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Outrageous Fortune: The Musical! The Life and Times of the New American Musical

October 23, 2010 9:00 am - October 24, 2010 4:00 pm

Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square, 1568 Broadway (at 47th Street), New York, NY

In the last year, Theatre Development Fund (TDF) completed a nation-wide study about the state of new play writing and production and published the results in Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play.  The book has sparked considerable thought and debate in the theatre community. It describes the relationship between playwrights and theatres as “a collaboration in crisis.”  For the 2010 Fall Conference, we are excited to partner with TDF to explore this conversation and expand upon it, finding solutions and best practices to secure the future of the development of new musicals, the work of NAMT’s members, and the livelihoods of our Festival Alumni writers.


  • Picking up where we left off with the Festival of New Musicals, we began Saturday with a Pre-Conference Members’ Morning. Here, all NAMT members had an exclusive chance to meet the writers from the previous days’ Festival of New Musicals, and discussed the Festival shows and opportunities for future collaboration. This was followed by updates from the NAMT staff and board, and a celebration of NAMT’s 25th anniversary with some of our founding members at the Annual Membership Meeting. All NAMT members were welcome at this morning’s events.
  • For Fall Conference registrants, the main event kicked off on Saturday afternoon with Keynote speaker Victoria Bailey, Executive Director of Theatre Development Fund, who talked about the impetus for and findings of Outrageous Fortune, and challenged us to think critically about our practices and assumptions.
  • Panel discussions led by experts in the field on the life and livelihood of writers, continued life for new musicals, the audience’s role in new work development, and more, with ample audience participation, conversation and Q&A.
  • Extensive networking opportunities, including a networking cocktail party on Saturday night (full open bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres), lunch at the Doubletree on Sunday, and coffee breaks and breakout sessions throughout the weekend.
  • All attendees received a free copy of Outrageous Fortune prior to the Conference.


Randy Adams (Junkyard Dog Productions),Chair
Nancy Barnett (Florida Stage)
Bill Berry (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Rick Boynton (Chicago Shakespeare Theater)
Kent Nicholson (Playwrights Horizons)



Saturday, October 23
Pre-Conference Members’ Morning

9:00 – 9:30 am NAMT Member Check-in and Continental Breakfast
Hudson Foyer
Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square
1560 Broadway (at 47th Street)

6th FloorBreakfast sponsored by Theatre Under The Stars
9:30 – 10:15 am Beyond the Festival: Meet the Writers
Hudson BallroomAn exclusive opportunity for NAMT members to hear from the writers of the eight shows presented at the 22nd Annual Festival of New Musicals, as their shows move forward to further development and production.
Moderated by Festival Committee Co-Chairs Donna Lynn Hilton (Goodspeed Musicals) and Steve Stettler (Weston Playhouse Theatre Company)

NAMT Members Only.
Open to all NAMT members, even if they are not attending the Fall Conference.

10:15 – 11:30 am Festival Committee Panel and Members’ Collaboration Meeting
Hudson BallroomAfter the writers leave, the Festival Committee will join the co-chairs on stage to discuss this year’s selection, the process and additional shows the committee believes are of note.  This will lead directly into a group discussion about how the NAMT membership can better further the development of the Festival shows.Moderated by Branden Huldeen (NAMT New Works Director) with Festival Committee Co-Chairs Donna Lynn Hilton (Goodspeed Musicals) and Steve Stettler (Weston Playhouse Theatre Company), and the Festival Committee: Pamela Adams (Paper Mill Playhouse),Kate Galvin, (Walnut Street Theatre),Elisbeth Challener (Zach Theatre), Nick Demos (Demos Bizar Entertainment), Mark Fleischer (Adirondack Theatre Festival), Carey McCray (CAP21)
Dan Murphy (The Broadway Rose Theatre), Raymond Sage (Pennsylvania Centre Stage), Heather Schmucker (American Music Theatre Project), and Douglas Young, (North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center).

NAMT Members Only.
Open to all NAMT members, even if they are not attending the Fall Conference.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm Annual Membership Meeting
Hudson BallroomA report on the “State of NAMT” from the board of directors and staff, and a tribute to our founders as we celebrate 25 years of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre!President’s Report: Marilynn Sheldon
Executive Director’s Report: Kathy Evans
Membership: Jeff Loeb
Festival of New Musicals: Steve Stettler
New Works: Brett Bernardini
Treasurer: Mark Sylvester
Nominating: Denny ReaganFounders’ Panel moderated by Marilynn Sheldon, with Chris Manos (Theater of the Stars), Michael Price (Goodspeed Musicals), Kary Walker (NETWorks) and Frank Young (Theatre Under The Stars).

NAMT Members Only.
Open to all NAMT members, even if they are not attending the Fall Conference.

12:30 – 2:00 pm Lunch Break(Lunch will not be served. See your reminder email after registering for neighborhood restaurant recommendations.)

Check-in continues for all Conference attendees
Hudson Foyer
Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square
1560 Broadway (at 47th Street)

Conference Main Program
2:00 – 2:15 pm

Welcome Remarks

Hudson Ballroom

2:15 – 3:00 pm Keynote Speaker: Victoria Bailey
Executive Director, Theater Development Fund
Hudson BallroomAs Executive Director of TDF, Victoria Bailey was instrumental in the execution of the Playwrights Project, a comprehensive study of the lives of American playwrights and the production of new American Plays.  The Project culminated in Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play, which was published in December 2009 and has stimulated national conversations about this critical issue, including this conference.Read Tory’s speech here (courtesy of TDF).
3:00 – 3:30 pm Networking Coffee & Dessert Break
Off-Broadway Room
3:30 – 4:15 pm Risk and Reward Roundtables
Off-Broadway RoomAttendees will break into small groups to discuss the risks we take as producers, and the potential payoffs and pitfalls. Do you consider yourself to be a risk-taker? Risk-averse? Have you benefited from taking chances, or been harmed by them? Do funders and audiences respond well to bold choices, or shy away from them? Get ready to delve deep with your fellow NAMT members!Led by the 2010 Fall Conference Committee: Randy Adams (Junkyard Dog Productions), Nancy Barnett (Florida Stage), Bill Berry (The 5th Avenue Theatre), Rick Boynton (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and Kent Nicholson (Playwrights Horizons).
4:15 – 4:30 pm A Word From Our Sponsor: Travelzoo
Hudson Ballroom
4:30 – 5:15 pm Risk and Reward Panel
Hudson BallroomWhat is the nature of risk and how does a producer manage it? What is the payoff? How can we take chances on writers and new work while pleasing our audiences and meeting our bottom line? The Fall Conference committee will share the results of your roundtable discussions with the entire group.
5:30 – 7:30 pm Networking Cocktail Party
Glass House Tavern
252 West 47th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue)
Sponsored by Samuel French and The 5th Avenue Theatre
Sam French5th Avenue

Sunday, October 24

10:00 – 11:00 am Subsidiary Rights – Balancing Producers’ and Writers’ Livelihoods
Hudson BallroomA hot topic for theatres and writers, who both depend on future income from shows they develop. How can we as an industry balance these conflicting interests in a way that is fair and allows both sides to do their work and support each other, allowing new musicals to flourish?Moderated by Nancy Barnett (Florida Stage), with David Armstrong (The 5th Avenue Theatre), David Kirshenbaum (4-time Festival of New Musicals writer), Kevin Moore (The Human Race Theatre Company), Michael Robertson (The Lark Play Development Center), John Weidman (former president of the Dramatists Guild of America, Tony-nominated writer of Assassins, Contact and others).
11:00 – 11:15 am A Word From Our Sponsor: Theatrical Rights Worldwide
Hudson Ballroom
Theatrical Rights Worldwide
11:15 am – 12:15 pm Continued Life for New Works
Hudson BallroomWhat happens after the world premiere, when a show is still unknown to your audience but no longer has the cachet of being first? How do we combat “world-premiere-itis” and ensure the continued life of new musicals? How can NAMT members work together to create a trajectory for a new show, and produce the second, third and fourth production of a new work in development?Moderated by Rick Boynton (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), with Beth Blickers (Abrams Artists), Adam Gwon (Writer, Ordinary Days, Festival 2008), Jason Loewith (National New Play Network), and Kevin Moriarty (Dallas Theater Center).
12:15 – 1:30 pm Lunch
Off-Broadway RoomSponsored by Dallas Summer Musicals and The Muny
DSMThe Muny
1:45 – 2:45 pm The Great Enhancement Debate
Hudson BallroomWake up after lunch with a lively debate on a hot-button issue! We’ll hear from commercial producers and non-profit artistic directors on both sides of “The Great Enhancement Debate.” Is commercial enhancement necessary to taking risks on new work? How might it affect a theatre’s standing as a non-profit? What happens to a new musical after its initial non-profit run? How can commercial producers help or hurt a musical’s development?Moderated by Sue Frost (Junkyard Dog Productions), with Marsha Brooks (Brooks & Distler, Attorneys at Law), Jerry Goehring (Patriot Productions), Dana Harrel (La Jolla Playhouse), Hattie Kittner (Goodspeed Musicals), Todd London (New Dramatists) and Kent Nicholson (Playwrights Horizons).
2:45 – 3:30 pm The Audience’s Role in New Work Development and Planning
Hudson BallroomNow that we’ve seen the potential rewards and hazards of taking risks, how does the audience factor in? Does the audience’s voice affect the art? Should it? Should we program for current tastes, or try to lead subscribers on a journey into the new? How involved are they in the process?Moderated by Randy Adams (Junkyard Dog Productions), with Brett Bernardini (The Spirit of Broadway Theater), Sean Cercone (Chicago Muse) and Robb Hunt (Village Theatre).
3:30 – 4:00 pm Concluding Remarks
Hudson BallroomFinal thoughts from our Fall Conference committee and your last chance to sound off as we wrap up these exciting four days of watching and talking about new musicals!
4:00 pm End of Conference


141 people from 97 organizations attended the 2010 Fall Conference.

1113 Productions
321 Theatrical Management
3-D Theatricals
42nd Street Moon
Academy for New Musical Theatre
Act II Playhouse
Actors Cabaret of Eugene
Adirondack Theatre Festival
Alley Theatre
Amas Musical Theatre
American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University
Apples and Oranges Productions
April 30th Entertainment
Arizona Theatre Company
Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music
Boston Music Theatre Project
at Suffolk University
Brigham Young University
Bristol Riverside Theatre
Brooks and Distler
Attorneys at Law
California Musical Theatre
Chicago Muse
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre
Cumberland County Playhouse
Dallas Summer Musicals
Dallas Theater Center
Demos Bizar Entertainment
Derby Dinner Playhouse
East of Doheny Productions
Fiddlehead Theatre Company
Flat Rock Playhouse
Florida Stage
Ford’s Theatre
Goodspeed Musicals
Gorgeous Entertainment Inc.
Junkyard Dog Productions
La Jolla Playhouse
Las Positas College
Light Opera Works
Maine State Music Theatre
Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire
McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Mercury Musical Developments
Music Theatre International
Music Theatre of Wichita
Musical Theatre West
National Alliance for Musical Theatre
National Endowment for the Arts
National New Play Network
New York Theatre Barn
North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program
Ogunquit Playhouse
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Pack the House Productions
Paper Mill Playhouse
Phoenix Entertainment
Pittsburgh CLO
Pittsburgh Musical Theater
Playwrights Horizons
Red Mountain Theatre Company
Relevant Theatricals
Richard Levi
Royal & Derngate
Samuel French Inc.
SenovvA Inc.
Stacey Mindich Productions
Stage Aurora Theatrical Company Inc.
The 5th Avenue Theatre
The Broadway Rose Theatre
The Danish Academy of Musical Theatre
New Works Development Centre UTERUS
The Hartt School
Theatre Division
The Human Race Theatre Company
The Muny
The Old Globe Theatre
The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization
The Spirit of Broadway Theater
Theater of the Stars
Theatre Development Fund
Theatre Under The Stars
Theatrical Rights Worldwide
University of Miami Department of Theatre Arts
Utah Festival Opera Company
Van Hill Entertainment
Victory Gardens Theater
Village Theatre
Walnut Street Theatre
Weston Playhouse Theatre Company
WonDerFul Theatricals
Woodminster Summer Musicals
ZACH Theatre