header class volansky

with John Weidman


Join Tony and Emmy Award-winning writer John Weidman (Anything Goes, Assassins, Pacific Overtures, Contact, Sesame Street) for an introductory exploration of writing the book for a musical!

This class is limited to 10 students.

What exactly is the book for a musical?  Is it about dialogue?  Is it about scene structure?  Does the book end when the singing starts?  An exploration of what constitutes a musical book, what makes the successful ones work and where the not so successful ones maybe go wrong. 

PREPARATION REQUIRED: Read books to specific musicals which will be announced a few weeks prior to the class. Also, come in prepared to discuss one musical that you particularly admire and one play that you think could be successfully adapted into a musical

WHEN: Sunday, April 10, 1-6PM

WHERE: University of the Arts, Terra Building (Broad Street, between Walnut and Locust)


BIO: John Weidman has written the books for a wide variety of musicals, among them Pacific Overtures (Tony nomination, Best Book), Assassins (Tony Award, Best Musical Revival), and Road Show, all with scores by Stephen Sondheim; Contact (Tony nomination, Best Book; Tony Award, Best Musical), co-created with director/choreographer Susan Stroman; Happiness, score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman; Take Flight and Big (Tony nomination, Best Book), scores by Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire; and the new book, co-authored with Timothy Crouse, for the Lincoln Center Theater/Roundabout Theatre/National Theatre revivals of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes (Tony Awards, Best Musical Revival; Olivier Award, Best Musical Production).  He is currently collaborating on a new musical with Rosanne Cash and on a new musical play with Theresa Rebeck.  Since his children were pre-schoolers, Weidman has written for Sesame Street, receiving more than a dozen Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Children’s Program.  From 1999 to 2009 he served as President of the Dramatists Guild of America.  

SPECIAL OFFER: Staged Reading of Your New Play! If you sign up for a winter/spring 2016 class by January 31, 2016 then you can apply for the opportunity to have one of your unproduced scripts given a public, professional staged reading in late-spring in Philadelphia. In our continuing efforts to expand our support for the local playwriting community, PlayPenn guarantees that only students who live in the northeast and take classes in the spring of 2016 will be eligible to submit for this opportunity. Complete details and directions on how to apply will be included in your class confirmation email after your registration is complete.

Questions? Email our Director of Education at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In very extreme circumstances, we may need to cancel a class for reasons beyond our control and will offer full refunds. Otherwise, classes are non-refundable.