Ha! Merv is right, this is really good. I'm probably like the others and can't really say if a non-AF fan would get what was going on, because I'm too familiar with AF to judge that—but I really like how you structured the opening. Rather than just trying to follow the book word for word, it's formatted to suit a musical. My favorite bit so far is probably the duet... (I've thought about the parallels in Artemis and Holly's experiences and attitudes before too, I like how it matches the story of the original AF, while also bringing something new at the same time.)
Advice, huh...well, I really like what you have so far, so the only thing I would consider mentioning is the format/presentation. Organizing an unusual piece of writing (such as a play or musical like this) is tricky, because there are just so many elements you have to weave together...Music, singing, acting, setting setup...you have so many things to communicate. I see why you went with colorcoding, since it seems to cut down a lot of the clutter (I know it can get sort of clunky with too many tags and such), but I think having so many colors also made it a little harder to keep track of. (I know I had to refer back to the key more than once to remember which was which.) I did a couple of google searches to see how musical scripts are usually done and I was surprised to find that apparently there isn't a standardized form...I read one author [from this article: http://kierenmacmillan.info/perfect-mus ... to-format/
]who favored this form here: http://kierenmacmillan.info/wp-content/ ... pdf?015eb1
I guess in that format, the first bit would look sort of like this:
#1. THE BRIEFING AT FOWL MANOR
(Artemis enunciating clearly, very professional. He is standing beside a mini lectern, B, J standing in front of him, facing downstage)
[right]*A/N: Feel free to make up a melody for this[/right]
ARTEMISLEPrecons. Are not what you think.
(3 classically dressed LEP come out, pose in fairy-esq pose, freeze)
ARTEMIS (CONT'D)Their armed
(1 LEP pulls out gun, shoots up in the air (MACHINE GUN NOISES!!!!), then blows off the top like you see in westerns)
ARTEMIS (CONT'D)Have sinister powers
Or something like that, lol.
In this form, regular speech is shown by having the character's name out to the side in the normal way, in caps and bold to help see it easily, while singing is set off by having the text indented and the name of the character centered over the singing portions, and settings and actions are shown by text in parentheses and italics. (I thought a way to also include author's notes without interrupting the flow too much would be to set them off with an asterisk and set them off to the opposite side, in smaller print, though the format described on the site didn't address that.)
Anyway, seems like there's lots of options, and there's always time to tinker and play around with formatting to get it the way you want. :j I could see blending the version above with colorcoding, say, using italics and parentheses to set off actions and setting descriptions, but instead of indenting for singing parts, setting them off in blue [you're actually supposed to indent them with tabs, but I couldn't figure out how to format that on this site, since I don't usually use tabs, so I just centered them], while leaving the regular spoken portions black, like you had it before. Or maybe a different combination, I think there's quite a few different methods out there.
But anyway, just a thought. Really like this so far, can't wait to see more! c: