Six Questions with Andrew Lippa

This is the second in an occasional series in which I ask a bunch of theatre composers the same questions and see how similar and different they are. Composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party, Big Fish, The Addams Family, john & jen, I Am Harvey Milk) recently agreed to go under the microscope..

Have most of your projects been initiated by you or by others?

Most by me.

Does your writing process change with different collaborators?

Always, gratefully.

What’s the most important element for a story to have to make a great musical?

Passionate feeling.

What’s your most common mistake or stumbling block when you write?

Caring what other people think. I've gotta just do what I think is good. I think the best work happens that way.

Do you write a lot of songs that don’t make it into the final score, and if so, why do you think it happens that way?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I think it happens 'cuz you learn more about your show as you write it. It's a living thing and needs to be heard and seen. Once you write a draft and show it off with actors playing the roles, you learn more than you'd ever be able to learn by just playing it over and over in your head.

Who’s your favorite post-Sondheim theatre composer (other than you)?

I love 'em all!

Many thanks to Andrew Lippa! More to come...

Long Live the Musical!

P.S. See all my Six Questions with Stephen Flaherty.