Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Visual and Performing Arts
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
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.
Jarboe, Eric, "BJ: A Musical Romp" (2009). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 416.
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