Eric Jarboe

Document Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2009

Capstone Advisor

Nathan Hurwitz

Honors Reader

Rebecca Karpoff

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Visual and Performing Arts

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Acting | Other Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre and Performance Studies


Through a series of rather unpredictable events, I was asked to write a piano and vocal score for an original musical. After over two years of working on the project, I am very pleased with the size and scope of the finished product, but more importantly, I feel that I actually understand the job of a musical composer. It was my misconception that a composer only writes melodies that are catchy and sound fun to sing. After researching the process of other musical composers, it became evident that my task was to simply tell a story, but through a different medium than speech. Within the context of musical theatre, music is simply another tool a character has to tell their story. If a song does not further the story or theme of the play, then it should be cut from the show.

In BJ: A Musical Romp the story is one of growing up and taking one’s first step into adulthood and independence. In a nutshell, the show is about discovering how to melt one’s social barriers so that the characters can begin to live comfortably within their own skin. My job was to augment the theme, lines, and lyrics of the show with a musical element that clearly conveys the intention of every character. Throughout the writing process, I have only reinforced my belief that music is a uniquely strong medium for storytelling, for it can communicate a character’s speech and thoughts at the same time, conveying the outward and inner life of a character simultaneously.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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