Writing Music for Musical Theatre (Spring 2021)

05/05/2021 - 06/16/2021




  • $299.00  -  General
  • $249.00  -  New Student




Sessions: 7 Wednesdays
Session Dates: May 5, 12, 19, 26
June 2, 9, 16
Session Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm Central Time
Early Bird Discount Codes are not applicable for this course. Network and Membership Discounts still apply.


Writing Music for Musical Theatre (Spring 2021)

May 5 - Jun. 16
6:00pm - 9:00pm Central Time

Instructor: Diana Lawrence

This 7-week course offers composers and songwriters an exploration of the craft of composition for musical theatre. Participants will gain creative and structural tools for dramatic songwriting by both studying existing work and developing work of their own.

Appropriate for songwriters and composers at all career stages, each class session includes a balance of new course content presented by the instructor, and the chance for writers to present their own work. While weekly assignments will focus on the creation of new music, the class will also give participants the opportunity to share work from existing projects and present revisions of previous work for response.

Experienced writers gain new tools to sharpen their compositional voices, while newcomers explore foundational concepts that allow their voices to start singing. All writers will be encouraged to take bold musical risks, and a supportive and communal class environment will allow them to do so while receiving productive feedback. The all-important weekly deadline to present work inspires productivity in everyone.

Notes on Proficiency and Previous Experience:

Participants will gain the most from this class if they have the tools to write both melody and accompaniment for songs. If a participant has only written melodies in the past, it is recommended that they use this class to experiment with an accompaniment instrument (piano, guitar, GarageBand or other music production software, etc) and/or work with a collaborating composer that can support the participant’s melodic writing.

Additionally, while lyric-writing is not the focus of this class, composers who do not identify as lyricists will gain the most from this class if they are willing to experiment with lyric-writing (in a judgment-free zone!) and/or work with a collaborating lyricist.


Songwriter, performer, music director and composer Diana Lawrence makes a habit of the unexpected, working across genres and disciplines to create unique musical points of view. Diana was commissioned to write original music for Steppenwolf Theatre’s 2016 premiere of Tracy Lett’s Mary Page Marlowe, and for 2019/20, commissions come from Chicago Tap Theatre and North Shore Choral Society. Her musical, Mill Girls, was granted a 2018/19 Incubator workshop at the O’Neill Theatre Center. Diana & the Dishes, her original music project, has shared the stage with artists such as Nellie McKay and Becca Stevens, and the band’s recent releases were produced by Rob Kleiner (Sia, Andra Day). As a music director, pianist and improviser, Diana has worked with The Second City, the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and the Uptown Poetry Slam, one of the premiere spoken-word events in the country. She is a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, and has taught conposition and songwriting at The Second City Training Center and through Storycatchers Theatre, a company that collaborates with incarcerated youth to create original musical theatre.

20% Early Bird Registration Discount Available when students register by March 31, 2021

Classes will be held via Zoom. Instructors will send out Zoom invites one day before class begins. We encourage students to setup a Zoom account for themselves before class if they have not already to ensure when class begins you are able to jump straight into the art!

Sessions/Weekday 7 Wednesdays
Session Dates

May 5, 12, 19, 26
June 2, 9, 16

Time 6:00pm - 9:00pm Central Time

This class is ideal for students with experience ranging from beginner to advanced.