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From Stage to [Everyone on the Same] Page

October 17 - 18

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

This year’s Fall Conference brought NAMT members together to discuss issues that are vitally important to the growth and survival of our field, the arts in general, and our current political moment. How can we create cultures of inclusion at our theatres — onstage, backstage and in the audience — and engage with our communities to make meaningful work? How do commercial/non-profit partnerships advance new musical theatre and allow for risk? How has the changing nature of social media and discourse affected our programming and our customer service responses? Musical theatre can address important issues or provide an escape — which approach do you take to your season? How can NAMT help deepen relationships among our members to help you as you tackle these topics and more?

Presenting Sponsor: Broadway Licensing


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, speakers, case studies and breakout discussions
  • NAMT member speed-dating
  • breakfast and lunch on both days
  • sneak peek of the Festival of New Musicals at our Meet the Writers lunch
  • a pre-theatre cocktail party with heavy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar
  • ample networking time
  • and more!
Detailed Schedule


  • The NAMT Fall Conference is open to NAMT members in good standing and invited guests. If you are not a NAMT member (or are unsure of your membership status) and would like to attend the Fall Conference, please email Membership Director Adam Grosswirth  or call (212) 714-6668 x15.
  • Registration closed on October 9.


We are very grateful to the sponsors and exhibitors of the 2017 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
Dan Murphy, The Broadway Rose Theatre (OR), Chair
Michael Ballam, Utah Festival Opera Company (UT)
Wayne Bryan, Music Theatre Wichita (KS)
Victoria Bussert, Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music (OH)
Mark Fleischer, Pittsburgh CLO (PA)
Donna Lynn Hilton, Goodspeed Musicals (CT)
Robb Hunt, Village Theatre (WA)
Jennifer Jaquess, Red Mountain Theatre Company (AL)
Orlando Morales, The 5th Avenue Theatre (WA)

Fall Conference Committee
Joshua Blanchard, Lake Dillon Theatre (CO), Chair
Hillary Hart, Theatre Under The Stars (TX)
Mark Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse (NJ)
Michael O’Brien, 11th Hour Theatre (PA)


Tuesday, October 17, 2017
8:00 - 9:00 amCheck-in and Breakfast

TKP Conference Center
109 West 39th Street

Grab your badge and sponsor goodies, and join us for breakfast and coffee.

Sponsored by Ticketmaster.

9:00 - 9:30 amWelcome Remarks

Empire Room

9:30 - 10:30 amKeynote Speaker: Michael Riedel

Empire Room

Michael Riedel has been a theater columnist for the New York Post since 1998. He worked at the Daily News (New York) for five years before returning to the Post and has written for The Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, Mirabella, Departures, and Commentary. Riedel is the cohost of Theater Talk with PBS, is a contributor to the BBC, and has appeared on Larry King Live, the Today show, Good Morning America, and many other news programs. He lives in New York City.

10:30 - 11:00 amNetworking Coffee Break

Empire Room and Lobby

All-day coffee sponsored by The Musical Company.

11:00 am - 12:30 pmCreating a Culture of Inclusion

Empire Room

A recent study by Actors’ Equity Association showed that jobs for actors and stage managers skew white and male. A series of HowlRound surveys has revealed similar results for administrative and design jobs. How can we break this cycle so that our theatres represent our communities at every level – board, management, creative, onstage, backstage, and in the audience? Recognizing that we are not going to solve these problems today, what steps can we take toward making our specific theatres and the industry as a whole more inclusive? Are we cultural centers and leaders in our communities, or are we falling behind? Our panelists will discuss best practices, with concrete case studies for examples, and help you build a toolkit to take back to work with you.

Moderated by Hillary Hart (Theatre Under The Stars), with Jennifer Bielstein (The Guthrie), Lee Ann Gullie (New York Theatre Workshop), Christine Toy Johnson (Actor and Writer) and Anna Kull (Lark Play Development Center).

12:30 - 2:00 pmLunch and NAMT Annual Membership Meeting

Empire Room

Sponsored by The Musical Company and Sheridan College, Canadian Music Theatre Project

2:00 - 3:15 pmStarting the Conversation

Concourse Level Breakout Rooms

Attendees will be divided into small groups with the intention of introducing everyone to at least one person they don’t know. In addition to this networking opportunity, we’ll put the tools from the morning’s session to work in intimate conversations designed to get everyone brainstorming and working together. At the end of the session, we’ll come back together and take some time to share insights with the full group.

3:15 - 3:30 pmBreak
3:30 - 3:45 pmLooking Forward to Spring with Pittsburgh CLO
3:45 - 4:45 pmArtistic Community Engagement

Empire Room

How can community engagement be a direct outgrowth of a theatre’s artistic mission and vision and vice versa? What happens when it’s not? How do programs and festivals that aren’t necessarily part of the mainstage circle back to connect audiences and artists in new ways? How can what you put on your stages deepen your relationship with your community? How can leveraging your resources as a hub and a physical space bring people to your art?

Moderated by Dan Murphy (Broadway Rose Theatre Company), with Jennifer Jaquess (Red Mountain Theatre Company), Orlando Morales (The 5th Avenue Theatre), Paige Price (Philadelphia Theatre Company) and Kevin Wong (The Musical Stage Company).

5:00 - 7:00 pmNetworking Cocktail Party

Glass House Tavern
252 West 47th Street

Sponsored by Samuel French and The Hollywood Pantages

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
8:30 - 9:00 amBreakfast

Empire Room and Lobby

Join us for a bite and coffee before we begin today’s sessions. Breakfast will be available throughout the morning.

Sponsored by Theatrical Rights Worldwide.

9:00 - 10:15 amWhen the Community Engages You: How the Changing Nature of Discourse Affects Theatre

Empire Room

For years we’ve been harnessing the power of social media to break the fourth wall and make theatre more accessible to fans. But what happens in a culture that’s increasingly polarized? How do you address patrons who feel entitled to tell you they know better? How can you take risks without alienating your loyal but increasingly vocal base? And how can you win over the moderates, who just want to enjoy a night out and may be put off by all the shouting on both sides?

With Mark Fleischer (Pittsburgh CLO), Kevin Moore (Human Race Theatre Company), Tori Rezek (Theatre Aspen), Brett Smock (Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival) and Diep Tran (American Theatre Magazine/TCG).

10:15 - 11:30 amThe Political Is Musical

Empire Room

Has the current political climate affected your programming choices? Should it? Even light-hearted musical comedies may provide examples of lessons learned from history and provide windows into more significant discussions, while darker shows may resonate anew, and new works may address our current social issues directly. Or, if your audience comes to you specifically to escape the news for a couple of hours, what’s your responsibility to them? NAMT members from a variety of theatres and markets will discuss their decision-making processes over the past year (and we want to hear from all of you, too!).

Moderated by Wayne Bryan (Music Theatre Wichita), with Julianne Boyd (Barrington Stage Company), Kwofe Coleman (The MUNY), Aaron Jafferis (Festival Alumni Writer, Kingdom & How To Break) and Dave Steakley (ZACH Theatre).

11:30 am - 12:00 pmNetworking Coffee Break

Empire Room and Lobby

All-day coffee sponsored by The Musical Company.

12:00 - 1:15 pmCommercial/Non-Profit Relationships

Empire Room

Case studies on recent successful commercial/non-profit partnerships for the development of new musicals from NAMT members.

Moderated by Michael Rubinoff (Sheridan College, Canadian Music Theatre Project), with teams from Come From Away (Randy Adams, Junkyard Dog Productions; Elisabeth Farwell-Moreland & Matt Giles, Seattle Repertory Theatre), Bandstand (Mark Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse; Tom Smedes & Gabby Palitz), Ars Nova (Renee Blinkwolt & Jason Eagan), and Marsha Brooks (Brooks and Distler, Attorneys at Law).

1:15 - 2:45 pmLunch and Meet the Festival Writers

Empire Room

Sponsored by Music Theatre International and Disney Theatrical Productions

2:45 - 3:45 pmBreakout Sessions

Concourse Level Breakout Rooms

Concurrent breakout sessions on new works topics and some NAMT insider info!

Marketing New Works with Artists’ Involvement
We wanted to bring this hot topic from our last Writers’ Roundtable to a wider audience, as well as set the scene for our Spring Conference in Pittsburgh, which will be all about marketing new works.
Discussion led by Jeremy Desmon (Festival Alumni Writer, The Girl in the Frame) and Phil Santora (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley)

How to Create a Writer Residency
East Village
Interested in learning more about early stage new work development? Have tips from your own experience hosting writers you’d like to share? Please join this informal conversation on what your theatre can do and how NAMT can help.
Discussion led by Kathy Evans (Rhinebeck Writers Retreat) and Jeff Talbott (Festival Alumni Writer, Imagine Harry; Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Seven Broken Hearts)

NAMT’s New Nuts and Bolts Guide to Producing New Musicals
West Village
Get a sneak preview of the brand-new interactive Nuts and Bolts Guide to Producing New Musicals, part of our Theatre Experience and Collaboration Hub (The TECH) and our latest member benefit. Learn what this online resource can do for you and how you can contribute to it.
Led by CIera Iveson

New Works in an Academic Setting
A space for academic members and those interested in collaborating with them to discuss the joys and challenges of producing at a college or university.
Discussion led by Amy Rogers Schwartzreich

4:00 - 4:45 pmPartnership Speed-Dating

Empire Room

A final speed round before we head to the Festival. Share one thing you need or a goal you have going forward. Find a co-production partner. Trade business cards. Solve everyone’s problems in 30 seconds!

4:45 - 5:00 pmWrap-Up

Empire Room

As of 10/11/17. SUBJECT TO CHANGE.


For the first time, NAMT will livestream the keynote address at the Fall Conference. NAMT members may watch at 9:30 ET on Tuesday, October 17 at namt.org/livestream (login required).

Watch the Livestream Now


Structural Racism Glossary (Roundtable on Community Change)

The Language of Disability (Inclusion in the Arts)

Valuing Transgender Employees (National LGBTQ Task Force)

Has “Diversity” Lost Its Meaning? (New York Times “First Words”)

Music Theatre Wichita’s community video

Community Engagement Assessment Tool from Building the Field of Community Engagement, a collaborative initiative composed of six community engagement organizations. (Shared by Orlando Morales from The 5th Avenue Theatre.)

Guidelines for Talking About Race from The 5th Avenue Theatre’s education department:

  • Listen and try to understand the viewpoints of others, especially those that you do not agree with
  • Avoid stereotypes.  Keep in mind that individual experiences are important, but are not necessarily representative of group experiences, attitudes or characteristics
  • Acknowledge group experiences.  Historical movements and circumstances can create identity—and cultural ties and practices can also be a foundation for a person’s identity.
  • Acknowledge diverse experiences and viewpoints.
  • Acknowledge historical inequality without assigning blame
  • Acknowledge personal obstacles, but avoid discussing race in terms of “fair” and “unfair”

Complete conference attendee packet