Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Improved Look at our Festival History

As NAMT's de facto webmaster, I'm lucky enough to get to poke around in programs and services that aren't strictly "my department."  We recently streamlined and revamped the Festival of New Musicals section of the site, including a pretty major overhaul of the Festival History, Photos and Success Stories (formerly three separate sections, now conveniently all in one place).

I've been at NAMT since 2008, so I'm very familiar with the 32 show we've presented while I've worked here, along with a handful from earlier in the 2000s.  But since 1989, the Festival has showcased 273 new musicals by 493 writers, and I've simply never had the opportunity before to spend quality time with the entire list. Wow! I knew the "big" titles of course, but there were lots of writers I hadn't realized were alumni (my favorite tidbit: Angelo Badalamenti, composer of many film scores for David Lynch, was in the first year of the Festival, shortly after the Twin Peaks pilot was shot  —  I'm a TV nerd as well as a musical theatre nerd).  There are years when nearly every show went on to have a robust life, which make me very proud to be part of the NAMT team, even if I wasn't here then.

Unfortunately, there are gaps in the post-Festival stories of these shows.  Through office moves, staff changes and the simple fact that hardly anyone had email in 1989 (and I'm betting those CompuServe addresses don't work anymore), we've lost track of Alumni Writers from the early years, and they've lost track of us.  As part of this web redesign, we're stepping up our efforts to reconnect with alumni and fill in the blanks.  If you happen to be an alumnus/a of the Festival (or know one), please click here to fill out an update form with your contact info, any updates on your show or other shows you've written.  Or you can email us at We'd really love to hear from you — and let you know what we're up to, too!

And whether you're an alum or not, please do take a look at the Festival history.  I'm not bragging when I say it's an impressive read.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From the New Works Director: Thoughts about submitting shows to the Festival

Ask anyone who has sat on the Festival Committee over the past few years and s/he will tell you how hard it is to select the Festival each year. We get over 150 submissions, reduce them down to 20 shows and then determine the final 8 we present each year. After 4 years of working with the committee through this process, I have realized that the challenge is not finding 8 great shows to put in the Festival. The hard part is finding those 8 amazing shows that reflect the diversity that we believe is vital to the future of musical theatre. We want 8 shows that get stuck in our heads, that we can’t wait to tell people about, that excite us as theatre artists. And we want those shows to represent a wide array of styles, sizes, tones and themes.

Time to think about what you'll submit! You do not need to be limited to the shows that your theatre is currently developing or recently produced.
What about that great show that was sent to you that you wish your theatre could do and that you know other theatres will love?
NAMT is the best way to share great shows with the entire industry!
What about your friend the commercial producer who is developing all of those exciting new musicals?
Maybe she has a show that could use NAMT’s help!
Remember that really great new musical you produced a few years ago that is now lost to the ages?
Track down the writers and send that in!

Our Festival is not just about the hottest, newest, freshest properties that no one has ever heard of. We want to present great musicals that will excite all of you and invigorate the field.So if you know of a show that is amazing and could use NAMT’s help, please track it down and submit it. The Festival can only be as great as the shows submitted to us, and with our amazing members and alumni, I know that we will have another exciting Festival in 2012!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Give the gift of NAMT these Holidays!

The holidays are fast approaching and that means that a lot of us will start shopping online to save time. Did you know that there is a way for you to shop for just about anything online and have part of the proceeds go to NAMT to help fund our programs?

Buy anything from the NAMT Store and Amazon gives a portion of its proceeds to NAMT. You can find CDs and books from past NAMT Festival shows and other projects by our alumni! Recent additions include the CDs to Ordinary Days, A Little Princess and Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge.

But if you are looking for some non-musical theatre related items, you can still shop and benefit NAMT. Just click the logo in the upper right corner of the store and you can shop for anything Amazon sells through their site. We will see money every time you shop! Easy! I know I plan on using this trick for as much as my holiday shopping as possible.

You could also make a gift to NAMT in someone's name as a holiday gift! A tax deductible gift!

So, time to get out that list and do some extra good with it! And don't forget a Striking 12 CD for your New Year's Party, a Songs for a New World CD for your high school diva and to give a donation to NAMT for that uncle who already has everything he could already want!