West offers, for colleges, universities, and professional training programs, lectures and workshops with an active, practical approach to the evolution of the American musical. These sessions are uniquely designed to expand the vocabulary, sharpen the skills, and enhance the work of emerging and established authors, directors, producers, and performers. West is available to speak on a wide range of topics related to the American musical, including its diversity of musical styles, its maturation, its Black and female artists, and its outside influences such as minstrelsy, vaudeville, nightclubs, and burlesque. West also offers historical lectures for cultural institutions.

West will, for any new musical, provide a detailed and objectively critical assessment of the material and, if applicable, the production. This will focus especially on the effectiveness and inadequacies of, where applicable, storytelling, structure, character, routine, plot, book, lyrics, music, musical arrangements, composition, concept, transitions, buttons, staging, choreography, and physical production. He will similarly analyze connectivity, cohesiveness, individuality and specificity of moments, and sustained dramatic thrust. All of his assessments will be rooted in his singular understanding of the art form’s evolution and the professionalism and excellence possible with regard to storytelling on the musical stage. West will formally communicate with only a single point person for the project. His initial meeting with that point person will clarify the current stage of development or production and the current creative goals for the piece. The point person may request a brief follow-up meeting after he has submitted his assessment. The point person may invite any member(s) of the creative team to join either or both meeting(s). West will submit his assessment within 72 hours of seeing the piece. He will provide an artistic analysis for any new musical at any point from reading to production, but will not provide an analysis after early previews at the intended final destination (e.g. Broadway).

West offers, for individual artists and for creative teams, a practical intensive designed to enhance the work of authors, directors, producers, and creatives. This professional development intensive revolves around a detailed exploration of the American musical’s evolution and maturation, with a specific focus on the possibilities of professionalism and excellence presented in the decades-long movement, up to and including the 1960s, that advanced, refined, and realized of the art of musical storytelling, and the thorough understanding thereof. There is no one way to make a musical, nor is there a limit to the stories one can tell, but there remains an established art to musical storytelling, which matured in the middle of the 20th century. This intensive will dissect scripts, sheet music, and recordings, dating from the early 1900s. It will delve into the fundamental language and mechanics of the matured musical stage; expand one’s vocabulary and creative skills; and train one’s objectively critical eye for the purposes of enhance one’s work and understanding the professionalism and excellence possible with regard to musical storytelling. The intensive is rooted in a comprehensive, accurate history of the form. Participants will need to have West’s book, The American Musical, for references and background. If participants have a specific musical in the works, West will look to understand the nature of the piece and to provide an individually tailored list of historical evidence and existing shows to dissect independently. The timing of this intensive will be agreed upon in advance with the individual artists or the point person for each creative team. The topics addressed in the sessions include:

• Structuring the Story: Traditional and Nontraditional
• Lyric: Story, Character, Theatricality
• Music: Shape, Character, Theatricality
• Musical Styles and Routine
• Individualizing the Environment and Defining the World
• Establishing Character, Relationship, and Setting
• Moving Into and Out of Song
• Revue
• Vaudeville, Nightclubs, and Burlesque
• Staging and Story
• Buttons, Blackouts, Stings, Transitions, and Tags

All inquiries should be directed to [email protected].