FESTIVAL COUNTDOWN: The NAMT Festival Experience

A guest blog entry from Arthur Lafrentz Bacon about his experience at our Festival with his show Bleeding Love.   
Being at NAMT was an awesome, once in a lifetime (hopefully not just once!) experience.
Everyone knows about NAMT, and it’s a big deal. A big deal because hundreds of theater companies and producers come to see the 8 shows that are chosen each year. Where else does this happen? Nowhere. A huge, golden  opportunity for any writer, courtesy of the amazingly talented, hard working staff at NAMT. 
For me as the composer, I knew that getting the score together for the singers and musicians was my first priority. With help from my friend Harris (lyricist of Bleeding Love) and his expertise with Finale software, we got it done just in time, although I was still tweaking the guitar parts minutes before each show. Speaking of guitar, in true rock star fashion, our guitarist was late to the 2nd show, popping out of the curtain just before he had to play…. the reason?… a stalled subway car!
If you’ve never done NAMT before, nothing can really prepare you for the moment you walk into New World Stages and see the hundreds of people that are there, waiting in lines to see the shows. It was almost overwhelming for me until I started to talk with some of the people, and get comfortable with it all. (I played in The Caroline Rhea Show band on NBC for a year, and I didn’t think I’d be phased by the crowds and hoopla, but I was!)  I also think our Bleeding Love team may have had some extra nerves going on, because we never had had even a reading of the piece before this. But with our stellar cast, and terrific director, music director and musicians, they pulled it together in a wonderful way. Before I knew it, there was Sarah Stiles, Nancy Opel and the rest bringing the piece to life in front of a packed audience. All of the songs that I heard in my head for the last couple years, sounded even more terrific when the singers gave them a voice. I was so happy to be able to hear Harris’s

captivating lyrics, Jason’s witty and wry dialogue and see the story unfold. A beautiful thing to be realized and shared with each other.

By the second show, everyone had found their groove, and was killing it (after 25 hours of rehearsal!). I was so proud of them all, and so thankful to be given an opportunity like this. After the second show, I had the pleasure of speaking with many theater companies and producers, all of which were very positive and encouraging. Being told by producers that they loved my melodies made my heart smile the most, for that is my life…melody. A big thank you to Branden, the NAMT staff, the staff at New World Stages and to everyone who came to the festival!

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