Continuing Education. In my spare time, I write a series of educational posts about teaching, study methods, and life skills on my blog, Check out my blog if you’re looking for tips and tricks to improve your study or classroom performance.

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