Thursday, February 17, 2011

How do we select shows for the Festival?

Thank you to everyone who submitted shows to this year's Festival...160 scripts were sent in for review! Many people ask me: What happens next? Well it is a simple process to explain but a long and hard process to carry out.

Shows submitted to the Festival are sent on to the Festival Committee, a group of 13 brilliant and brave NAMT members who will each read and evaluate 25 or so shows between now and late April. The shows are all "blind," meaning the Committee knows nothing (no authors' names or production history) but the art in front of them. I send each show on to committee members who are most likely to love the show and advocate for it.

Then, we meet in late April in NYC and discuss all of the shows. Our goal for that meeting is to leave with a list of the 20 best, most diverse, exciting, fresh new musicals we can find that represents the breadth of work happening out there but also moves the art form forward. Then we repeat the process with the Top 20...but this time every show is read by every committee member.

By mid-June we will have taken 160 shows, divided them by 20 and gotten the 8 shows we will present at the Festival in October. It is a big task, a daunting task...but anyone on the Committee will tell you: it is a whole lot of fun!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Have you heard of the controversy surrounding Rocco Landesman's remarks at last week's new play convening at Arena Stage? To simplify, Rocco questions the increase in arts institutions in the last 20 years, when audience participation in the arts has decreased, begging the question -- Is there too much supply and not enough demand? You can read his blog post and comment as well on the NEA's site.

The NAMT Board is about to embark on our strategic plan retreat. One of the key questions raised by our members in the survey you completed in December mirrors the issues addressed by Rocco: audiences. How can we keep current audiences and attract new audiences to the theatre? What innovative methods can we find, as a field, to bring audiences to musicals? What role does new work play? These are big questions. I am excited to tackle these issues with our dedicated board members. Our goal is to have the final plan approved by the Board for our Spring Conference in San Francisco, to present to the membership. NAMT is in a strong position today, as an organization, and we look forward to great things to come.