“The Broadway community really comes out to support New York New Works. They’ve taken a lot of these artists [i.e. writers] under their wings and several projects have progressed to the next level.”
~Festival Director Gene Fisch, Jr.
Submissions Deadline: July 1, 2020
Tentative Dates: Fall of 2020
Of all the independent annual theater festivals in Manhattan, New York New Works Theatre Festival (NYNW) is the only one that presents a group of condensed shows in an evening designed for the convenience of A-list Broadway folks and potential investors. Every submission is reviewed by at least one Broadway producer. A panel of industry leaders also attends and reviews the performances during the festival that is held at a top tier theatre (historically the Duke or Acorn theaters in the heart of Broadway).
Festival Director Gene Fisch, Jr. has been thrilled with the response. “The Broadway community really comes out to support NYNW. They’ve taken a lot of these artists [i.e. writers] under their wings and several projects have progressed to the next level.”
Fisch set up the festival in 2014 as a project to help the arts community. He noticed that many of the festivals that his friends were participating in seemed limited as to the audiences that were being attracted and the space that they were performing in, and sought to design a utopia for artists. NYNW has had great success attracting industry leaders to evenings that present four or five creative new condensed works during prime times, in lieu of asking producers to watch one piece from a writer whom they did not know beforehand. Although Fisch emphasizes “no promises,” industry connections frequently result from participation, with several shows moving in Broadway’s direction, tours, or regional theaters.
Paul Sladkus, a long-time TV and media producer, is one of the yearly panelists who is fond of NYNW. “It’s a good concept for a festival: you’re putting on a short show, abridged edition, the best 20 or 30 minutes that represents the show. I’m happy seeing people be happy doing what they love to do.”
As with all festivals, the authors are responsible for their presentations, which means this isn’t a free ride. In this case, 100% of the upfront costs for the theatre and staff are taken care of by the Festival’s creator. NYNW provides a Broadway level GM team, lights, the space for performances, guidance along the way, and front of house staff given the massive contacts held by the panel, they can make suggestions for finding directors, designers, actors (virtually anything that the production requires). They maintain a group of “Volunteer host ambassadors” on their team that include performers and others who can readily be called upon. Fisch can help match up projects with host ambassadors during the casting process.
Because this is a rare opportunity to show off one’s best work and make an impression, normally the presentations aim for the highest level with top talent. This festival is designed for shows that have been previously tested in table reads and are close to being ready for a production. It is important to feel that you are ready to take the next step in a professional career.
“We’re really proud of how special this has become,” Fisch says. “We wanted to give the artists an opportunity to present their work on a top-quality stage with a Broadway level management team and we have done that.”
He emphasizes that any festival presentation is about building relationships. It’s unrealistic for writers to think someone will come up at the end of the night and hand them a check. “You develop a relationship. If they like the show, you set up an opportunity to talk during one of the many New York New Works events / afterparties.”
New York New Works Theatre Festival takes plays and musicals of all types, including family musicals. Each year 30-40 shows are selected from many applicants. There is no cost to submit. If accepted, the participation fee is $897. Note that NYNW has historically granted thousands of dollars in scholarship as they never wish for finances to be an issue.
Fisch explains it is wise to pick the best parts of your show that will still provide a clear beginning, middle, and end. Submit the two or three best songs. Find details for 2020 at
Submissions are now underway!