While the NAMT festival can be considered a wonderful thing — if not a sure thing — for musical composers, lyricists and librettists, it’s also a commendable opportunity for the actors appearing before representatives of most of the country’s important presenting houses.
Helen Sneed, a former NAMT executive director, calls the event “one of the most comprehensive audiences of musical theater professionals.” She also says that the actors are not only “being seen by a group that works very closely together” but they get “a great opportunity to do a new work.”
Chris Grady, licensing head at Cameron Mackintosh International and in from London, says actors “absolutely” benefit from NAMT exposure. “If I were a casting director, I’d go to this instead of all the auditions,” he says. Tina McPhearson, vice president for programming at Dayton’s Victoria Theatre, describes the NAMT audience as “the cream of the crop.”
Perhaps the best arguments for actors on the musical comedy track to look into future festivals are the roster of actors who participated this year. Paid a flat $100 salary for what Equity limits to 20 hours of rehearsal, the performers include Marc Kudisch, Brian D’Arcy James, Douglas Sills, Lillias White, Darius de Haas, Michael Winther, Dee Hoty, Gregg Edelman, Stephen DeRosa, Jenn Harris, Megan Lawrence, Kerry Butler, Adam Heller, James Judy, Sebastian Arcelus, Megan Hilty, Sarah Stiles, and Leslie Kritzer, who was so enthusiastic she did two shows.