AMANDA GREEN is a two-time Tony Award-nominated and Grammy-nominated lyricist/composer and award-winning performer. Her Broadway credits include Mr. Saturday Night, Hands on a Hardbody, Bring it On, and High Fidelity. As the first woman President of The Dramatists Guild of America, she is a groundbreaking leader in the theater community.

Amanda Green’s CEO Rebecca Lowrey sat down with Amanda Green in preparation for Green’s keynote address at the upcoming Musical Writers Festival in Frisco, Texas.

Rebecca Lowrey:  What are you working on right now?

Amanda Green:  I am working on a musical, Crazy Rich Asians, which is really exciting. I’m co-writing the lyrics with a fantastic pop songwriter named Tat Tong. Helen Park is doing music, and Leah Winkler is writing the book.

RL: Do you have anything else on your plate right now?

AG: Oh sure! The big thing right now is Tom Kitt and I are writing an opening number for Ariana DeBose for the Tony Awards. Ariana did Bring it On, which was her first Broadway musical, and so I’ve known her for a while, and she’s such a dynamo. So I’m thrilled to be able to work with her again.

Oh, and I have to say another musical I’ve been working on for many years is a musical comedy about abortion set in 19th Century England, and I’m quite proud of that. (And I’m a big believer in reproductive rights.) And it’s funny, and it’s original idea, and I’m proud of coming up with it.

RL: Of your past projects, are there any others that you are particularly proud or fond of?

AG: Everyone knows, your shows are like your children. High Fidelity was the first show I wrote that got on Broadway (though it’s not the first show I wrote), and I was very proud of it. But each show has been its own experience… I’d say, whatever I’m working on at the moment is what I’m most excited about.

RL: You’ve had the privilege of working with a long list of collaborators, including Tom Kitt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Trey Anastasio, and Doug Wright. What is your secret sauce for a productive collaboration?

AG: Each collaboration has different “rules.” What you’ve learned from one you can’t necessarily take to the other, but what I have learned is keeping an open mind. Trusting whoever is inspired in the room. Because if someone is so excited about an idea, they are the one you should be listening to. And working with people who you respect and who are kind hearted. Nobody has to be an angel to work with. But if you really respect each other, then you can go down a road you may not feel comfortable with and see where it leads you… which can be someplace amazing. Choosing wisely who you work with is important, because you’re going to be together for so long. If your show is successful, then you’ll be together forever. Even after you’re gone your descendants will be together!

RL: What are the major influences in your writing process?

AG: In terms of learning how to write, I was an English major in college. And I feel like learning how to write an essay was incredibly helpful in learning how to write a song. Because you have to know what the song is about and lay it out. A song should really prove the title, it should really prove the moment, and those ideas from my English major have helped me. Of course, geniuses like Sondheim. And then hearing new people who are like geniuses in ways that are different from Sondheim. So I think listening to other music, not just musical theatre, can be so inspiring.

RL: We’re excited to have you in Texas this summer. Do you have any Texas connections?

AG: Writing Hands on a Hardbody, which was based on a documentary that took place in Longview, TX, I spent time there. My collaborator on that show, Dough Wright, is from Dallas, so we spent time in Dallas. The thing I love about Texans is this: the language is so rich. When I met the people in Hands on a Hard Body and talked to them, I just thought, “I can’t wait to write in their voice.” There’s a gift of gab, a love of storytelling, in general, that I associate with Texas, and I love it.

RL: Finally, what are your top pieces of advice for musical writers?

AG: You’ve got to have staying power. You might think, “I’ll just get to Broadway, and then I’ll be set,” and it’s just not. Certainly not economically. It’s not like you do one show and the floodgates are opened. I’ve had to restart my career many times, going from so hot to stone cold and start again. So you’ve got to be in it to win it. But the wins are the small things: hearing a song sung by somebody else for the first time, working with a collaborator and we figure out a moment. All of those are the wins. God yes, we all want productions of our shows, and we want to see them beautifully done. But I think patience, staying power, and taking care of yourself are so important. It can’t all be win or lose. If a project fails, blows up, and explodes, it’s not the end of the world. Life is long.

Amanda Green will be featured as the keynote speaker at the 2024 Musical Writers Festival in Frisco, Texas. Click here for more information. You can watch the full interview below.