We are thrilled to announce 11 awards granted from the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals (formerly known as the National Fund for New Musicals), and six awards granted from the Innovation & Exploration Fund. Now in its 11th year, this year the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals (FYFNM) is providing grants totaling $70,000 to organizations across the country. The Innovation & Exploration Fund (I&EF) is providing grants totaling $12,000 to organizations nationwide.
NAMT Executive Director Betsy King Militello stated: “We are honored and excited to support our member theatres both as they work to develop innovative and provocative new musicals, and as they explore ideas to create new best practices in the field. With these grants, we have now awarded 162 grants totaling $563,000 to NAMT members across the country. These projects will join a growing list of important new musicals and initiatives supported by NAMT’s granting programs.”

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NEA Awards Grants to NAMT and Our Members

The National Endowment for the Arts has recently announced that it will award over $27 million in grants to fund artistic projects and research, with $3.28 million going to companies working in the field of Theater & Musical Theatre. Many NAMT members have been selected to receive grants in this cycle, including $55,000 to NAMT itself, in support of our Festival of New Musicals and Fall Conference. Congratulations to those members receiving grants in this round of NEA funding, including:
Ars Nova
Atlantic Theater Company
Diversionary Theatre
Horizon Theatre Company
The Lark
NAMT
The Old Globe
Philadelphia Theatre Company
Playwrights Horizons
The Public Theater
Roundabout Theatre Company
Seattle Repertory Theatre
Theater Latté Da
Theatre Under The Stars
Village Theatre
ZACH Theatre
Congratulations to all, and thank you to the NEA for supporting arts organizations throughout the country! For a full list of the recipients, visit the NEA’s website. 

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NEA Awards Grants to NAMT and Our Members

The National Endowment for the Arts has recently announced that it will award over $25 million in grants to fund artistic projects and research, with just over $3 million going to companies working in the field of Theater & Musical Theatre. Many NAMT members have been selected to receive grants in this cycle, including $60,000 to NAMT itself, in support of our Festival of New Musicals and Fall Conference. Congratulations to those members receiving grants in this round of NEA funding, including:
Ars Nova
Atlantic Theater Company
Dallas Theater Center
Diversionary Theatre
Goodspeed Musicals
Horizon Theatre Company
The Lark
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
MCC Theater
NAMT
The Old Globe
Playwrights Horizons
Prospect Theater Company
The Public Theater
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Village Theatre
ZACH Theatre
Congratulations to all, and thank you to the NEA for supporting arts organizations throughout the country! For a full list of the recipients, visit the NEA’s website. 

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New Work in Progress: KPOP

Ars Nova‘s upcoming production of KPOP, written by Jason Kim, Helen Park and Max Vernon and produced in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company and Woodshed Collective, is not to be missed. We reached out to Jason Eagan, Ars Nova’s Artistic Director, to learn more about the show and what audience members can expect when they experience the show for themselves. KPOP previously received a NFNM Writers Residency Grant at Ars Nova.
How did KPOP first find its way to Ars Nova?

KPOP began more than four years ago! Woodshed Collective’s Artistic Director (and KPOP‘s director) Teddy Bergman invited me to lunch to share his fascination with the burgeoning Korean Pop music industry and shared the seeds of an idea to create a massive immersive show based on the phenomenon. I was immediately taken with the idea and eventually commissioned Woodshed, along with bookwriter Jason Kim and Helen Park and Max Vernon to write music and lyrics. Since then an incredible array of wildly talented collaborators have assembled around this project and we’ve become collectively obsessed with translating the behind-the-scenes craft of K-Pop into an immersive theatrical experience.

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We are thrilled to announce 16 awards granted from their National Fund for New Musicals, a major funding program to support NAMT member not-for-profit theatres in their collaborations with writers to create, develop and produce new musicals. Now in its ninth year, the Fund will provide grants totaling $53,000 to organizations across the country.
NAMT Executive Director Betsy King Militello stated: “We are honored and excited to support our member theatres as they work with this inspiring group of writers to develop these innovative and provocative new musicals.  With these grants, we have now awarded 104 grants totaling $411,500. These projects will join a growing list of important new musicals added to the canon with support from our National Fund for New Musicals.”

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Members in the News

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NEA Awards Grants to NAMT and Our Members

The National Endowment for the Arts has recently announced that it will award over $30 million in grants to fund artistic projects and research, with $3,505,000 going to companies working in the field of Theater & Musical Theatre. Many NAMT members have been selected to receive grants in this cycle, including $55,000 to NAMT itself, in support of our Festival of New Musicals and Fall Conference. Congratulations to those members receiving grants in this round of NEA funding, including:
The 5th Avenue Theatre
Ars Nova
Atlantic Theater Company
The Lark
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
The Old Globe
Playwrights Horizons
Portland Center Stage
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Village Theatre
ZACH Theatre
Congratulations to all, and thank you to the NEA for supporting arts organizations throughout the country! For a full list of the recipients, visit the NEA’s website. Watch the NEA’s video above to learn more about their impact on the arts in America.

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INSIDE THE 2016 FESTIVAL: First Rehearsal

A guest post from Alana Jacoby, the lyricist and librettist for this year’s Festival show Mortality Play, written with Scotty Arnold. Mortality Play was featured in the Songwriters Showcase at last year’s Festival.
Today is our fifth first rehearsal for Mortality Play. As I put on my Black Death European Tour shirt this morning (which I think I’ve worn to every one), I played them all back in my mind. There was the first first rehearsal, for our thesis reading at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program: the first time anyone outside of our program said these words and sang these songs; the first time we felt like real musical theater writers. There was the second first rehearsal, for ANT Fest at Ars Nova: the first time the show left the safe space of an educational setting and went out into the world. There was the third first rehearsal, for the Yale Institute of Music Theatre: the kick-off of an amazing two-week workshop and the longest period of time when Scotty and I got to be in full-time writing mode since graduating. First rehearsal number four, for our Joe’s Pub reading two years later, felt like getting the band back together after too much time away. And here we are at first rehearsal number five, walking into the room with this overwhelmingly talented cast and amazing creative team.
First rehearsals remind me of birthdays. It’s perfect that this one happened this week, because Scotty and I just celebrated our shared birthday two days ago. It’s a day full of excitement and promise, all about watching something begin to unfold. Listening to each song during an initial read-through feels like opening presents. Peeking over my script to see the actors’ faces as they fearlessly dive into a cold read, wondering how they’ll react, hoping they’ll laugh at that joke, hearing how each song will sound in their particular voices. It’s like giving and getting presents all at the same time, which Scotty and I are used to, as collaborator birthday buddies.
This show has grown up so much over the past five years to get to this point, and each first rehearsal has been a chance to look at it through new eyes. Not just the eyes of the new people around the table, but through our own, which have also grown up and changed. My mother died between first rehearsal number three and first rehearsal number four, which turned my world upside down and made me think about death and loss, such integral themes of this piece, in a much different way. And on my birthday two days before rehearsal number five, my boyfriend and I got engaged, which made me hide in my binder today and take a much closer look at the dialogue in our proposal scene. It makes me wonder, with some fear and some excitement, where we’ll be and what will be happening in our lives as we head into first rehearsal number six.
For now, Scotty and I are sitting in this room enjoying this best of all possible birthday gifts, soaking up the amazing energy of our teammates and thrill of being part of this festival. We can’t wait to share our excitement by presenting Mortality Play in front of our NAMT audience a week from today!

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Festival Show Update: LIZZIE

Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, Tim Maner and Alan Stevens Hewitt recently began licensing their 2010 Festival show LIZZIE. Now that they’ve begun licensing the show, we wanted to check in with LIZZIE one last time to find out what this new step means for the show.
LIZZIE has had quite the journey since it appeared in the 2010 Festival! Can you tell us a little bit about the developmental path that brought the show to its current form?
SC: In the 2 years following NAMT, we did a developmental production at Village Theatre in Washington, a concert at Ars Nova in New York, and a co-production of Baldwin Wallace University and Playhouse Square in Cleveland, directed by Vicky Bussert who we met when she directed our NAMT presentation. All those productions were very different, and working with such different directors and actors was great for allowing us to see how the show worked and to zero in on things that needed to be sharpened. We did a lot of rewriting in those years, added a few new songs and reworked whole sections. And we changed the name of the show from Lizzie Borden to just LIZZIE.
Then we made the album! We always described LIZZIE as a concept album come to life, but it was just a way of talking about the show. There was no actual album. But in 2013, Alan completely orchestrated the show and produced the recording, which we approached more like a rock record than a cast album. At that point, the show really felt “finished” to us. (The album is on Broadway Records and is available as a CD, digital download, and vinyl.)
Since then we’ve had productions at TUTS in Houston, Portland Center Stage, Fredericia Teater in Denmark, and Ray of Light Theatre in San Francisco.

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Congrats To Our Members and Alumni Nominated for NYC Theatre Awards

The incredibly busy New York awards season is underway, and the hard work of many NAMT members and alumni has been recognized in this full season of musical theatre. Congratulations to all!
The 70th Annual Tony Award nominations were announced last week. Hamilton (developed at and produced by member The Public Theater) received a record-breaking 16 nominations. Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed (produced in part by member Center Theatre Group) received ten nominations, including Best New Musical. School of Rock, written by Festival Alum Glenn Slater (Fest ’08, Beatsville) received four nominations, include Best New Musical. Duncan Sheik’s (Fest ’15, Noir) American Psycho the Musical (produced in part by Center Theatre Group) earned two nominations, and the revival of his Spring Awakening received three nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical.

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New Work in Progress: The Wildness

This month, we checked in with Emily Shooltz from Ars Nova about their upcoming premier of Indie-pop band Sky-Pony’s musical The Wildness. Festival Alumnus Kyle Jarrow (Hostage Song, Fest ’09; Noir, Fest ’14) is Sky-Pony’s principal songwriter.
How did Sky-Pony finds its way to Ars Nova? 
We’ve known and loved playwright Kyle Jarrow since he was a founding member of our emerging playwrights group, Play Group, back in 2007. Over the years, we supported the development of several of his theater pieces and showcased his bands in concert, so teaming up with Kyle, Lauren Worsham and Play Company to develop and produce The Wildness is the happy culmination of a long relationship.

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Festival Show Update: BLOODSONG OF LOVE

Last month, we caught up with alumnus Joe Iconis as he prepared his 2011 Festival show, Bloodsong of Love, for a new immersive presentation at 54 Below on October 20.  


A wild musical theater interpretation of the Spaghetti Western film genre.   It follows the story of a wandering guitarist, known only as The Musician, on a journey to reclaim his bride from the evil clutches of Lo Cocodrilo.  Raucous, heartfelt and hilarious, Bloodsong is a raging battle cry for those who believe in art and love and sticking together.

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FROM THE ROAD: A Coast to Coast Summer

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting the chance to visit our members around the country.  There is no better way to take the pulse of the industry and help discover new ways for us to serve our members than to meet them on their home turf, see their shows and meet their staffs.  Summer is the busiest travel time for the NAMT staff because it is when the number of shows skyrocket in our member theatres.  My summer was filled with 10 productions (7 of them premieres),  2 workshops and 6 readings from New York to California, from Vermont to Tennessee.  We a few Festival shows and National Fund for New Musicals (NFNM) grant recipients along the way.

Here is the quick rundown (NAMT member theatres and Festival shows are bolded blue):

MAY

Los Angeles, CA- World premiere of Los Otros at Center Theatre Group 
San Diego, CA- World premiere of Nobody Loves You (NAMT Fest ’12, past NFNM Project Development Grant) and Scottsboro Boys at The Old Globe, world premiere of Hands on a Hardbody at La Jolla Playhouseand the chance to sit in on a rehearsal for Harmony, Kansas (NFNM Production Grant, past Writers Residency Grant) at Diversionary Theatre.
New York, NY- World premiere of February House (past NFNM Project Development Grant) at The Public Theater, reading of Suprema (NFNM Writers Residency Grant) at Ars Nova and Speargrove Presents (NFNM Writers Residency Grant) at New York Theatre Barn

JUNE
Connecticut- Readings of When We Met and String at The O’Neill Theatre Center, production of Mame at Goodspeed Musicals

JULY
New York, NY- Production of Triassic Parq (by Festival alumnus Marshall Pailet) produced by Amas Musical Theatre and New Musical Development Foundation at SoHo Rep  
East Haddam, CT- Final dress of Carousel at Goodspeed Musicals
Poughkeepsie, NY- Workshop of Murder Ballad (by Fest alumna Julia Jordan) at Vassar Powerhouse

AUGUST

Rhinebeck, NY- Reception for Beatsville (NAMT Fest ’08) at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Palo Alto, CA- TheatreWorks Festival of New Works with readings of Being Earnest and Triangle (NAMT Fest ’12) and a developmental production of The Trouble With Doug (NAMT Fest ’10)

SEPTEMBER

New York, NY- Reading of notes to MariAnne (NAMT Fest ’11) at New York Theatre Workshop
Weston, VT- World premiere of Pregnancy Pact (NAMT Fest ’11) at Weston Playhouse Theatre Co.  
Crossville, TN- Regional premiere of Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge (NAMT Fest ’11) at Cumberland County Playhouse
New York, NY- Broadway Bound concert at Merkin Hall featuring songs from Watt?!? and The Dogs of Pripyat, both from the 2011 Festival 

And I am pretty sure I am missing a few.

I got a lot more out of these trips than a wallet full of receipts and slight confusion as to my time zone.  I was fortified in my belief that our members and alumni are creating, producing and exploring the best musical theatre in the country.  They are continually engaging, challenging and building audiences through their great work.  They are not resting on their laurels but pushing forward.

It is very hard to find a show today that does not have the NAMT stamp somewhere on it…and that makes me very proud to be just a small part of any show that adds to the crazy tapestry of musicals across the country.  The great work continues all over the country, and I’m the lucky one who gets to take in at least a fraction of it.

Branden Huldeen
New Works Director

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