Auditioning for the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop! – Part 6 (What Should I Do For The Ballad?)

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Picking up from yesterday –

I have a ballad I love. Years ago when I wasn’t getting in, I reached out (out of the blue) to one of my favorite composers (an alum of the workshop) , and I asked for advice (thinking he’d probably never even write me back). Instead, he kindly offered to read my stuff!

And this ballad was something he liked. He said it needed work, which I did.

Here’s my newest version:
Set-up: A couple who really loves each other started drifting apart and hurting each other (often accidentally). Instead of talking it out, they’ve talked less and less. They finally set aside a night to talk it out. Here they stand in the kitchen.

[Song: “WHAT DO YOU SAY?”]

ANNA
WHAT DO YOU SAY
WHEN THERE’S NOTHING TO SAY?

DAVID
ONCE YOU’VE HIT A WALL…
WHAT DO YOU SAY
WHEN WORDS GET IN THE WAY?

ANNA
THERE’S NOT MUCH TO SAY AT ALL.
WHAT DO YOU SAY
WHEN YOU’VE SAID IT BEFORE

DAVID
…ONLY IN YOUR HEAD?
PICTURED A FIGHT –
A BIG, LOUD, ALL-NIGHT WAR.

ANNA
I HAVE NOTHING LEFT INSTEAD.

DAVID
HOW TO SAY I’M SORRY,
WITHOUT TRYING TO EXPLAIN.

ANNA
HOW TO ASK FOR ANSWERS,
WHEN THEY’LL ONLY CAUSE ME PAIN.

DAVID
HOW TO SAY I LOVE YOU
WHEN IT SOUNDS UNTRUE

ANNA
HOW TO SAY I LOVE YOU
WHEN I CANNOT LOOK AT YOU

DAVID
WHAT DO YOU SAY
WHEN THERE’S NOTHING TO SAY?

ANNA
ONCE YOU’VE HIT A WALL…
WHAT DO YOU SAY
WHEN WORDS GET IN THE WAY?

ANNA & DAVID
THERE’S NOT MUCH TO SAY AT ALL.

In the old version, I used to repeat the first A section multiple times. (It basically was a song with a chorus.)
In fact, if you want to hear that, you can, here.


Now I only repeat it once at the end.

And it’s okay to repeat something if it’s different the second time – which I think it is(?). I think it’s more nervous/questioning the first time and more sad/realization they might not make it in the end. I dunno. Maybe I’m reading too much into my own song. Gross.

But the point is, I re-wrote the song in AABA. I took his awesome notes, incorporated them, showed it to a bunch of other people, and it feels strong and universally liked. I feel good about it. So, ballad choice made.

And this is where I’ll pick up next time.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?