Monday, September 17, 2012

FESTIVAL COUNTDOWN: Initial Casting and Songwriters Showcase announced!

We are so happy with all of the amazing actors, directors and music directors who have signed on to join the Festival this year!  The Festival employs over 100 artists every year and it takes considerable manhours to find the right actors, directors and music directors for each piece.

We have some of our regulars back (Chris Hoch, Kenita Miller, Marie-France Arcilla), we reunite faces we have not seen at the Festival in a few years (Robin de Jesus, Sarah Stiles, Kate Rockwell) and we welcome new faces to our Festival (Annette O'Toole, Bryce Ryness, Demond Green).  I am always humbled by all of the talented artists who decide to come work with us for two weeks to help give these eight new musicals the best reading possible!  You can read about our initial casting announcement on

Additionally, we announced last week our line-up for the Songwriters Showcase and our hosts, Nancy Opel and Joe DiPietro.  Joe and Nancy have known each other for years and I know that they will be great hosts for the audience and writers, alike.  This year, the Showcase is filled with shows that have been developed by NAMT member theatres.  Many of the shows have been developed by multiple NAMT members which shows the strength of our membership to help push shows forward, together.  It will be a wonderful display of the great work being done around the country to further the field.  You can read the full line-up and history of this year's showcase shows at

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  We still have about 2 dozen roles to cast and announce, plus the line-up of singers for the Showcase.   The Festival promises to be another stellar two days of musical theatre heaven, and it would not be possible without all of our extraordinary artists!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

FESTIVAL COUNTDOWN: On The Road To NAMT Fest--Musical Theatre Bytes

"On The Road To NAMT" will be a special sub-series of the Festival Countdown featuring blogs from Tom Mizer (Book & Lyrics of TRIANGLE) that will also be featured as part of his blog The Broadway Blog.  
If anyone asked me what to look for in a great composing partner, I’d tell them to seek out many of the qualities of my own long-time collaborator Curtis Moore. Find someone who is talented (clearly), fun to be around (long hours together in small rooms), committed (to the theater, not a mental institution) – and, most importantly, someone who has a degree in electrical engineering. Seriously, skip Juilliard and start trolling MIT.
Kooman & Dimond prep 2011 NAMT Festival's "Dani Girl". Image via
As we dive into preparations for our NAMT Festival presentation, I have realized that this is a highly technical operation. Just gathering our team for a prep meeting is like tasking a bunch of liberal arts students with landing the Rover on Mars. I’m in Brooklyn; Curtis is music directing a show in Kansas City; our music director was in Pittsfield, MA; our festival consultants (NAMT members assigned to shepherd us through the process) are based in Chicago and Princeton; and our fearless director was in transit somewhere in the American Southwest (though, at times, even she wasn’t sure exactly where).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


A guest entry from Justin Levine, writer of BONFIRE NIGHT

"Kill your darlings." - William Faulkner
Cutting down a script is like tending a garden. You plant your seeds and in just days you have a plethora of sprouts all trying to squeeze in and get their sunlight. It's exciting, it's alive, it's bursting with seemingly unlimited potential. The truth is, if you let every seedling that sprouts grow into a full plant, you will end up with a garden bed full of weak, undernourished and crowded plants. When the plants first sprout, you are supposed to pull all but one seedling per plant. That way, the remaining seedlings will have more space, get more nutrients and grow to their fullest potential. In the same way, if you cram your play with ideas, you run the risk of having your piece filled with weaker, unfinished story lines and arcs. Sometimes, it seems that none of your ideas can be sacrificed. It's daunting. 

For the NAMT festival, the writers are charged with creating a 45-minute cut of their show,

Friday, September 7, 2012

It's Almost Conference Time!

It's been a very busy and productive summer in the NAMT office. We've been all over the country visiting members, and attending conferences and festivals, yet somehow we've managed to get a lot of projects done here in the office, planning for the months ahead and working on ways to serve you better. But now it's my favorite time of year. We're starting to get a break from the NYC summer heat, and better yet, the Fall Conference and Festival of New Musicals are right around the corner!

I often say that NAMT's best member benefit is its members, and the Fall Conference is when you all prove me right. This will be my 5th one (!), and every year I'm inspired by your insight, passion and warmth.

This year, we're in a brand new venue with spectacular views of Times Square (above) and Central Park, and we'll be taking a new dual-track approach to the rewards and challenges of producing new musicals from the perspective of both artistic and managerial leaders. I can't wait to see what comes out of these smaller group discussions, and what happens when everyone comes together for full group sessions and, of course, cocktails!

To whet your appetite, check out video highlights of past conferences at (member login required). We've recently updated this page with clips from 2011 and 2012, including last year's popular Hal Prince keynote address. For details on this year's conference and to register (for the Festival, too!) go to Rates will increase on September 17, so don't wait too long!

I can't wait to see you next month!