Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminar – SOLD OUT!

Thanks to the 20 folks that snatched up the slots at the GYSOTG Seminar (try and pronounce that with me . . . guy-sought-g).

For everyone else that wanted to get in, I’m sorry but we are sold out.

We are still taking waiting list applicants, however, in case any of the 20 have to back out.

If you want to be on the waiting list, email my assistant asap at melissa@davenporttheatrical.com.  The waiting list will be treated on a first-come-first-served basis, so email asap if you still want a shot at the January seminar.

Because there was such a terrific response to this seminar, I am planning a second one to take place in a warmer month.  Think June . . . pre-Fringe, pre-NYMF, pre-your big success.

Thanks again, and all you folks that did get in . . . see you on January 23rd!

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Don’t forget to vote for the 2009 Producer of the Year.

Make sure you cast your vote by Sunday, December 27th at 8pm.

The winner will be announced here on the blog, on Monday, December 28th.

VOTE NOW

5 Shows I want to see at the NYMF.

I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for The New York Musical Theatre Festival.

The NYMF was our midwife on Altar Boyz, and without her, it would have been an even tougher birth than it was.

Our baby is almost 5 years old now (tear, tear).  It seems like just yesterday that Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abe were taking their first few steps at The Puerto Rican Travelling Theatre (remember when Cheyenne Jackson played Matthew?).

You’ll have to excuse me.  When the new NYMF shows start their pre-festival roll out every September, I get pretty nostalgic . . . AND excited.   Altar Boyz was ‘blessed’ with such good fortune after the NYMF, as was N2N, TOS and a whole bunch of other great abbreviated titles. There is such possibility each and every year!  Going to see NYMF shows is like going to Florida for baseball’s spring training    . . . everyone is wondering who the breakout player is going to be?

I decided to cruise through the NYMF catalog this year and dog-ear some shows that caught my attention, just like I did for the Fringe.

In alpha order, here are the shows to keep your eye on, IMPO (in-my-producer-opinion).

1.  Fantasy Football: The Musical?

Fantasy Football wins the award for the most press received by any festival show ever.  Thanks to this super clever idea that juxtaposes two worlds that seemingly don’t go together (musical theater and football), FF has gotten themselves on CNBC, and in Sports Illustrated, ESPN Magazine, The LA Times, The Philadelphia Enquirer and more.  Will a musical theater fan go to a musical about football?  Will a football fan go to a musical?  Those questions remain, but I for one will be in the audience eager to find out the answer.

2.  Fat Camp

One year after winning the Outstanding Musical award at the Fringe, the writers of Perez Hilton Saves The Universe are back with something that feels more commercial, yet surely still has a comic bite.  Broadway vets like Sarah Saltzberg and Clarke Thorell are just a couple members of the high-profile cast.  It’s also directed by Alex Timbers (of The Piven Monologues fame).  They’ve even got some of the ROA producers on board already.  Summer may be over, but Camp season may be just beginning.

3.  F#@king Up Everything

I hate the title.  Scratch that. I love the title, but it’s a pitchman’s worst nightmare (or does that make it your greatest asset?).  Regardless of the amount of cussing in the title – or in the show – something feels indie-cool about FUE.  Combine that with its simple rock and roll girl-meets-boy story, and I’m curious.

4.  Hurricane

We had 5 people onstage for our NYMF show. Hurricane has almost 30.  I often tell festival producers to produce small shows, because they come off better.  Well, in true “embrace your flaw” fashion, the Hurricane producers have come out saying they are proud to present a show with “the biggest cast ever seen on a NYMF stage.”  There are Broadway vets, kids, and even a couple of ghosts.  Oh, and I’ve gotten three unsolicited recommendations to see this show.  There’s some sort of storm brewing . . . and I want to see what it is.

5.  Judas & Me

I’ve been a fan of Matt Sklar and Chad Beguelin since I heard their demo to The Rhythm Club a decade ago.  They’ve since gotten The Wedding Singer on the boards, and are also the writers of the much anticipated Elf movie-to-musical. They’ve taken a detour from big, fat, commercial shows to write a small and quirky musical about a Messiah.  In lesser hands, I’d steer clear . . . but this I wanna see . . . and hear.

What are you seeing?  I hope you’re seeing at least one.  If you wanna be a producer, the NYMF is where you need to be.  The next generation of shows and artists are all here showing their wares.  Even if you’re not ready to pick up a show on your own yet, you should go . . . and play Fantasy Broadway.  Ask yourself, “Which show would you produce?”

Pick one.

Write it down.

Then watch what happens with that show over the next year.

And then you’ll think, “That could have been my kid.”

Get tickets to NYMF here.

It’s a lot like riding a bike.

We’re at halftime of the 2009 festival season.  The fringe is done (except for the Encores), and we’re waiting for NYMF to begin.  I saw a few fringe shows this year, and I’ve got a few NYMF shows on my radar as well.  But over the course of my entire life, I’ve probably seen a gross of festival shows.

To be honest, most of them haven’t been that good.  But that’s ok, you know why?  Most were by new writers, and that’s what festivals are for.

Over the last few years, however, festivals have faced unreasonable amounts of pressure to produce the next big hit.  I call it ‘The Urinetown Syndrome’ . . . and it’s unfortunate.

New writers need time to work on their skills in front of an audience, without worrying about whether people think they shows are ready to move Off-Broadway two weeks later, and without worrying about what the critics think.

So many fringe and festival shows are first-timers for authors.  Are we really surprised that most aren’t great?

I think first scripts for writers are exactly like the first time you got on a two-wheeer.  You’re trying super hard to balance everything, you can’t even think about where you’re headed, it takes you much longer to get anywhere, your style is wobbly, etc.

So, if you’re a writer, don’t beat yourself up if your first show, fringe or not, wasn’t fast-tracked to full production.  It was just your first script.  Be happy that you didn’t take a spill on your brand new Huffy and scrape up the side of your face (that happened to me . . . literally, when I was 10, and figuratively, with my first script).

The important thing to do is . . . wait for it . . . yes, get back on the bike and go for another ride.

I guarantee your second one will feel easier than the first, and the third will be easier than the second, and so on and so on.

Just keep wriding.

 

More than one road leads to Broadway.

I’m writing this blog while sitting in a hotel room, waiting to see a performance of a musical that is working its way to Broadway.

Am I California?  At The Old Globe?  La Jolla?  Ahmanson?

Well, I am in LA . . but not that LA.  I’m in Louisiana. New Orleans, to be exact, seeing a production of White Noise, a 2006 graduate of NYMF that has been in the news a lot lately.

Noise is playing at a little theater nestled deep in the French Quarter. And when I say little theater, I mean exactly that. It’s called Le Petit Theatre, and it’s the oldest operating community theater in the US.

It doesn’t have 2,000 seats.  It doesn’t have unlimited fly space.  But it does have a supportive community thrilled to be a part of something that is planning on playing The Great White Way (Both Jim L. and Robert D. told me that while waiting in line for the men’s room).  Oh, and it also has a super-sized tax incentive that makes it much more attractive for shows to check out The Big Easy as a place to play (I know I will).

There’s nothing wrong with the “usual” places to play.  But as I touched on here, perhaps it’s time to do what forward thinking people like New Orleanean Holly Way have done and look at other opportunities.  There are plenty of places to try out your show, but it’s up to you, the Producer, to do the due diligence and find the best opportunity for you and your product.

To extend a Frostian metaphor, sometimes the highway that everyone is on is only filled with traffic and tolls.

It takes more time to find a different route.  But that different route can still get you to where you are going, and sometimes it can even be a shortcut.

Special Saturday Post: NYMF Networking Social TONIGHT!

If you’re a producer, designer, director (or even if you don’t know what to call yourself yet), and you’re interested in getting involved with a NYMF show this summer, then head over to the NYMF social tonight at . . . well, at Social!

Here are the details:

NYMF Networking Extravaganza
Saturday, June 6th
6 PM – 9 PM
795 8th Ave. 2nd Floor
Get the buffalo wings, by the way.  They’re better than a good review from the NY Times.

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