Festival Submission Information
2020 Festival Submission Requirements, Process and Application
Beginning with the 2020 Festival of New Musicals, all writers can submit an application to be considered for the Festival free-of-charge. In keeping with previous years, submissions to the Festival will require an endorsement from an industry professional, but for the first time there will be no cost associated with on-time submissions regardless of who is endorsing the piece. Please review the below for full details on the application process.
Please note: NAMT does not accept submissions outside of this process. Please follow the instructions below to submit a musical for the Festival. Materials received outside of the Festival submission process will not be returned.
Q&A Session for 2020
The deadline to submit for NAMT’s 2020 Festival of New Musicals has now passed. You can review this page in preparation for submissions to the 2021 Festival, which will open in October.
You can view a recording of this year’s online information session walking through the application process and providing tips for a successful submission below. This video is not intended as a substitute for reading this entire page.
About the Festival
Now in its 31st year, NAMT’s Festival of New Musicals is the cornerstone of NAMT’s mission to be a catalyst for nurturing musical theatre development and production. Every year, we feature eight musicals in 45-minute presentations for an audience of over 700 industry professionals. We look for new musicals at all stages of development from the broadest possible range of voices.
In the short run, the Festival’s goal is to connect producers with writers, so that our shows can extendtheir development trajectory. The long-term goal is to expand the musical theatre repertoire and advance the musical theatre art form.
Our 32nd Annual Festival of New Musicals will take place on October 22 and 23, 2020 at New World Stages in New York City.
The objectives of the Festival are to:
- Showcase quality new musicals with a wide range of subject matter, style and concept
- Nurture composers, lyricists and book writers of all identities and backgrounds
- Stimulate networking opportunities for NAMT Members and theatre professionals
- Provide a forum to spark new collaborations and ventures
- Encourage future productions of new musicals
We never take any royalties from our writers or ask them to pay for their participation in the Festival. The Festival is funded solely through sponsorships, grants and donations contributed by government agencies, foundations, organizations and individuals.
Any new musical can be submitted for consideration as long as it meets the criteria below.
The musical must…
- Be complete and ready for readings, workshops and/or productions.
- Have a demo that is an accurate representation of the music and style of the show.
- Have full underlying rights clearance of any pre-existing material used (music, source material, etc.) in the script.
- Be ready for readings, workshops and/or productions at the time of submission and available for performance in October 2020 at the Festival.
The musical cannot…
- Already be licensed through a professional licensing house.
- Have been produced on Broadway. [Shows that have had readings, workshops and/or productions (including regional or Off Broadway) are still eligible.]
- Have already been submitted to the Festival three times. Each show can only be submitted three times for review by the committee.
- Have been presented as one of our main presentations at a Festival (excludes shows presented as part of our complimentary programming including concerts and showcases).
In addition, the writers must be available for the Festival and all rehearsals.
Please note the following deadlines for the 32nd Annual Festival of New Musicals:
January 3, 2020: Early Deadline for All Submissions January 17, 2020: Late Deadline for All Submissions (late fees apply)
Shows submitted by the early deadline require no fee for submission. Shows submitted after the early deadline will be charged a late fee, which must be paid by credit card on the submission portal.
You will need information on the writers, agents, production/development history and more. This document outlines everything you will need to fill out the application but you should read this entire page before prepping your materials as there is vital information throughout and our process may change from year to year.
Additionally, you will need an endorsement from one of our colleagues. Your endorsing organization can be any of the following:
- A NAMT Full Member or Associate Member (endorsing submissions is not a benefit of Student Membership)
- A NAMT Festival Alumni Writer
- Any professional theatre company (a company that has been actively producing theatre for at least 2 years and compensates its artists/staff)
- Theatrical literary agent
- Commercial producer (any producer with a proven track record of producing musical theatre)
Shows written by Festival Alumni Writers do not need an endorser, and they can submit up to two shows of their own in addition to one for another writer. Festival Alumni Writers are only those who were selected to present their show at past Festivals as part of our main selections and does not include writers from any of our showcases or concerts.
Endorsing organizations should only endorse shows that they have fully read, listened to and are willing to advocate for as a show on par with the best shows they have ever seen at the Festival. A new endorsement must be sent in for each year of submission, either from a new organization or from an organization that has endorsed the show in the past.
Based on type, each endorsing organization, agent or producer has a cap on the number of applications it can endorse each year. Here is a chart that outlines the due dates, fees and submission caps by organization.
If you are unable to find an endorser for your application, please contact New Works Director Ciera Iveson at firstname.lastname@example.org between November 1st and December 1st for information on this year’s pilot endorser-matching program. Please note that every effort should be made at finding an endorser prior to reaching out to Ciera; the matching program does not guarantee endorsement for the Festival application process.
You may save and return to your application without having to complete it all in one sitting.
You will be asked to upload a PDF of the script and a PDF of a 20-page excerpt when you fill out the online application. All script submissions must adhere to the following or your application could be rejected:
The full script and excerpt must include:
- Title page (which should only have the title on it and absolutely no other information)
- Brief synopsis (1/2 page or less)
- Character breakdown (1 page or less)
- Track listings for the demo included
- Unattributed author’s note, if applicable (1/2 page or less)
- e.g. a note about script vs. demo lyrics, or special instructions or how to read internal script notation
- Numbered pages
- Demo track numbers must be included in the script where each track is to be played when reading (see page 4 of the sample script; please note, formatting does not need to be copied exactly).
- The complete script (all scenes, songs and lyrics are on the page)
The full script and excerpt cannot include:
- Writer information
- Agent information
- Production history
- Previous cast information
- Award information
20-Page Excerpt Guidelines
In round one of Festival evaluations, our Festival Screening Subcommittee only reads 20 pages of each script–writers are given the opportunity to choose the 20 pages that they feel best showcases your work. These excerpts must:
- Include the introductory pages required in the full script before your selected 20 pages, adhering to the guidelines above.
- Be directly pulled from the script without any alterations. Please do not splice together different sections or reformat in any way.
- In the application, you will have an opportunity to provide a 50 word introduction to the cut for the subcommittee. Use this wisely!
- We recommend that you submit the first 20 pages of your script **unless you have a show that is not structured like a traditional book musical.**
Submissions that do not adhere to these script guidelines will be subject to immediate rejection.
to get a sense of our suggested layout of the first few pages and examples of how to embed track numbers that correspond to your demo. You DO NOT need to match the exact formatting of this script in order to submit to the Festival.
Demo Track Guidelines
You will be asked to upload individual tracks (up to 20) to the application matching the sequence of the script. You will also be asked to upload a .zip file of the entire demo. These two versions are for the ease of use of the committee. If you have more than 20 tracks, please upload the first 20 and we will pull the rest from the .zip file. Your show does not need 20 tracks to apply; you may have fewer. Please take your name and your performers’ names off of any tracks, when possible.
The recording should be a significant representation of the songs in the show that accurately highlights the breadth and depth of the score and lyrics. At least 50% of the songs in the musical (not including reprises and recitatives) is recommended.
The demo should be a good quality recording with a clear piano (or appropriate instrumentation) and clear vocals. We also recommend that the singers on the recording are the appropriate vocal types for their respective roles.
Letter of Endorsement
- If the endorser is a NAMT Member or Associate Member, the member can send an email to the New Works Director with a list of the shows they will be endorsing.
- If the endorser is not a NAMT Member, the letter must be on organizational letterhead and uploaded as part of your application. This letter should state why this organization is endorsing this show and state that the organization recognizes that this their sole submission.
Proof of Rights
- If the musical contains any copyrighted material, please submit a signed letter from the authors and underlying rights representative stating that underlying rights have been secured. Alternatively, please submit a copy of your contract with all financial information redacted. In order to be eligible for the Festival, we must see:
- Length of agreement and standards for renewals/extensions (the length of the agreement or option to extend should extend past the Festival by at least 18 months)
- Definition of all parties involved
- An indication of whether this will be the sole theatrical version permitted of the piece
Clauses indicating who has artistic control over the piece and what approvals are needed at what stages
To evaluate the submissions each year, NAMT assembles a committee of its members from across the world. The committee uses a blind evaluation process. Committee members are given no additional information beyond the title of the show, the script and the demo. The information you provide in the application is seen by the NAMT office only, not the selection committee. Our process is based on the art of the submitted piece rather than who wrote it, the history of the piece or the awards it has won.
Round 1 (January-March)
- Four members of Festival Screening Sub-committee listen to the full demo & read your selected 20 pages of the script
- Committee fills out online evaluations for each show
- About one-third of the shows move forward to the next round (about 70 shows)
Round 2 (March-May)
- Round 2 selections are each read (full script and full demo) by four members of Festival Committee
- Committee selects 20 shows that will advance to Round 3 (finals)
- If selected as a finalist, the show’s application primary contact will be notified via email in mid-May.
Round 3 (May-June, Final Round)
- Every Festival Committee member reviews all scripts and demos in the semifinals
- Committee selects 8 Festival shows
- Festival is announced in early July
Notification will be sent to all shows’ application primary contact via email by late May.
Due to the volume of submitted material, we will be unable to provide feedback regarding why a particular piece was or was not selected for the Festival.
The eight shows selected each year to be presented at the NAMT Festival are given the full support of NAMT to ensure a quality presentation and experience for everyone involved. NAMT takes on full responsibility for producing the Festival, including financial and administrative components.
We expect writers to be hands-on throughout the entire process, from casting through sound check and the presentations. Being part of the NAMT Festival as a writer is a time-consuming, intensive process, and writers who participate need to be able to commit fully and enthusiastically.
Writers are required to be at rehearsals (starting about 10 days out) and at all related events happening around rehearsals and the Festival so they can maximize their experience and exposure.
Each writer will be given an honorarium in appreciation of their talent and time and to help cover any related personal expenses. Writers will neither pay fees to NAMT, nor does NAMT take any percentage of future royalties.
After the Festival, each writer will become a NAMT Festival Alumni Writer, joining a group of over 400 past Festival writers, and will receive invitations to future Alumni events like roundtables and conferences. The writers will also continue to receive assistance from the NAMT office whenever possible to help further develop their musicals and their careers.
If you have any further questions about the Festival or of the submission process, please contact New Works Director Ciera Iveson at email@example.com.