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Musical Writerzine #18 - Winter 2012

Newsletter for Writers of New Musicals - intro

Carol de GiereFrom Carol de Giere

Is your musical ready for further development? There are many opportunties for submissions in February, 2012. Check them out here in the Musical Writerzine.

Also in this issue, Kathy Evans provides "Five tips for Getting Your Musical Produced." Kathy is the Founder and Executive Director of Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and former Executive Director of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre.

Our Growing Stages column will return in the Spring 2012 issue. (If you are not already subscribed, see Musical Writerzine)

[Carol de Giere is the website publisher for MusicalWriters.com and author of Defying Gravity, a career biography of Stephen Schwartz filled with musical development stories.

Musical Theatre Announcements and News


This could be a big chance to test your show, work further with your collaborator(s), or get noticed.

Rhinebeck Writers Retreat - Summer 2012 - Deadline Feb. 15

What could be better? This organization asks for no money from participants, takes no share of future royalties, and gives each writer a small fee! The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat provides one-week residencies for writers to work on their musical in a home just outside of Rhinebeck, New York. There will be seven retreats offered in July and August. Applications are due February 15th and there is a submission fee of $25. All information as well as the online application can be found at www.rhinebeckwriters.org.

Last summer's participants included 2011 Tony-nominee Alex Timbers and his collaborator Michael Friedman, working on a musical version of Love's Labour's Lost; the band Groovelily -- Valerie Vigoda, Brendan Milburn, and Gene Lewin – writers of Wheelhouse which will be premiered at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto this summer; Itamar Moses and Gaby Alter with Nobody Loves You, which will receive its premiere at The Old Globe in May; and Andrew Gerle, whose Gloryana recently received readings with the support of the Richard Rodgers Award.

The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat's mission is to provide a sanctuary for musical theatre writers to develop their musicals in the heart of the Hudson Valley. The organization asks for no money from participants, takes no share of future royalties, and gives each writer a small fee. All costs for the retreats are covered by contributions, including major support from Stacey Mindich Productions, Rick Farrar, Brian Hargrove, John Levin and Diane Keefe Fund, Marcus Greenbaum Family, Jody and Giulio Martini, Susan Phillips, and Peter Risafi.

Read William Squier's interview with Kathy Evans in our Musical Writerzine issue 16 Musical Writerzine #16 - See the Growing Stages column, second article.

Seminars and Workshops


Stephen Schwartz at ASCAPIn 2012, Stephen Schwartz is again directing the ASCAP Foundation workshops for new musicals in Los Angeles and New York City. For New York, submission deadline for submitting a musical is FEBRUARY 17. See www.musicalschwartz.com/ascap.htm for details. Note, whether or not you are submitting a show, these are usually open to writers who want to witness the panel discussions and learn from the feedback being given. [Photo by Terence de Giere: Stephen Schwartz and Craig Carneglia on the ASCAP panel in 2006].

To sign up for future ASCAP mailings related to musical theatre workshops, go to www.magnetmail.net/actions/subscription_form_ascap.cfm and check the musical theatre /cabaret box at the end of the page.

Ken Davenport

Ken Davenport's "Get Your Show Off the Ground" seminars are scheduled for February 18th, May 19th, August 18th, and November 17th. All are on Saturdays from 2 pm to 5 pm in NYC. See Davenport's tips seminar - Get Your Show Off the Ground (opens in new browser window)

Musical Theatre Festivals and Special Events

Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival - The Pitch - new deadline Feb. 8.

The new deadline for submission is February 8, 2012. Finalists will be notified on March 8, 2012. See our previous issue's Growing Stages column for details. Musical Writerzine 17 - and you'll also see a link for a video about submissions.

BENEFITS: In addition to rehearsal space and a performance schedule, the Festival will provide the creative teams with travel expenses and accommodations during their stay.

Fringe NYC - Deadline Feb 15

FRINGE NYC is not just for musicals, so your show can get lost if not promoted, but you might just get noticed. If you already know how to write a musical and just need toshow it, here's how to apply. FringeNYC. From their website blurb "In the summer of 2012, The Sixteenth Annual New York International Fringe Festival will present approximately 200 national and international theater and performance companies in 20 venues located across downtown New York City. In 2011, nearly 70,000 people attended FringeNYC."

NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival)

NYMF has shifted its annual schedule from fall to summer. In 2012 it will be July 9 - 29. Come see dozens of new musicals, and get ready to submit your show for 2013. Best way to get into NYMF is through the Next Link Project. Info at NYMF - Next Link (outdated but will give you the basics).

LA Festival of New American Musicals

This festival is for musicals not previously produced in Southern California LA Festival

Montreal Next Wave Festival

The Centre for Education and Theatre in Montreal (CETM) is accepting proposals for the August 2012 shows. These may be full productions, workshops, staged readings or, for the first time, samples of works in progress. They are making decisions in mid February. Montreal Next Wave

Focus on Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II - Special Bio Show

Hammerstein IIHammerstein books to consider: The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II and The Hammersteins: A Musical Theatre Family

SHOW TO WATCH: "Oscar Hammerstein II – Out of My Dreams," a new film tracing the legacy of the late Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist and librettist, will begin airing on PBS stations across the U.S. March 3. Check your local listings. The showing is hosted by Tony Award-nominated "Glee" and South Pacific star Matthew Morrison.

Get Your Musical Produced

Five Tips for Getting Your Musical Produced

Kathy Evans, Rhinebeck Writers Retreatby Kathy Evans

I watched the premiere episode of SMASH, the new NBC show with a behind-the-scenes look at creating a new musical. The writers, portrayed by Christian Borle and Debra Messing, have beautiful New York City apartments, a current hit on Broadway, a personal assistant, and a producer clamoring to work with them. This may define 1% of writers! For everyone else, it can be a challenge to get a producer to look at your work, let alone produce it.

In my nine years as Executive Director of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, I worked with 150 producing organizations who were members of NAMT and over 100 writers who participated in our annual Festival of New Musicals. I saw a lot of work get developed and writers receive commissions. I also witnessed train wrecks.

Let me share five tips that might help you get the attention of producers.

1. Do your research

Thanks to the web, it's easy to learn a lot about theatres. You can start with National Alliance for Musical Theatre -- www.namt.org (link opens in a new window) -- which has a list of members with links to their websites. You can tell if they do new work and their submission criteria. You can look at their past seasons and see if your musical fits their artistic sensibility. You can demonstrate in a cover letter that you have tailored your submission to their theatre.

2. Be positive while being persistent

In all your dealings with producers, put a positive spin on your inquiry and make it short. Producers are considering not only your musical, but you. Will the writer be a collaborator? Easy to work with? Bring excitement to their season? Be willing to talk with their audience?

3. Find a champion

If you don't have an agent, find one theatre professional, preferably a director or a producer, who can talk about you and your piece. Producers want a comfort level before getting in bed for the long haul developing a new work. It helps to have someone they respect sing your praises.

4. Be your own best marketer

Even if you do have an agent, you need to make connections with producers yourself. They will be working with you, not your agent, and want to get to know you. You get the job, and then you turn it over to the agent to do the contract. Stay in constant touch with your agent during negotiations, so that communication is clear and the contract gets done, as you envisioned.

5. Be open

A producer may admire your talent but can't produce your musical for one reason or another. Keep talking with them, and a commission may follow. Additionally, be open to many avenues for development. There are universities and small regional theatres that are expert at developing new work. Don't expect to be on Broadway next year. I've seen many writers make a living having their work produced regionally.

Kathy Evans is the Founder and Executive Director of Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, which provides musical theatre writers with one-week retreats in the Hudson Valley. Submissions for July and August 2012 are now open, and all information and the application are online at www.rhinebeckwriters.org


Books for making musicals


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