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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This month, we caught up with Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald, the writers of 2016 Festival show The Loneliest Girl in the World to chat about the work they’ve done on the show since the Festival, and to learn more about the show’s upcoming world premiere with NAMT member Diversionary Theatre. The upcoming production received a Production Grant from NAMT’s National Fund for New Musicals. Leary and Meinwald are also Festival alumni for their 2011 show Pregnancy Pact.

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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 $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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This month we chatted with Charlie Sohne and Tim Rosser, the writers of 2013 Festival Show The Boy Who Danced on Air. The show is about to have its New York premiere with Abingdon Theatre Company.
Winner of The 2016 San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Original Score, The Boy Who Danced on Air is a modern-day love story set in rural Afghanistan. Paiman and Feda have spent their young lives as dancers in the world of bacha bazi, where wealthy men take in boys from poor families, train them to dance at parties, and often abuse them. The two boys’ chance meeting changes the course of their lives and sets them on a journey to find their independence in this musical fable about love, tradition, morality and the strength of the human spirit.
The last time we checked in with you both, you were preparing for your world premiere at Diversionary Theatre in San Diego—what was the response to the show in California?
Charlie: It went well!  It’s a terrifying thing to put something you’ve been working on for years in front of a paying audience for the first time—particularly for us, given the sensitivity of the subject matter in our show.  So it was really wonderful that both audiences and critics responded well to it and seemed to get what we were doing.  And the show received the San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Original Score, which was a wonderful bonus.

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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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Festival Show Update: The Boy Who Danced On Air

This month, we chat with Festival Alumni Charlie Sohne and Tim Rosser about their 2013 Festival Show, The Boy Who Danced on Air, which is heading to Diversionary Theatre in San Diego this May. This production of The Boy Who Danced on Air is supported by a NAMT National Fund for New Musicals Production Grant, and the show previously received a Writers Residency Grant at New York Theatre Barn.
What was the post-Festival response like to The Boy Who Danced On Air?
Charlie Sohne: I think the big response that we got coming out of the Festival was, “I want to see it with dance!” The world of the show features quite a bit of dance and, beyond that, dance is a fundamental element of how we tell this story — so it was really important to start developing what the choreographic language of the piece was going to be like. We were fortunate enough that right out of the Festival New York Theater Barn (which has long been a really wonderful advocate for the piece) put together a dance workshop for us. It was really exciting to see the work leap off the page and become something more heightened than just a script with music.
Tim Rosser: Since the dance element is so central to the show and was certainly going to require a special touch, we went on a bit of a quest to find the right choreographer. Charlie saw an ad for this piece that Nejla Yatkin was working on called “Oasis: Everything You Wanted To Know About The Middle East But Were Afraid To Dance.” I remember being taken by not just by the beauty of the dance, but by the fact that Nejla often uses clear linear narratives in her dance pieces, which isn’t always the case in modern dance but is, I think, a great advantage in musical theatre. We sent her the script immediately afterwards.

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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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Congratulations to the 7 member theatres selected to receive grants from 
our National Fund for New Musicals this year. In the last 4 years, the Fund has given out 45 grants totaling $197,000. 

Production Grants of $10,000 have been awarded to:
Diversionary Theatre(CA) for Harmony, Kansasby Bill Nelson & Anna K. Jacobs
Playwrights Horizons (NY) for Far From Heavenby Scott Frankel, Richard Greenberg & Michael Korie (’89–Blanco)
TheatreWorks (CA) for Wheelhouseby Gene Lewin, Brendan Milburn (’04–Striking 12, ’11–Watt?!?) & Valerie Vigoda (’04–Strking 12).
Project Development Grants between $2,000-$3,000 have been awarded to:
American Musical Theatre Project at Northwestern University (IL) for The Verona Project by Amanda Dehnert.
Center Theatre Group (CA) for a new musical about urban superheroes by Matt Sax.
Dallas Theatre Center (TX) for Stagger Lee by Justin Ellington, Will Power & Daryl Waters.
Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre at University of Oklahoma for Something Wicked This Way Comes by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill (both, ’07–The Story of My Life).
A special thanks to all of our National Fund for New Musicals donors including Stacey Mindich Productions, The Alhadeff Family Charitable Foundation, The ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund and everyone who contributed in honor of our former Executive Director Kathy Evans.
If you are interested in contributing to the National Fund, please contact Executive Director Betsy King Militello. Donations of all sizes help grow the Fund and provide more grants to new musicals across the country.

Congratulations to all of the members and artists involved in these exciting projects! 

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