Attending the Annual NAMT Festival

by Carol de Giere on June 8, 2017

Reading of Soho Cinders at NAMTPhoto: A reading of Soho Cinders, one of eight musicals presented at NAMT in 2016. Music by George Stiles, lyrics and book by Anthony Drewe, and book by Elliot Davis. Photo by Ric Kallaher Photography.

Inside the NAMT Festival – A Report from 2016

For anyone interested in the new musicals scene, the annual NAMT Festivals in New York City is a good place to be. The 600 people present are there to discover shows that are ready to cross the threshold from early development to public staging. Many of the audience members have the power to make the crossing happen. At the 2016 Festival, I found myself sitting next to or chatting in the lobby with artistic directors from around the USA, several producers, and licensing company scouts who wanted to know what’s on the horizon.

New World Stages on 50th Street in Manhattan is the perfect place for the event, with multiple off-Broadway sized theaters under one roof. The shared lobby works well for networking. Attendees come for the excitement of experiencing new works and meeting the writers in person. And even if the new shows don’t match their tastes, they know all of the ones chosen by the selection committee will be carefully crafted. In any case, the presentations are short. One person told me, “Industry people know in 45-minutes if they will like the show.”

For writers, the best way to “attend” the festival is to have your musical chosen for one of the eight readings, or to be chosen for the Songwriters Showcase. Submissions for the 2018 Festival of New Musicals will open on October 19th and will close on a rolling schedule in January 2018, exact dates TBA. (If you missed the previous blog post about NAMT, there are some additional details there: NAMT – an interview.)

But there are other ways to get in:

Who Can Attend NAMT – Details Provided by the NAMT Office:

The Festival is free and open to theatre industry professionals or by donation to NAMT. We define an industry member as anyone currently working professionally in the theatre who can aid in the development of the shows or careers of the writers we present. If you are not a NAMT member, you will be asked when you register to state your affiliation with another professional organization/group/network, such as TCG, The Broadway League, LORT, ART/NY, etc..

If you are not industry, you may make a donation of $250 or more and receive a special pass to attend the Festival with VIP benefits as our gift. If you wish to attend the Festival but are not an industry member per our definition and cannot make a donation to NAMT at this time, there are public standby lines that begin 20 minutes prior to each individual presentation. Standby seating is limited and is not guaranteed.
NAMT Festival

PHOTO BELOW: “Meet the Writers Panel”– All 2016 writers answering questions.
Meet the Writers panel at NAMT 2016

This article is being published in conjunction with Musical Writerzine issue 38, Summer, 2017.

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