Over a year ago, when my dear friend Bridget Callaghan asked me to help her pen a musical about a wayward angel looking for redemption, I was extremely excited and beyond flattered. It was a simple but beautiful story idea that had been discussed within her family for many years, so it was an honor to be the person she turned to when it finally came time to write it out in a stage play format. That story is Thornetta: The Musical.
I never once had concerns about collaborating with Bridget. After working with her on parts of The Method Writers, I knew that we were on the same page creatively. The distance between us (nearly 1,300 miles) wasn’t an issue either—we’d get on the phone, share a Google doc, and write it in tandem. No, the biggest challenge was learning how to write a stage play, which neither of us had done before. We’d both dabbled in screenwriting in the past, but to no great extent. However, once we learned the proper format and ironed out some of the plot and character issues, the rest was smooth sailing. In the fall of 2012, we had our first draft completed after only ten weeks of collaborating.
After a series of revisions, we decided to submit it for the 2013 Royal Palm Literary Awards, an annual writing competition put on by the Florida Writers Association. We were excited when we learned that Thornetta: The Musical had become an RPLA finalist! We debated whether or not to attend the 2013 FWA Conference, where the winners would be announced. Finally, we were encouraged to attend, and we are sooooo glad that we did.
Thornetta won First Place in its category of Unpublished Stage Play, and Bridget and I were beside ourselves with pride for receiving such an honor. We were buzzing from the excitement (and also from the alcohol) throughout the remainder of the awards ceremony. The very last award of the night, after the unpublished and published book of the year awards were announced, was the 2013 Dahris Clair Award for Outstanding Screenplay, Stage Play, or Teleplay. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect another accolade that night. However, this year’s Dahris Clair Award was given to our Thornetta!
Thornetta herself couldn’t have floated to the stage as gracefully as Bridget and I did. It was an incredibly surreal moment, and one that we’ll never forget for the rest of our lives. A night that will give us great momentum as we take Thornetta from the pages of our stage play to the stages of theaters, where we can only hope that others will appreciate it just as much.
Thank you to the Florida Writers Association for offering this incredible awards contest. And to the Royal Palm Literary Awards judges for believing that Thornetta was deserving of these flattering accolades.
For updates on Thornetta, please check out our website: www.Thornetta.com.