I've only recently become familiar with what a libretto is. And that is because I have accidentally become a librettist. So despite not particularly caring for musicals (except things like Little Shop of Horrors and The Rocky Horror Picture Show) I find myself working on one.
How could this happen to a person, you might well ask. Well, it started innocently enough. A few months ago I was reading some poetry at our local open mic and a musician friend asked if I could give him some lyrics that he could turn into songs. Of course I was flattered, but my poetry style isn't too close to lyrics most of the time. But I took it as a challenge, and there were a couple of ideas that I had been wanting to write as something more song-like.
So I did a fairly quick turn-around and sent him something. And within a couple days he sent back a song using my words. And by then I had something I really liked. A poem I'd been trying to write for years now came out as lyrics and I sent it off. And what came back was a really beautiful, haunting melody now called "Down in Ballarat".
Well, that continued with some more songs. And we soon discovered that we were starting to get a theme of desert/ghost-town songs. Then someone, I'm reasonably certain it wasn't me, said that we should write a musical. And so now we are.
And last night we got together and read through the very first draft. There are still some gaps, some missing songs, some missing "book" and a lot of rough edges. But the draft is done and we know what we need to work on next.
So I am collaborating on a musical. And collaborating itself is rather new to me. When I write by myself, I will generally hold something back until I think it is ready to share. But now I can't do that. I end up having to share before I feel ready. But I'm also finding that a new perspective can be very helpful. If I find myself "blocked" a quick discussion he can give me a new way of looking at things, and I find myself a way past the block.
Well, tomorrow it will be time to get back to work on fixing the problems we found. We're planning for our "second" draft to be done by the end of May. And there's a lot of work to get done. Sounds like a good start for a song...