Monday, January 12, 2015

Check Out Our New Website!

Please note: This is our last post at this address. But don't worry! The NAMT blog -- including all of our archives, plus member news, press clippings and more -- can now be found on our new website at

If you follow us via RSS, the new feed address is

And of course, you can still find us on Twitter and Facebook.

I feel (and some of you may, too) like I’ve been talking about our new website forever. We’ve known for at least two years that our old site was nearing the end of its lifespan, and started making necessary arrangements. Bidding for developers started almost a year ago. The Board approved our plan last spring. The design process began over the summer, then got put on hold because, as you may have heard, we get a little busy in September and October. There was a flurry of intense activity in November and December in which concepts became reality, we learned what did and didn’t work, what changes for change’s sake sounded great but weren’t, the old words and images made their way to the new pages, and our amazing developers, Nick Keenan and his team at NickXD, worked their butts off to say yes to nearly every “what if” and “wouldn’t it be cool?” we threw at him. Then holiday break and another pause. So close! And finally, shiny and new for 2015!

I couldn’t be prouder to share the new with you all. It was designed with our members, Festival alumni and supporters chiefly in mind, as well as our expanding concert series and programs for the theatre-loving public. How can we make it easier for you to find the resources you need? How can we simplify? What information do you need the most? What member benefits were hidden away behind too many menus and clicks, now front and center?

The new site is fully mobile adaptive, resizing itself to any screen size (if you’re on your computer, change the size of your browser window to see it in action—it’s fun!) and working beautifully on your smartphone. Now, instead of a paper Little Black Book, which was typically out of date before we got it back from the printer, you’ll have a complete, always accurate membership directory in the palm of your hand at all times, along with event agendas, attendee lists, maps and more. We’ve made videos of past events and webinars easier to access, and if you ever forget your login information, it’s now just a click away. There’s also an increased focus on our members and alumni, through photo galleries and a brand new blog, so send us your updates!
Plus, it’s really pretty.
Play around and let us know what you think. It’s designed to stay flexible to change and grow with us and our membership, so your feedback will help us very much. We think you’ll like it as much as we do!

Adam Grosswirth
Membership Director

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Work In Progress: DISENCHANTED!

This month, we check in with Don Frantz, Producer and General Manager at Town Square Productions, as he tells us about their brand new, Off Broadway musical, Disenchanted!, by Dennis T. Giacino.
Poisoned apples. Glass slippers. Who needs ‘em?! Not Snow White and her posse of disenchanted princesses in the new musical comedy that’s anything but Grimm. Forget the princesses you think you know. After multiple sold-out runs nationwide, these royal renegades toss off their tiaras to bring their hilariously subversive, not-for-the-kiddies musical to New York Cityand fairy tales will never be the same!

How did Disenchanted find its way to Town Square Productions?   
A great friend and actress, Andrea Canny, called my office in NYC and said, “You have to get to Orlando to see a show. You don’t know the composer or director. It won the Fringe Festival award. Get here now. The last time I told you this was 10 years ago when Menopause started and you didn’t come. This one is even funnier, has original music and I’m in it.” And so I went.

What drew you to this project?   
The actors and creators put on an Actors’ Showcase production after the Fringe Festival in winter 2010-11. I saw it and laughed continuously for 90 minutes. Of course, I had worked for Disney and a lot of the humor was directed at the Orlando market, but I felt that it could play outside of the Disney hometown. As the princesses are universal, the show and the humor were universalI’m not intending to promote another theme park here. I was also thrilled to have discovered this composer whose music was so tuneful, clever and touching and after a career of working the keys deserved a break.There were very, very funny original bits on stage. Everything was low-tech and real. There was a sense of wonderful bravery on stage as the cast was given the allowance to break the fourth wall and respond to the audience and other performers in improvised moments. There was an immediacy in the room; a way to relate to the cast on stage that was so fresh and exciting. The ‘live’ was put back into live theater. 

Festival Show Update: BEATSVILLE

Logo from NAMT Fest '08

Last month, we caught up with alumni Wendy Wilf and Glenn Slater about the development of their 2008 Festival show, Beatsville, and their upcoming production at NYU-Steinhardt this spring.
Greenwich Village, 1959—Playground of bohemians, beatniks and jazzbos. Tragically square Walter Paisley finds that his clay figures, sculpted nudes and papier-mâché busts bring him the acceptance he desperately yearns for. But what if the world discovers that Walter’s body of work consists of actual bodies? A bebop-inflected black comedy/satire.

Beatsville was very well-received after the 2008 Festival so many people would be shocked to hear that it has taken this long for it to finally be seen in the States.  Do you want to talk a bit about why it took a while to get the show off the ground over the last few years? 
We were extremely pleased with Beatsville’s reception at NAMT, but as exciting as the response was, we also knew that we had a lot of work to do before we were ready to move to the next step. Then we hit a unexpected roadblock: a number of Glenn’s other projects all moved towards high-profile productions simultaneously. Every time we began to make real progress on our rewrites, another project demanded his time and attention.  It took a few long and frustrating years before we were able to regain our momentum as a team, but fortunately I was able to keep moving forward on the music and lyrics, writing several new numbers and reworking some of the old ones. When Glenn’s schedule finally eased up, we were able to hit the ground running.

How has the show grown and changed since being at the Festival? 
We loved the version of the show that we brought to NAMT, but as we began our next draft we started running into second-act problems, most of which stemmed from our faithfulness to the source material.  We had to take a big step back and reassess which elements of the original property were integral to our story, and which needed to be rethought and, if possible, improved upon. We also wanted to find ways to heighten the stakesthe story is a sort of whodunit, but since the audience already knows who the murderer is, we realized the tension (and hence the comedy) instead needed to revolve around the mystery of who would catch him, and how. Finally, we had always seen our 1959-set piece as having some satirical points to make about today’s culture, but while our first pass worked as a comedy, we felt the satire wasn’t jelling the way we had hoped. To get to where we wanted to be, we spent a long time looking for ways to make Walter, our main character, feel less passive and to give Carla, our female lead, a strong story arc of her own.  We’ve drawn the supporting characters with much more sharply-etched motivations, and jettisoned a lot of the original source’s second-half story to give our piece a tighter plot and a broader scope. In the process, we’ve also cut a few songs we lovedbut added several new ones that we love even more.