FROM THE NEW WORKS DIRECTOR: Festival Questions Answered

As part of the strategic plan, we are conducting a full evaluation of the Festival.  Many thanks to those of you who provided detailed input, which is invaluable to the future of the Festival!  I’d like to try to clarify two murky areas that came up repeatedly in your comments: 

How “blind” is the process?
As blind as it can be. The Festival Committee’s review materials do not include any writer information or production history; however, some of the committee members are very involved in developing new musicals and may already be in-the-know.  At the committee meetings, we speak carefully about each show, to avoid revealing writer genders, developmental histories or the like (it is not an easy language to speak!).  We discuss our excitement and the possibilities for the future of each submission.  The blinders are typically lifted during the last hour of the last committee meeting as we are about to make our final decisions.

Who is on the committee? 
The committee changes every year, with at least 1/3 of the committee rotating off to include some new voices in the mix.  I work with the co-chairs to compose a committee of 12-13 people that represents the spectrum of the membership.  Each member serves for 2-3 years.  It is not an easy committee—members read a lot of shows and put in countless hours outside of their actual jobs to choose the Festival every year.  

In addition to highlighting these two areas of confusion, the Festival feedback gave us a wealth of insight.  You were overwhelmingly supportive but also had great ideas to make our members’ experience at the Festival even better, which a special task force and I are working to develop and implement.  I value your input; if you ever have questions about the Festival or an idea (small to crazy, love them both), never hesitate to contact me.  As most of you know, I love talking about the Festival!

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