The droning, half-century dirge for musical theater — lamenting its decline from peculiarly American art form to merely peculiar niche luxury good — reaches a shrill pitch whenever Broadway has a bad year. It so happens we're in the middle of one now: The Tony awards couldn't even scrounge up four new scores to nominate. I've already had my little say on causes and effects, so now it's time to turn the discussion over to the people who do it for a living, often against tall odds. This is, after all, a craft that demands massive amounts of money, discouraging, roulette-like ratios of risk-to-reward, and five to ten years of development, on average, to achieve even a failed result. As you thumb through these meditations on the state of the art, consider a saying of the prophet: "What's hard is simple / What's natural comes hard." Here — in many more words — are some informed ideas from four generations of composers and producers about why that is, and how what's hard might be made (a little) easier.BEGIN SLIDESHOW
Trending Video on Vulture
Most Watched on Vulture
Most Viewed Stories
The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere: Let’s Discuss Who Negan Killed
The Empty Violence of The Walking Dead
All Hail Tom Hanks’s David S. Pumpkins, the King of Halloween You Didn’t Know You Needed
Steven Yeun on That ‘Iconic’ Moment From The Walking Dead Premiere
The 70 Greatest Conspiracy Theories in Pop-Culture History
The Walking Dead Season Premiere Recap: Meet the New Boss
Michael Cudlitz on That Gruesome Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere
Westworld Recap: I’m Here to Set You Free
Did You Catch Abraham’s Peace Sign to Sasha on The Walking Dead?
Every Episode of Black Mirror, Ranked From Worst to Best
Latest News from VultureLady Gaga and James Corden Role Play and Share a Bad Romance in Carpool Karaoke Teaser
Gaga, ooh la la, the full segment airs Tuesday.Wendi McLendon-Covey Joins The McCarthys Creator for ABC Hotel Comedy
Based on McLendon-Covey's experiences.
An upcoming New Oxford Shakespeare edition adds legitimacy to a long-held theory.Jane the Virgin Recap: Moving On
"Chapter Forty-Six" pulls off a quietly political act.The Real Housewives of Orange County Recap: Give Me Strength
Heather Dubrow needs to be cut from the show.Pete Burns, Dead or Alive Singer, Dead at 57
He died Sunday of a "massive cardiac arrest."Margot Robbie Eyes Peter Rabbit As Her Zillionth Upcoming Project
She'd voice a bunny alongside James Corden and Rose Byrne.Theater Review: David Hyde Pierce Brings A Life Alive
" I liked it a lot before it made a jarring turn about halfway through, and loved it thereafter."Greg Nicotero Didn’t Mean to Troll You With The Walking Dead’s Premiere
"Well, it certainly wasn’t intended that way."Suge Knight Sues Dr. Dre for Allegedly Trying to Have Him Killed
Apparently over Dre's Beats deal with Apple.
See Wolf Blitzer on select big screens across America.Did You Catch Abraham’s Peace Sign to Sasha on The Walking Dead?
"We had to find a way for Abraham to connect with Sasha."For the Third Time in 18 Months, There’s a New Person in Charge of MTV
Here’s a sign all is not well at MTV.Man With a Plan Is Not As Bad As Kevin Can Wait
It's yet another CBS sitcom that leans really hard into all the genre's tropes.How Viola Davis Just Changed the Oscar Race
Has she suddenly become the front-runner?Is the Ending of Black Mirror’s ‘San Junipero’ Exactly As It Seems?
What really happened with Kelly and Yorkie?How Nickelodeon Got America Hooked on Cable
And ushered in the era of the niche TV network.The Empty Violence of The Walking Dead
Violence is the point — everything else is an intellectual fig leaf.No Need to Thank Us for This Clip of the Rock Singing a Lin-Manuel Miranda Moana Song Called ‘You’re Welcome’
Dwayne "The Pipes" Johnson.Serial’s Adnan Syed Could Be Freed on Bail
His lawyers have filed a motion for his release.