Beating Broadway

How to Create Stories for

Musicals That Get Standing Ovations

The popularity of musicals has reached an all-time high leading to the development of numerous original shows. In this comprehensive new guide, Beating Broadway: How to Create Stories for Musicals That Get Standing Ovations, written by veteran storyteller and successful creator of musicals Steve Cuden, readers learn how the plots and stories behind musicals are developed and honed. With a breezy, lighthearted approach, creators at all levels are provided key advice for building winning musical stories.  Beating Broadway offers writers the know-how and encouragement to construct brilliant, attention-grabbing musical storylines.

Beating Broadway provides readers with practical, down-to-earth advice for crafting successful musical theater stories that will reach audiences everywhere.  This complete, two-part manual also guides aspiring writers in what it takes to develop shows that can attract Broadway producers.  By showing writers the ins and outs of storytelling required for today’s commercial musical theater, Beating Broadway places success firmly within grasp.  Readers also gain insight into how stories function in forty of the world’s most beloved stage and movie musicals as each one is broken down into key narrative beats and plot points.Writing a musical is among the greatest challenges a writer can undertake. Beating Broadway is for anyone who wishes to understand the mysteries of story development for musicals or even how stories for film and television are developed. The book is also an engaging and fun tool for teachers, students, producers, actors, and theatergoers who simply want to know how and why successful musicals work.  By expertly breaking down musical storytelling into its basic components, Beating Broadway enhances understanding and pushes the abilities of musical creators to new heights.

What Broadway Insiders are Saying:

"Beating Broadway is a take-you-by-the-hand guided tutorial written by a seasoned professional who really knows his stuff. This book feeds your mind with how stories for musicals are made. If you are interested in creating or producing a musical, Steve's insights will be helpful and inspiring to you." 

Jeff Marx

Tony winning Composer/Lyricist of Avenue Q

"Beating Broadway digs deep to the core of how stories for successful musicals are created. This is a must-have book for anyone who wants to write exceptional musicals or is just a fan."

Scott Wittman

Tony Winning Lyricist of Hairspray and Co-Lyricist and Executive Producer for the TV Series, Smash

"When Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn first played “Jekyll & Hyde, The Musical” for me in the mid-1980s, I thought the libretto was one of the most dynamic, thrilling pieces of musical theater I’d ever heard. And now with “Beating Broadway,” Steve has written another smash hit, which I predict will inspire the development of many long running Broadway successes. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to create winning new works for musical theater."

Milton Okun

Record Producer and Founder of Cherry Lane Music Publishing

"Beat-by-beat, Steve Cuden breaks down story, structure, and song spotting - so you can beat the Broadway musical before it beats you!"

Cheri Steinkellner

Emmy-winning writer/producer of Cheers and Teacher's Pet, Tony-nominated writer of Sister Act

"Steve Cuden's years of professional experience in television and Broadway combine for a powerful, clear, strong insider's how-to manual about story structure in musical theatre. It's like he's giving away trade secrets. A must-have in any serious musical theatre writer's library!" 

Scott Guy

Executive Director, Academy for New Musical Theatre and multiple Emmy-nominated Screenwriter

"Steve Cuden's years of professional experience in television and Broadway combine for a powerful, clear, strong insider's how-to manual about story structure in musical theatre. It's like he's giving away trade secrets. A must-have in any serious musical theatre writer's library!" 

Michele Brourman

Composer, Dangerous Beauty and I Married Wyatt Earp

"There are few writer/storytellers who know their craft as well as my friend and mentor Steve Cuden. There are even fewer who can communicate as well as he does the joys, the challenges, the heady thrill of the high-wire act known as writing for musical theater. Ever ready to encourage the budding librettist, he does not hesitate to lay forth - and rightly so - the potential pitfalls and heartbreaks.

In simple, no-nonsense language "Beating Broadway" guides us through every step of crafting a solid piece of entertainment that will leave an audience (and Steve's teaching goal is no less than this) emotionally moved and transformed. Especially valuable is the section "Seven Plot Points" which, by itself, puts the aspirant way ahead of the game. But Steve goes on to dissect and demonstrate these essentials at length, using forehead-smackingly clear examples that can't help but lead to creative "AHA!" moments.

The lavish frosting of "Thirty-Five Broadway Musicals and Five Movie Musicals" broken into beats tops off this generous hunk of knowledge served with humor, candid insight and a bravely giving spirit. Steve Cuden means to send us off to battle fully armed. For battle it is and the prize to be won - the world's laughter, tears and applause - is no less than a kind of immortality."

Wendy Pini

Co-creator/writer/artist, Elfquest; creator/writer/artist, Masque of the Red Death the graphic novel; writer, book and lyrics Masque of the Red Death - A Musical Thriller