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Beating Broadway: How to Create Stories for Musicals that get Standing Ovations

In classes with Assistant Professor Steve Cuden, Point Park cinema arts students hear first-hand about his 30 years of industry experience in Hollywood, from writer to director to producer and now the author of his first book.

Cuden's new text, "Beating Broadway: How to Create Stories for Musicals That Get Standing Ovations," published in April 2013.

"This book is all about storytelling, and there's a form to storytelling that we all know and follow," Cuden said. "It's about how you construct the story for a musical, not how do you create music and lyrics. It's truly distinct and unusual."

According to Cuden, the book's title is a triple entendre.

"The book breaks down 40 musicals into their narrative beats and plot points," he explained. "Musicals are the beating heart of Broadway, and hopefully, the text will help creators to 'beat the street' and have great success on Broadway."

In addition to the release of his book last month, Cuden's success in the entertainment industry continued as Jekyll & Hyde, The Musical, returned for it's first Broadway revival in New York City. He and composer Frank Wildhorn wrote Jekyll's original book and lyrics in 1980.

Steve Cuden on the red carpet in New York City.
Steve Cuden at the Broadway revival
of Jekyll & Hyde in New York City.

Cuden said he is delighted to be so creatively active at this point in his life.

"The show and the book are all a piece of my career," he said. "The Broadway revival and release of the book during the same month is serendipity."

In the classroom, Cuden encourages his students who are passionate about the art form to do as much of their art and craft now.

"If you want to be a writer, start writing. True writers write, they don't sit around and talk about it," he said.

Added Cuden, "If you have passion, skill and a little bit of education, you can be a force to reckon with."


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