Jump to:

Musical Theatre: Past, Present and Future

October 19, 2013 9:00 - October 20, 2013 9:00 am

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

We were thrilled to return to Convene (formerly known as Sentry Center),conveniently located on 7th Avenue and 53rd Street (E, B and D trains on that corner; 1, N, R and Q nearby). With its spectacular views of Midtown Manhattan, this vibrant and sunlit venue at 810 Seventh Avenue will inspire attendees.

The 2013 Fall Conference explored new musical development and the state of musical theatre today from the perspective of not-for-profit managers and artistic leaders, commercial producers, educators, and musical theatre writers. As part of our ongoing celebration of 25 years of NAMT’s Festival of New Musicals, a portion of the conference focused on the relationships between writers and producers, with Festival alumni included in the discussion. In addition, NAMT members had exclusive opportunities to meet the writers from the 25th Annual Festival of New Musicals and discuss the further development of and collaboration on this year’s Festival shows.

Conference Highlights

  • A Keynote speech by prolific and award-winning playwright and librettist Douglas Carter Beane.
  • Panel discussions, presentations and breakout groups 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 25th Annual Festival of New Musicals shows.
  • NAMT’s Annual Membership Meeting, with reports from the Board and Staff, during lunch on Sunday.



Phil Santora, TheatreWorks (CA), Chair
Harriet Kittner, Goodspeed Musicals (CT)
Michael Rosenberg, La Jolla Playhouse (CA)


Donna Lynn Hilton, Goodspeed Musicals (CT), Chair
Jack Cummings, Transport Group Theatre Company (NY)
Margaret Fofonoff, Fiddlehead Theatre Company (MA)
Conrad Lynch, Ambassador Theatre Group (UK)
Ashley Wells, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma (OK)



Saturday, October 19

8:30 – 10:30 am Check-In and Continental Breakfast
810 Seventh Avenue (corner of 53rd Street)
23rd Floor
Conference 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 Lounge, sponsored by Disney Theatrical Productions.
9:00 – 10:15 am Meet the Festival Writers
Empire RoomOver breakfast, conference attendees will have an exclusive chance to meet the writers from the 25th Annual Festival of New Musicals and ask them questions about their work.Moderated by Festival Producing Director Branden Huldeen and members of the Festival Selection Committee.
10:30 – 11:30 am Keynote Speaker: Douglas Carter Beane
Empire RoomProlific playwright and librettist Douglas Carter Beane will share stories and lessons learned from his work writing and developing new musicals, adaptations and updates of classics, as well as running the award-winning Off-Broadway theatre company, Drama Dept.Douglas Carter Beane wrote a new book for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, currently on Broadway, and was also represented on Broadway this season with the new play The Nance starring Nathan Lane and directed by Jack O’Brien. MUSICALS: Lysistrata Jones (Tony Nom, best book), Sister Act (Tony Nom, best book) and Xanadu (Tony Nom, Best Book, Drama Desk Best Book, Outer Critics Circle Best Musical); PLAYS: The Little Dog Laughed (Tony Nom, Olivier Nom, GLAAD Media Best Play), As Bees In Honey Drown (Outer Critics Circle), Mr. & Mrs. Fitch (starring John Lithgow and Jennifer Ehle), Music From A Sparkling Planet, The Country Club, Advice From A Caterpillar, The Cartells; REVUES: White Lies, Mondo Drama; SCREENPLAYS: To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar, Advice From A Caterpillar. ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Drama Dept 1994-2006, 2 Lortels, 2 Obies; HONORS: Lortel Playwrights Sidewalk, Ovation Visionary Playwright Award; LIFE: Partner Lewis Flinn, son Cooper, daughter Gaby.
11:30 am – 12:00 noon Networking Coffee Break
Rockefeller Lounge
12:00 – 1:00 pm New Work Across NAMT
Empire RoomAn overview of how various constituents within NAMT’s diverse membership approach new musicals. What do theatres on various producing models need and want from the future of musical theatre? How is an organization that only produces previously licensed work invested in new musicals? Are NAMT members doing more new work? Less? What do theatres of all types imagine for the future?Moderated by NAMT President Rick Boynton (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), with Randy Adams (Junkyard Dog Productions), John Breckenridge (Theatre Under the Stars), Curt Dale Clark (Maine State Music Theatre), Christine Denniston (Mercury Musical Developments), Paige Price (Theatre Aspen), Peter Rothstein (Theater Latte Da), Mark D. Sylvester (Walnut Street Theatre) and Tim Threlfall (Brigham Young University).
1:00 – 2:15 pm Lunch
Rockefeller and Dakota RoomsSponsored by The Marriott Theatre

NAMT Festival Alumni Writers will join us this afternoon for an in-depth look at writer/producer collaborations.

2:30 – 3:15 pm What Theatres and Writers Can Do For Each Other
Empire RoomHow can producers help writers do their best work and get to the next level? How do shows get stuck in “development loops” of endless workshops and readings without ever getting to production — and how can they get unstuck? What can writers do to ensure a happy and productive relationship with a theatre or a producer? What do theatres need and expect of writers, and vice versa, to make these relationships and collaborations as productive and happy as possible?Moderated by Donna Lynn Hilton (Goodspeed Musicals), with Gordon Greenberg (NAMT Alumni Writer), Robb Hunt (Village Theatre), Kevin Moriarty (Dallas Theater Center), Michael Rubinoff (Canadian Musical Theatre Project) and Matt Schicker (Show Shepherd).
3:15 – 4:00 pm Writers, Theatres and Agents
Empire RoomAgents are frequently the primary contact between writers and producers, but they’re not just for contracts and negotiating. How can agents help build relationships between writers and theatres? What are the goals for agents when negotiating with theatres? What happens after the licensing agreement is signed? How can we all do better business together to get what we all want and need?Moderated by Phil Santora (TheatreWorks), with Marsha Brooks (Brooks and Distler), Sean Patrick Flahaven (Warner Chappel Music), Jonathan Mills (Paradigm Talent Agency), Michael Korie (NAMT Alumni Writer) and Kent Nicholson (Playwrights Horizons).
4:00 – 4:15 pm A Word From Our Sponsor: Cinevative
Empire Room
4:30 – 5:15 pm Roundtable Discussion
Empire Room

We’ll take advantage of the opportunity of having producers, writers, agents, licensers and lawyers all in a room together to open the floor to your questions and concerns about collaboration and the state and future of musical theatre.Moderated by Donna Lynn Hilton (Goodspeed Musicals, Fall Conference Chair), Adam Grosswirth (NAMT) and Branden Huldeen (NAMT).

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 Theatre Under The Stars

Sunday, October 20

9:00 – 10:30 am Networking Continental Breakfast
810 Seventh Avenue (corner of 53rd Street)
23rd Floor
Conference 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 Lounge, sponsored by CAP21.
9:30 – 10:45 am Beyond the Festival: NAMT Members’ Collaboration Meeting
Rockefeller RoomOver breakfast, NAMT members will have a candid discussion of the shows, and ways to collaborate on their development and production.
11:00 am – 11:15 am A Word From Our Sponsor: Theatrical Rights Worldwide
Rockefeller Room
11:15 am – 12:15 pm Selling New Works and Unknown Writers
Rockefeller RoomCase studies in communicating with audiences and funders about unfamiliar musicals and writers. How can writers help with the process? How do marketing, development, artistic and other departments collaborate? How can we get audiences and funders as invested in the future of musical theatre as we are?Moderated by Elisbeth Challener (Zach Theatre), with Michael Baron (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma), Jack Cummings (Transport Group), Dan McMahon (Goodspeed Musicals) and Dan Murphy (The Broadway Rose Theatre).
12:15 – 1:00 pm Selling New Works Breakout Sessions
Continuing the conversation from the previous panel, we’ll have opportunities for further discussion on marketing, commercial enhancement, engaging institutional support and engaging individual support.
1:00 – 2:15 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 The Pantages Theatre.
2:30 – 3:15 pm Breakout Sessions

  1. Supporting the Music Department (led by Sean Patrick Flahaven)
  2. International Partnerships: Touring, Co-Productions, Development, Licensing and More (led by Conrad Lynch)
  3. Finding and Evaluating New Work Submissions
  4. All About NAMT: a chance for new members (or not so new!) to learn about NAMT’s benefits (led by Adam Grosswirth)
  5. Academic Members’ Roundtable (led by Henry Fonte)


3:30 – 4:15 pm Breaking the World Premiere Cycle
Rockefeller RoomAt the 2010 Fall Conference, we talked about continued life for new work and the need to combat “world-premiere-itis.” Three years later, what’s changed? How do new musicals break free of development to a long life of not just one but many productions over many years? How can NAMT and our network help?Moderated by Rick Boynton (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), with Beth Blickers (Abrams Artists), Meg Fofonoff (Fiddlehead Theatre Company), Terry Martin (WaterTower Theatre), Dave Steakley (Zach Theatre) and Ashley Wells (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma).
4:15 – 4:30 pm Closing Remarks
Rockefeller Room