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Making Musical Connections

October 25 - 26, 2016

TKP New York Conference Center, 109 West 39th Street, New York, NY

NAMT’s Fall Conference is the networking event of the year, bringing NAMT members together to discuss the future of musical theatre. At this year’s Conference, we discussed innovative ways that members are building new bridges in their programming, with audiences and with artists in process. We explored ways to “create a culture of yes,” continued conversations we started the previous year related to accessibility and inclusion, looked at issues related to new work development and production, and more, all leading up to the 28th Annual Festival of New Musicals.


Executive management, artistic directors, new works directors and staff, board members, commercial producers and anyone at your theatre involved with new work development and production. NAMT conferences can also be a great perk for engaged donors who are interested in learning more about how things work behind the scenes! All employees and board members of a member organization are NAMT members!


Fall Conference registration included:

  • panels on how theatres create a culture of yes, break down barriers to working in the arts, and increase audience engagement
  • case studies from our members on accessibility and inclusion, and new musical development
  • vibrant discussion and break-out sessions
  • breakfast and lunch on both days
  • a pre-theatre cocktail party with heavy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar
  • ample networking time
  • and more!
Detailed Schedule


  • NAMT Conferences are open to NAMT members in good standing and invited guests.
  • The more people you bring, the more you save!
    • Member regular registration rates (after September 25, 2016) were $595 – $625 per person.
    • Additional options are available for single day rates, Associate Members and invited non-members.
  • Deadlines:
    • Early registration ended on September 25. All prices increased $100 on September 26.
    • The last day to register for the Conference was October 16, 2016.
    • Cancellations were permitted through October 7. Fees were refunded, less a $100 service charge. We will not be able to provide any refunds after October 7, however you may transfer your registration to someone else if you are unable to attend.


We are very grateful to the sponsors and exhibitors of the 2016 Fall Conference. Please click here for information on supporting NAMT and the benefits of sponsoring or exhibiting at our events.

Sponsor or Exhibit at the Conference

Educational Resources Committee
Donna Lynn Hilton, Goodspeed Musicals (CT), Chair
Michael Ballam, Utah Festival Opera Company (UT)
Wayne Bryan, Music Theatre Wichita (KS)
Kathy Evans, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat (NY)
Mark Fleischer, Pittsburgh CLO (PA)
Phil Santora, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (CA)

Fall Conference Committee
Mark Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse (NJ), Co-Chair
Heather Schmucker, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (IL), Co-Chair
Renee Blinkwolt, Ars Nova (NY)
T.J. Dawson, 3-D Theatricals (CA)
Amy Rogers Schwartzreich, Pace New Musicals (NY)
Frank Ventura, CAP21 (NY)


Tuesday, October 25, 2016
8:30 - 9:30 amCheck-in and Breakfast

TKP Conference Center
109 West 39th Street
2nd Floor

Check-in at reception. Breakfast served in the Empire Room until 10:30.

Come early for breakfast (and coffee!) to greet colleagues and visit our exhibitors.

Breakfast sponsored by Marriott Theatre.

9:30 - 10:00 amWelcome Remarks

Empire Ballroom

10:00 - 11:00 amKeynote Speaker: Pamela Sneed

Empire Ballroom

Pamela Sneed is a New York based poet, writer and actress. She has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Time Out, Bomb, VIBE, and on the cover of New York Magazine.

She is author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery published by Henry Holt in April 1998 and KONG and other works published by Vintage Entity Press, 2009 and a new chapbook Lincoln. Her work is included in The 100 Best African American Poems edited by Nikki Giovanni. Recent publications include work in Best Monologues from Best American Short Plays, Future Perfect, and LIU Teaching Narratives with upcoming work in Ping Pong and Cutbank magazines.

Pamela has headlined the New Work Now Festival at Joe’s Pub/The Public Theater and has performed original works for sold out houses at Lincoln Center, P.S. 122, Ex-Teresa in Mexico City, The ICA London, The CCA in Glasgow Scotland, The Green Room in Manchester, England, and BAM cafe. In 2014, Pamela appeared at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, at Long Island University and as a guest performer at the Beechman Theater. In 2013, she performed at Central Park Summer Stage, The Whitney Museum of Art, Columbia University’s “Geographies of Mass Incarceration.” In 2011, she performed in South Africa in collaboration with the women’s organization FEW.

At Sarah Lawrence she teaches Writing for Solo Performance and Solo Performance in Production.

11:00 - 11:30 amNetworking Coffee Break

Empire Ballroom and Lobby

11:30 am - 1:00 pmCreating a Culture of "Yes"

Empire Ballroom

A panel of NAMT members will discuss the benefits of creating a culture of “yes” at their organizations — how being open to new ideas and taking risks can lead to exciting discoveries, opportunities and diverse stories, as well as the challenges that being open can sometimes bring. After hearing from the panelists, all attendees will have an opportunity to explore ways to get to yes in their own companies.

Moderated by Mark Hoebee (Paper Mill Playhouse) and Heather Schmucker (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), with Donna Lynn Hilton (Goodspeed Musicals) Anthony Rodriguez (Aurora Theatre) and Emily Shooltz (Ars Nova).

1:00 - 2:30 pmLunch

Empire Ballroom

Lunch sponsored by Disney Theatrical Group.

2:30 - 3:30 pmBreakout Discussions

These concurrent breakout sessions will cover various topics of interest. They are designed to be smaller discussion groups than the larger panels, so come prepared to ask questions or to share stories from your own organization!

Developing Sensory-Friendly Performances
Chelsea Room
Learn how your theatre can produce sensory-friendly performances for audience members on the autistic spectrum and their families. Nancy Altschuler (Goodspeed Musicals) and Mary Murphy (Franklin Academy) will discuss those organizations’ new partnership and Goodspeed’s first-ever sensory-friendly performance, produced last month. Lisa Cooney (Paper Mill Playhouse) will share lessons learned from her years running Paper Mill’s groundbreaking program.

Casting A Wide Net
East Village Room
You’ve programmed a show with specific casting needs but your audition pool isn’t meeting those needs. How do you expand your scope? How do you invite other members of your community into your theatre, so that your theatre may better reflect that community? Robb Hunt (Village Theatre) and Paige Price (Theatre Aspen) will lead this discussion, sharing challenges and solutions from their theatres.

Creating A Culture of “Green”
West Village Room
Susan Sampliner from the Broadway Green Alliance will share tips and ideas on how theatres can be better stewards of the environment — and help their communities and save money, too! How can office cultures adopt new, environmentally friendly techniques in an industry that’s known for being slow to change?

New Approaches to Classic Musicals
Madison Room
Michael Ballam (Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre), Ted Chapin (R&H Theatricals) and Sheldon Harnick (Lyrics) will discuss the new version of the Richard Rodgers/Sheldon Harnick/Sherman Yellen musical Rex currently in development.

3:30 - 4:45 pmAccessibility and Inclusion Case Studies

Empire Ballroom

At the end of last year’s conference session on accessibility and inclusion, one panelist challenged the room: “Between now and next year when you come back, what’s that one thing that you know that can change everything at your theatre company…. When I see you next year I’m going to ask you: what did you do?” So we’re asking! NAMT members will tell us about specific ways they put words into action at their theatres to broaden diversity, accessibility and inclusion. What worked, what didn’t and what impact did it have?

Moderated by Joshua Blanchard (Lake Dillon Theatre Company), with Michael Baron (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma), Adrian Budhu (Theatre Communications Group), Christine Burke (Woodminster Summer Musicals), Kwofe Coleman (The Muny) and Ryan Norton (Tuacahn Center for the Arts).

5:00 - 7:00 pmNetworking Cocktail Party

Glass House Tavern
252 West 47th Street
(between Broadway and 8th Avenue)

Sponsored by Samuel French, Inc. and Pittsburgh CLO

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
9:30 - 10:00 amNetworking Continental Breakfast

TKP Conference Center
109 West 39th Street
2nd Floor

Check-in at reception. Breakfast served in Empire Ballroom.

Come early for breakfast (and coffee!) to greet colleagues and visit our exhibitors. (Breakfast will be served until 11:00.)

10:00 - 11:00 amOpening Doors: Making it Possible to Work in Theatre

Empire Ballroom

What sort of barriers to entry do the pay scales of many careers in the theatre create? Do our work environments encourage some and discourage others, either subtly or overtly? How does a lack of access limit the voices in our conversations and the stories we tell? What are the realities facing artists and administrators with families…or who just want to have a life outside of work? We’ll hear from members and Festival alumni who have faced and are facing these issues, as well as preparing a new generation of theatre-makers for the world. Plus, learn about the National Endowment for the Arts’ new report: Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting U.S. Artists.

Moderated by Amy Rogers Schwartzreich (Pace New Musicals), with Kent Gash (NYU New Studio on Broadway), Kait Kerrigan (Bookwriter/Lyricist), Kent Nicholson (Playwrights Horizons) and Greg Reiner (National Endowment for the Arts).

11:00 - 11:15 amA Word From Our Sponsor: The Musical Company

Empire Ballroom

11:15 - 11:45 amNetworking Coffee Break

Empire Ballroom and Lobby

11:45 am - 12:45 pmNew Musical Development Case Studies

Empire Ballroom

A detailed look at the paths two shows have taken from the NAMT Festival to full productions. Was the road smooth or bumpy? Long or short? How did outside factors that couldn’t have been anticipated at the outset affect the writing process and the show’s reception?

Moderated by Branden Huldeen (Barrington Stage Company, former NAMT New Works Director)

Southern Comfort (Festival 2012)
Robert DuSold (Conceiver), Julianne Boyd (Barrington Stage Company), Dan Collins (Book/Lyrics), Maria Goyanes (The Public Theater), Eliza Ventura (CAP21), Frank Ventura (CAP21) and Julianne Wick Davis (Music).

Legendale (Festival 2015)
Jeff Bienstock (Book/Lyrics), Andrea Daly (Music), Soren Moeller (Fredericia Theatre), Kevin Moore (Human Race Theatre Company)

12:45 - 2:15 pmLunch and NAMT Annual Membership Meeting

Empire Ballroom

Lunch sponsored by The Hollywood Pantages.

2:15 - 3:15 pmBreakout Discussions

These concurrent breakout sessions will cover various topics of interest. They are designed to be smaller discussion groups than the larger panels, so come prepared to ask questions or to share stories from your own organization!

Developing New Works at Colleges and Universities
West Village Room
Hear how some of NAMT’s academic members are developing new musicals both on their own and in partnership with professional theatres — to the great benefit of all, including the students and writers — and learn how your theatre can set up similar partnerships. With Stephen Brotebeck (San Diego State University), Victoria Bussert (Baldwin Wallace University) and Mark Hardy (Montclair State University).

Defining Community Engagement
East Village Room
Community engagement is one of the key tenets of NAMT’s new strategic plan, and one of our first tasks is defining what that means to us and to our members. We’d love your input! Join Executive Director Betsy King Militello to tell us how your theatre defines community engagement and what services you’d like to see NAMT provide in this area.

Get to Know Your NAMT Membership
Chelsea Room
For new members, first-time attendees, or anyone who wants to learn more about NAMT, our programs and services. Membership Director Adam Grosswirth will provide an overview of NAMT’s member benefits, give a hands-on demo of our website and answer any questions you may have.

Broadening Audiences and Blending Media
Madison Room
How can you expand your engagement to include those who have never seen a musical? How can you use up-and-coming technology to widen your audience? A conversation with Marsha Brooks (Brooks & Distler) and game designer James Marion, the creator of the first mobile mini-game musical Peter Panic! about the process of developing a mobile app and how his app has blended the worlds of musical theatre and mobile gaming to create new opportunities for artists and encouraging a whole new audience to become musical theatre fans.

3:15 - 4:15 pmAudiences And New Works: Talking With Or Talking Back?

Empire Ballroom

We’ve talked a lot at past conferences about our most dedicated subscribers and donors who have bought in fully to our new works missions — the ones who come to every reading and festival, fill out every feedback form and trust in whatever we put on. But how much do we know about people who only come to the theatre a few times a year? Are there perceived barriers to entry we may not even be aware of in our spaces? What makes people want to see a specific show? NAMT members will talk about their audience development methods, what they’re hearing back from patrons, and TDF’s Triple Play research program.

Moderated by Jeff Loeb (The Hollywood Pantages), with Keith Cromwell (Red Mountain Theatre Company), Peter Rothstein (Theater Latte Da) and Kyle Sircus (Playwrights Horizons).

4:15 - 4:30 pmClosing Remarks
6:30 - 7:30 pmThe 46th Minute

New World Stages
340 West 50th Street
(between 7th and 8th Avenues)

The official kick-off concert to the Festival of New Musicals, where you’ll get to hear songs that didn’t make the final 45-minute cuts of all eight Festival shows. NAMT members may purchase their tickets when they register for the Fall Conference and/or Festival of New Musicals.

As of 10/20/16. SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

Directions and Discounts