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.