Thinking Like Musicals in Literature

As I wrote in my earlier bio, I often think in musical ideas for my books and imagine how they would transfer to the stage. Supertramp’s “Goodbye Stranger” captures a scene in my book “How to Build An Impossible Bottle” almost exactly as how I would dramatize it on stage. What can also be learned by this song is how to develop scenes.

As the risk of spoiling my book “How to Build An Impossible Bottle,” there is a farewell/goodbye scene in the book among a fishing crew. What I learned from the Supertramp song, if this were a Broadway musical, is if the song would originate between the main character Addy and her dad, and (as in the Supertramp song), in the musical version the other fisherman would slowly be revealed saying goodbye to their daughters later in the song. I studied theater in college at Lincoln Center and appeared in dozens of musical revues of Broadway classics, so I also already have staging for this in my imagination.

Listen to the song and imagine a father saying goodbye to his daughter, as the background vocals join in (Goodbye Mary, Goodbye Jane) imagine lights rising on the stage in several different spots to reveal the rest of the fishing crew saying goodbye to their daughters as well. This would indicate that the scene taking place between Addy and her dad was also taking place between the rest of the crew and their daughters. As I wrote this book, I often imagined the fishing crew like a younger Bruce Springsteen and the E- Street Band or Aerosmith, but this song captures almost exactly as I would create it as a musical.

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