In the realm of musical theatre, where the seamless integration of script and song is paramount, Final Draft stands out as the go-to software for writers committed to crafting compelling narratives and intricate musical numbers. Developed to accommodate the intricacies of screenplay formatting, Final Draft has evolved to include features that cater specifically to the needs of playwrights and musical theatre creators.

Features and Capabilities of Final Draft

Final Draft is revered for its advanced script formatting capabilities, which automate the precise layout requirements of professional scripts. Key features include automatic pagination and character continuation, which are essential for maintaining the flow of a script during revisions. The software supports over 300 templates for screenplays, teleplays, and stage plays, ensuring that users can start their projects in the correct format right from the outset.

Check out our Musical Writers Final Draft template here.

The software’s robust editing tools, such as the SmartType feature, expedite the writing process by predicting and auto-filling commonly used names and locations. Additionally, the Beat Board and Story Map offer writers a high-level view of their scripts, allowing them to plan story arcs and manage the pacing of narratives and musical sequences effectively.

Enhanced Usage by Musical Theatre Writers

Musical theatre writers have uniquely adapted Final Draft to serve their specific creative needs, merging the traditional scriptwriting functionalities with the dynamic requirements of musical storytelling. Christina Meyer, Holly Reed, Greg Bachman, Ed Levy, and Bear Kosik are among those who exemplify the diverse ways in which the software can be tailored to the craft of musical theatre.

Christina Meyer from Wisconsin highlights the beat board and outlining tools as indispensable for her workflow, enabling her to visualize and rearrange the complex layers of narrative and song seamlessly. “Final Draft’s ease of entering character names and dialogue speeds up the process, allowing me more time to focus on the musical elements,” she notes.

Holly Reed, former CEO of, has used Final Draft exclusively since she started writing. As a career creative director and graphic designer, she loves the ability to customize the templates to better reflect industry standards for Broadway. Her other favorite features include the Navigator panel (which allows one-click jumping to various scenes), the revisions feature (which places visual markers on current version script updates to help in presenting changes to directors), and the various reports available, which she has used to compare interactions between characters, tally how many scenes characters are in, and see who is carrying the most dialogue. “I used the character report tool to see how many scenes each character was in, and how many scenes our “main relationship” was in. That was very telling and required a thorough re-think of whose story it was.”

Greg Bachman, a veteran with 40 years of experience, appreciates the seamless integration of standard scriptwriting with musical theatre formats provided by Final Draft. “Using this software, I can ensure that every musical cue and transition is clearly marked and easy to follow,” Greg explains. He also highlights the professional-grade aspect of Final Draft, noting that it instills confidence when submitting scripts. “The Dramatists Guild Musicals format available in Final Draft respects the unique needs of musical theatre, supporting everything from dialogue to musical cues,” he adds.

Ed Levy, based in New Jersey, relies heavily on Final Draft for its superior script formatting capabilities, particularly for managing elements like lyrics which are central to musical theatre. “The musical theater templates are a lifesaver, helping to ensure that each component of the script adheres to industry standards,” says Ed.

Bear Kosik, who also writes stage plays and screenplays, values the software’s comprehensive format support and user-friendly features such as character name autocompletion and quick access to title pages. “The collaboration feature is particularly important, allowing me to work with co-writers and composers in real time, ensuring our visions align perfectly,” he adds.

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Feature Suggestions and Upgrades

Our writers also have clear visions for how Final Draft could further enhance its utility for musical theatre.

Christina Meyer and others express a desire for improved features for writing lyrics, especially in dual dialogue format, which can often be cumbersome and prone to formatting issues. “An easier way to enter and format lyrics would make a world of difference,” Christina suggests.

Holly Reed agrees the dual dialogue format is not ideal for lyrics and a better solution for that should be considered.

Greg’s wish list includes the integration of a rhyming dictionary, a thesaurus, and the ability to embed musical scores directly into the script files. “These additions would make Final Draft not just a scriptwriting tool but a comprehensive platform for musical creation,” he envisions.

Ed Levy calls for better handling of parallel lyrics, an improvement that would make scripting complex musical numbers less tedious.

Meanwhile, Bear Kosik points out the need for more intuitive usability in features like the cast list and title page functions.

This feedback forms a crucial dialogue with Final Draft developers, reflecting the needs of a community dedicated to pushing the boundaries of musical theatre. Engaging with these suggestions not only fuels conversation but also encourages innovations that cater specifically to the niche of musical theatre writing. Tell us what you’d like to see added to Final Draft in the comments below!