www.musicalwriters.com• For songwriters, bookwriters, theatre/film buffs

Musical Writers First Act Feedback Fest

July 20, 2013 in New York City


Sample a dozen new musicals in a day! Submit Your Show...

You're invited to a daylong feedback festival on July 20, 2013, in New York City, sponsored by MusicalWriters.com and Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU). The festival features 12 writing teams sharing works in progress and getting feedback from a panel of expert evaluators. Audience members will also have a chance to offer their observations, participate in network sessions, and enjoy refreshments.

Our experienced panel of commercial producers and writers will include Tom Polum (The Toxic Avenger, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Peter Schneider (morning panel only) (The Lion King, Aida), Mark Hollmann (Urinetown), and Musicalwriters.com columnist William Squier (The Treatment of Doctor Love, Route 66). Bob Ost, executive director of Theater Resources Unlimited, will facilitate.

SPACE IS LIMITED. If you would like to attend in the audience without submitting a show, please write to me to see if there is still room: carol@musicalschwartz.com

For more information and to submit a show, keep reading....


10 am to 11:30 am - Five writing teams will each have 10 minutes to highlight the “I Want” song from their first act and explain their work’s concept. Based on the character's want, audience members will guess what the rest of the show is about. After all presentations, panelists will provide feedback followed by a break for networking and refreshments.

11:30 am to 1:00 pm
 - In this workshop session, we will hear the first 25 - 30 minutes of Act I of a new musical. Afterward, panelists will provide feedback to the writers and share insights about the dramatic needs of a musical’s first act.  

(On your own. Great time to make new friends in the industry!)

2:00 pm to 3:30 pm - 
Five new writing teams will each describe their show and present their Act I Finale (no more than 4 performers please) or late Act One Turnaround song in a ten-minute presentation. Panelists will comment and invite additional audience feedback. 

3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
 - A second writing team will present the first 25 - 30 minutes of Act I of their work followed by feedback and a break for discussion and networking. 

As a finale to the festival, panelists will vote on a “Best of the Fest” from the 12 sampled works. The musical selected earns a spot among the Top 8 or 9 finalists that will be considered for the TRU VOICES New Musicals Reading Series. (Note: winner might not be announced that same day if panelists need additional time to review submitted materials.)

You may submit your work for this July 20th event (deadline June 21), for the December TRU reading series, or both.

Note: The TRU Selection Committee will determine whether a show is selected for its “I Want” song, its “Turnaround Song” or for one of the 30 minute presentations. All writers are expected to be present for the entire day, or at least the full half day session in which your work is presented.

• Performance space with piano / Refreshments / Professional feedback panel / An audience for your work / A valuable networking opportunity / A chance to be heard before final selections are made for the TRU VOICES reading series.


Do you know about TRU VOICES reading series? Each December, TRU holds a New Musicals Reading Series on consecutive Monday evenings in Manhattan. There are many benefits to having your musical selected. [PHOTO: A TRU reading, 2008. For details see our "Growing Stages" column article in issue 11 of Musical Writerzine]


• The Musical Writers First Act Feedback Fest welcomes submissions from writers who have completed at least a full first draft of the book of their musical, plus a substantial amount of the score. Completed shows are preferred. Submission deadline is June 21, 2013, with selectees notified by July 1. Check the appropriate box on the application form so we know if you are applying to both TRU Voices and the Feedback Fest, or just the Feedback Fest.

• Writers with complete first act drafts (book and score), or with first acts that have a clearly presented "I Want" song and "Turnaround Song," may submit ONLY to the Musical Writers First Act Fest. Indicate on your application ("ABOUT THE MUSICAL" section) that the show is a work in progress.

• The Feedback Fest is best-suited to traditionally structured musicals that adhere to the traditional rules of musical theater writing. We are looking for shows that have an "I Want" song to introduce the desires or needs of your main character(s), and/or a Turnaround Song like "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Before the Parade Passes By" or "Don't Rain on My Parade" where the character resolves a new or renewed course of action somewhere near the end of Act One. (Editor's Note: Here are some potentially helpful blog posts about I Want Songs and First Act First Act Finales.)

• Those writing teams involved in the two longer presentations are required to bring performers and accompanist. (We can make suggestions for locating talent.) If you are unable to produce a 30-minute presentation, you may write on your application "Song Only" (in other words, your show will be represented in a 10-minute presentation instead.)

• The 10-minute presentations are meant to be simple: an effective, brief description/set up and sample song. Whether the piece is a solo, duet, or (less likely) group number, it may be presented by demo recording or live performance. We prefer that you arrange for a live performance by one or two singers (maximum) and a pianist.

• If you wish to submit for both the First Act Feedback Fest and the TRU Voices Musicals Series, read the Guidelines for the TRU Voices series.


• Submission process is the same as for the TRU Voices Musicals Series. See GUIDELINES (see How to Submit section) and the Application form: APPLICATION FORM as Website page OR APPLICATION FORM AS PDF.

• No materials will be returned, so no SASE’s please.

• TRU MEMBERS: TRU member writers may submit to both TRU Voices New Musicals Series (completed musicals only) and First Act Feedback Fest; your fee is waived for TRU Voices, but you will need to pay a $10 FAFF fee.

• NON MEMBERS: Non members may submit to the TRU Voices New Musicals Series (completed musicals only) for a $25 fee, submit to the First Act Feedback Fest for $20, or apply to both for $35. Deadline for both is June 17th, 2013; deadline for JUST the TRU Voices Series is in August, per the guidelines.

• If accepted for presentation of 30 minutes of your first act, plus feedback, there will be a participation fee of $30, which includes two seats for the entire day workshop as well as the 30 minute presentation slot. Space is limited. Any additional attendees from the musical team (including music director, additional collaborators and cast members) who wish to observe the entire workshop must reserve in advance and will be charged $10 per person.

• If accepted for presentation of 10 minutes including one song, plus feedback, there will be a participation fee of $20, which includes 2 seats for the entire day workshop as well as your presentation slot. Space is limited. Any additional attendees from the musical team (including music director, additional collaborators and cast members) who wish to observe the entire workshop must reserve in advance and will be charged $10 per person.

- The deadline for First Act Feedback Fest is June 17th, 2013; the deadline for JUST the TRU Voices Series is in August, per the guidelines. If you are applying for both, you may submit revised materials to TRU Voices after the First Act Feedback Fest as long as you get the revisions to us before the designated TRU Voices deadlines.

Carol de GiereEvery new musical needs to be tested along the journey from page to stage. Readings can be expensive and helpful comments are not always easy to come by. We're trying to make it easier for you here by gathering a supportive group. I hope to see you on July 20th!

-- Carol de Giere, website publisher, Musicalwriters.com and author of the Stephen Schwartz biography Defying Gravity

Musical Writerzine Newsletter

Find out about upcoming festivals of new musicals, submission opportunities, articles, books, and more. Subscribe to our newsletter Musical Writerzine

To send suggestions, comments, or questions write to carol@musicalschwartz.com

Stephen Schwartz creative biography "Defying Gravity"


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