A Two-Day Intensive for Composers, Lyricists, Playwrights, Poets and Singer-Actors


If you're in the middle of writing a new musical or just considering stepping off into the deep end of this original American art form, the waiting and uncertainty can be agonizing. Sometimes it seems as though the readings and workshops could go on forever and still you might not feel satisfied that your show is ready. And as if that weren't hard enough, for some reason, when it comes to writing musicals, the field is littered with a thousand self-proclaimed experts ready and eager to tell you every little thing you and your team have done wrong. Every time they hear it.

But here's the thing. No one is an expert on your musical but you. And so the trick to cracking this nut lies in arming yourself with an honest understanding of the laws of music and the laws of theatre so that you can harness their full potential in support of that unique story you are telling. 

Whether you're a composer, a lyricist, or a playwright, if you're working on a new musical, you must not go it alone. The people you choose to collaborate with will determine whether your show takes flight or dies a slow death by committee. Most playwrights intuit the laws of dramatic structure. And by the same token, most composers naturally breathe music -- in and out, phrase by phrase. But the best book writers and lyricists also love music and want to play in its world just as the genius composers of opera and musicals know they need to pay close attention to character development and dramatic through-line. Only then, with equal parts awe, admiration, humility and respect are they able to get out of each other's way and let the story be told boldly and with clarity. No small gorgeous detail of artistry worth dying for. No sacred cows. Everything up for discussion and review.

Roland Tec's unique approach grew out of the 12 years during which he served as Artistic Director of Boston's New Opera Theatre Ensemble. Over the years, the company researched, developed, built and mounted original music-theatre performed in a host of unlikely venues, among them the stacks of the Boston Public Library, the Danco Furniture Showroom and the Charles Hayden Planetarium. Always at the core of NOTE's work was a commitment to make opera accessible to those with little or no prior exposure to opera or even live theatre.

Arm yourself with a healthy awareness of what happens when words and music are married and you'll be able to meet any challenge of the music-theatre collaboration with full confidence and openness.

Roland brought a fresh new energy to Moab Folk Camp. His Vocal Play class was different from anything else we had every offered - and his students loved it. He also brought that same energy to the camp. Roland’s wide open generosity of spirit, his sense of creativity and play, and his humor were a wonderful addition to the community.
— Cosy Sheridan, Founder & Director, Moab Folk Camp
With MTAP in Pittsburgh, Roland walked into a room of over thirty people, only one or two of whom he’d ever met before, and immediately prepared and energized everyone—composers, lyricists and singers—for what was going to be a long day. But what a day. It was filled with experimentation, risk-taking, and trust, a brand-new kind of collaboration for most of us: learning to give ground to another artist, push to the front occasionally, get specific even when you’re way out of your comfort zone. The teams of artists brought back work to the larger group that ranged from fragmentary to almost brilliant and Roland embraced it all, including mess-ups of all sorts because it’s simply part of what we’re trying to do, which is write better songs. From our greenest novice, still in high school, to our Broadway diva and most experienced sidemen, we were all a little wonder-struck that we had done so much, so fast, and so satisfyingly.
— Jeanne Drennan, playwright, lyricist, librettist, Musical Theatre Artists of Pittsburgh
The Tec Music-Theatre Challenge on March 25th was a huge success. We had attendance of 35 people including 19 songwriters, 13 singers, 1 pianist, 1 auditor and the out-of-town workshop leader Roland Tec. This workshop, sponsored by MTAP, for Pittsburgh composers, lyricists, bookwriters, and librettists was the first of its kind in this city - and we hope it will be the first of future opportunities like it.
— Stephanie Riso, Composer, Musical Theatre Artists of Pittsburgh