Written by Melvin Tunstall III
Q: Does anyone know of any community or regional theaters accepting new musicals?
We here at TheaterMaker Studios always love receiving questions like this, because that means new theater is being made. As always, we’ve got you covered, but first, a little storytime!
“I never wanted fame, I just wanted to work.”
I adopted this brilliant quote from the late, great Gregory Hines as my life mantra to survive the business of show and over the years, I have adapted it as I transitioned from performer to writer:
“It doesn’t have to be on Broadway. I just want to see my show.”
Dreams of your new show making it to Broadway are natural and quite often keep you motivated during challenging writing times, but not every show has the Great White Way set in its sights. If Broadway is your end goal, you can bet your money there will be several stops along the way. One of the first stops for your new show could quite possibly be that local theater you have supported or performed with for years.
Community and regional theaters are the life-blood of theater. For most of us, our first taste of live theater came in the form of seeing our friends and neighbors don wigs and costumes down at the converted movie theater or gymatoriums across the country. We’ve played roles that we would probably never get to do on a professional level (who doesn’t love a 15 year old Momma Rose?) and felt our love for theater grow from interest to obsession with one experience in summer stock.
Though many of these theaters rely on popular titles to keep the doors open, more and more theaters on the community and regional level are starting New Works initiatives. We asked our TheaterMakers tribe about their experiences and as always, they did not disappoint. Check out these TheaterMaker Recommended amazing opportunities for your new show at these Community and Regional Theaters!
TheaterMaker Pat Fifield has had all 13 (!) of her new plays produced on the community level. “It was a wonderful experience in each case. I highly recommend doing this, as it builds a strong base of fans for your plays. It also gives you a tribe of like-minded individuals you can count on as actors as well as creative.”
“I’ve had two shorts staged at Berkshire Playwrights Lab in Great Barrington. They are known for developing plays with workshops and the process is fantastic for a playwright. They’ve done stuff by Mamet and Anna Zeigler and Tom Fontana amongst others!” says fellow theatermaker Carol Schneider.
Jean Elliott Manning takes us INTERNATIONAL with this amazing opportunity from Coracole Productions. “My musical Daisy and the Wonder Weeds [was] produced by Productions Coracole, a small community theatre in Pierrefonds, Qc….GREAT experience. I used it as a development tool, got a great video, and priceless feedback that helped me toward my best rewrite. They also did the FRENCH translation….We’re discussing a post-COVID outdoor approach for parks…I recommend the experience!”
You can’t pay for a better review than this one from Margaret Rose Rubenstein!
“We had two of our shows produced by the Sacramento Theatre Company. Part of their Mission Statement is to produce new works — hooray!– and they licensed the World Premiere of our A LITTLE PRINCESS musical. The process was supportive of us as writers, and the cast was wonderful (they typically hire 4-5 AEA actors and hire the rest from a sizeable pool of local talent). All are paid. Full sets, costumes, 5-piece orchestra, nice 300-seat theater. The production was a great success. A couple years later, the Artistic Director asked us if we had our “Donner Party” musical ready yet… we didn’t have a script yet, only a few songs, but he knew we were working on it… and paid us a Commission to finish it so he could license the Premiere! This was an even better experience!”
And finally, you must check out this submission opportunity from Tammy Franklin: “Imagine Theatre Competition is in Southern California this school year. The website is currently being updated for this year’s info, so please check back in a week or so. Only for students, basic info can be found on the site.” GOOD NEWS: The website is updated and ready for your new work!
TheaterMakers Studio Members, did you know our website has a FULL LIST of Submission Opportunities available to you? Just go to our RESOURCES TAB:
Click-click and voila!
But we don’t just stop there! Included in your membership is also access to our extensive list of regional theaters and their contact information. Many new works begin by cultivating a relationship with a theater and it’s artistic staff. Don’t be afraid to reach out and build an association with the local artistic powers-that-be.
Head back to that RESOURCES tab and find our PRODUCER’S TOOL BOX!
Scroll down our alphabetical list and SURPRISE! Not only do we provide you with addresses, but also a LABEL FORM for all your mailing needs.
We are entering the next Golden Age of Musical Theater and your newest show could join the ranks of showstopping musicals in the years to come. It all starts with getting your show out there and onto a stage. Start submitting today and get your ticket to the TheaterMakers Summit to hear from Artistic Directors and Universities on how you can get your show produced on their stages.