conference recap...


The 2008 BIZ OF THE MUSICAL THEATRE BIZ Conference took place June 27-30 at The Academy for New Musical Theatre and the Colony Theatre in North Hollywood.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

8:00 PM - 10:00 PM


Panelists included successful writers who shared some personal stories of their roads to success. (Opening Reception)

Moderator:  Kitty Felde

Panelists:  Jeff Marx (Tony Award winning Co-Creator of Avenue Q);  Heather Hach (Tony nominated Bookwriter of Legally Blonde);  Stephen Bray (Tony nominated Composer/Lyricist, The Color Purple);  Allee Willis (Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Webby award winning and nominated Composer/Lyricist/ Artist/ Multimediaist, The Color Purple)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Breakfast Schmooze

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM


Representatives from ASCAP and the Dramatists' Guild discussed the logistics of getting paid for your scores.

Panelists:  Dan Berkowitz (Co-Chair of The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights);  Michael Kerker (ASCAP Director of Musical Theatre)

11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Coffee Break Schmooze

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM


A panel of entertainment lawyers discussed collaboration agreements, rights, and other legal matters.

Panelists:  Michael Blaha (Entertainment Lawyer, Producer);  Gordon Firemark (Entertainment Lawyer)

1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Lunch Schmooze

2:15 PM - 3:45 PM


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)

Moderator:  Elise Dewsberry (Artistic Director, NMI/ANMT)

Panelists:  Jordan Beck (Peter Pan - ASCAP/DreamWorks 2012, Creator of The Sunset Players web series, LA Festival 2010);  Wendi Rohan LeBow (Goldstar Events);  Joanne Ledesma (Joanne Ledesma Entertainment);  Jeff Scott (

3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Coffee Break Schmooze

4:00 PM - 6:00 PM


Local artistic teams talked about premiere musicals in Los Angeles over the previous two years: how did they get there, and where are they now? Evening free for off-site dinner and theatre.

Moderator:  Terence McFarland (CEO, LA Stage Alliance)

Panelists:  James Blackman (Executive Director/Producer, Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities);  Sheldon Epps (Artistic Director, Pasadena Playhouse);  John Gallogly (Executive Director, Theatre West);  Daniel Henning (Founding Artistic Director/Producer, The Blank Theatre Company)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

ANMT Feedback Demo

ANMT staff provided feedback and advice on conference participantsí musicals.

Sample responses to ANMTís feedback:

"I couldn't be more impressed with the folks at ANMT. They are dramaturgs, coaches, and teachers of the greatest, highest caliber. The feedback they'll offer you on your work is astonishingly insightful and detailed. I was amazed to find this level of professionalism and intelligence about musical theater outside of NYC. You can take or leave, of course, anything they say, but when they critiqued a project I wrote there, I found 90% of their feedback right on the money and incredibly helpful, and the project I was working on there grew by leaps and bounds because of their input. I highly, highly recommend getting their input on your new musical projects. Their teeth are sharp as sharks', but they don't bite."
- Jeff Marx, Tony award-winning co-creator of Avenue Q

"I recently had the pleasure of working with The Academy for New Musical Theatre on a reading of The Grouchís Daughter, my new musical co-written with Jack Helbig. ANMT staff member Elise Dewsberry served as both dramaturg and director, and in our years of working on this show, no one person has been as helpful to us as she was. Prior to the reading, we received a set of notes that were as thoughtful as they were thorough. ANMTís suggestions led to a rewrite that greatly helped us shape the show and refine its style. I'm deeply impressed with the care and intelligence of their creative input, and would not hesitate to work with ANMT again."
- Mark Hollmann, Tony award-winning composer of Urinetown

Panelists:  Ross Kalling (ANMT Music Advisor);  Scott Guy (Executive Director, NMI; Lyric Lab Instructor, ANMT);  Elise Dewsberry (Artistic Director, NMI/ANMT)

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM


Musical theatre songs in animated films, television, and the internet.

Moderator:  Scott Guy (Executive Director, NMI; Lyric Lab Instructor, ANMT)

Panelists:  Jamie Kershaw (Dream Works; SHREK: the Musical,);  Jay Stutler (VP Music, Walt Disney Television Animation);  Randy Rogel (Composer-Lyricist, Warner Brothers, Disney; The Gypsy King)

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Coffee Break Schmooze

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM


Producers, artistic directors and agents talked turkey about why they pick a submission from out of the Pile, and why they leave others at the bottom of the Pile. If you register for the conference (or for the Sunday-Only pass), youíre entitled to submit one project to the Pile. Itís up to you what kind of package you submit: full artwork/DVD/script, or just a script, or even just a pitch. The panel will discuss candidly which projects in the Pile get their attention and why. To be considered, submissions must arrive at ANMT no later than 3:00 p.m. Sunday June 29th.

Moderator:  Ellen Dostal (ANMT Producer)

Panelists:  Tom McCoy (Executive Producer, McCoy Rigby Entertainment);  Michael Michetti (Co-Artistic Director, The Theatre @ Boston Court);  Michael Jackowitz (Broadway Producer, How to Succeed..., Tuck Everlasting, The Hawaiian Goddess Project);  Hilary Genga (Producer);  Arnold Margolin (Producing Director, Falcon Theatre);  Nick Cavarra (Producer, Off-Broadway)

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Final Schmooze

Monday, June 30, 2008

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM


A showcase of material from new musicals in the development Pipeline, at the Colony Theatre in Burbank.

L  O  C  A  T  I  O  N

 All sessions Friday through Sunday  took place at:

The Academy for New Musical Theatre
5628 Vineland Avenue
North Hollywood, CA  91601

The Monday session took place at:

The Colony Theatre
555 North Third Street
Burbank, CA

ANMT * 5628 VINELAND AVE * NORTH HOLLYWOOD * 91601 * 818.506.8500 *