Friday, May 27, 2011

NAMT Member Discounts

One of our lesser-known member benefits is the Discounts and Deals page on (member login required). We've partnered with several vendors to bring NAMT members some special offers that we hope you'll find useful – and will save you some money! Currently available are discounts at the Empire Hotel near Lincoln Center, 10% off cast albums at Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records (including Catch Me If You Can and The Book of Mormon!), special rates at several NYC rehearsal studios, a 60-day free trial on, and a free membership to In the next few weeks we'll be adding a discount to the National Arts Marketing Project conference, and an offer on PCI insurance from Compliance for Business.

Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to see here, or if you can put me in touch with anyone who might be able to offer similar services to your fellow members (airlines, or hotels or studio space in other cities would be great!).

We want you to get the most out of your membership, so visit the website for a full list of member benefits. Email if you don't have or don't know your login.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Far We've Come!

As we prepare to head to San Francisco for our Spring Conference, my head is immersed in our five-year strategic plan. The Board and staff have been working together over the past eight months to create a valuable framework to help the National Alliance for Musical Theatre grow. The Board will be discussing the final version at our board meeting next week, and our President Marilynn Sheldon will share some of the highlights with conference attendees.

I have been struck, during this process, by how far NAMT has come. In the past five years, our membership has grown from 130 to 150 organizations; we launched a new website with many more features; and our conferences, Festival of New Musicals, and New Works Summits have helped spawn a myriad of new musicals across the country. I am particularly proud of the National Fund for New Musicals, which has awarded 31 grants totaling nearly $150,000 to support producers and writers in new work development. There is much more we plan to do for our membership with new granting programs. We'll have to use some of the fundraising ideas we learn at the conference to help NAMT grow! Details to come...stay tuned!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Residency is key!

I had the privilege a couple weeks ago to speak to a group of donors from Zach Theatre who were in NYC on a theatre trip. My charge was to not only tell the donors about NAMT and our Festival but to also excite them about developing new musicals. As many of you can guess, this is a joy for me to do and topics I can discuss for hours. Elisbeth Challener from Zach asked me to advise the group on simple ways they can get started with new musical development. My answer was quite simple: bring in a writing team for a residency. To have devoted time away from life in a room with a piano is always sought after by our writers. It is how theatres can start to build relationships with writers and vice versa. It is not even that pricey. Plane tickets, hotel rooms, a stipend for the writers and maybe a rental car are the only real expenses. If you ask nicely, I bet the writers would even play some of the songs they worked on at a cocktail party for donors at the end of week. It is also a great way energize the winter doldrums!

I’m a big fan of having writers in residence as part of the development process, which is why we have the Writers Residency Grants. The next round is not until September but I wanted to plant the seed now. Do you have access to space, a piano and want to help develop a new musical? If so, I know a couple hundred writers you should meet!

Friday, May 6, 2011

NAMT's New Strategic Plan

After a long year of work, the Board of Directors approved a five-year strategic plan in March. The process was thorough and incorporated valuable input from many stakeholders, including the membership. 50% of you completed a survey last fall -- a remarkable result. I was particularly pleased to see that 90% rated NAMT membership as having either High Value or Very High Value– a wonderful stamp of approval for the impact of this organization.

The strategic plan has 3 Key Goals, incorporating the stakeholders’ belief that NAMT become a primary resource for best practices among musical theatre producers; make a bold commitment to growing our funding programs; and evaluate and strengthen our programs in ways that assure even greater impact. This plan will serve as the roadmap for our future, starting with the search for the new Executive Director. We are happy to share the plan with all of you. A summary will be mailed to all the members in the coming weeks, and you can review it online now at We remain committed to our mission, our membership, and this art form that we all love.