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):


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

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

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


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)


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

Read More



FROM THE ROAD: A weekend in Connecticut

For the past 4 winters, I have spent a January weekend in Connecticut catching a show at The Spirit of Broadway Theater and attending Goodspeed Musicals’ Festival of New Artists. It is one of my favorite annual excursions to see great new musicals and catch up with members and writers.

I started out my trip with a visit to see The Spirit of Broadway‘s production of the new musical The Boy in the Bathroom by Michael Lluberes and Joe Mahoney. This beautiful and touching production was directed by Brett Bernardini. The three-person show tells the story of a young man who chooses to live locked in the bathroom of his mother’s house while he finishes his dissertation. It is a quirky story rendered wonderfully in this production. The show is running through February 5.

It was then off to Goodspeed‘s 7th Festival of New Artists
in partnership with The Hartt School and Boston Conservatory. This year there were 3 staged readings of new musicals, 2 cabarets and a sneak peek at one of the new musicals Goodspeed will present this season. The readings this year were:
Harmony, Kansas by Anna K. Jacobs and Bill Nelson (a past recipient of a NAMT Writers Residency Grant at Barrington Stage Co.)
Not Wanted on the Voyage by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill (the writers of NAMT Fest ’07 show- The Story of My Life)
The Dogs of Pripyat (NAMT Fest ’11) by Jill Abramovitz, Aron Accurso and Leah Napolin.

Also in residency that weekend working on other shows were Jeremy Desmon (NAMT Fest ’04-The Girl in the Frame) and Jeff Thomson, NAMT Fest ’11 (Dani Girl) writers Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond, and the team of Marcy Heisler, Zina Goldrich and Hunter Bell working on The Great American Mousical which was the special sneak peek musical that weekend.

As you can see, there were a whole lot of NAMT connections throughout the weekend with Festival alumni involved throughout. I had seen previous incarnations of all of the shows and was really excited to see all of the great work the writers have done on them. All of the shows have grown so much, and I hope that they all find great futures across the membership.

Post-show evenings were spent in cabarets in which the uber-talented writers listed above would entertain us with other songs from shows they are working on. Goodspeed knows how to pack a weekend with the perfect amount of art, fun, music and cocktails!

I love my January trip to Connecticut each year. I get to chat with members, see work from alumni and other great writers, but, most of all, I get a chance to spend a great weekend immersed in a community of new musicals. Not a bad way to spend a cold winter weekend!

Read More

An interview with Goodspeed Musicals’ Line Producer Donna Lynn Hilton about their 7th Annual Festival of New Artists happening January 13-15. The Festival is in partnership with fellow NAMT members The Hartt School and Boston Conservatory. The line-up includes readings of NAMT Festival Show The Dogs of Pripyat, Not Wanted on the Voyage from the NAMT alumni writers who wrote The Story of My Life, and Harmony, Kansas. There will also be late-night cabarets featuring NAMT alumni writers Jeremy Desmon, Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond. Plus special events all weekend!
What are the goals of the Festival of New Artists?
We have a number of goals for the festival…to provide a safe haven for very “young” musicals; to provide the opportunity for collaboration at a very early stage in the development of a new musical—for everyone involved—writers, directors, musical directors and performers; to provide young musical theatre performers the rare opportunity to participate in the creation of a new musical and its characters; and to give [these young musical theatre performers] access to the professional writers, directors, MDs and performers.
Having been at the Festival for the last 3 years, I have seen it really blossom. What additions do you have in store for us this year?
We haven’t expanded the programming of our festival weekend much this year but are very proud that, in addition to the 3 teams presenting their full musicals during the festival weekend, we are able to host 3 teams of writers for Festival Residencies and will feature the work of these teams in our Festival Cabarets. One of those teams will present a “sneak peek” at an exciting new musical being developed by Goodspeed and scheduled for the Norma Terris Theatre in 2012.
How did the collaboration with the Universities start and how does the students’ involvement shape the Festival?
The collaboration between the Hartt School (now in its 7th year) and with the Boston Conservatory (in its 2nd year) is a direct result of relationships begun and developed through our work with NAMT. Goodspeed wanted to provide another outlet for supporting new musical development in our quieter winter months and the universities were looking to expose their students to professional opportunities and training. It was a perfect match.
What is the Festival experience like for the writers?
The main focus of the first 11 days of the festival is on the writers, giving them the opportunity to hear their work read and encouraging them to respond to it with revision. The Festival presentations, while an important piece of the puzzle, are somewhat secondary from the writers’ perspective. Several years ago, in response to a similar question, one of our Festival writer said… “the presentation is our gift to Goodspeed for allowing us to be here for two weeks, to work on and rewrite our show.”
Goodspeed really provides a whole weekend experience filled with new musicals. What do you hope your patrons walk with when they leave the Festival weekend?
Several things – an appreciation for and understanding of the passion, hard work and commitment that go into developing a new musical; excitement about the talent that is entering the field today; and, of course, an acknowledgement of what a truly wonderful place East Haddam and Chester, CT and Goodspeed’s Artists Village are to develop and present musical theatre, established and new.
Why should your fellow members come to beautiful snowy East Haddam in January to catch the Festival?
You really won’t regret joining us…the synergy created by the art and artists on display will thrill you and inspire you as it has us each January for the past 7 years. In many ways, the Festival is the most exciting project we mount all year long.
For more information about Goodspeed Musicals’ Festival of New Artists, please visit

Read More



Introducing this year's writers....Part 2

Yesterday, you got to meet the 4 of the writing teams and now it is time to meet the other 4 teams! These are the teams who will present their work on October 27 and 28 at New World Stages on Stage 3 as part of our 23rd Annual Festival of New Musicals.
Don’t forget to register before Sunday!

Book & Lyrics by Julia Jordan, Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Directed by Joe Calarco, Music Direction by Andy Einhorn

Book by Jill Abramovitz & Leah Napolin
Music by Aron Accurso, Lyrics by Jill Abramovitz
Directed by Peter Flynn, Music Direction by Brad Haak

Book by Peter Mills & Cara Reichel
Music & Lyrics by Peter Mills
Based on “The Playboy of the Western World” by J.M. Synge
Directed by Gordon Greenberg, Music Direction by Eli Zoller

by Dan Lipton & David Rossmer
Directed by Jeremy Dobrish, Music Direction by Chris Fenwick

Read More