Monday, November 26, 2012

From the New Works Director: More Festival Fun!


Miss out on the Festival or just want more? We’ve got you covered! This year we have some new ways you can catch all of what happened at the Festival (and two of them are for members only!).

Festival Jukebox
In the Members-only section* of, you can find all of this year’s Festival demos streaming in jukeboxes. This is a great way to hear this year’s demos without having to track down the CD you picked up. Tell your fellow staff members to check them out and share the great music from this year’s Festival with your entire organization.

"Other Shows You Should Know" Jukebox 
For years, we have been handing out a CD to every conference attendee filled with 7-9 shows from our selection process that the Festival Committee wants the membership to know about. The CDs are gone and have been replaced by an online jukebox in the members-only section* of the website. There are 2 streaming tracks from each of over a dozen shows along with contact info and show info. These are great shows that are worth your attention and because they are online, we are able to share a lot more fantastic shows with you.

Photos! Photos! Photos! 
Now that you have the sounds of the Festival, how about some sights? Every year, we hire the great photographer Ric Kallaher to take shots of the Festival from rehearsals through the party. You can see ALL of the photos he took on his site. There are great shots of many members and writers in the mix! Even my new photo above is from our closing party! If you would like a hi-res copy of any of the photos, just let me know.

I hope you all will take a moment to check out the two jukeboxes and take a stroll down (recent) memory lane. It was a great event and I, for one, had an amazing time!

*In order to access the members-only section of the website, you will need your log-in and password which can give you if you have lost it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

FESTIVAL COUNTDOWN: The NAMT Festival Experience

A guest blog entry from Arthur Lafrentz Bacon about his experience at our Festival with his show Bleeding Love.   

Being at NAMT was an awesome, once in a lifetime (hopefully not just once!) experience.
Everyone knows about NAMT, and it's a big deal. A big deal because hundreds of theater companies and producers come to see the 8 shows that are chosen each year. Where else does this happen? Nowhere. A huge, golden  opportunity for any writer, courtesy of the amazingly talented, hard working staff at NAMT. 

For me as the composer, I knew that getting the score together for the singers and musicians was my first priority. With help from my friend Harris (lyricist of Bleeding Love) and his expertise with Finale software, we got it done just in time, although I was still tweaking the guitar parts minutes before each show. Speaking of guitar, in true rock star fashion, our guitarist was late to the 2nd show, popping out of the curtain just before he had to play.... the reason?... a stalled subway car!

If you've never done NAMT before, nothing can really prepare you for the moment you walk into New World Stages and see the hundreds of people that are there, waiting in lines to see the shows. It was almost overwhelming for me until I started to talk with some of the people, and get comfortable with it all. (I played in The Caroline Rhea Show band on NBC for a year, and I didn't think I'd be phased by the crowds and hoopla, but I was!)  I also think our Bleeding Love team may have had some extra nerves going on, because we never had had even a reading of the piece before this. But with our stellar cast, and terrific director, music director and musicians, they pulled it together in a wonderful way. Before I knew it, there was Sarah Stiles, Nancy Opel and the rest bringing the piece to life in front of a packed audience. All of the songs that I heard in my head for the last couple years, sounded even more terrific when the singers gave them a voice. I was so happy to be able to hear Harris's

Thursday, November 1, 2012

FESTIVAL COUNTDOWN: First time at the Festival

Our guest blogger, Dan Collins (writer of Southern Comfort), talks about what he learned from his first time presenting at our Festival.  

This is my first blog post.  Ever. 

As monumental as the occasion may be, I can say (type?) with confidence, and relief, that this is far from the top of my ‘take away’ over the course of my experience as a writer at this year’s NAMT Festival;  which – like this blog –  was also my first.  Ever.   And, similarly, I was only familiar with NAMT from the outside looking in and based on the experiences of others.  I knew the basics, but what I didn’t know could fill books (blogs?) – however, in the interest of being short and (hopefully) sweet, there are two “big thoughts” I’ve walked away with as a NAMT first-timer:

1   The 45 minute cut is NOT a throwaway.  My cynical assumption was that I would do a lot of work to create a disposable, condensed version of the show.  And while it’s true that our 44 page draft of an abridged/re-organized Act 1 is not going to be replacing the full libretto; I was astounded by what I learned from the process.  By forcing myself to scrutinize, in a very real way, how each moment connected to the next, and what occurred if a moment was removed, I discovered things about the story and characters that were brand new (or, if not, things of which I had  only been aware on a ‘subconscious plane’).  Beyond that, the cut also forced me to be  less “precious” about the scenes – knowing in the back of my mind that I was “only doing this for the 45 minute version” allowed me to make edits in which I otherwise might not have recognized the value or had the courage to make; edits that – in some cases – may remain and result in a more streamlined version of the full libretto.  But aside from being simply informative, it was actually just fun to get back into the writing of the musical; to “get to know it again” – like an old friend who’d been all business lately, and then we rediscovered the good old days!     

2   Theater is huge!  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the New York City theater scene - but it’s also just a small part of the theater world/community.  This certainly isn’t a revelation to anyone by