None of these elements would come together without the producer.
The idea for a new musical can come from a writer, composer, or performer, but it can only be realized by a producer.
Performers have also been the cornerstone of the musical.
They could be comedians like Bert Lahr or Bert Williams; singers like Ethel Merman or Ethel Waters; dancers like Ray Bolger or Marilyn Miller.
However, this is by no means the only kind of music to appear on Broadway.
Then, there are the lyrics, the words that go with the music.
A Broadway musical is both a risky and an exciting proposition.
It is the most costly business venture in the theater.
As the musical got more complex, it required a director to shape the production and its design and concept. Kaufman and George Abbott emerged in the ’30s; currently major artists like Harold Prince, Jerry Zaks, and Julie Taymor are key to shaping a musical’s success.
Choreographers were next to emerge as major artists; in the teens and ’20s, they were simply “dance directors,” but influential choreographers like George Balanchine and Agnes de Mille brought visionary ideas to the stage.