2018-2019 National Fund for New Musicals and Innovation & Exploration Grants Announced

We are thrilled to announce 18 awards granted from the National Fund for New Musicals, and five awards granted from the Innovation & Exploration Grant program. Now in its tenth year, this year the Fund is providing grants totaling $58,000 to organizations across the country. The Innovation & Exploration (I&E) Grant program, now in its second cycle, is providing grants totaling $7,000 to organizations nationwide.

NAMT Executive Director Betsy King Militello stated: “We are honored and excited to support our member theatres both as they work to develop innovative and provocative new musicals, and as they explore ideas to create new best practices in the field. With these grants, we have now awarded 135 grants totaling $481,000 to NAMT members across the country. These projects will join a growing list of important new musicals and initiatives supported by NAMT’s granting programs.”

National Fund grants of $5,000 to $10,000 to support full productions have been awarded to:

Atlantic Theater Company (New York, NY) for The Secret Life of Bees by Lynn Nottage, Susan Birkenhead and Duncan Sheik with funding from The Hollywood Pantages, a Nederlander organization. Sheik is a NAMT Festival Alumnus for Noir (Fest ’15).
Center Theatre Group (Los Angeles, CA) for Soft Power by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori with funding from The ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund.
Red Mountain Theatre Company (Birmingham, AL) for Sam’s Room by Dale Sampson, Trey Coates-Mitchell, Marc Campbell and Caitlin Marie Bell with funding from The Alhadeff Charitable Foundation. Sam’s Room was featured in NAMT’s 2017 Festival of New Musicals.
Theater Latté Da (Minneapolis, MN) for Five Points by Harrison David Rivers, Douglas Lyons and Ethan D. Pakchar. Rivers is a NAMT Festival Alumnus for The Last Queen of Canaan (Fest ’15).
Transport Theatre Group (New York, NY) for Renascence by Dick Scanlan and Carmel Dean with funding from The Hollywood Pantages, a Nederlander organization. Renascence previously received a Project Development Grant from the National Fund. Scanlan is a NAMT Festival Alumnus for Thoroughly Modern Millie (Fest ’96).

National Fund grants of $2,000 to $5,000 to support a workshop or reading have been awarded to:

The Musical Stage Company (Toronto, ON) for Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life by Anika Johnson and Britta Johnson, with funding provided to The Musical Stage Company Foundation with offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Playwrights Horizons 
(New York, NY) for Row by Dawn Landes and Daniel Goldstein.
Prospect Theater Company, Inc. (New York, NY) for Soldier’s Heart by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel. Mills is a NAMT Festival Alumnus for Onanov Broadway (fka Iron Curtain, Fest ’09); Mills and Reichel are both NAMT Festival Alumni for Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge (Fest ’11).

The recipients were selected by a distinguished panel, moderated by Gigi Bolt, the former Director of Theater and Musical Theater at the National Endowment for the Arts. The panelists were Benny Sato Ambush, director, institutional leader and educator; Michael Baron, Producing Artistic Director at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma and NAMT Board Member; Michael Cassara, CSA, casting director and owner of Michael Cassara Casting; Ryan Cunningham, Associate Artistic Director at American Musical Theatre Project at Northwestern University, and NAMT Festival Alumnus (I Love You Because, Fest ’05); Rachel J. Tischler, General Manager at Goodspeed Musicals; Barbara Whitman, Producer at Barbara Whitman Productions; and Tamilla Woodard, Associate Artistic Director of WP Theater.

Additionally, the National Fund for New Musicals has awarded each of the following member organizations $500 to $1,000 for Writers Residency Grants over the past year:

The 5th Avenue Theatre (Seattle, WA) for ’64 by Cheryl L. West, Douglas Lyons and Ethan Pakchar.
Ars Nova (New York, NY) for The Last Medicine Show by Kevin Armento and Sammy Miller.
Barrington Stage Company (Pittsfield, MA) for Butterflies by Kate Chadwick and Josh Freilich.
Goodspeed Musicals (East Haddam, CT) for Alice Bliss by Jenny Giering, Adam Gwon and Karen Hartman. Giering is a Festival Alumna for Princess Caraboo (Fest ’05) and Gwon is an Alumnus for Ordinary Days (Fest ’08), Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Fest ’11) and String (Fest ’14). Alice Bliss previously received a Writers Residency Grant in 2013-2014 for development at Playwrights Horizons.
Millikin University, Department of Theatre and Dance (Decatur, IL) for Eric Hermannson’s Soul by Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen.
Playwrights Horizons (New York, NY) for T2C by Lear deBessonet and Todd Almond.
Theater Latté Da (Minneapolis, MN) for Goddess by Saheem Ali, Jocelyn Bioh, Mkhululi Z. Mabija and Michael Thurber.
Theatre Aspen (Aspen, CO) for The Mad Show by Rich Talarico.
Theatre C (New York, NY) for Cotton Candy and Cocaine by EllaRose Chary and Brandon James Gwinn.
Village Theatre (Issaquah, WA) for The Untitled Agent 355 Project by Preston Max Allen and Jessica Kahkoska.

The National Fund for New Musicals has supported the development of many musicals over the last ten years, including The Band’s Visit by David Yazbek and Itamar Moses at Atlantic Theater Company; When We’re Gone (fka Mortality Play, NAMT Fest ’16) by Alana Jacoby and Scotty Arnold at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma; Bella: An American Tall Tale by Kirsten Childs at Playwrights Horizons and Dallas Theater Center; Ordinary Days (NAMT Fest ’08) by Adam Gwon at Adirondack Theatre Festival, which is now licensed through Rodgers & Hammerstein; Far From Heaven by Michael Korie, Scott Frankel and Richard Greenberg at Playwrights Horizons; The Memory Show (NAMT Fest ’09) by Sara Cooper and Zach Redler at Transport Group; The Circus in Winter (NAMT Fest ’12) by Ben Clark, Hunter Foster and Beth Turcotte at Goodspeed Musicals; and Southern Comfort (NAMT Fest ’12) at all three grant levels, at Playwrights Horizons, CAP21 and Barrington Stage Company; among many others.

Innovation & Exploration grants of $1,000 to $2,200 have been awarded to:

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company (Colorado Springs, CO) to support the research and development of a musical theatre production apprenticeship program.
Lyric Theatre @ Illinois (Urbana, IL) to support “Crazy for the Shim-Sham-Shimmy,” an audience engagement program.
Pittsburgh Musical Theater (Pittsburgh, PA) to support the outfitting of an expansion of inclusive devices and equitable access to their artistic programming.
The Musical Stage Company (Toronto, ON) to support expanded audience accessibility at the Heliconian Club, with funding provided to The Musical Stage Company Foundation with offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Theater Latté Da (Minneapolis, MN) to support “Artists Intersecting with Audiences,” an investigation of post-show discussions.

This is the second round of grants awarded from the Innovation & Exploration Grant in a program funded by the Alhadeff Charitable Foundation. The recipients were selected by a distinguished panel, moderated by NAMT Executive Director, Betsy King Militello. The panelists were Maria Goyanes, Director of Producing and Artistic Planning at the Public Theater and NAMT Board Member; Chris Ignacio, Associate Producer at Ma-Yi Theater; Ann Marie Lonsdale, Deputy Director of A.R.T./New York; Carolyn D. Miller, Co-Founder/Owner of Creative Endeavor Office; Courtney Simms, Director of Advancement at The Muny; and Abbie Van Nostrand, Director of Corporate Communications at Samuel French.

NAMT thanks the following foundations, government agencies and organizations for their ongoing support of our programs: The Alhadeff Charitable Foundation, The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York Creative Spaces Grant, ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund, BMI Foundation, The Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund, The Hollywood Pantages, National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Ted Snowden Foundation, and Anonymous donors.

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