Festival Submission Process
*Submissions for the 35th Annual Festival of New Musicals have closed. Submissions for the 36th Annual Festival will open October 26th, 2023. Details below may change slightly, but this is still an accurate representation of the general process and timeline if you’d like to prepare for next year!*
2023 Festival Submission Requirements, Process and Application
All writers are eligible to submit an application free of charge, and we no longer require an endorsement by an industry professional to submit. Please review 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 reviewed.
About the Festival
Now in its 35th 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 short 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 extend their development trajectory. The long-term goal is to expand the musical theatre repertoire and advance the musical theatre art form.
Our 35th Annual Festival of New Musicals will take place on October 26 and 27, 2023.
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 clearances for 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 2022 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 complementary 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 34th Annual Festival of New Musicals:
- December 20, 2022: Early Deadline for All Submissions
- January 10, 2023: Late Deadline for All Submissions ($30 fee applies)
Shows submitted by the early deadline require no fee for submission. Shows submitted after the early deadline will be charged a $30 late fee, which must be paid by credit card on the submission portal.
You will need information on the writers and (if applicable) agents, production/development history and more. All the information you need is outlined in 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.
As a reminder, we are no longer requiring an endorsement to apply for the Festival!
Should you find a stray reference to endorsements in any of the application materials, you may ignore it.
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 with all identifying information removed. 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 (100 words or less)
- Character breakdown (1 page or less)
- Track listings for the demo included
- 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 screening subcommittee only reads 20 pages of each script–writers are given the opportunity to choose the 20 consecutive pages that they feel best showcase their work. These excerpts must:
- Include the introductory pages required in the full script before your selected 20 pages, adhering to the guidelines above.
- Be consecutive pages from the script. 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 intro 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, including in metadata.
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. We recommend including at least 50% of the songs in the musical (not including reprises and recitatives).
The demo should be a recording of good quality with a clear piano (or appropriate instrumentation) and clear vocals. We also recommend that the singers on the recording be the appropriate vocal types for their respective roles.
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, not the history of the piece or the awards it has won.
Round 1 (January-March)
- Four members of Festival Screening Subcommittee listen to five demos (or more depending on the readers’ interest) & 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 primary contact from the show’s application will be notified via email in mid-May.
Round 3 (May-June, Final Round)
- Every Festival Committee member reviews all scripts and demos in this round
- Committee selects eight Festival shows
- Festival is announced in early July
Notification will be sent to the primary contact from the show’s application via email by late June.
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 pay no fees to NAMT, nor will NAMT take any percentage of future royalties.
After the Festival, each writer will become a NAMT Festival Alumni Writer, joining a group of over 500 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 team 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 Program Assistant Skye Cone Ivey at firstname.lastname@example.org.