A Report from the Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival, 2013

by Carol de Giere on November 19, 2013

louannbehan-one-more-night-smThis article is posted as part of Musical Writerzine issue 24.

I asked my friend Lou Ann Behan if she would write up her experience of participating in the Page-to-Stage festival at the Kennedy Center this year with her musical One More Night.  Here is Lou Ann’s story:

lou-ann-behan1By Lou Ann K. Behan 

New musical development requires opportunities for the creators to see and hear what works and doesn’t. For those of us not yet blessed with a string of hits and awards, the uphill climb toward a reading and eventually a production is steep, the terrain rugged, and the climate, mostly stormy and hostile.

My collaborator, Gary Fitzgerald, and I recently encountered a sunny day on the climb when Mark Krikstan, the Founding Artistic Director of a small, professional theater company, 1st Stage, in Vienna, Virginia, agreed to sponsor our musical comedy, One More Night in the Page-to-Stage Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. (You must be sponsored by a professional theater company or University to enter this Festival.)

As you’d expect from an organization like the Kennedy Center, the Festival is well organized and run. The participants are given the means to successfully produce their readings before a live audience. After casting, then rehearsing for one week, off site, we were assigned a Kennedy Center Opera House Theatre rehearsal space with seating for 100, and ample standing room. On the day of the performance, all of the seats filled quickly as did every inch of standing room space! A grand piano sat tuned and ready for us. Fortunately, having the first time slot of the day in the space meant we could load in when the Kennedy Center opened at 10:00 a.m. The “house” would officially open to the waiting patrons at 11:15.

When the reading concluded, time was provided for “talk back.” Approximately 80 percent of the audience remained and actively participated. The final 15 minutes involved a speedy effort to break down and get out so that the next participant could set up the room for their performance.

The value of this opportunity, from auditions, to rehearsals to performance to talk back, cannot be overstated. You are in a continued, heightened state of learning. Taking that new knowledge and applying that to the subsequent re-writing builds the material, shapes it, and gives it greater dimension. Pleased and proud of what has emerged from Page-to-Stage, we return, renewed and reinvigorated, to the day to day climbing, falling, getting back up and climbing yet again hoping for another glimpse of that elusive, warm sunshine….

EDITOR’S NOTE

Metro Stage is one of the theater companies that annually sponsors shows for the Page-to-Stage festival. See our write up about Metro Stage in Musical Writerzine newsletter issue 14. Note that they wish to only receive submissions of musicals that might work in their small venue, in other words musicals with very small casts and a handful of musicians.

TO READ MORE ABOUT MAKING NEW MUSICALS CLICK THROUGH THE PAGES OF WWW.MUSICALWRITERS.COM

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