Amidst a residency at Pittsburgh CLO’s SPARK Festival — the company’s new festival for developing small-cast musicals — Carnegie Mellon School of Drama alumnus Matt Schatz (’04) visited the current MFA dramatic writing students.  

After completing an MFA in playwriting at CMU, Schatz moved to New York to continue to write plays.

As a member of Ensemble Studio Theater’s Youngbloods writing group, Schatz wrote “funny songs” that turned into plays with music. From there, Schatz began blurring the lines of the musical form.

Schatz won the Kleban Prize in Musical Theater in 2012, and has focused his career on writing new musicals, as well as developing television shows in Los Angeles.     

“If you want to do it,” Schatz told the dramatic writing students, “you keep doing it — and then suddenly you’re doing it.”

As a part of the SPARK Festival, Schatz has developed his musical Where Ever It May Be, a musical about quantum physics and love. Where Ever It May Be was workshopped and presented as a private reading, and is slotted for further development as a part of Pittsburgh CLO’s season.

Schatz also presented a second musical in the festival, An Untitled New Play by Justin Timberlake, in collaboration with Pittsburgh’s City Theater.

Schatz said that An Untitled New Play… began as a play with “musical” moments, and has since developed with City Theater and Pittsburgh CLO into a full-blown musical.

“When a musical works,” Schatz said, “there’s nothing better in the world.”

 

Written by Lauren D’Errico