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Two-Part Harmony: The Art of Business, The Business of Art

October 13, 2012 8:30 am - October 14, 2012 5:00 pm

Sentry Center, 810 7th Avenue (at 53rd Street), 23rd Floor, New York, NY

The 2012 Fall Conference explored new musicals’ journey from page to stage from the standpoint of both artistic and business leaders, examining how different departments approach the same issues, as well as where those interests overlap and intersect. Combining plenary sessions with smaller discussions for artistic leaders and business leaders, this conference allowed ample opportunities to learn from and share with your colleagues, plus, as always, tons of networking and socializing time.

We followed the new work process from beginning to end, looking at different models for new musical development, determining the right approach for your show and your theatre, engaging staff and leadership at all levels, bringing in the audience, and looking to the future of leadership and the work itself. Taking place in a brand-new venue, this conference provided a fresh approach to producing musicals.

Conference Hightlights

  • A Keynote speech by Tony Award-winning actor and director Roger Rees.
  • Panel discussions led by experts 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), breakfast and lunch on both days of the conference, and coffee breaks and breakout sessions throughout the weekend.
  • An exclusive opportunity to meet the writers of the 24th Annual Festival of New Musicals shows during lunch on Saturday.
  • NAMT’s Annual Membership Meeting, with reports from the Board and Staff, during lunch on Sunday.

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE

Phil Santora, TheatreWorks (CA), Chair
Harriet Kittner, Goodspeed Musicals (CT)
Laura Little, LLL Productions (ID)

FALL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE

Alice Bemand, TriArts Sharon Playhouse (CT)
Jason Eagan, Ars Nova (NY)
Joel Ferrell, Dallas Theater Center (TX)
John Fionte, Cumberland County Playhouse (TN)
Mark Fleischer, Adirondack Theatre Festival (NY)
Sue Frost, Junkyard Dog Productions (NY)
Kelley Kirkpatrick, Center Theatre Group (CA)

Agenda

Saturday, October 13

8:30 – 9:30 am Check-In and Continental Breakfast
Sentry Center
810 Seventh Avenue (corner of 53rd Street)
23rd FloorConference attendees will check in in the lobby of 810 Seventh Avenue before proceeding upstairs to the conference venue. Please allow a few extra minutes to check in and get to the 23rd floor.Breakfast in Rockefeller Foyer, sponsored by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Music Theatre International
9:30 – 10:00 am Welcome Remarks and 30-Second Success Stories
Rockefeller Room
10:00 – 11:00 am Keynote Speech: Roger Rees
Rockefeller RoomWith experience on both sides of the footlights, including time as Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival and Associate Artistic Director of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Tony Award-winning actor, director and writer Roger Rees has a life-long commitment to new work, creativity and nurturing new generations of artists. Fresh from a stint in the West End with his one-man show, Roger will talk about his long career, from Nicholas Nickleby to Cheers to Peter and the Starcatcher, mixing art and commerce creatively, and the importance of education and mentorship. Click here to see a video greeting from Roger.
11:00 – 11:30 am Networking Coffee Break
Rockefeller FoyerSponsored by The 5th Avenue Theatre
11:30 am – 12:15 pm Plenary Panel: Models of New Work Development
Rockefeller RoomModerated by Sue Frost (Junkyard Dog Productions), with Marsha Brooks (Brooks & Distler), Kelley Kirkpatrick (Center Theatre Group), Paige Price (Theatre Aspen and Actors Equity Councilmember), Amy Rogers (Pace University New Musicals) and Phil Santora (Theatreworks).A panel of experts will discuss various topics related to developing and producing new musicals at all stages, including various approaches to institutional artistic support and development, how to secure funding for and interest in unknown artists, support structures for nurturing artists in not-for-profit vs. commercial institutions, and producing partnerships.
12:15 – 12:30 pm The National High School Musical Theatre Awards
Rockefeller Room
Sponsored by Pittsburgh CLO
12:30 – 2:00 pm Lunch and Meet the Festival Writers
Empire RoomOver lunch, conference attendees will have an exclusive chance to meet the writers from the 24th Annual Festival of New Musicals and ask them questions about their work.Lunch sponsored by Disney Theatrical Group
2:00 – 3:00 pm Plenary Panel: Determining the Right Developmental Process
Rockefeller RoomModerated by Mark Fleischer (Adirondack Theatre Festival), with Henry Fonte (University of Miami), Donna Lynn Hilton (Goodspeed Musicals), Branden Huldeen (NAMT), Brendan Milburn & Valerie Vigoda (Striking 12, Fest ’04; Sleeping Beauty Wakes, Fest ’12) and Greg Schaffert (Greg Schaffert Productions).Production values can be important to get a sense of a piece, but having those elements can get in the way of the writing process or unfairly raise audience expectations. How do you balance these conflicting priorities? How do you juggle the artistic and business needs of your organization? At what point do you bring in an audience? Our panel will discuss these issues and more, looking at both the artistic and the managerial side of these decisions.
3:00 – 4:00 pm Tracked Panels: Top-to-Bottom Engagement and IntegrationArtistic Leaders: Rockefeller Room
Moderated by Kevin Moore (The Human Race Theatre Company), with Bill Berry (The 5th Avenue Theatre), Victoria Bussert (Baldwin Wallace University) and Joel Ferrell (Dallas Theater Center).Management Leaders: Dakota Room
Moderated by Elisbeth Challener (Zach Theatre), with Jeremy Blocker (Ars Nova), Bernadine Griffin (The 5th Avenue Theatre) and more to be announced.How do you engage your board, artistically and financially, in the new work development process? How do you get your entire staff on the same page in terms of artistic vision and financial risk management? What can be done to cultivate new voices in all departments? We’ll discuss these issues and more in smaller groups, addressing artistic and managerial challenges separately.
4:00 – 5:00 pm Plenary Panel: Staffing and Casting
Rockefeller RoomModerated by John Fionte (Cumberland County Playhouse), with Rick Boynton (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Kate Galvin (11th Hour Theatre Company), Mara Isaacs (McCarter Theatre Center), Nicholas Stimler (Ford’s Theatre) and more to be announced.How do you approach conversations with writers, directors and other artists about what they think they need versus what your organization can accommodate? What do you do when the scope of a piece you love is beyond your company’s capacity? What do you do when artistic dreams meet financial reality?
5:00 – 5:30 pm Plenary Conversation
Rockefeller RoomBefore we leave for the day, attendees will come back together to discuss highlights from the day and to propose breakout sessions for tomorrow.
5:30 – 7:30 pm Networking Cocktail Party
Glass House Tavern
252 West 47th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue)
www.glasshousetavern.comSponsored by Samuel French and Broadway/LA


Sunday, October 14

9:00 – 10:00 am Networking Continental Breakfast
Sentry Center
810 Seventh Avenue (corner of 53rd Street)
23rd FloorConference attendees will check in in the lobby of 810 Seventh Avenue before proceeding upstairs to the conference venue. Please allow a few extra minutes to check in and get to the 23rd floor.Breakfast sponsored by The Muny and Tams-Witmark
10:00 – 11:00 am Tracked Panels: Audience Engagement and MarketingArtistic Leaders: Rockefeller Room
Moderated by Joel Ferrell (Dallas Theater Center), with Wayne Bryan (Music Theatre of Wichita), Jason Eagan (Ars Nova), Amanda Szeglowski (HERE Arts Center) and Aaron Thielen (The Marriott Theatre).Management Leaders: Dakota Room
Moderated by John Fionte (Cumberland County Playhouse), with Steven Box (The Human Race Theatre Company), Keith Cromwell (Red Mountain Theatre Company) and more to be announced.Now that you have your new works going, how do you encourage audiences to take a chance on untested shows? Are audiences getting more passive and less engaged? Have they changed, or has the art? Are younger audiences more engaged? How do marketing and media needs drive programming decisions and vice versa? We’ll discuss these issues and more in smaller groups, addressing artistic and managerial challenges separately.
11:00 – 11:30 am Networking Coffee Break
Rockefeller FoyerSponsored by Dallas Summer Musicals
and Demos Bizar Entertainment
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Breakout SessionsSmall group discussions on a variety of topics including some suggested by attendees on Saturday.Writers & Agents: Dakota North, Led by Marsha Brooks (Brooks & Distler)
Casting Locally: Dakota South, Led by Robb Hunt (Village Theatre)
Commissioning: Beacon Lounge, Led by Rick Boynton (Chicago Shakespeare Theater)
Audience Pick 1: Empire
Audience Pick 2: Rockefeller
12:30 – 2:00 pm Lunch and Annual Membership Meeting
Empire RoomOver lunch the NAMT Board and staff will report on the state of the Alliance and plans for the year ahead, with important member votes.Lunch sponsored by Theatre Under The Stars
2:00 – 3:00 pm Tracked Panels: Grooming New LeadersArtistic Leaders: Rockefeller Room
Moderated by Elise Dewsberry (Academy for New Musical Theatre), with Michael Baron (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma) and Mark Fleischer & Kate Broderick (Adirondack Theatre Festival).Management Leaders: Dakota Room
Moderated by Howard Sherman, with John Alexander (Diversionary Theatre) and Brisa Trinchero (The Village Theatre).How can we ensure that our institutions (and musical theatre itself) will live on for many generations? Do nurturing new artistic leaders and nurturing new managers require different approaches? How do you prepare for an institutional transition? What can we do to encourage more diversity in our organizations and in the field in general? We’ll discuss these issues and more in smaller groups, addressing artistic and managerial challenges separately.

3:00 – 3:15 pm A Word From Our Sponsor: Travelzoo
Rockefeller Room
3:15 – 4:00 pm Plenary Panel: Sustaining New Works Programming
Rockefeller RoomModerated by Phil Santora (Theatreworks), with Andy Barnes (Perfect Pitch Musicals), Jack Cummings (Transport Group), Eric Louie (The Old Globe) and John Simpkins (TriArts Sharon Playhouse and NYU Steinhardt).For our final panel discussion, we’ll look to the future to ensure that our new works programs are sustainable, continuing to thrive and evolve as new artists, managers and audiences join us.
4:00 – 5:00 pm Plenary Discussion: Closing Q&A
Rockefeller RoomBefore we say goodbye to the 2012 Fall Conference, we’ll hear reports from the day’s tracked sessions and breakouts, plus get a chance to talk about your pressing issues from the weekend. What will you take back to your theatres? What shocked you? What inspired you? What did we miss?