July 31, 2006

TRU Voices New Musical Series

Filed under: For Writers,Press Releases — offoffbway @ 9:51 pm

The 6th Annual TRU Voices New Musicals Series is accepting submissions. So if that new punk rock version of West Side Story has been sitting in your desk drawer, get it out and send it in!

The 6th Annual TRU Voices New Musicals Series
Announces the Creation of the Howard L. Blau Award
Submissions due by August 30th

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) doesn’t just develop new musicals; they develop new producers of musical theater. The TRU Voices New Musicals Reading Series encourages submissions from emerging and established producers who are interested in testing the waters with a new musical work, and offers an opportunity for them to forge relationships with writers. TRU also accepts submissions from writers and tries to match them with a sponsoring producer for the series. “We’re like a dating service for producers,” says TRU President Bob Ost. TRU sponsors a full staged reading of 2 to 3 of the best works submitted, followed by the well-respected Dollars and Sense industry panels following each of the presentations.

This year, TRU will present the first HOWARD L. BLAU AWARD to the Most Promising New Musical. The award is named for attorney Howard L. Blau of Blau, Kayman and Barrows, and will be presented at a luncheon ceremony in November. For many years Mr. Blau has done pro bono work for not-for-profits arts organizations. His company has a not-for-profit division, Legal Counsel to the Performing Arts, dedicated to helping artists. “We are blessed that Howard is supporting our efforts in this way,” says Ost. “As a theatre lover, he understands the importance of nurturing producing talent as well as writing talent. He is an amazingly generous man who wants to help us find amazing new musicals.”

TRU was founded in 1990 by award winning playwright/composer Ost, his writing partner Gary Hughes and playwright Cheryl Davis, who was a 2005 recipient of the prestigious Kleban Award for her libretto of the musical “Barnstormer.” The organization was created by this trio of writers to help producers and self-producing artists strengthen their understanding of the business side of the arts.

The TRU Voices track record is impressive. Among the shows that started in the series are “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” by Betsy Kelso and David Nehls, which went on to a popular off-Broadway run last season and is currently touring; and “Normal” by Yvonne Adrian, Cheryl Stern and Tom Kochan, which played a limited run last fall at the Connelly Theater in the East Village starring Barbara Walsh. For the 2001 Series, TRU President Bob Ost made a phone call and cast the perfect actress for the one-woman musical “The Ambition Bird” by Matthew Sheridan: Victoria Clark, who went on to win a Tony for “Light in the Piazza.” And in the 2005 series, TRU found a producer for “Saint Heaven”, a writer submission from Martin Casella and Keith Gordon; TRU put the show in the hands of Van Dean and Hillary Cutter of Van Hill Entertainment, and also matched Van and Hillary with mentor Broadway producer Cheryl Wiesenfeld (Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, In the Continuum). As a result of this successful partnership, “Saint Heaven” moved from a reading last December into a full production in June at the Stamford Center for the Performing Arts starring Deborah Gibson and Tony winner Chuck Cooper.

Unlike other talkbacks, TRU’s Dollars and Sense panels focus on the producing needs of the show, welcoming suggestions re venues and further development for the work, with discussions about marketing and budgets and other business concerns. The top professionals who have graced the panels have included producers Michael Alden (Bridge & Tunnel, Bat Boy), Victoria Lang (Matt and Ben, SHOUT! The MOD Musical), Jennifer Manocherian (Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Crucible, Caroline or Change), Dan Markley (Shockheaded Peter, Damn Yankees revival, Stomp), Pam Koslow (Jelly’s Last Jam) and Anita Waxman (Bombay Dreams, Topdog/Underdog); artistic directors Robert Lupone (MCC), Sue Frost (formerly of Goodspeed), Mark Hoebee (Papermill Playhouse) and James Morgan (York Theatre Company); and general managers Peter Bogyo, Laura Heller, Jamie Cesa and countless others.

Producers and writers are encouraged to submit new works to the TRU Voices New Musicals Reading Series. TRU welcomes both mainstream commercial works and non-traditional works, and encourages multi-cultural and minority submissions as well. “We’d love to find the next big Broadway smash, but we also understand that there are many other markets for musicals. We are interested in any interesting, viable show that has a producer who is passionate to produce it,” explains Ost.

Submissions must be received by 8/30/06 and readings will take place in early December. There is a $25 submission fee, which is waived for TRU members, and all submissions receive a feedback letter based on the evaluations of 3 readers. Guidelines and application form may be found at http://www.truonline.org/ or by sending a SASE to Theater Resources Unlimited/TRU Musicals, 309 W. 104th Street, #1D, NYC, NY 10025. No submissions will be accepted without an application.

This series is made possible in part through the generous support of the New York State Council on the Arts.

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