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Writing for musical theatre: A workshop with two Off-Broadway pros

By Katy Yocom, Associate Director, Spalding low-residency MFA

An award-winning Off-Broadway musical-theatre team is taking their collaboration into the Spalding MFA classroom this spring to offer a workshop in writing for musical theatre.

Michael and Charlie

Spalding MFA faculty member Charlie Schulman and guest faculty Michael Roberts pair up to co-teach the workshop, which focuses on book and lyrics and is open to Spalding MFA students in any genre. The workshop takes place during the MFA program’s spring residency, May 25-June 3 in Louisville.

Limited to 10 students, this generative workshop explores the techniques, structure, and styles of writing book/libretto and lyrics for musical theater. Students will collaborate or work solo on book/libretto and lyrics to write and revise scenes and songs for an original musical. In addition, songs and scenes from several well-known musicals will be analyzed. Students from any genre are welcome, and no musical skills are required.

The application deadline for the MFA program’s spring semester is February 1. Prospective students may email with questions or to request a code to waive the $30 application fee.

Michael Roberts received his Masters in Music Composition from Indiana University.  His

works for the theater include GOLF: THE MUSICAL, THE FARTISTE, GREED, and THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, which have been performed throughout the United States and in eight countries on four continents. He is the winner of two ASCAP Plus Awards for lyrics/composing and (with Charlie) the prize for Best Musical at the New York International Fringe Festival. He was also a Broadway World Award nominee. Recent projects include the upcoming Broadway musical PRINCE OF BROADWAY as well as GOLDSTEIN, a new Off-Broadway musical with Charlie. Michael’s composing work for the screen includes AMC’s Emmy-winning sitcom REMEMBER WENN and The Sony/Tri-Star film LOVE WALKED IN, starring Denis Leary.

Charlie Schulman teaches playwriting and screenwriting at New York University’s Tisch School of The Arts and for the Spalding MFA program. With Michael, Charlie produced and co-authored THE FARTISTE (Best Musical NYC/International Fringe), which was based on Charlie’s screenplay of the same name and ran Off-Broadway. Charlie recently performed his one-man quick-change show NATURAL HISTORY X, which is part of his new play A FUNNY PLAY (FOR TROUBLED TIMES). This spring, he also is producing and co-authoring the musical GOLDSTEIN, based on his play THE KITCHEN, which was presented at The National Playwrights Conference at The Eugene O’Neill Center. For more info, go to

Katy Head Shot 2015

Katy Yocom’s fiction, poetry, essays, and journalism have appeared in Salon, The Louisville Review, 2nd & Church, and elsewhere. The 2016 recipient of the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, she holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University.



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