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Confluence: Navigating Today's Marketing Currents

April 4 - April 6, 2018

Pittsburgh, PA

Hosted by Pittsburgh CLO

Pittsburgh CLO hosted us in conjunction with Spark, their inaugural festival “igniting the future of small musicals.”

The 2018 Spring Conference focused on marketing, with a particular look at keeping patrons invested in all of the work — new, classic, and in-between — that we do. Where do marketing new works and classics overlap and diverge? How can theatres make their institutional brands greater than the sum of each individual show’s parts? When a patron comes to you for something specific — new work, classic, cabaret or beyond — how do you guide them to the rest of what you do and turn them into a loyal returning customer? How can we make theatre more welcoming, breaking down physical, economic and cultural barriers to welcome everyone into our stories?

This Conference was designed for marketing professionals, artistic leaders and management, building on last year’s discussions about breaking down silos and looking at how departments that may traditionally be quite separate can help each other achieve their goals.


  • Spring Conference registration included…
    • two full days of conference programming on April 5 and 6
    • a kick-off cocktail party and a performance of Up and Away on April 4
    • breakfast and lunch on both conference days
    • late-night songwriters’ and comedy showcases at the Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret
    • lots of networking time with your fellow NAMT members!
  • Additional events…
Detailed Schedule

Spark: Igniting the future of Small Musicals

Conference attendees had the opportunity to also attend the industry weekend of Pittsburgh CLO’s inaugural Spark festival, immediately following the Spring Conference on April 7 and 8! Registration included six readings and workshops, late night cabarets, a songwriter showcase and a closing party.


  • NAMT Conferences are open to NAMT members in good standing and invited guests.
  • The more people you bring, the more you save!
    • Member registration rates are $420-600 per person ($100 discount for early registration).
    • Additional options are available for single day rates, Associate Members and invited non-members.
  • Deadlines:
    • Early registration ended on February 25. All prices increased $100 on February 26.
    • The last day to register for the Conference was March 25, 2018.
    • Cancellations were permitted permitted through March 19, 2018. Fees will be refunded, less a $100 service charge. We will not be able to provide any refunds after March 19, however you may transfer your registration to someone else if you are unable to attend.
Details and Register Now!


We are very grateful to the sponsors and exhibitors of the 2018 Spring 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)
Mark Fleischer, Pittsburgh CLO (PA)
Robb Hunt, Village Theatre (WA)
Jennifer Jaquess, Red Mountain Theatre Company (AL)
Orlando Morales, The 5th Avenue Theatre (WA)

Spring Conference Committee
Anika Chapin, Goodspeed Musicals (CT)
Colleen Doyno, Pittsburgh Musical Theater (PA)
Angela Grant, North Carolina Theatre (NC)
Drew Francis, Red Mountain Theatre (AL)
Aja Jones, Pittsburgh CLO (PA)
Chris Marcacci, The 5th Avenue Theatre (WA)
R. James Mercer, Pittsburgh CLO (PA)

Members-Only Features

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Members-Only Features

This page contains content or features only available to NAMT members. Please log in for full access. Not a member? Apply now!

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018 (All times ET )
6:00 - 7:30 pmKick-Off Cocktail Party

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Sponsored by Pittsburgh CLO

7:30 pmUp and Away

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Up and Away is the astonishing, amazing, absolutely TRUE tale of the incredible brothers Joe and Jerry Jessup. Not much happens in Farmtown, USA. So, when Joe realizes he is destined for true greatness beyond small-town life, he high-tails it out of town to seek fame and fortune in “Big City.” When he finds trouble instead, jittery Jerry is forced to follow – and their boring life is turned upside down into a rip-roarin’ adventure! Toss in an eccentric billionaire, plucky reporter and outrageous villains, and you’ve got one epic tale. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be amazed as five actors take on the roles of over 50 different characters in this world-premiere comedy guaranteed to keep the suspense high and the laughs rolling!

10:30 pmPittsburgh CLO Late-Night Cabaret: Brian Edwards Mad Musicals (Optional)

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Brian Edward, comedian and host of Pittsburgh’s late night talk show ‘Burgh Vivant, is back for another raucous blend of comedy and cinema – with a splash of vermouth! This time, the renowned raconteur raises a martini glass and examines the best (and worst) of movie musicals through outrageous film clips, uproarious personal anecdotes, and devastating wit. Cocktails and hilarity will be served. From the obscure to the ostentatious, from THE SOUND OF MUSIC to MAME – no musical movie is safe!

Brian Edward is a cultural administrator, arts educator, performing and literary artist, director and playwright, an avid scholar of art and film, and a proud Pittsburgh native. He is the author of several produced plays including the nationally acclaimed touring musical Amish Burlesque, and has been a featured guest lecturer for the Berkshire Playwrights Festival. Locally he has performed with The REP, 12 Peers Theater, Little Lake Theater, Pittsburgh Opera, and The Pittsburgh New Works Festival, where he was named Outstanding Leading Actor in 2011 and 2012. Brian was named among the top supporting actors in Pittsburgh by the Post Gazette in 2001, and among the top leading actors in 2002.

No cover charge, cash bar. Saturday-Sunday Spark registration NOT required.

More info

Thursday, April 5, 2018 (All times ET )
7:30 - 8:30 amBreakfast and Conference Check-in

Omni William Penn Hotel
530 William Penn Place
Lawrence Welk Room (Mezzanine Level)

Join us for breakfast and pick up your Conference packets and badges before heading to Pittsburgh CLO. (All Conference attendees welcome, whether or not you’re staying at the Omni. Packets will be available at Pittsburgh CLO after 8:30 for those who want to meet us there.)

8:30 - 8:45 amWalk to Pittsburgh CLO
8:45 - 9:30 amWelcome Remarks & 30-Second Success Stories

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

9:30 - 10:30 amKeynote: "No Diving in Shallow Water: How Hidden Consumer Trends Are Changing the World — and the Arts — as We Know It"

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

John Dick is the CEO of CivicScience, Inc. and a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in new business formation, business development, marketing and communications. He is a frequent speaker at the Carnegie Mellon University Don Jones Center of Entrepreneurship, an accomplished writer with regular contributions to AdAge, the HuffingtonPost and Forbes and has appeared on Good Morning America, the AXS TV Grammy Prediction Special and as a speaker at numerous market research and business conferences.

10:30 - 10:45 amNetworking Coffee Break

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

10:45 am - 12:00 pmWhat Are We Selling...And To Whom?

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

How does marketing an individual show differ from marketing your institution as a whole? How can we develop strong artistic brands so that people trust us even if they’re unfamiliar with an individual title? How can a patron’s first entry point — a specific show, a special event, community engagement — lead them to other programming and a lifetime of loyalty?

Moderated by Jeff Loeb (The Hollywood Pantages), with Paige Beal (Point Park University), Ed Gilchrist (Walnut Street Theatre), Jamie Lilly (Village Theatre), James McNeel (City Theatre Company) and David Seals (TRG Arts).

12:00 - 1:15 pmLunch

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Sponsored by R&H Theatricals and The Hollywood Pantages

1:15 - 2:45 pmThe Circle of Patron Life

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Every theatre wants younger patrons, but no theatre wants to alienate its older patrons. How do you create a welcoming environment for all while addressing different economic, scheduling and physical needs? Following a brief panel discussion, we’ll break out into groups to strategize and discuss best practices, then reconvene to share.

Moderated by Dan Murphy (The Broadway Rose Theatre), with Beth Adele (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma), Cheryl Farley (Ogunquit Playhouse) and Drew Nebrig (ZACH Theatre).

2:45 - 3:45 pmHarnessing Energy Online

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

How can you respond quickly and appropriately to a world that changes rapidly, and patrons — or potential patrons — with more platforms than ever before? How can you capture positive buzz — and ticket sales! — with a show or an actor’s dedicated fan base? And how do you respond to a political moment sensitively?

Moderated by Aja Jones (Pittsburgh CLO), with Rachel Carlson (Yelp Pittsburgh), Dan McMahon (Goodspeed Musicals), Carolyn Miller (Creative Endeavor Office) and Andi Perelman (Pittsburgh Penguins).

3:45 - 4:15 pmSpecial Presentation: GalaPro

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

GalaPro is a revolutionary, innovative app for accessibility and translation which enhances the audience’s experience for live shows. Patrons using the app can now enjoy the show in their own language with subtitles, dubbing, audio description, closed captioning, and amplification. All services are provided real-time, using voice recognition technology. GalaPro will be demoed on Wednesday evening during Up And Away. Learn more about the service at this special session, presented by Host Sponsor Pittsburgh CLO.

4:15 pmBenedum Theatre Tour

Tour Pittsburgh CLO’s historic main stage.

7:30 pmEvening Networking Drinks (Optional)

Speakeasy at the Omni William Penn
530 William Penn Place, Basement

We know it can sometimes be hard to find your NAMT friends and colleagues after-hours, so we’ve chosen an “official” Conference bar! Join us for networking (or just fun) cocktails at the intimate classic cocktail lounge under the Omni William Penn. (Cash bar.)

10:30 pmPittsburgh CLO Late-Night Cabaret: Musical Theatre Artists of Pittsburgh

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Join us for a late night edition of MTAP artists and authors bringing their own unique and original songs for your entertainment.

No cover charge, cash bar. Saturday-Sunday Spark registration NOT required.

More info.

Friday, April 6, 2018 (All times ET )
8:00 - 9:00 amBreakfast

Omni William Penn Hotel
530 William Penn Place
Lawrence Welk Room (Mezzanine Level)

9:00 - 9:15 amWalk to Pittsburgh CLO
9:30 - 10:30 amSpecial Presentation: Jennifer Sun Park

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Jennifer is a Director in the Labor & Employment and Litigation Groups at the Firm.

Jennifer defends corporate clients in the defense of all manner of employment discrimination claims under federal and Pennsylvania law including, but not limited to, claims under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1973, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the ADEA, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Jennifer also represents corporate clients in the areas of complex business and commercial litigation including commercial lease disputes as well as contract and business tort disputes involving service agreements, distribution agreements, purchase agreements, technology license agreements, and shareholder agreements.

Jennifer serves as lead local counsel in Western Pennsylvania for a large automobile manufacturer, managing a team of attorneys in breach of warranty suits.

10:30 - 11:45 amA Confluence of People: Making Theatre Welcoming for All

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

What role can the marketing department play in helping everyone feel welcome and comfortable in our theatres? From physical accessibility for patrons with disabilities, to cultural and economic barriers we may not realize are there, we can all work to provide better access and comfort.

Moderated by Pamela Adams (Atlantic Theater Company), with Jennifer Birnie (Pittsburgh Musical Theater), Vanessa Braun (Pittsburgh Cultural Trust), Kenneth Foster (Spektrix), Drew Francis (Red Mountain Theatre Company) and Patrick Jordan (barebones productions).

11:45 am - 12:00 pmNetworking Coffee Break

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Networking Coffee Break

12:00 - 1:00 pmNew Works in a Changing Media Landscape

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Audiences used to rely on critics and other “tastemakers” to steer them towards new works. As arts coverage shrinks, how do theatre-goers learn about unfamiliar titles? Who and what helps them decide what to see? How can we help drive that conversation?

Moderated by Angela Grant (North Carolina Theatre), with Laura Greenawalt (City Theatre), Tim Kashani (Apples & Oranges), Mara Nadolski (Pittsburgh in the Round) and Nick Ronan (AudienceView).

1:00 - 2:15 pmLunch

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Sponsored by The Musical Company and Ticketmaster

2:15 - 3:00 pmConcurrent Breakout Sessions

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Casual conversations on valuable topics.

What Are Companies Looking for in Corporate Sponsorship Proposals
Led by Wynne Fedele (Pittsburgh CLO), with Joseph B. Smith (Dollar Bank), Dan Donovan (Giant Eagle) and Neil Parham (Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield)

How Can Theatres Be More Like Tech Startups?
Led by John Dick (CivicScience)

Alternative Revenue Streams
Led by Angela Grant (North Carolina Theatre)

Maximizing Your Customer Journey: Before, During and After
Led by Kenneth Foster (Spektrix)

3:15 - 4:00 pm"Classic" or "Problematic"?

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Times change; should our repertoire change with them? How can we address classic musicals with dated social elements in both programming and marketing? Should we? What happens when sensitivity to one group of audience members alienates another?

Moderated by Wayne Bryan (Music Theatre Wichita), with Kwofe Coleman (The MUNY), Sean Flahaven (The Musical Company), David Kimple (Samuel French) and Carol Marquis (Maine State Music Theatre).

4:00 - 4:15 pmWrap-Up

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

4:15 - 5:30 pmTour the New Pittsburgh Playhouse

Leave from Cabaret at Theatre Square

A tour of Point Park University’s still-under-construction Pittsburgh Playhouse, in the heart of downtown.

When Point Park University envisioned the new Pittsburgh Playhouse, one of its foremost considerations was to create a state-of-the-art learning center where all students at the University could merge their energy, talent and ambition in a central location. The University also wanted to continue its commitment to respect the architectural rhythm and historic integrity of the neighborhood. The new Pittsburgh Playhouse does all of that and more while also offering its theatre patrons a unique opportunity to experience 100 percent of the theatre experience.

Set to open in the fall of 2018, the Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University is a 90,000-square-foot building, which cost $60 million to build and furnish and is located on 1.6 acres of land along the Forbes Avenue corridor in the city’s central business district. The new building, connected at all three levels to two historic buildings, houses three theaters that includes a proscenium/thrust stage theater seating 535, a studio theater seating 250 and an intimate black box theater with 100 seats. Additionally the building features production areas, a sound stage, prop shop, café and technical spaces for the theater and cinema arts programs.

Because this is an active work site, space on the tour is extremely limited. You must register to attend this add-on. Please click here to register (if space is still available).

7:00 - 10:00 pmAdd-On: Conference Closing/Festival Kick-Off Reception

The Andy Warhol Museum
117 Sandusky Street

The Warhol is “New Yorker walking distance,” and directions will be provided. A shuttle will also be available from the Omni (530 William Penn Place) starting at 6:45 pm and running until 7:30. (A single shuttle will make multiple trips.)

Pittsburgh CLO invites you to wrap up the Spring Conference and begin the Spark Festival in fabulous Pittsburgh style at the Andy Warhol Museum. Cocktails, light food and beverage and exclusive access to the museum are included.

The Andy Warhol Museum holds the largest collection of Warhol’s artworks and archival materials. They are one of the most comprehensive single-artist museums in the world and the largest in North America.

You may add this on to your registration for either the Conference or the Festival (or both) for $50.

10:30 pmPittsburgh CLO Late-Night Cabaret: Q Gents (Optional)

Cabaret at Theatre Square
655 Penn Ave

Chicago hip-hop sensations, the Q BROTHERS will bring their unique and exciting brand of performance to Pittsburgh for the first time as part of the SPARK festival Late Night Series. Best known for the New York Times Critics’ Pick, Othello: The Remix (NAMT Festival 2015), brothers JQ and GQ, along with their deejay Jackson Doran, will storm the CLO Cabaret stage on Friday, April 6 with Q GENTS. Q GENTS is the Q Brothers’ two-man hip-hop version of William Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. Over 20 characters are played by two actors who never leave the stage in this 75-minute wild ride!

No cover charge, cash bar. Saturday-Sunday Spark registration NOT required.

More info.

Saturday, April 7, 2018 (All times ET )
10:00 am - 11:00 pmSpark

Multiple presentations and a late-night cabaret. Details coming soon!

Sunday, April 8, 2018 (All times ET )
10:00 am - 6:30 pmSpark

Multiple presentations and a closing reception. Details coming soon!

Directions & Activities

Transit directions from PIT airport to the Omni William Penn:
The 28X bus will get you within a couple of blocks of the Omni William Penn in about an hour. You can get closer if you transfer to the subway. Cabs and ride-hailing apps are also available, as well as Super Shuttle.

Walking directions from the Omni to the Cabaret at Theatre Square:

  • Exit the Omni via the main doors on William Penn Place.
  • Make a right onto William Penn Place
  • Make a left onto Sixth Avenue
  • When Sixth intersects with Liberty Ave, cross Liberty and bear right onto Seventh Street
  • Walk one block and turn left into Penn Ave. The Cabaret will be on your right!


Apples and Oranges Arts
Tim Kashani
Atlantic Theater Company
Pamela Adams
General Manager
Michael Contini
VP Arts & Culture
Nick Ronan
Senior Director, Business Development
barebones productions
Patrick Jordan
Broadway Licensing Global
Tralen Doler
V.P. Partnerships & Brand Engagement
Broadway Licensing Global
Sean Cercone
Broadway Rose Theatre
Dan Murphy
Managing Director
Broadway Rose Theatrre
Alan Anderson
Marketing Director
Mark Ciglar
City Theatre Company
James McNeel
Managing Director
City Theatre Company
Laura Greenawalt
Marketing Director
Creative Endeavor Office
Carolyn Miller
Creative Endeavor Office
Matthew Schneider
Flat Rock Playhouse
Dane Whitlock
Marketing & Communications Director
Fulton Theatre Company
Jon Major
Director of Marketing
Fulton Theatre Company
Kyle Malinosky
Marketing Coordinator
Fulton Theatre Company
Marc Robin
Executive Artistic Producer
Goodspeed Musicals
Nancy Altschuler
Goodspeed Musicals
Dan McMahon
Director of Marketing
Goodspeed Musicals
Donna Lynn Hilton
Artistic Director
Kent State University School of Theatre and Dance
Joni Koneval
Marketing Coordinator
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Beth Adele
Director of Marketing
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Jim Reynolds
Managing Director
Maine State Music Theatre
Carol Marquis
Director of Marketing and Communications
Maine State Music Theatre
Olivia Wenner
Communications, Outreach and Group Sales Manager
Maine State Music Theatre
Curt Dale Clark
Artistic Director
Maine State Music Theatre
Stephanie Dupal
Managing Director
McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Tom McCoy
Music Theater Works
Bridget McDonough
General Manager, retired
Music Theatre Wichita
Wayne Bryan
Producing Director
Musical Theatre West
Michael Betts
BO manager/Marketing Manager
MWM Live
Ted Rawlins
National Alliance for Musical Theatre
Betsy Militello
Executive Director
National Alliance for Musical Theatre
Jen Whitton
Development Associate
National Alliance for Musical Theatre
Ciera Iveson
National Alliance for Musical Theatre
Adam Grosswirth
Member Services Director
National Alliance for Musical Theatre
Kelly Kohlman
National Alliance for Musical Theatre
Karin Nilo
Program Manager
Markus Potter
Artistic Producer
North Carolina Theatre
Angela Grant
Director of Sales
North Carolina Theatre
Danni Dichito
Sales and Marketing Manager
Ogunquit Playhouse
Cheryl Farley
Director of Marketing and Communications
Ogunquit Playhouse
Kent Bridges
Managing Director
Ogunquit Playhouse
Brad Kenney
Executive Artistic Director
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
Tony Jilek-Guidry
VP Sales, Marketing & Guest Services
Robert Friend
Vice President, Nonprofit Sales
Philly Developmental, LLC
Rebecca Rizzio
Managing Member
Pittsburgh CLO
John Dick
Board Member
Pittsburgh CLO
Wynne Fedele
Director of Development
Pittsburgh CLO
Van Kaplan
Pittsburgh CLO
R. James Mercer
Pittsburgh CLO
Aja Jones
Director of Marketing
Pittsburgh in the Round
Mara Nadolski
Founder, Editor in Chief
Pittsburgh Musical Theater
Colleen Doyno
Executive Director
Pittsburgh Musical Theater
Jennifer Birnie
Development & Fundraising Officer, Accessibility Coordinator
Point Park University
Paige Beal
Chair Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management Program
Red Mountain Theatre
Keith Cromwell
Executive Director
Red Mountain Theatre
Drew Francis
Director of Operations
Samuel French, Inc.
Lawrence Haynes
Marketing Associate
Samuel French, Inc.
David Kimple
Director of Licensing
SD&A Teleservices, Inc.
Mary Jane Avans
Vice President, Business Development
Shea's Performing Arts Center
Sarah Heximer
Director of Marketing and Communications
Shea's Performing Arts Center
Michael Murphy
Alexa Valentine
Business Development Specialist
Kenneth Foster
Account Executive
Starhawk Productions
Wendy Gillespie
President & CEO
Tessitura Network
Brian Feldman
Client Development Executive
The Hollywood Pantages
Jeff Loeb
The Muny
Kwofe Coleman
President & CEO
The Musical Company
Caroline Barnard
Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs
The Musical Company
Sean Flahaven
Chief Theatricals Executive
The Musical Stage Company
Victoria Barber
Director of Marketing
The Phoenix Theatre Company
Sara Jayne White
Senior Director of Audience Development
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Vanessa Braun
The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization
Michelle Yaroshko
SVP, Professional Licensing (North America)
The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization
Dana Siegel
Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, Publishing
Albert Leffler
Vice President Arts & Theatre
Transport Group Theatre Company
Lori Fineman
TRG Arts
David Seals
Director of Client Development
Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre
Michael Ballam
Founding General Director
Village Theatre
Jamie Lilly
Director of Marketing
Village Theatre
Robb Hunt
Village Theatre
Diane Wright
Director of Finance
Walnut Street Theatre
Ed Gilchrist
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Walt Disney Imagineering/Disney Parks Live Entertainment
Dana Harrel
Executive Entertainment Director, Disneyland Paris
Woodminster Summer Musicals
Harriet Schlader
Producer/Executive Director
ZACH Theatre
Greg Garcia
Associate Director of Marketing and Analytics
ZACH Theatre
Drew Nebrig
Director of Marketing and Communications
ZACH Theatre
Elisbeth Challener
ZACH Theatre
Rona Ebert
Art Director
Marsha Brooks
Michael Jenkins
President, Starlight Entertainment


Spark: Igniting the Future of Small Musicals

Pittsburgh CLO is proud to announce SPARK, their inaugural festival of new small-cast musicals, which will take place in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District during a two-week event March 26-April 8, 2018. A major initiative of Pittsburgh CLO’s recently completed Next Generation Capital Campaign, SPARK is designed to cultivate new and innovative work from emerging and established musical theater artists.

For 71 years, Pittsburgh CLO has been delighting audiences with Broadway-scale musicals for its main stage subscription season. In 2004, it introduced smaller productions for its newly minted 250-seat CLO Cabaret Theater, where dozens of premieres and select world premieres have since debuted. SPARK is especially designed to cultivate more small-cast shows suited to this venue, bringing their creative teams in residency at Pittsburgh CLO to work in a focused and supportive environment. A commitment to artists is a chief tenet of SPARK.

During SPARK, 10 new works will be seen in various stages of development via “readings” (actors at music stands with piano accompaniment), “staged readings” (script-in-hand readings with piano accompaniment and some movement/choreography) and “workshop productions” (fully staged presentations with minimal set and costume pieces). UP AND AWAY, by Kevin Hammonds and Kristin Bair, which is receiving its world premiere this month at the CLO Cabaret, will be SPARK’s feature presentation.

SPARK also seeks to engage members of the public interested in moderated Post-Show Discussions, a New Musicals Boot Camp, Master Classes led by invited guests, and social events such as a Songwriters’ Cabaret Night, a Musical Theater Improvisation Night and more. A full line-up of shows, artists and special programming will be announced in soon.

“Our primary goal is to support up-and-coming book writers, composers and lyricists who come to Pittsburgh CLO to develop their musicals. ‘Getting up a show’ in front of an audience, and seeing a professional production of one’s work can be game-changing, and SPARK gives us the resources to help nurture this process,” said Van Kaplan, Executive Producer.

Co-Chairmen of the Capital Campaign, William Lambert and Dan Booker said, “Thanks to the many Board Members, Foundations, and donors who supported our Next Generation Campaign, we aim to make another meaningful contribution to our community by attracting talent, engaging minds and stimulating creative thinking with SPARK. Pittsburgh CLO’s educational and enrichment programs ignite positivity in everyday lives, and that’s where new ideas are born.”


Industry Weekend Passes Include

  • Admission to all Festival Readings and Workshops (April 5 – 8).
  • Flexible Scheduling Options
  • A Commemorative Festival Gift
  • Discounted Admission to a Performance of the World Premiere Production of UP AND AWAY
  • Discounted Stay at Festival-Affiliated Hotels
  • Invitations to Exclusive Parties:
    • Festival Kickoff Party at The Andy Warhol Museum
    • Festival Farewell Happy Hour




Kevin Hammonds (Book and Lyrics)
Kristin Bair (Music)

World Premiere Production

Five actors take on the roles of over 50 different characters in this high-flying world-premiere comedy guaranteed to keep the suspense high and the laughs rolling! Not much happens in Farmtown, USA, home of brothers Joe and Jerry Jessup. So when Joe realizes he has superpowers, he high-tails it out of town to seek fame and fortune in “Big City.” When he finds trouble instead, jittery Jerry is forced to follow – and their boring life is turned upside down into a rip roarin’ adventure! Toss in an eccentric billionaire, plucky reporter and dastardly villains, and you’ve got one epic tale of the world’s FIRST superhero.


Adam Overett (Book, Music & Lyrics)

Workshop Presentation

An actor who can’t dance, a dancer who can’t sing and a singer who can’t act are all struggling to become the stars they long to be. They join forces with Millicent Masterson, an eccentric writer-director-producer-designer-choreographer-stage manager who has been waiting to vault her once-storied career back onto Broadway. Millicent creates a new show that will highlight the cast’s talents while hiding their flaws. But as the actors rehearse “Oed!” Millicent’s three-character musical adaptation of Oedipus Rex, they begin to fear that their big break might actually be a big disaster.

THE DOUBLE-THREAT TRIO is presented by The Benter Foundation.


Niko Tsakalakos (Music & Lyrics)
Janet Allard (Book & Lyrics)


Nick came to Los Angeles with dreams of making it in music. Down on his luck in LA, he gets a job at the Hotel Bel-Air. What ensues is the best/worst summer ever, as Nick interacts with Hollywood’s prime elite, gets a taste of fame, and finds unlikely soul connections, all the while finally facing his own complicated demons. Inspired by the true story of composer Niko’s time as a pool boy at the Hotel Bel-Air, this concert-cabaret-musical explores ambition, love, seeking the truth in all the fake, and ultimately finding your voice.

Developed by Pittsburgh CLO through the EQT Commissioning Fund.


Kellen Blair (Book & Lyrics)
Sarah Ziegler Blair (Book & Lyrics)
David Christensen (Music)


This interactive musical comedy follows Madeline Owens, an ER doctor who suddenly finds herself interested in four different men from the online dating site Alrighty Aphrodite. She calls upon members of the audience to play the various advice-givers in her life (mom, therapist, barista, etc.) and eventually narrows down her prospects in the style of a grown-up “choose-your-own-adventure” story. Will Madeline’s “friends and family” lead her to her perfect match, or will their collective decisions result in one of several possible romantic dead ends?

Commissioned by Pittsburgh CLO through the EQT Commissioning Fund.


Meghan Brown (Book & Lyrics) & Sarah Taylor Ellis (Music)


After an ill-advised slumber party foray into the dark arts, teenagers Daisy, Hayley, Sophie, and Morgan find themselves possessed by demons. Like, actual demons. They quickly realize their “nice girl” tactics aren’t going to cut it; these raging demons begin wreaking havoc on the girls’ lives—or do they? While terrorizing the town, the girls are finally getting what they want! As the demons grow more powerful, the girls must decide—will they give in to the anger that might destroy them, or fight to somehow become good again?


Jillian Walker (Writer & Performer)


Powerhouse writer-performer Jillian Walker blends music, history, and live storytelling into a cabaret experience unlike any other this festival season. This big-hearted and highly imaginative concert-play is a sensuous celebration of our bodies and the stories they carry. Through an intoxicating mix of memoir, movement and song, Walker asks: How well do we know the skin we live in?


Marcus Stevens (Book & Lyrics)
David Dabbon (Music)


An ambitious group of contestants compete to win it all on everyone’s favorite TV show, “Game On!” And at today’s taping, with two exes facing off as contestants, there’s more than just money on the line. Cheer the players on from the audience – or, if you’re lucky, play against them onstage – in this high-stakes, high-fun musical comedy.

Commissioned by Pittsburgh CLO through the EQT Commissioning Fund.

BEYOND THE MOON (Gallery of Heroes Show)

Joseph Domencic & Christina McCann (Book, Music & Lyrics)


Through dramatic sketches and musical vignettes, Pittsburgh CLO’s Gallery of Heroes program takes its 50-minute mini-musicals to area schools to educate and enlighten students about great historical figures such as Galileo Galilei, George Washington, Roberto Clemente, the Wright Brothers and Harriet Tubman. Highlighting the lives and accomplishments of significant historical figures, Gallery of Heroes offers an entertaining alternative to traditional lectures and books. BEYOND THE MOON, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk, features a 16-year-old student with “astronaut-ical” dreams of being the first person to set foot on Mars.


Matt Schatz (Book, Music & Lyrics)


Beth, an ambitious literary manager at a prestigious nonprofit theater, is poised to promote the voice of a brilliant unknown playwright…until a certain superstar performer writes a play that changes the course of her career forever. AN UNTITLED NEW PLAY BY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE is a musical satire about the politics of celebrity, storytelling and fighting for one’s ideas and ideals.

AN UNTITLED NEW PLAY BY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE is presented in collaboration with City Theatre.

This page was last updated on 01/11/2019