Members in the News

Know a Theatre: Broadway Rose Theatre Company

American Theatre recently featured NAMT member Broadway Rose Theatre in their monthly “Know a Theatre” feature. Sharon Maroney, Broadway Rose’s producing artistic director, was interviewed about the theatre’s history, regional impact, artistic programming and more.

We are committed to producing new or lesser-known works as well as classic Broadway musicals. We always want to balance our season with artistically satisfying productions and shows that will help us stay financially sound. Last season we did a new work called Fly by Night. It was wonderful—an artistic and critical success and our audience enjoyed it. We also did Church Basement Ladies—a definite crowd pleaser that sold out and helped support other productions that we knew wouldn’t make as much money but were important to produce.

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This month we chatted with Lori Bales, an Associate Professor at Millikin University and the director of the school’s New Musical Workshop. Millikin is currently in rehearsal for their 10th Annual New Musical Workshop, featuring works by Sam Carner and Derek Gregor, as well as songs by Festival alumni Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond (Fest ’11, Dani Girl; Fest ’14, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes).
This year Millikin University is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of producing new works—can you tell us about the history of your program?
We’d like to send out a big thank you to Scott Guy, Elise Dewsberry, and John Sparks for their support in our start-up year. In 2007 we piloted our program in collaboration with New Musicals Inc. (formerly ANMT) followed by a collaboration with Theatre Building Chicago in 2008. My initial inspiration for this program was in a breakout group at the 2004 NAMT Conference, moderated by John Sparks. In 2009 we began working with solo writing teams Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond, and Jeff Thompson and Jordan Mann. We’ve had the privilege of collaborating with many other truly gifted writers: Adam Gwon and Sarah Hammond, Andrew Lippa, Marissa Michaelson, Amy Engelhardt and Marc Acito, Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham, and Millikin alums Derek Hassler and his partner Landon Braverman, and Joshua Streeter and his partner Ryan Laney. We are currently workshopping two shows with Sam Carner and Derek Gregor. In celebration of our ten-year anniversary, Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond will join us for a retrospective cabaret celebrating their canon of work. In addition to developmental workshops/residencies we also provide fully realized developmental productions on our mainstage season. To date we’ve produced Golden Gate by Kooman and Dimond and String by Gwon and Hammond.

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Festival Show Update: Beatsville

Beatsville, written by Wendy Wilf and Glenn Slater, appeared in the 2008 NAMT Festival. The show is now preparing for its world premiere in a co-production with NAMT member the 5th Avenue Theatre and Asolo Rep Theatre. This month, we caught up with the writers to hear about the work they’ve done on the piece since the Festival leading up to this premiere.

What was the response to Beatsville like after the 2008 Festival?
We had a great Festival—our cast was spectacular, and made the show look fantastic—and we received a hugely gratifying outpouring of interest from various theatres and organizations who wanted to help us take the next step forward. We sort of fumbled the ball a little—we felt that we still had some writing to do, and weren’t sure what that next step should be, and then we got swept up in other projects. Luckily for us, when we were finally ready to move forward, there was still a lot of goodwill in the community from people who remembered it from the Festival, and they proved instrumental in helping us get the show back on track.

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Musical Theatre Students Are Becoming Triple Threats

NAMT members Baldwin Wallace University, Pace University, and the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program are discussed in this great article from American Theatre that looks at how musical theatre training is changing to meet the demands of the current marketplace.

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Festival Show Update: The Fabulous Fitches

The Fabulous Fitches (formerly known as Palm Beach), written by Robert Cary, Benjamin Feldman and David Gursky, has evolved quite a bit since it was presented in NAMT’s Festival in 2001. This month, we checked in with the team to see where the piece is now.

What was the initial reaction to The Fabulous Fitches when it was first presented at the 2001 Festival?
The response was wonderful, and it actually brought the show to the attention of William Morris (now WME), who have represented it ever since.
What developmental work have you done on the show since it was at the NAMT Festival?
The show has had a production (at La Jolla Playhouse in 2005) and several developmental readings, based on what we learned and wanted to explore further in the show.
How has the show evolved in the years since the Festival, and what message does the show hold for audiences today?
The Fabulous Fitches was, in its original form, an homage to screwball Hollywood comedies of the 1930s, in the vein of Bringing Up Baby or My Man Godfrey.  Over time, however, we realized that—while the screwball genre helped dictate the tone of the show—what we were really talking about was the American Dream:  who gets to live it?  And to whom is it denied?  We began to ask ourselves, “Who really has a place at the American table?”.  And then we put that question through the lens of a brisk 30s-style musical comedy, played very much for laughs.
What have been some of the joys and challenges for you as a writing team as the show has seen more development?
It’s always a joy to continue to have a relationship with a show that is so personal, for all three of us, and which is also the first thing we wrote as a team.  The challenges have to do with the fact that the show isn’t really like a lot of other shows, and thus harder to “pitch”—it’s funny and accessible, but it’s political, too, and it doesn’t come with a pre-sold “name brand” which makes it immediately clear what to expect.  On the other hand, that may prove one of its assets; it’s very much its own thing.
What would you like to see as a next step for the show?
The show imagines a tremendously wealthy titan of industry, who controls many brands, deciding to run for political office despite having no real qualifications other than his fame and money—seriously.  So, despite the first draft being written several years ago, it’s become surprisingly (I’d even say shockingly) topical.  It’s also about people thinking one group can lay exclusive claim to “real” American values; again, more topical than we ever imagined it would be by 2016.  We had a wonderful developmental reading with Josh Prince directing this summer, and we’d like to find a home for a full production.  It seems like the right time, to say the least.

For more information about The Fabulous Fitches, contact Susan Weaving at WME.
Photo: Leo McKnight’s chorus girls (L-R: Taryn Darr, Jennifer Evans and Erica Piccininni) entertain the crowd in The Fabulous Fitches, the world premiere production at La Jolla Playhouse. Photo credit: Ken Howard

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Broadway's Most Sought-After Young Star Is A NAMT Member

The NAMT staff had heard of the legendary Broadway baby Twan Baker, of course, but until last week’s in-depth New York Times profile of him, we didn’t realize he had such deep NAMT roots! From the Times:

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NEA Awards Grants to NAMT and Our Members

The National Endowment for the Arts has recently announced that it will award over $30 million in grants to fund artistic projects and research, with $3,505,000 going to companies working in the field of Theater & Musical Theatre. Many NAMT members have been selected to receive grants in this cycle, including $55,000 to NAMT itself, in support of our Festival of New Musicals and Fall Conference. Congratulations to those members receiving grants in this round of NEA funding, including:
The 5th Avenue Theatre
Ars Nova
Atlantic Theater Company
The Lark
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
The Old Globe
Playwrights Horizons
Portland Center Stage
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Village Theatre
ZACH Theatre
Congratulations to all, and thank you to the NEA for supporting arts organizations throughout the country! For a full list of the recipients, visit the NEA’s website. Watch the NEA’s video above to learn more about their impact on the arts in America.

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Support NAMT While You Shop This Holiday Season!

Did you know that you can help support NAMT simply by doing your holiday shopping online? Just use this link to access Amazon (or go to smile.amazon.com and select NAMT as your charitable organization), and shop as you normally would. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your purchases to NAMT — it doesn’t cost you (or the merchants you’re purchasing from) a thing!

 
But wait, there’s more! Buying New York theatre tickets? Head to Givenik for discount offers, and we get 5%! They also have group rates on theatre, opera, and even sports!

Finally, if you find yourself with some free time and some opinions over the holiday break, why not fill out a few market research surveys at Opinions For Good? Op4G will pay you for your time (usually just a few minutes and a few clicks), and you decide how much to share with NAMT. It’s easy and fun; everyone wins!

 
Of course, if you just want to remember NAMT in your year-end giving, you can give here now, or check out all of the ways to support us (including our Players Program and corporate event sponsorship opportunities) throughout the year.
All of us at NAMT wish you the best for this holiday season, and a wonderful start to 2016!
 

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New Work in Progress: Scrooge in Love!

This month, we chatted with Daniel Thomas, the Executive Director at 42nd Street Moon, and Dyan McBride, the show’s director, about their upcoming production of Scrooge in Love!, written by Larry Grossman (Fest ’95, Paper Moon), Kellen Blair and Duane Poole (Fest ’14, Beautiful Poison). 42nd Street Moon produced the world premiere of the musical last year.
What happened after A Christmas Carol? The day after that fateful Christmas we join Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys to find his long-lost love Belle. Along the way he’s helped by some old friends and new ghosts! Scrooge in Love! had its smash hit World Premiere at 42nd Street Moon in 2015, and the theatre is pleased to bring back this joyous holiday tale that’s perfect for the entire family.
What is 42nd Street Moon’s mission, and how does new works development fit into that mission?
42nd Street Moon celebrates and preserves the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre. We contribute to its evolution and continuing vitality by presenting intimately produced performances of classic and rarely performed musical works. Through our productions, educational programs, and community outreach, we are committed to increasing the awareness and appreciation of the rich heritage and cultural perspective of the musical theatre and its vast influence on the world stage.
As we approach our 25th Anniversary, we are aware that the vitality of musical theatre is as dependent on shepherding the next generation of classic musicals as it is on preserving the rich heritage of shows that have come before. This is the third premiere or semi-premiere we have been involved with, and each experience has reinforced this belief.

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NFNM Show Update: Teen Sniper

Dallas Theater Center recently received a Writers Residency grant for a musical written by Rajiv Joseph and Bill Sherman, currently titled Teen Sniper. Lee Trull, Director of New Play Development at DTC, spoke with us about the Residency process.

Tell us a bit about the Untitled Teen Sniper Project and how Dallas Theater Center got involved with the piece.
Rajiv Joseph and Bill Sherman (plus the wonderful Kirsten Childs) wrote a musical for us a few years back titled Fly. It was an updated story of Peter Pan directed by Jeffrey Seller. We were amazed by the work of all three writers (we just produced the world premier of Bella by Kirsten which will be seen soon at Playwrights Horizons). We also have a close relationship with Meredith McDonough of Actors Theatre of Louisville. She worked on Fly By Night with us and directed Book Club Play a few years later. She’s become a dear friend of mine and a member of the DTC family. Meredith reach out to us with the idea of co-commissioning Bill and Rajiv to write a new musical. We jumped at the chance!
How does this process fit into DTC’s overall commitment to new works development?
DTC is committed to inspiring our diverse community by creating experiences that stimulate new ways of thinking and living. Teen Sniper (which is a working title — I think it’s already changed twice!) takes a funny and humane look at a not-to-distant dystopian world dominated by racial and economic tension and a callous disregard for human life. It asks fundamental questions about gun violence, empathy and America’s place in the world. The music is extraordinary, the characters are vibrant and its themes are modern. It’s exactly the kind of risky new work that DTC has a track record of developing.

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INSIDE THE 2016 FESTIVAL: First Rehearsal

A guest post from Alana Jacoby, the lyricist and librettist for this year’s Festival show Mortality Play, written with Scotty Arnold. Mortality Play was featured in the Songwriters Showcase at last year’s Festival.
Today is our fifth first rehearsal for Mortality Play. As I put on my Black Death European Tour shirt this morning (which I think I’ve worn to every one), I played them all back in my mind. There was the first first rehearsal, for our thesis reading at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program: the first time anyone outside of our program said these words and sang these songs; the first time we felt like real musical theater writers. There was the second first rehearsal, for ANT Fest at Ars Nova: the first time the show left the safe space of an educational setting and went out into the world. There was the third first rehearsal, for the Yale Institute of Music Theatre: the kick-off of an amazing two-week workshop and the longest period of time when Scotty and I got to be in full-time writing mode since graduating. First rehearsal number four, for our Joe’s Pub reading two years later, felt like getting the band back together after too much time away. And here we are at first rehearsal number five, walking into the room with this overwhelmingly talented cast and amazing creative team.
First rehearsals remind me of birthdays. It’s perfect that this one happened this week, because Scotty and I just celebrated our shared birthday two days ago. It’s a day full of excitement and promise, all about watching something begin to unfold. Listening to each song during an initial read-through feels like opening presents. Peeking over my script to see the actors’ faces as they fearlessly dive into a cold read, wondering how they’ll react, hoping they’ll laugh at that joke, hearing how each song will sound in their particular voices. It’s like giving and getting presents all at the same time, which Scotty and I are used to, as collaborator birthday buddies.
This show has grown up so much over the past five years to get to this point, and each first rehearsal has been a chance to look at it through new eyes. Not just the eyes of the new people around the table, but through our own, which have also grown up and changed. My mother died between first rehearsal number three and first rehearsal number four, which turned my world upside down and made me think about death and loss, such integral themes of this piece, in a much different way. And on my birthday two days before rehearsal number five, my boyfriend and I got engaged, which made me hide in my binder today and take a much closer look at the dialogue in our proposal scene. It makes me wonder, with some fear and some excitement, where we’ll be and what will be happening in our lives as we head into first rehearsal number six.
For now, Scotty and I are sitting in this room enjoying this best of all possible birthday gifts, soaking up the amazing energy of our teammates and thrill of being part of this festival. We can’t wait to share our excitement by presenting Mortality Play in front of our NAMT audience a week from today!

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INSIDE THE 2016 NAMT FESTIVAL: One Week Away

A guest post from Mindi Dickstein, Nolan Gasser and Kirsten Guenther, the writers of this year’s Festival show Benny & Joon.
We cannot believe we are only a week away from the NAMT Festival presentations.  From the moment Ciera Iveson called us with the wonderful news that we had been selected, it has been a whirlwind of activity.  Casting sessions with Michael Cassara, a flurry of excellent advice from the wonderful Kent Nicholson and Paige Price (what a godsend the consultant part of NAMT is), intrepid support from Karin Nilo and gracious leadership from Ciera (who somehow manages to wrangle 8 teams of writers effortlessly), and, oh yes, feverish rewrites, re-rewrites, new songs written and discarded, and deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!
Most challenging has been the 45-minute cut.  We chose to do an abridged version of our first act (which runs about an hour and 10 minutes when fully performed).  And we’ve made several drafts since we started in July.  A friend said: “Why not just do the first 45 minutes?”  Of course, that would have been so much simpler.  But then there would not be the pleasure, again, of hearing Hannah Elless, Mamie Parris, Andrew Samonsky and Zak Resnick singing our act one closer: “Dinner and A Movie.”
 
At this point the work continues and most likely there will be tweaks and revisions till the last minute – when aren’t there? – but we are digging in to this last week feeling blessed to have this wonderful chance to share a little of our show.  Indeed, at moments like this, poised to go forward but feeling the energy of our work together so far, we look back with wonder.
 
To the earliest days, when Nolan and Mindi – who met through a mutual friend – began writing spec songs for MGM based on Benny & Joon to demonstrate the title’s musicality as well as our passion for the story and the characters.  To connecting with Kirsten and beginning work in earnest on our first draft of book and score, which culminated in our first reading – when there was only a half a score – in January 2014.
 
After that there were two more readings (with full score, thank you) and a trip to the Running Deer Musical Theater Lab in the mountains around Washington State’s Columbia Gorge region, a glorious and inspiring setting.  We went with Larry Hirschhorn, our producer, and Jack Cummings III, our director, and we all bonded over notes and rewrites and cocktails at 5 PM with our hosts, Brisa and Mark Trinchero and Sally and Jim Peters.  We wrote furiously there but also somehow found time to visit an alpaca farm, explore local caves, and to make the discovery of an ancient box of Chicken in a Biskit at the local general store.
 
When we did our Developmental Lab last fall at The Transport Group, we got a taste of what it will be like to see this musical move on its feet, which was thrilling.  In January of this year, we were invited on retreat to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in Redwood City, CA, where we were able to work intensely on revisions under the aegis of the kind and generous Robert Kelley, artistic director, and Giovanna Sardelli, New Works director.  It was a gift – as all retreats are – to be able to gather as writers and work without interruption, to try out changes, and to explore the rich culinary variety of the area.
 
And so here we are a week away from this great NAMT milestone.  It’s a week away from what feels like the culmination of three years of work.  We feel poised to begin what we hope will be the next phase of our journey: finding a theater to host our first production.  Just writing those words makes us say “whoa” – but we are ready.

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INSIDE THE 2016 FESTIVAL: Orchestrations

A conversation with Daniel and Patrick Lazour, the writers of this year’s Festival show We Live in Cairo.
Patrick: So Daniel.
Daniel: Patty O.
P: You being the composer in this arrangement, tell us what orchestration does.
D: Well, it takes the score the extra mile, I think. You listen to a Rodgers and Hammerstein score played on piano and it’s just a totally different thing from the, ya know, 70 piece orchestra.
P: And that’s how it was intended.
D: Back in the day.
P: Because they had the money.
D: But it’s funny.
P: It’s all about money.
D: You’re right. But not quite. Because the resourcefulness you have to have now, leads to some pretty interesting things.
P:  What’s a good example of that? Because what comes to mind for me is Urinetown.
D: Urinetown! That’s such a great point. Super resourceful. And really, sort of bizarre instrumentation. Bizarre in the best sense, in that it gives this sort of dystopian sound. The reed and the brass give it this neo-baroque feel.
P: Neo-baroque. Definitely. Even this archaic…
D: Ancient! Or something…. But what about you? What are your favorite orchestrations?
P: I would say Sunday in the Park with George.
D: Kills it.
P: Because of its specificity to the time. I think that is also getting to what we talk about with our show—the way that Michael Starobin homed in on period and the artistic sensibility of Georges Seurat.
D: I think of that French horn interval. Bahm-bah. And you’re so right. It’s so 19th century. So Belle Époque.
P: Right. And Georges Seurat. Not to intellectualize this conversation, but he had manifestos. He was a writer just as much as he was a painter. So finding ways to orchestrate those thoughts to create a soundscape is what transports me.
D: Sunday. So great. And rather remarkably, we had the opportunity to work with Michael Starobin…
P: At the O’Neill on We Live in Cairo.
D: He’s just a master. He’s a master of what works and what doesn’t work.  He taught us the orchestrator’s job. That is, to take sketches from the composer and fill them in. Talk about painting. It’s a matter of shading and adding detail and “completing the thought.” He said that. He totally understood that We Live in Cairo is a groove-based show. He and I also talked a lot with our Oud player Hadi Eldebek, for example, about how he should really use what he knows about his instrument and culture and filter that into the show. To authenticate it.
P: And this brings up a good point. How much is orchestration a collaborative process?
D: I think it depends. In the olden days, it was much more of a pass-off situation.
P: But that’s old world. That’s ancien regime. What’s nouveau?
D: I think today is much more collaborative, in that musical theatre is sounding more like bands that we listen to. And bands inherently are a team effort. So I think it’s the idea of getting musicians in the room, like Hadi, our incredible percussionist Jeremy Smith, and Eli Zoller our music director. Jeremy for instance heard this score in its super nascent stages and had ideas to contribute even before things were fleshed out on my end. It’s about how our different interpretations can come together.
P: It’s also worth mentioning that with We Live in Cairo, from the first weeks of writing, the idea of orchestration was in our conversation. Am I right?
D: Absolutely.
P: And that, I think is a little bit of an anomaly. There are different ways of going about a show, but usually orchestration comes close to last. But because this show was based in Egypt, we wanted the score to reflect traditional and contemporary Arabic music. Oud, Percussion. And then we needed to figure out how to contextualize these sounds in a musical theatre idiom. And that was all orchestration. What that meant was that we had to start making relationships with musicians who knew this world—and that meant connecting with the Arab community in New York. Fellow Lebanese and, of course, Egyptians.
D: And at NAMT, we’re so thankful to have the opportunity to continue to work with the band.
P: I think, just to wrap up, orchestration is knowing your score in and out, and going from there.
D: And we always try to remember that another instrument’s interpretation of a melody, bass line, accompaniment figure, can be more “right” than the instrument you wrote it on. And that’s the magic of orchestration, really.

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A guest post from Julia Meinwald, composer of this year’s show The Loneliest Girl in the World, written with Gordon Leary. Leary and Meinwald have previously been a part of the NAMT Festival in 2011 with their show Pregnancy Pact
Like in any good sequel, Gordon and my return to NAMT promises the return of some starring players (welcome back awesome music director Rich Silverstein and sage consultant Steve Stettler!), some new blood to freshen up the franchise (welcome awesome director Michael Berresse!) and a tagline that we really like but in the end doesn’t quite represent the material (“Life’s a bitch and then you’re pied.”) And now you can experience the whole thing in crystal clear 3D at New World Stages!

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We are thrilled to announce initial casting for the 28th Festival of New Musicals! Caissie Levy, Brynn O’Malley and Ali Stroker are among the Broadway stars who will perform in eight new musicals being rolled out as 45-minute presentations at the 28th Annual Festival of New Musicals, which takes place October 26-28 at New World Stages in Manhattan.
This year’s casts come from Broadway, TV and film and include such notable performers as Hannah Elless (Broadway: Bright Star, Godspell), Mamie Parris (Broadway: Cats, School of Rock), Jonah Platt (Broadway: Wicked), Caissie Levy (Broadway: Wicked, Les Miserables, Ghost), Eric William Morris (Broadway: Coram Boy, Mamma Mia!), Dana Steingold (Broadway: Godspell, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Brynn O’Malley (Broadway: Wicked, Honeymoon in Vegas), Gerard Canonico (Broadway: Spring Awakening, American Idiot), Ali Stroker (TV: Glee; Broadway: Spring Awakening), Teal Wicks (Broadway: Wicked, Finding Neverland), Ciara Renée (Broadway: Big Fish, Pippin) and Ahmad Maksoud (TV: Blacklist; regional: This Time, The Life Model). The casting director for the Festival is Michael Cassara Casting.

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A guest blog post by Kait Kerrigan, one of the writers of this year’s Festival show The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown, written with Brian Lowdermilk.
Choosing your collaborators is always a challenge. As writers in a long-term collaboration, it’s also an opportunity to inject life and breath into a project. When we applied to NAMT, it was with the intent of stripping down our piece to its strongest elements and making it feel fresh and relevant. We’re writing about a teenage girl who is dealing with her first brush with grief. There is a large canon of literature that plunges into those depths but we have approached it with a heightened theatricality that we think makes it feel fresh and newly emotional. We were looking for collaborators who could help us look at the piece from an entirely new angle. This meant that we were looking for people who had never worked on the project before.

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A guest post from Anthony Drewe, lyricist and librettist for this year’s show Soho Cinders, written with George Stiles and Elliot Davis. This is Anthony and George’s third time returning to the Festival, previously being featured with their shows Honk! (Fest ’99) and The Three Little Pigs (Fest ’13). George also had a second show featured in the 1999 Festival, The Three Musketeers
My first experience of NAMT was in 1993 when I attended the Festival of New Musicals as a delegate. I was impressed that such an organization existed for new writers and that so many regional theatres shared such a strong interest in new musical theatre. At the time, I wished that such an organisation existed in the UK and, as a Brit, never dreamt that we would one day have a show of our own in the NAMT Festival.

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A guest post from Gordon Leary, lyricist and librettist of this year’s show The Loneliest Girl in the World, written with Julia Meinwald. Leary and Meinwald have previously been a part of the NAMT Festival in 2011 with their show Pregnancy Pact
There are so many things to be excited about when your show is accepted into the NAMT Festival of New Musicals. You look forward to getting to know seven other writing teams and their work, working with wonderful actors and directors, and having the opportunity to share your writing with NAMT members from across the country… Then you remember that you need to do it all in 45 minutes.

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INSIDE THE 2016 FESTIVAL: Finding Our Voice

A guest post from Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould, the writers of this year’s show Lempicka.

Before passing roles and songs along to singer/actors, we need to find the character’s true voice.  Tamara de Lempicka, painter, Polish refugee, woman who will fall in love with her model, Rafaela… the first voice she sings in is always Matt’s. This is one of the first songs we wrote for the show, and the place where we truly found out who she is.  Here, after they make love for the first time, Tamara observes and paints the sleeping Rafaela, wondering how, how in this world can she truly capture this.  This woman.

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A guest post from Brett Ryback, writer of this year’s show Joe Schmoe Saves the World.
The question of why apply for the NAMT Festival is wrapped up in the larger question of why apply for any festival, or grant or award, etc. It’s certainly no small feat to fill out the application, record the necessary demos, pony up the entry fee, and get it all in the mail on time. Sometimes, even despite the potential production or reading or financial gain, applying for things feels like a burden that gets in the way of the thing you’d rather be doing – writing (or eating, it’s often a toss-up for me). But the actual act of applying comes with its own worthwhile lessons, and I recommend every writer give it a shot once or five times.

Failure Makes You Stronger

Rejection is part of the business, and learning to handle rejection is one of the best skills an artist can develop. Handling rejection in a healthy way will give you the stamina to keep going through even the toughest slog, AND get better while you do it.
The trick is that you can’t simply disregard rejection, you have to learn from it. Find out why you got rejected, decide whether you agree with that reason, and then adjust your work accordingly. You might learn that your piece is not for every audience, or you might come to understand that a certain quality you thought you were communicating is actually not being received by the reader. Or you might learn that the only way to get ahead is to live in New York City and have famous people sing your songs at 54 Below (Joking!) (Sort of.). Either way – you’re learning how to rebound and move forward. And eventually, that rejection will turn into acceptance.

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INSIDE THE 2016 FESTIVAL: The Road to the Festival

I first had the germ of an idea to write a modern Cinderella story in the early 90’s. At the time the story was to be set in a launderette in the East End of London, run by a young single mother who falls in love with a married politician. The pumpkin carriage was to be a London taxi, the fairy godmother a customer who brings a ball-gown to be dry-cleaned. It was to be called Launderella and pretty much all that remains of that treatment is the song “They Don’t Make Glass Slippers.”
It was a few years later, sitting in Hyde Park with George, and basking in the recent success of Honk!, that we revisited the idea. We wanted to write a modern musical fable, loosely based on the fairytale but very London-centric. We decided to make our Cinderella character a young gay guy, Robbie, who works in the city’s most cosmopolitan district, Soho. As Robbie sings, in one of the lyrics:
ALL CITIES HAVE THE SAME
ONE STREET THAT KNOWS NO SHAME
In London, that is Old Compton Street – a glorious melting pot where gay bars, straight bars, theatres, coffee shops and strip clubs sit seemingly happy, side by side. One afternoon we sat in Old Compton Street just watching the tide of interesting characters walking by, and wondering what their stories were.

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NFNM Show Update: The Band's Visit

The Band’s Visit, written by David Yazbek and Itamar Moses (Fest ’12, Nobody Loves You), will receive its world premiere at Atlantic Theater this Fall, supported in part by a Production Grant from the National Fund for New Musicals. We reached out to Annie MacRae, the Atlantic’s Associate Artistic Director, and Itamar to learn more about the show’s history and this upcoming production. 
What is Atlantic’s history with new musical development? How does this tie into the theatre’s overall mission?
Annie MacRae: It is Atlantic’s mission to produce great plays simply and truthfully by utilizing an artistic ensemble. Over our 30-year history, commitment to this mission has led to some exciting new plays from Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Between Riverside and Crazy to Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew. At the same time, we’ve been working to build upon past world premieres like Patty Griffin’s 10 Million Miles and the iconic Spring Awakening to become a home for musical theater in NYC. In the past three years, we’ve developed and produced great projects like Martha Clarke’s reimagining of The Threepenny Opera and premieres of Found by Eli Bolin, Hunter Bell, and Lee Overtree and These Paper Bullets! by Billie Joe Armstrong and Rolin Jones. We’ve also produced several one and two-week workshops of musicals to help develop thrilling projects from the ground up.

What was the first inspiration for The Band’s Visit?
Itamar Moses: The project originated with our producer Orin Wolf, who acquired the stage rights to the film from Eran Kolerin, the filmmaker. He asked me to take a look at the film — which I’d heard of but never seen — and of course I loved it, because it’s great, and I immediately saw why Orin thought it might make a good stage musical. So then David Yazbek, who also saw the potential, and I were hired to do the adaptation.

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Two years ago, as part of our strategic plan goal to engage with more individuals at our NAMT member theatres, we launched a new program of Management Roundtables with a forum in Miami on board development and best practices. Following the model of our successful Writers’ Roundtables and New Works Summits, this program (as the name implies) was designed to focus on topics on the business side of theatre (which may or may not overlap with new work development and production). These smaller events, hosted by our member theatres, would allow us to explore areas that we weren’t able to support a full two-day conference on, but that warranted more discussion — and more face-time — than an online presentation.

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Members in the News

Theater Latté Da Finds Permanent Home

NAMT member Theater Latté Da has recently announced the purchase of the historic Ritz Theatre in northeast Minneapolis. American Theatre reported on the purchase, noting that this will mark the first time in Theater Latté Da’s 18-year history that the administrative offices, rehearsal spaces and performance venues will be in the same building.

“During our time at the Ritz Theater, our patrons have expressed how much they love the intimacy of the space and the vibrancy of the neighborhood,” said artistic director Peter Rothstein in a statement. “Residents and local businesses have been extremely welcoming and become a vital partners. With the Ritz Theater as our artistic home, we will continue to deepen our relationship with Northeast Minneapolis. The Ritz Theater is a fantastic building in a dynamic neighborhood with a rich history of diverse ethnic identity and cultural exchange. Theater Latté Da is thrilled to be a part of its next chapter.”

Congratulations to Peter and the whole Theater Latté Da staff on this exciting new development! Read more on American Theatre’s website.

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NAMT News

New Work in Progress: From Page to Stage

This month, we chatted with Katy Lipson, the Company Director/Producer at Aria Entertainment, about their upcoming new musical showcase, From Page to Stage. Featuring readings and showcases of new and developing musicals, this year’s group of musicals includes a show written by Festival alumni Hyeyoung Kim and Michael Cooper (Fest ’06, Sunfish) and one by Elliot Davis, who will be featured in this year’s Festival with Soho Cinders.
 
What is Aria Entertainment’s mission, and how does From Page to Stage fit into that larger picture?
Aria Entertainment is passionate about commissioning, developing and producing new musical theatre. Over the past four years as we have built the company, we have produced over 35 productions many of which have been world premieres or UK premieres of new international musicals. In 2013, I created the From Page to Stage season of new musicals as a platform for creators of new musicals. This was my opportunity to find new writers and give them development opportunities, as well as to introduce audiences to the process.

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