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Process for Preparing a Role

Page history last edited by amrodrig@jeffco.k12.co.us 13 years, 7 months ago

A Process for Preparing a Role


Step One


Preparing for a role in a musical is not different than preparing for a role in a play. A lyric is a script. You must also define what type of song are you singing. Knowing the kind of song you are singing will help you understand its function in the play and give you insight into your character.


You must know the basis of your character: How old they are, what their motivation is, what their desire/objective is and their needs.


You must know why the character is making the choice to say what they are saying in a song at any particular moment. Songs are sung when mere words aren’t enough and the only thing left to do is sing. What is the characters motivation and the dramatic necessity of the scene defined by the lyric (how does it further the plot?) Where does the action take place? When is it happening? (not only the time period, but at what point in the plot) And finally, and most importantly, to whom is the song being sung?


Step Two


Retype your lyrics and double-space them. Write it out as if they were a script. Allow room to make notes on this script: ideas that come to you, blocking notes, sub-textual notes.


Step Three


Play the role of the playwright and create dialogue with the character or “other” to whom you are singing. Allow them to motivate your characters choices and subtext. A great deal of this work will inform your breathing throughout a song. Create a CLEAR dialogue between your character and the “other”. Make sure that whatever imaginary text you create for your scene partner is strong enough to create an obstacle against which you can play. 




When looking at lyrics and which words to stress, choose the words that carry the meaning of the line. Ex- I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands

Stressing words that should be stressed helps the language flow the way we are used to hearing it.







Color words are words we automatically emphasize because they are descriptive. They are verbs, adjectives and adverbs.


Ex- What a beautiful girl.

You’re driving me crazy!

That was wonderfully and skillfully acted.


Using the coloring of words by singing into them creates much better line readings.



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