Cue Text in Musical Theatre Score

Hi, folks!

Before we begin, yes, I’ve seen multiple threads about this topic; but I cannot identify if there are any more recent changes, and I want to see if we all can help each other out [as of March 2022].

What I’m looking for…

I’m working on a template for myself before I begin scoring a new musical theatre piece. However, I have not been able to find a solution comparable to what I was using in Sibelius for my CUES — mainly being able to bold and italicize text when necessary (otherwise I would use a Flow Info field).

Currently what I’ve tried: as stated above, a Flow Info field (but I’m missing styles); and a text frame/box in my flow heading, where I would edit it in each part if necessary (but when I went to add more bars to a score that fell onto the next page, the edited text frame on that next page would not move with the rest of the Flow Heading all of which used Flow Info fields).

Can anyone help? Or at least, can we begin a discussion. Heads up, I’m still very green in Dorico, coming over from Sibelius; but I’m very computer savvy.


Here’s the link to the file since it’s too large to upload (even when compressed):



This is still an area that one would hope Dorico would develop further. Allowing multiple styles in some sort of text box and a dynamic field that could expend with the length of the cue would be great. IIRC the Qt framework throws up some roadblocks as it stands, but somewhere down the road…


If I’m understanding you right, all you want is a boxed system text with different fonts in it?

If you go to Library/Paragraph styles and set up a paragraph style that is boxed how you want it and has the font that you want for the majority of the time, then create it with Shift+Alt+X, you can change the style/font/size at will, like this:

Is that what you meant?


What I use, and I think what @MissHazelJade would like, is a way to format a flow’s Project Info > Other Info field so it can fit automatically into a modified Flow Header Template (part of a Page Template Set), and ideally that a reconfigured Flow Header Template could expand dynamically to fit the added realization of the text token.

Both of these things are complex to program, so one can only hope that some day the Dorico Team will make them a reality. Until then, one could have Flow Header Templates of different sizes to accommodate different lengths of text (but those would be more complicated to assign, since one could not simply bulk assign them to each flow that starts a new page), but having an Other Info field that allowed Italics and Bold styles, is in itself a big ask.

For musical theatre scores, that’s not enough space for the cue, since we usually will include 2-3 lines of dialogue (sometimes also a line of stage direction) before the song for the MD to play with in Piano/Vocal scores.

This is what I use so far.


Same here! As you know, it’s beyond frustrating!

I still can’t work out why you need to use tokens for that? Why not use system text?

Then you can format it however you want, and use as many lines of text as you need.

You can even use a text frame if you really feel the need, and put the text in there using a page override in the parts that need it, although I think that’s a little unnecessary.


The system text doesn’t allow us an ample amount of space (especially consistently) for the cue.

This is an example of my usual format:

Ok, I don’t understand.

You can make as much space as you need by dragging the top of the music frame down…

Yes, the position of the cue may need some tweaking in engrave mode (although using a text frame in your master page template would solve that) but if the formatting of your text with different styles is important to you, this would be the obvious (to me) solution, rather than struggling with tokens that don’t give you the result you want.

Just my 2c


Beautiful looking title section in the example, by the way…

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I originally created a text frame in the flow header, but when I went to edit it, it would cause the frame to stay in the original position, especially when there’s music added in a previous flow — because essentially the frame was broken.

But could you show me how to access the frame of system text?

And thank you! I appreciate it so much xx

But system text will show in every part, and (at least in my case) I do not want the cues in every player’s part. Putting the cues in Other Info for each flow, I can decide which layouts use the “Glow With Cue” flow heading template I have created and which layouts do not; and I can be sure the cue is the same wherever it appears. If the cue changes (as it sometimes does in a musical :joy:) I only have to make the change once to know I have corrected it throughout.

This is how I would do it,

Using this page template:

(Yes I know it would need a lot of tweaking… :wink:)

Yields this, when populated using the project and flow info boxes:

As Dereks says, you’d just use this page template for all the layouts that need the cues in, and maybe create another template without the cues for the other layouts.

Like I said, this method does require you to drag the frame borders to fit the text and top of the music frame but you’d need to do that anyway for the differing sizes of cues using the Other Info token… This way though, enables you to format the text in any way you see fit…

@Derrek I completely see your point about ever changing goalposts regarding cues, having been MD on many tours on both new and established musicals, generally cues like this only really appear on PV and MD layouts so a simple Copy/Paste into the text frame is not too much hassle (and certainly less that it would be in any other notation app)

Of course, in regard to that, if you used a different file for each number, rather than one file with many flows, your actual page template could contain the explicit text for each cue, then you’d only have to update it once… (and wouldn’t need to create page overrides by dragging the borders of the frames for each different amount of cue…)

Anyway, lots of different ways round it, but that’s what I’d do…


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Sorry, just to clarify, the Cue: text frame was populated in the actual part, not in the page template…


So, yes, I’ve tried this! The issue is as soon as you edit the text box, but then go to add bars to a previous flow, that text box stays on any additional pages that are added from the bar addition

Yes that will happen because whatever edits you’ve done to anything layout related are attached to the page, not the specific staves, so if, for example, you’ve added a text frame to page 3, then you add more music to page 2, making what was page 3 into page 4… (wow, that sentence was tortuous) then all the edits (page overrides) from page 3 stay on page 3…

It’s an oddity of Dorico’s design that does that, I’m sure I remember Daniel explaining it but can’t remember the explanation…

If you’re doing (and it looks like you are) a new/workshop musical, it may be easier to have a separate file for each number just so the many changes that are bound to happen all over the place don’t impact every other flow?


Well, we just used Dorico in the workshop of a London revival we just did; and it went brilliantly while we made hundreds of changes a day. So we’re here attempting to duplicate that success for Broadway.

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One can assign a Flow Header to appear whenever the flow starts a new page, and assign that custom flow header to a layout once at the beginning of the score/part (containing all the songs in a show) to appear wherever a new flow starts a new page, and as the starting page of a flow changes, the flow header will move with it and pick up the OtherInfo token for the correct flow.

Clearly each person should use the system most convenient, but I still wish that, down the road (and probably long after I have stopped writing shows), Dorico can manage text styles in at least some of the Project/Flow Info fields and create a flow header that can stretch to include text dynamically. Granted they are pipe dreams now, but I can wish.