the e-newsletter of the Academy for New Musical Theatre

APRIL 2008


SEARCH Finalists Announced

A Salon with

ARC Reading Series

ANMT's Conference:

Summer Musical Theatre

Bonnie & Clyde Wins Award

40 is the New 15
Wins Spot at STAGES Festival

Los Angeles County Arts Commission Grants

ANMT's Sterling New Intern

Bonnie & Clyde Wins Award

ANMT has been awarded the 2008 ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund Fellowship, a Producer-Writer Initiative granted through NAMT, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. The fellowship is specifically for Bonnie and Clyde, written by Broadway’s Hunter Foster and Rick Crom, to allow the writers a residency at ANMT.

‘We’re thrilled to be the recipients of this award,’ said Elise Dewsberry, ANMT’s Associate Artistic Director. ‘We have been working with Hunter and Rick long distance for about a year and a half, videoconferencing our workshops with the Academy Repertory Company, and then following up with teleconferences and email. This award will allow us to work in the same room with the writers.’

ANMT workshopped Bonnie and Clyde in its 2006-07 season, and this year is presenting it in concert version on April 28th as the final part of its concert reading series at the Colony Theatre. The ASCAP/Caesar fellowship is awarded by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre to NAMT members, as part of its ongoing dedication to facilitating development of new works. The fellowship is specifically to underwrite some of the travel and housing costs for writers to work with theatres which are developing their works.

Bonnie and Clyde is part of a pipeline of theatres and producers. ANMT will host one final workshop of the work, in early 2009, with the authors in residence. The plan then is to open the work at Seaside Musical Theatre in Florida, and then possibly tour a number of theatres in Texas and the American Southeast and Southwest...and after that, discuss the feasibility of re-working the show for a New York opening.

40 is the New 15
Wins Spot at STAGES Festival

Larry Todd Johnson, Bookwriter/Lyricist

40 is the New 15, the new musical by Larry Todd Johnson and Cindy O’Connor, developed through ANMT's Full Length Curriculum, will be one of eight shows presented as part of the STAGES Festival in Chicago this August.

40 is the New 15 received a transporting presentation at the Colony Theatre on Monday evening March 3, propelled by a luminous cast which included Dana Meller as the confused gymnast Sarah, Lindsey Mixon as the starkly beautiful Winter Graham, Tod Macofsky as the lovingly flamboyant K.P., Peter Welkin as the tormented Robby and Evan D’Angeles as the unstoppable Oren.

‘We’ve been wanting to see whether this work works as an intermissionless one-act,’ said Larry, who wrote the book and lyrics, ‘and ANMT gave us a wonderful opportunity to find that out. We trimmed the heck out of it, but as a result the show really skips along, and we’re very happy with it.’

‘This is the first time I’ve been able to sit in the audience and listen to the score without having to play it myself,’ said Cindy O’Connor. ‘I really liked what I heard!’

Apparently so did the audience. Their comment cards were filled with unabashed praise and strong desire to see a full production of the work. ANMT has also submitted the work to the National Alliance for New Musical Theatre’s 2008 fall festival in New York

Cindy O'Connor, Composer

Los Angeles County Arts Commission Grants

This year, ANMT has received two grants from LA County Arts Commission: a Matching Grant and an Intern grant. In the summer of 2007, ANMT received a two-year $10,700 matching grant to supplement ANMT’s ongoing effort to create a full-time salary for the position of Artistic Director. Thanks to the generosity of friends and patrons of ANMT, we have matched the 2007-08 portion of this grant already. Last month, ANMT was awarded a grant for a full-time summer intern (ten weeks) through the 2007 Los Angeles County Artist Internship Program. The Media Intern will assist with filming, digitizing, editing, and uploading for the web.

‘The County has been incredible to us,’ says Scott Guy, ANMT’s Executive Director, ‘Not only have they supported us with these two grants, they invited me to an incredible organization-changing two-day seminar on planning for our eventual inevitable move to a new well as an upcoming series of six workshops on marketing. It’s like they exist just for us! They’re fantastic.’

ANMT's Sterling New Intern

Marketing Intern Sterling Edward

There’s a new face around ANMT this spring! Meet Sterling Edward, ANMT’s Marketing Intern. Sterling is not your ordinary intern. He has much more to offer than the average 19 or 20 year-old. He’s been around the world as a Naval Officer, served at the Pentagon, the U.S. Embassy in Manila, and adjudicated highly sensitive international claims for the Department of Justice for 7 years. An attorney turned songwriter, composer, vocalist and actor, Sterling’s primary goal is to write music and lyrics for both pop-artists and new musicals. To that end, he is making plans to matriculate into ANMT’s Core Curriculum.

Sterling first encountered ANMT last Spring when he attended the 2007 15 Minute Musicals at the Colony Theatre. 'I was very, very impressed by the level of quality of the short musical productions, especially Cain and Abel: The Naked Truth and Oh God We’re Gonna Die. Who would have known there’s this amazing organization in North Hollywood, producing a 15-minute show by Jeff Marx, co-creator of Avenue Q. How cool is that?' said Edward.

Marx, like Edward, began his career as an attorney. "I am happy to have finally begun that long, unpredictable, yet fascinating, journey toward becoming a professional composer/lyricist," said Edward. During his first week at ANMT he was instrumental in getting The Academy mentioned in the Los Angeles Times 'Quick Takes' sub-section of its Entertainment page. The article dealt with ANMT’s Salon with Stephen Sondheim selling out in three minutes.

As a co-founder of the Media Relations team, Sterling wears a number of hats and isn’t afraid to get up on a ladder to change a light bulb if necessary. Literally (that was the second week).

'It’s been fabulous having Sterling with us. In just two short weeks, our marketing database has expanded enormously, and we have hundreds of new leads,' says Scott Guy, ANMT’s Executive Director. 'Sterling’s a dynamo, and a constant surprise. He’s asking incredibly intelligent questions. He’s already way more to us than an intern.'

Please welcome him, and introduce yourself to him next time you’re at ANMT.

Paul Lazarus
Jeff Marx
Marty Panzer
Hal Prince
Stephen Schwartz
Charles Strouse

Thomas E.Backer, PhD.
Susie Chodakiewitz
Susan Dietz
Jeannine Frank
Mark Halloran
David Hirshland
Amy Levinson (Millan)
Simon Levy
Ron Parker
Elsa Ramo
Bill Royce
Michael Silversher
Thomas White


Janet Barnet
Michael Blaha
Peter Burke
Steve Cuden
Noelle Donfeld (Secretary)
Gordon P. Firemark
Ken Freundlich
Bill Frischman
Debra M. Gussin (Member Representative)
Herb Isaacs
Neville Johnson
Stanton Korey (Vice President)
Kevin R. Meyer (Treasurer)
Lynn E. Miller
Howard Pearl
Frank Sheftel
John Sparks (President Protem)
Sue Warford (Emeritus Board)
Randi Wolfe

SEARCH Finalists Announced

The Academy for New Musical Theatre is proud to announce the results of our first Search for New Voices in American Musical Theatre.

First Prize:
The Water
   Book by Tim Werenko and Jeff Hylton
   Lyrics by Jeff Hylton
   Music by Georgia Stitt

The Water will receive a workshop with the Academy Repertory Company at the Academy for New Musical Theatre, followed by an in-depth dramaturgical feedback session with the ANMT staff (May 2008), ANMT staff support for a revision of the draft, and a slot in the ANMT Concert Reading Series at the Colony Theatre in the 2008-09 season.

Second Prize:
Rocket Boys
Book by Homer Hickam Jr.
Stage Adaptation by Chris Budinich
Music and Lyrics by Diana Belkowski and Dan Tramon

Rocket Boys will receive an ANMT staff table reading and video feedback session.

Third Prize:
Unwritten Rules
Book by Danny Abosch and Tommy Nolan
Music and Lyrics by Danny Abosch

Unwritten Rules will receive a detailed dramaturgical analysis from ANMT.

Special Merit:
Idaho: The Comedy Musical
Book and Lyrics by Buddy Sheffield
Music by Buddy Sheffield and Keith Thompson

Idaho: The Comedy Musical will receive a slot in the ANMT Concert Reading Series at the Colony Theatre in the 2008-09 season.

We received many fine submissions for the Search, making our decisions extremely difficult. During the evaluations, we identified thirteen semi-finalists which included the finalists listed above, as well as the following very deserving pieces:

Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, A Musical Play
by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacbos
by Michael Mooney
Marley's Christmas
Book and Lyrics by Jeff Goode, Music by Jonathan Price
Mourning Becomes Ridiculous
Music by Chuck Muckle, Words by David Eisner
Now Voyager
Book by Libbe S. HaLevy, Music by Stormy Sacks, Lyrics by Robert Battan
The Awakening
Book and Lyrics by Barbara Campbell, Music by Gary Schocker
The Navigator
Book and Lyrics by Kathleen Cahill, Music by Michael Wartofsky
Two of Every Kind
by Ray and Sharon Keller
Willoughby Tree
Screenplay and Lyrics by Jason Mayland, Music by Jason Mayland and Gregory Chun

All entries to the Search received a 3-5 page evaluation report from ANMT. Here is some feedback from writers about their evaluations:

'We are so grateful for your thoroughness and the insight of your comments. Your report has given us a fresh approach to the project.'

'I’ve never received a more cogent and useable evaluation before. I’m very comfortable with the critique process but I have never finished reading a critique/evaluation with as much desire and energy to go to work on and polish a piece.'

'Thanks for the fantastic feedback that you provided on the evaluation. It sounds like you really understood my vision for the show more than many of the people I've shown it to.'

'I found the feedback both insightful and helpful. It reinforced some of my perceptions re the show’s strengths and weaknesses, and raised new questions to consider as we move forward. The evaluation was far more in-depth than I expected and seemed to cover all the key aspects of the show. Frankly, I found it more helpful than a staged reading would have been. Readings have proven helpful for this show (and others) in terms of seeing it brought to life, recognizing holes in the plot, getting feedback from actors and directors as to clarity of characters/ease of staging, measuring audience response, etc. But this critique offered me far more in-depth comments into the basic 'nuts and bolts' than I have ever received to date. Although we have received feedback from directors and actors, this formal critique is an element that has been missing from all of the competitions we have entered previously and enhances the value of the ANMT's competition greatly.'

'The critique was spot on. I would say that the work that you are doing is the most helpful I have ever received from any arts organization. I only wish that more organizations were able to do as much for the field of musical theater. I think that your entire approach is great, serving a wide number of artists at many different levels in their careers. An incredible process really.'

'I thought the critique was very thorough, thoughtful, and encouraging, and it inspired many new ways of thinking about my project.'

'I found the feedback extremely helpful. It was thoughtful, thorough and very supportive. This is the first time I have attempted to write the music, lyrics and book and your comments have re-energized me and I am currently hard at work on a second draft of my piece. Thank you so much!'

A Salon with

Trent Steelman (Colony Theatre), John Sparks (ANMT), Stephen Sondheim,
Elise Dewsberry & Scott Guy (ANMT), Barbara Beckley (Colony Theatre)

In what is surely one of the highlights of this or any other season, on Thursday afternoon, March 13th, ANMT hosted ‘A Salon with Stephen Sondheim,’ for a sold-out crowd at the Colony Theatre.

After a brief question-and-answer session with the staff of the Academy focusing on the craft of writing musical theatre, the floor was opened for pre-screened questions from the audience. Mr. Sondheim was casual and relaxed, speaking on topics as various as: collaboration, writing/arranging for film versus theatre, the trend of directors and choreographers asking for ownership in author royalties, John Doyle’s innovative use of actors-playing-instruments in recent productions, and using a rhyming dictionary. (Hint: Mr. Sondheim recommends Clement Woods’ Complete Rhyming Dictionary.)

Mr. Sondheim also related many anecdotes, including writing West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Gypsy and Pacific Overtures.

The Salon had originally been scheduled to take place at ANMT’s own workshop, but every one of the available 80 tickets sold out in the first 180 seconds when the tickets went on sale at 10:00 a.m. on February 1st. Mr. Sondheim graciously allowed the event to be re-located to the 270-seat Colony Theatre...whereupon those tickets sold out as well.

'The energy in the room was electric! It's a day none of us will ever forget,' said Myrna Emata, a bookwriter/composer at ANMT.

‘Sondheim was warm, articulate, amusing, and insightful. It doesn't get better than that!' said ANMT Board Member and lyricist Randi Wolfe.

ALAP and Dramatists’ Guild Rep Dan Berkowitz said ‘It really was a splendid event -- sharp, funny, insightful, and very well-organized and smoothly run.'

'Congratulations on a great event … a memorable afternoon for all who attended,' said ANMT lyricist Bill Berry.

An incredibly special gift from an incredibly special man.

Thank you, Mr. Sondheim.

Mr. Sondheim shares his wisdom

ARC Reading Series

The cast of '40 is the New 15' rehearses at the Colony Theatre

ANMT's Academy Repertory Company (ARC) has successfully launched a Concert Reading Series in partnership with the Colony Theatre in Burbank.

The first two presentations were Twice Told Tales, an evening of one-act musicals based on American short stories, and 40 is the New 15 (see article in left-hand column).

The next presentation in the ARC Concert Reading Series at the Colony Theatre will be Bonnie & Clyde: A Folktale, by Hunter Foster and Rick Crom.

Join us on Monday, April 28th at 7:30pm when the members of ARC are joined by Kirsten Chandler as Bonnie and Kevin Earley as Clyde.

Curtis Rhodes as 'Edgar' and Mitch Lippman as 'The Heart' in
'The Tell-Tale Heart'

ANMT's Conference:

ANMT’s bi-annual conference for writers, The Biz of the Musical Theatre Biz is back this year, bigger than ever. This four-day event will take place at ANMT June 27-30, covering topics such as:

THE STORY BEHIND THE SUCCESS STORY: Panelists will include successful writers who’ll share some personal stories of their roads to success. (Opening Reception)

GETTING PAID: Representatives from ASCAP and the Dramatists' Guild discuss the logistics of getting paid for your work.

THE LEGALITIES OF MUSICAL THEATRE: A panel of entertainment lawyers will discuss collaboration agreements, rights, and other legal matters.

E-SPLASH! GETTING YOUR MUSIC HEARD IN CYBERSPACE: A discussion of non-traditional ways of getting your work seen and heard. Including: YouTube; author websites; e-blasts; self-publishing; and marketing gimmicks (ones which work, and ones which backfire)

LOS ANGELES: THE BIRTHPLACE OF NEW MUSICALS?: Local artistic teams talk about premiere musicals in Los Angeles over the last two years: how did they get there, and where are they now? (Special guest performances)

TOON IN TO ANIMATION: Musical theatre songs in animated films, television, and the internet.

GETTING TO THE TOP OF THE PILE: Producers, artistic directors and agents talk turkey about why they pick up someone else's script before yours...or the other way round.

SNEAK PREVIEWS OF TOMORROW'S SHOWS: A showcase of material from new musicals in the development Pipeline, at the Colony Theatre in Burbank.

We’ll have a full line-up for you in the May issue of the newsletter, but here’s a sneak peak at the guests who have already been invited. (The asterisk means they’re confirmed.)

*Jeff Marx (Co-Creator of Avenue Q)
*Heather Hach (Bookwriter of Legally Blonde)
*Dan Berkowitz (Los Angeles Regional Rep of The Dramatists Guild and Co-Chair of The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights)
*Michael Kerker (ASCAP Director of Musical Theatre)
*Michael Blaha (Entertainment Lawyer, Producer)
*Gordon P. Firemark (Entertainment Lawyer)
*Jordan Beck (Creator of Top Ten: the Myspace Musical)
*Lesley-Ann Stone (Director of Marketing, TMG)
*Sheldon Epps (Artistic Director, Pasadena Playhouse)
*Jamie Kershaw (Dreamworks, Shrek: the Musical)
*Jay Stutler (VP Music, Disney Television Animation)
*Michael Jackowitz (Director of New Works, The Rubicon Theatre)
Linda Livingston (BMI)
Michael Ritchie (Artistic Director, Center Theatre Group)
Jason Robert Brown (Composer/Lyricist, 13, The Last Five Years, Parade)
James Blackman III (Executive Director/Producer, Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities)
Terrence McFarland (Executive Director, LA Stage Alliance)
Tim Choy (Publicist, Davidson & Choy)
Tom McCoy (Executive Producer, McCoy Rigby Entertainment)
Michael Matthews (Artistic Director, Celebration Theatre)
Michael Michetti (Artistic Director, The Theatre @ Boston Court)
Karyl Lynn Burns (Producing Artistic Director, The Rubicon Theatre)

0EARLY-BIRD REGISTRATION is now open: sign up by May 23 and get the whole weekend for only $350 instead of the regular price of $425. (For ANMT Members, the regular price is $300 and the Early Bird price is $250).
(Schedule and panelists are subject to change.)

To register for the Conference, CLICK HERE.

To check out highlights from our 2006 Conference, CLICK HERE.

Producer Susan Dietz listens to McCoy Rigby Entertainment's Cathy Rigby
at the 2006 Biz Conference

Summer Musical Theatre

The summer sun visited Southern California last weekend -- perfect timing, as we’re beginning to finalize plans for this summer’s Boot Camp. Here’s a sneak preview of ANMT's popular summer program of concentrated courses for musical theatre aficionados.

Outlining Lab, Lyric Lab, Advanced Lyric Lab, Book Lab and Composers’ Lab.

Wonder why other shows win festivals, contests and prizes...and yours don’t? Scott Guy you step-by-step through the submission process, guiding you with specific goals to accomplish every week -- synopsis, artwork, lyric sheets, recording, artwork, concluding with a real submission to Stages Musical Theatre Festival. Scott will also develop a realistic submission plan tailored for your particular musical, help you plan your next round of submissions and a timetable to accomplish them.

Dr. Gary Busby from University of California Irvine brings his fabled crash course in learning how to read music. All the basics in nine intense sessions over three weeks.

KUSC’s radio host and composer extraordinaire Alan Chapman is back by popular demand, repeating his astonishing afternoon of speed-composing. You’ll write three songs in a single afternoon!

ANMT launches a youth program which offers 12-18 year-old musical theatre buffs the chance to rehearse and film a brand-new 10 minute musical, and then post it to YouTube. Led by Darin Goulet and Tara Redepenning, and filmed by Kellen Blair.

A repeat of Kevin Kaufman's informative seminar on production resources and planning.

For more info, CLICK HERE

The Academy for New Musical Theatre

5628 Vineland Avenue
North Hollywood, CA  91601



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