Thursday, August 21, 2014

FESTIVAL COUNTDOWN: Cutting Down Your Show

We kick off this year's Festival season with our first Festival Countdown Blog!  In this
entry, Duane Poole, bookwriter of Beautiful Poison, gives us insight on how to prepare the 45-minute cut of the show for the Festival.

So we get the news that we made the cut.  (By “we” I mean composer Brendan Milburn, lyricist Valerie Vigoda, and bookwriter me.)  Our “Beautiful Poison” is in this year’s NAMT Festival!  The thrill of the announcement is still fresh when we realize we have yet another cut to make -- bringing our two-hour musical down to a strict forty-five minutes for the presentation.

Okay, this shouldn’t be a problem.  As both a writer and producer, I’ve done this sort of thing countless times over the years.  But there seems to be extra pressure on this particular cut. Perhaps it’s knowing who might be in our audiences this October.  What can we show these theatre insiders in that abbreviated time that will truly represent the variety of music, the twists of plot, and the richness of character we three have worked so hard to create?

We briefly consider using a narrator to present the entire musical, speeding past plot points

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Work in Progress: THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR

This month, we check in with Elise Dewsberry, Artistic Director at New Musicals Inc. as she tells us about the reason for their new name and tells us about their brand new musical, The Max Factor Factor. 

It’s 1936; the golden age of Hollywood, and two rival movie studios are in a heated battle for survival when their opposing leading men fall in love. Reminiscent of screwball comedies of the past, this new musical takes place in a world of artifice, backstabbing, lavender weddings, double-crossing starlets, and a moral crusader from the Legion of Rectitude, making it increasingly more difficult for the leading men to hold on to the one real thing each has ever found.  It’s funny, charming, romantic, happily nostalgic, and very tuneful.

Before we dive in to the show, Academy for NewMusical Theatre recently rebranded as New Musicals Inc.  Tell us a bit about the motivation behind the change and what this means for the company. 
This is actually our second name change:  for 30 years, we were the Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, focusing entirely on writers.
But in 2002, we added workshops for actors and producers, and felt we needed a new name to reflect the larger vision.  Since THAT time, we have expanded our mission to include public performances, concerts, and production.  That expansion has been very successful, giving us national presence, national partners with producers and theatre companies, and so we felt the need to make a distinction between our academic programs and our professional production and development branches.  We wanted a name that would characterize us as a professional organization with ties to the commercial producing world, that also runs a school.  So..."New Musicals Inc."
(We will still be running our academic division under the name "Academy for New Musical Theatre," as a program at NMI.)

This show was born out of your workshop/reading process. Tell us a bit about how NMI helps develop shows.