NOTES ON THE WRITING OF A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE

Notes On The Writing of A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder (Applause Books) will be available for purchase online and at select stores. From the publisher’s description: The most frequently asked question about writing musicals is, ‘Which comes first, the music or the lyrics?’ As anyone on Broadway will tell you, the answer is, ‘The book.’ Tony-winning book writer Robert L. Freedman takes you through the process of writing a new musical, including story structure, song placement, dialogue, character development, and more that led to the creation of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the 2014 Best Musical Tony winner. With candor and insight, Freedman describes the challenging and rewarding growing pains of what the critics called ‘Hilarious!’ and ‘Ingenious!’ and said ‘Ranks among the most inspired and entertaining new musical comedies I’ve seen in years.’

From the back cover: “Robert L. Freedman draws back the curtain on the mysterious process of creating a musical, takes you by the hand, and leads you through it all with clarity and insight. If you’re interested in writing a musical, or just interested in musicals, this guide is for you.” Winnie Holzman, book writer of Wicked.

ROBERT’S NEW BOOK, NOTES ON THE WRITING OF A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER, ARRIVES MAY 15, 2021

Notes On The Writing of A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder (Applause Books) will be available for purchase online and at select stores. From the publisher’s description: The most frequently asked question about writing musicals is, ‘Which comes first, the music or the lyrics?’ As anyone on Broadway will tell you, the answer is, ‘The book.’ Tony-winning book writer Robert L. Freedman takes you through the process of writing a new musical, including story structure, song placement, dialogue, character development, and more that led to the creation of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the 2014 Best Musical Tony winner. With candor and insight, Freedman describes the challenging and rewarding growing pains of what the critics called ‘Hilarious!’ and ‘Ingenious!’ and said ‘Ranks among the most inspired and entertaining new musical comedies I’ve seen in years.’

From the back cover: “Robert L. Freedman draws back the curtain on the mysterious process of creating a musical, takes you by the hand, and leads you through it all with clarity and insight. If you’re interested in writing a musical, or just interested in musicals, this guide is for you.” Winnie Holzman, book writer of Wicked.

WHITNEY HOUSTON, BRANDY CINDERELLA MAKES STREAMING DEBUT ON DISNEY+

The ABC/Wonderful World of Disney Emmy-winning television event, written by Robert L. Freedman, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1997) premiered on Disney+ February 12, 2021 to great acclaim. Starring Whitney Houston, Brandy, Whoopi Goldberg, Victor Garber, Bernadette Peters, Jason Alexander, Natalie Desselle, Veanne Cox, and Paolo Montalban, Cinderella was produced by Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Debra Martin Chase, and Whitney Houston, and directed by Rob Iscove, with choreography by Rob Marshall. The movie premiered to an audience of over 60 million, unheard of in this day and age, and garnered Robert a Writers Guild Award nomination for his teleplay.

LINK: “It’s Possible: An Oral History of 1997’s Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”

WORLD PREMIERE OF ROBERT’S NEW MUSICAL, THE FLAMINGO KID, AT HARTFORD STAGE

Robert is back at Hartford Stage, which launched A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder, with his new musical, The Flamingo Kid, for which he’s writing Book and Lyrics, with Music by Scott Frankel (Grey Gardens, War Paint). Based on the screenplay by Neal Marshall and Garry Marshall, the director is, once again, Darko Tresnjak (A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder, Anastasia) with choreography by Denis Jones (Tootsie, Holiday Inn). Opening night is May 24, 2019.

The Flamingo Kid takes place in the summer of ’63. Against the wishes of his father, Brooklyn teenager Jeffrey Winnick leaves behind his blue-collar roots for an exciting job working as a cabana boy at the colorful El Flamingo — a posh private club on Long Island. There, Jeffrey meets Karla, a forward-thinking young woman from California. The music, the romance, the beach are magical — until tensions grow between father and son when a slick club member takes Jeffrey under his wing.


A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER OPENS IN SOUTH KOREA

The 2014 Tony winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, opened in a lavish production at the Hongik Daehangno Art Center in Seoul, South Korea, on December 19, 2018. The Korean language production based on Robert L. Freedman’s Tony winning Book, and Tony nominated Score (Music by Steven Lutvak, Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak).


STOCKHOLM WELCOMES A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder opened at Oscars Theatre (Oscarsteatern) January 25, 2018 in a Swedish language production, for a three-month run, starring celebrated comic actor Henrik Dorsen. A Gentleman’s Guide won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical, and three other Tonys, including Best Book of a Musical (Robert L. Freedman).


THE FLAMINGO KID

The Flamingo Kid opened May 24, 2019, at Hartford Stage in Hartford, Connecticut. Book and Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman. Music by Scott Frankel. Directed by Darko Tresnjak. Choreographed by Denis Jones. Based on the screenplay by Neal Marshall and Garry Marshall.

The Plot: In the summer of ’63, against the wishes of his father, Brooklyn teenager Jeffrey Winnick leaves behind his blue-collar roots for an exciting job working as a cabana boy at the colorful El Flamingo — a posh private club on Long Island. There, Jeffrey meets Karla, a forward-thinking young woman from California. The music, the romance, the beach are magical — until tensions grow between father and son when a slick club member takes Jeffrey under his wing.


JAMES AGEE AND WALKER EVANS HBO FILM

Robert is writing a period drama for HBO set in New York and rural Alabama in the summer of 1936, about the relationship between Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Agee and famed photographer Walker Evans (pictured left). At the height of the Great Depression, the two were hired by Fortune magazine’s publisher, the formidable Henry Luce, to go down south and bring back a story about poor sharecroppers. What transpired eventually became the source for the legendary book, Let Us All Praise Famous Men. The film is set to be directed by Robert Redford. From Sundance Productions.

James Agee

ROBERT WRITES FILM FOR HBO AND DIRECTOR ROBERT REDFORD

Robert is writing a period drama for HBO set in New York and rural Alabama in the summer of 1936, about the relationship between Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Agee and famed photographer Walker Evans (pictured left). At the height of the Great Depression, the two were hired by Fortune magazine’s publisher, the formidable Henry Luce, to go down south and bring back a story about poor sharecroppers. What transpired eventually became the source for the legendary book, Let Us All Praise Famous Men. The film is set to be directed by Robert Redford. From Sundance Productions.

James Agee

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE PREMIERES IN SHANGHAI

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the Tony winning Best Musical of 2014, opened in Shanghai, China, on December 15, 2017, in a Mandarin language adaption of Robert L. Freedman’s Tony winning book and Tony nominated score (Music by Steven Lutvak, Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak).


A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE IN MURDER SETS DATES FOR SECOND NATIONAL TOUR

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the 2014 Tony-winning Best Musical, has announced the full cast and dates for the upcoming 2017-18 National Tour. James Taylor Odom will play eight D’Ysquith heirs and Blake Price will play Monty Navarro. The cast includes Colleen McLaughlin as Sibella Hallward, and Erin McIntyre as Phoebe D’Ysquith. Direction is by Darko Tresnjak, choreography by Peggy Hickey. The tour will begin with performances at Clemens Center in Elmira, New York, September 27-28, and conclude in Butte, Montana on May 13, 2018, with stops across North America along the way.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder received 10 Tony nominations, winning 4, including Robert L. Freedman (Best Book of a Musical), Darko Tresnjak (Best Direction of a Musical), and Linda Cho (Best Costume Design). Other nominees were Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak (Best Score), Jefferson Mays (Best Actor in a Musical), Bryce Pinkham (Best Actor in a Musical), Lauren Worsham (Best Featured Actress in a Musical), Alexander Dodge (Best Set Design), Dan Moses Shreier (Best Sound Design).

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE GOES TO TOKYO

The first international production (outside of North America) of the 2014 Tony-winning Best Musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder opened in Tokyo, in Japanese, in April, 2017 in a spectacular production at the Nissay Theatre, with runs in Kyoto and Osaka to follow. Robert L. Freedman wrote the Tony-winning Book, and the Tony-nominated Score is by Steven Lutvak (Music) and Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak (Lyrics).


NATIONAL TOUR OF A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER LAUNCHES IN CHICAGO

The National Tour of the 2014 Best Musical Tony winner will premiere September 30, 2015 in Chicago, with John Rapson, Kevin Massey, Kristen Beth Edwards, and Adrienne Eller leading the cast, under the direction of Darko Tresnjak, with choreography by Peggy Hickey. The 18-month tour is scheduled to stop in major cities in the United States and Canada.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder received 10 Tony nominations, winning 4, including Robert L. Freedman (Best Book of a Musical), Darko Tresnjak (Best Direction of a Musical), and Linda Cho (Best Costume Design). Other nominees were Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak (Best Score), Jefferson Mays (Best Actor in a Musical), Bryce Pinkham (Best Actor in a Musical), Lauren Worsham (Best Featured Actress in a Musical), Alexander Dodge (Best Set Design), Dan Moses Shreier (Best Sound Design).

Robert Wins the Tony!

Robert L. Freedman was awarded the 2014 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at the 68th Annual Tony Awards held June 8, 2014 to recognize achievement in Broadway productions during the 2013-2014 season.  The ceremony was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and was televised live on CBS.  Hugh Jackman was host.  The same night, awards also went to Darko Tresnjak for Best Direction of a Musical, Linda Cho for Best Costumes, and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder was named Best Musical of 2014.  Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak were nominated for Best Score of a Musical.  Also nominated were Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham, for Best Actor in a Musical, Lauren Worsham for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Alexander Dodge for Best Set Design for a Musical, and Dan Moses Schreier for Best Sound Design for a Musical.  In total, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder received 10 Tony Nominations, the most nominations of the season.


Robert Wins Two Drama Desk Awards

Robert L. Freedman was awarded the 2014 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical, and for Outstanding Lyrics of a Musical (with Steven Lutvak), for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at the 59th Annual Drama Desk Awards held June 1, 2014 at The Town Hall in New York City.  Laura Benanti was host.  The same night, awards were given to Jefferson Mays for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Darko Tresnjak for Outstanding Direction of a Musical, Lauren Worsham for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, and Aaron Rhyne for Outstanding Projections.  In total, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder received 12 Drama Desk Nominations, the most nominations of the season.


Robert Wins Outer Critics Circle Awards

Robert L. Freedman was awarded the 2014 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical, and Outstanding New Broadway Musical (with Steven Lutvak and producer Joey Parnes) for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at the 64th Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards held at Sardi’s on May 22, 2014.  The same night, awards were given to Jefferson Mays for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, and Darko Tresnjak for Outstanding Director of a Musical.  In total, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder received 11 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, the most nominations of the season.


LIFE WITH JUDY GARLAND: ME AND MY SHADOWS

Purchase HERE
The ABC mini-series Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows was a top-rated movie of the 2000-2001 television season, and was the winner of five Emmys, the Television Critics Association Award, the Broadcast Critics Award, was nominated for the Golden Globe, and appeared on several Top 10 Lists, including the New York Times.

Robert was nominated for an Emmy and a Writers Guild Award for his script, which he adapted from the memoir Me and My Shadows by Lorna Luft, and a mountain of research about the life and career of legendary entertainer Judy Garland. Director Robert Allan Ackerman and actor Victor Garber were also Emmy-nominated, and Emmys were won by stars Judy Davis and Tammy Blanchard, among others. Read the reviews.


R & H’S CINDERELLA

Purchase HERE

Recently making its streaming premiere on Disney+ to great acclaim, the Emmy-winning ABC television event Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, was produced by Whitney Houston and Storyline Entertainment for the Wonderful World of Disney, and reached an estimated audience of 60 million before going on to be a success on video and DVD.

LINK: “It’s Possible: An Oral History of 1997’s Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”

The Emmy-winning ABC television event Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, was produced by Whitney Houston and Storyline Entertainment for the Wonderful World of Disney, and reached an estimated audience of 60 million before going on to be a success on video and DVD.

Robert was nominated for the Writers Guild Award for Cinderella. His script was adapted from the 1957 version, which starred Julie Andrews as Cinderella and was the highest rated television special of its time.


Murder in the Hamptons

Robert L. Freedman wrote the teleplay for the Lifetime Television Original Movie Murder in The Hamptons, which premiered July 11, 2005, and was the highest rated basic cable movie of the year.

The true tale of the murder of multi-millionaire investment banker Ted Ammon (played by David Sutcliffe) which took place in East Hampton, New York, in October, 2001, the story follows the bitter divorce between Ammon and his wife Generosa (Poppy Montgomery) and her relationship with contractor Danny Pelosi (Shawn Christian) who was convicted of Ammon’s murder in December, 2004.


A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER – On Broadway!

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the Best Musical Tony Winner of 2014, opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre on November 17, 2013.  Book by Robert L. Freedman, Music by Steven Lutvak, Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman & Steven Lutvak. Directed by Darko Tresnjak.  Set in Edwardian London, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder traces the brilliant trajectory of Monty Navarro (played by Bryce Pinkham)—charmer, seducer and avenger—on his quest for recognition and family fortune.  Jefferson Mays plays all eight eccentric members of the wealthy and powerful D’Ysquith family who go on to their great rewards in the course of the story.


WHAT LOVE SEES

Robert’s script for What Love Sees is based on the book by Susan Vreeland and interviews with the real life Holly family, who are depicted in the film. A ratings winner, What Love Sees, produced by David Rosemont, and directed by Michael Switzer, opened the 1996 CBS television season and went on to win a Silver Plaque at the Chicago International Television Festival.

Set in the 1940’s and 1950’s, What Love Sees tells the story of Jean Treadway (Annabeth Gish) and Gordon Holly (Richard Thomas), a bling couple with little else in common who meet and fall in love and raise a family of sighted children, living a hard-scrabble life on a ranch in Ramona, California. Edward Herrmann co-stars as Jean’s formidable father.


A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the Best Musical Tony Winner of 2014, opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre on November 17, 2013.  Book by Robert L. Freedman, Music by Steven Lutvak, Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman & Steven Lutvak. Directed by Darko Tresnjak.  Set in Edwardian London, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder traces the brilliant trajectory of Monty Navarro (played by Bryce Pinkham)—charmer, seducer and avenger—on his quest for recognition and family fortune.  Jefferson Mays plays all eight eccentric members of the wealthy and powerful D’Ysquith family who go on to their great rewards in the course of the story.


UNLIKELY ANGEL

Purchase HERE
Unlikely Angel was a huge ratings success at Christmas in 1996, and continues to be shown on television every year, most recently on Lifetime. A funny and heartwarming story about a recently-deceased honky-tonk singer (Dolly Parton) who is sent back to earth to earn her wings, the movie also stars Roddy McDowall and Brian Kerwin, and features a few original songs by Dolly Parton.


WHAT MAKES A FAMILY

Robert was a finalist for the Humanitas Prize for What Makes a Family, which was based on a true story about a lesbian fighting to adopt a child in the state of Florida. Robert spent time in Florida doing research, mostly interviewing the story’s protagonist, Janine Ratcliffe, in Pensacola. He also interviewed her attorney in Ft. Lauderdale, and one of her closest friends, in St. Petersburg.

Produced by Barbra Streisand, Cis Corman, Whoopi Goldberg, and Storyline Entertainment, and directed by Maggie Greenwald, What Makes a Family tells the story of a devoted couple, played by Brooke Shields and Cherry Jones, who decide to have a baby.


THE PASTOR’S WIFE

Robert L. Freedman wrote the teleplay for the Lifetime Television original movie The Pastor’s Wife, which premiered November 5, 2011. Based on the book by bestselling author Ann Rule, the film tells the true story of Mary Winkler (played by Rose McGowan), a Tennessee housewife and mother of three who shot her husband, Matthew (Michael Shankman), a small-town pastor for the Church of Christ. The reaction of the close-knit community informs the complex story of secrets, shame and abuse.

The film was shot in Vancouver, was directed by Norma Bailey, and was developed and produced by Gerald W. Abrams and Michael Moran.


CAMP ROCK THE MUSICAL

Disney’s Camp Rock the Musical is an adaptation for the stage of the Disney Channel films Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2, written in collaboration with Faye Greenberg and David Lawrence (High School Musical) for Disney Theatricals.


DISNEY’S CAMP ROCK: THE MUSICAL

An adaption for the stage of the Disney Channel films Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2, written in collaboration with Faye Greenberg and David Lawrence (High School Musical) for Disney Theatricals.


BROADWAY SINGS THE MUSIC OF JULE STYNE

Broadway Sings the Music of Jule Styne was a musical-variety special for Great Performances on PBS. Robert was chosen personally by Jule Styne to write the script, and enjoyed a collaboration with producers Fritz Holt and Barry Brown until Fritz, who was to direct, became too ill to continue. Legendary theatre director Joe Layton was brought in at the eleventh hour, and the special went on to win a couple of Emmys (for Musical Direction and Arrangements).

Jule Styne himself appeared in the special, along with his frequent collaborators Sammy Cahn, Arthur Laurents, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Robert spent many unforgettable hours interviewing these musical theatre legends who had inspired his own aspirations in the field.


THE BEAST OF BROADWAY

Robert L. Freedman and Faye Greenberg have written a new one-man play, The Beast of Broadway: The Life and Times of David Merrick, (pictured at left) about the legendary producer. The play premieres on March 4, 2010, at TheatreZone in Naples Florida, in a production starring David Garrison, directed by Mark Danni, and produced by Danni and Larry Goodsight. For more information click here. To read a newspaper article about the production, click here.


Gentleman’s Guide CD and Vocal Selections Book now on sale!

Buy the original Broadway cast recording, featuring a 40-page booklet with complete lyrics, show photos, and an essay by renowned theater writer and critic David Cote here!

Buy the Vocal Selections book here!


Broadway Sings the Music of Jule Styne

Broadway Sings the Music of Jule Styne was a musical-variety special for Great Performances on PBS. Robert was chosen personally by Jule Styne to write the script, and enjoyed a collaboration with producers Fritz Holt and Barry Brown until Fritz, who was to direct, became too ill to continue. Legendary theatre director Joe Layton was brought in at the eleventh hour, and the special went on to win a couple of Emmys (for Musical Direction and Arrangements).

Jule Styne himself appeared in the special, along with his frequent collaborators Sammy Cahn, Arthur Laurents, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Robert spent many unforgettable hours interviewing these musical theatre legends who had inspired his own aspirations in the field.


GRAND DUCHY

Loosely inspired by Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, Grand Duchy is a 30’s-style screwball comedy that tells the story of a Prince and a Rebel who switch places and turn everything upside down in the tiniest country in Europe.

With book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music by John Bayless, Grand Duchy began as a graduate thesis project at NYU.  Ira Weitzman, then the director of Musical Theatre development for off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons, saw the first act of Grand Duchy and offered Robert and John a staged reading when the show was completed.


MISS SPECTACULAR

In 1999, Broadway composer Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, Mame, La Cage Aux Folles) asked Robert to write the book for his new musical, Miss Spectacular.  In 2002 Jerry Herman released a recording of the score of Miss Spectacular, as a concept album.  The songs are performed by Christine Baranski, Michael Feinstein, Davis Gaines, Debbie Gravitte, Steve Lawrence, Karen Morrow and Faith Prince.


CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY

Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak’s musical won the 2006 California Musical Theatre Award from Beverly Hills Theatre Guild and was presented in a staged reading on June 4, 2006, in Beverly Hills. Featured in the cast were John Rubinstein, Kaitlin Hopkins, Josh Radnor, Jean Louisa Kelly, Stan Chandler, Corinne Kason, Michael Kostroff, Ron Orbach, Tregoney Shepherd and Steve Vinovich. Based on the book by Greg Mitchell, Campaign of the Century centers on the comic chicanery, media manipulation, and outrageous shenanigans surrounding Upton Sinclair’s race for Governor of California in 1934.


CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY

Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak’s musical won the 2006 California Musical Theatre Award from Beverly Hills Theatre Guild and was presented in a staged reading on June 4, 2006, in Beverly Hills. Featured in the cast were John Rubinstein, Kaitlin Hopkins, Josh Radnor, Jean Louisa Kelly, Stan Chandler, Corinne Kason, Michael Kostroff, Ron Orbach, Tregoney Shepherd and Steve Vinovich. Based on the book by Greg Mitchell, Campaign of the Century

centers on the comic chicanery, media manipulation, and outrageous shenanigans surrounding Upton Sinclair’s race for Governor of California in 1934.


Bitter Blood (aka in the best of families)

CBS Mini Series (1994), starring Kelly McGillis, Keith Carradine, Harry Hamlin, Holland Taylor, Marian Seldes, Tom Aldredge, and Elizabeth Wilson.


New York Times 2014 Tony Award Predictions

Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood make their Tony Award choices.  The ceremony for the 68th annual Tony Awards will be broadcast on June 8 on CBS.

Charles Isherwood

BEST MUSICAL
Will win: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Should win: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder