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Presented by the Dramtatists Guild Institute

Writing Plays with Music

Schedule: Saturdays

Class will be held on the following dates:
March 11, 18, 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, May 13, 20

Early Bird: $400 | Regular: $450

Maximum students: 10

Specialty Workshop: 3 credits

Early Bird Registration Begins Feb. 2

Regular Registration Begins Feb. 9

Music is one of the most powerful tools available to dramatic writers. As Tom Stoppard said, “It raises the ante emotionally to have music of any kind worked into a play deliberately. I always feel as if I’m getting a free ride.” Playwrights can leverage the power of music by using songs and other musical elements to heighten key moments and create direct emotional communication with the audience in their dramatic works.


In this course, we’ll examine how music within dramatic works (not musicals) facilitates transformations within characters and relationships and raises the dramatic and emotional stakes of scenes. We’ll also explore some dramatic works that are best described as Plays with Music: music-infused dramas, distinct from musical theatre works.

We’ll look at examples from plays by Isaac Gomez, Idris Goodwin, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Moises Kaufman, Tony Kushner, Young Jean Lee, Warren Leight, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Ntozake Shange, Suzan-Lori Parks, August Wilson, and Lauren Yee.

Jessica Lit, the Dramatists Guild’s Director of Business Affairs office, will also share information about the licensing of music for use in non-musical plays.


Participants will share their own work in class in the way that is most valuable for them, either by presenting excerpts from their works-in-progress or by completing experiments with exercises and prompts based on the course materials.

Cheryl has been a guest artist instructor for

The Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive

The program consists of rigorous writing workshops and discussions of the art, craft, and business of playwriting led by Gary Garrison with a wide range of distinguished guest artists. 

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