Theater Resources Unlimited announces the first virtual edition of its writer-producer Speed Dates, to occur on Sunday, July 19, 2020. This unique networking and educational opportunity for writers will now have more tech and less noise: each writer will be in an individual breakout room with each of our eleven producers. And since we have no venue costs, we've lowered the application fee by $10 (to $75 for non-members of TRU). The submission deadline is Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Session 1 offers coaching at 2:30pm, pitching at 5:30pm; Session 2 offers coaching at 5:30pm, pitching at 6:30pm. All times EDT. Tickets are $65 for TRU members, $75 for non-members, and $25 for each additional collaborator. Your spot in the lineup can be purchased upon acceptance starting July 11th, upon acceptance at https://truonline.org/events/virtual-speed-date/.
Sunday, July 19, 2020
Submission Deadline: Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Session 1: coaching at 2:30pm, pitching at 4:30pm
Session 2: coaching at 3:30pm, pitching at 5:30pm
You meet a producer at a party and have two minutes to interest him in your work. Do you have the skill to sell yourself? Here's a chance to practice your pitching with real producers who are open to and interested in meeting you. Okay, they probably won't option you on the spot, but they'll give you valuable feedback about your work and your ability to talk about it. And you'll have the opportunity to start developing a relationship. And that's what this business is all about: Relationships.
The Speed Date is the only event I know of that gives writers the chance to meet high level producers one-on-one in a room. To me, that's what makes the Speed Dates so valuable. And you do it with kindness, which I value in life. ~Vincent Amelio (How Alfo Learned to Love)
Access the application here. Please fill out and email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com(PLEASE - add your name to the document name, and put it first when you "save as").
We'll have eleven producers lined up, from both the commercial and not-for-profit worlds, all with an interest in new projects; we also may have eleven aspiring producers from our Producer Development program. So you'll be pitching to as many as 22 producers in total! Come with a willingness to learn, because the real value is the chance to practice your pitching. And you'll be getting invaluable coaching from experts, as well.
Confirmed producers include:
Patrick Blake, producer (The 39 Steps, Bedlam Theatre's Hamlet/St. Joan, My Life Is a Musical, Play Dead, The Exonerated), founding artistic director of Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Theater Collective;
Cate Cammarata, dramaturg, director, producer (My Life Is a Musical, The Assignment, My Father's Daughter), Associate Artistic Director for Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Theater Collective;
Merrie L. Davis, producer (Company London revival, Dear Evan Hansen, Eclipsed, Gigi; off-Broadway Himself and Nora, Party Face, The Two-Character Play, Shear Madness; Broadway Elling, La Cage Aux Folles revival);
Jim Kierstead, producer (Hadestown, The Inheritance, Ain't Too Proud, Mrs. Doubtfire, Tony Award winner Pippin revival, M, Butterfly, Indecent, Natasha Pierre..., Sunset Boulevard, Kinky Boots, Waitress; off-Broadway Thrill Me, Yank!) and founder of Broadway Virtual;
John Lant, indie producer (Fabulous, Frankenstein the musical, Wicked City Blues), artistic director Write Act Repertory, producer The Park Theatre in Union City NJ;
Cody Lassen, producer (Tootsie, What the Constitution Means to Me, Indecent, Significant Other, Spring Awakening revival; upcoming Titanic, How I Learned to Drive);
Neal Rubenstein, producer (On the Town, The Velocity of Autumn, Hedwig and the Angry Inch revival; upcoming Dangerous the musical);
Cheryl Wiesenfeld producer (Ain't Too Proud, The Great Society, 4-time Tony winner for All the Way, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, The Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty);
Plus three more to be announced
Coaches: Diana Calderazzo, Samantha Salzman, Emileena Pedigo
Trailing Producers: To be announced
[*members and alumni of TRU's Producer Development program]
I participated in TRU's Writer's Speed Date Pitch session last year and got a LOT out of it! I found it so motivating to have a deadline to create production assets and prepare myself for meeting producers. My partner and I worked tirelessly for days before the event to make sure we were in top form before presenting (as writers) to the "producers" on hand. My experience was one of the rare occasions where several producers expressed real interest in my work. Later, one attended my reading, and followed up with a coffee meeting to talk financing. We're still in touch. Again, this is never promised, but it does happen for some of us. In my opinion, the price of $85 for all that value is a BARGAIN! ~Ed Zareh (Long Lost John)
I've had follow-up meetings with two people I met from the event. and provided scripts to three others. I also met some fellow playwrights, and through a chain of introductions coming out of that, I'm now working on a possible film deal in Los Angeles. If you have a project where you'd like to practice and receive feedback on your pitch; potentially make some connections that would be useful for script development or early production; and meet some other playwrights - this is an ideal opportunity. ~William Roetzheim
About the Faculty
DIANA CALDERAZZO is an adjunct instructor of Theatre at Fordham University, teaching Invitation to Theatre with a focus in Cognitive Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master's Degree in Theatre from the University of Central Florida. She has taught Theatre and/or Communications at both of those universities, as well as Central Texas College and Bronx Community College. Diana was also a scholarship recipient at Smith College, where she completed her Bachelor's Degree in Theatre. Diana has published peer-reviewed articles in such journals as Theatre Topics and Theatre Symposium, and has presented papers at national and international conferences such as the American Society for Theatre Research and the International Federation for Theatre Research. She is also a member of Wardrobe Local 764 in New York City, where she works as a wardrobe technician for various Broadway shows. She worked as a full-time dresser for Spider-Man: Turn Oﬀ the Dark on Broadway from 2010 to 2013. Diana is a former Tour Actor/Director for the Missoula Children's Theatre and has taught Theatre to over 2,500 children around the country with this company. She has also toured in Europe as a performer with Music Theatre Bavaria
EMILEENA PEDIGO Emileena's work focuses on building sustainable careers #AnotherWay, using entrepreneurial strategies that prioritize the artist over their art. Her company, The Show Goes On Productions provides coaching and artist management, as well as produces workshops, showcases, and events. Before that Emileena was managing producer of the Midtown International Theater Festival. She helped expand the annual festival into seven venues, presenting up to 60 shows in one month during her seven-year tenure. Emileena also general-managed for several nonprofits, assisted Stewart F. Lane on four Broadway shows, including the Off-Broadway transfer of The 39 Steps, and worked on various film and music festivals. She toured theaters, music arenas, and schools across the country, working with artists from all artistic disciplines. Emileena has served on the board of Conscious Capitalism NYC, and is currently helping to build Arts programming within the Chelsea Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. She is a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute, SUNY/Kaufmann's Fasttrac program for entrepreneurs, and a Purdue University alum.
SAMANTHA SALTZMAN Current Directing Projects: Drama League Gala Honoring Steve Martin, and Bryant Park Christmas Skatetacular. Resident Director: Matilda the Musical (1st National Tour). Assistant Resident Director: Matilda the Musical (Broadway). Additional Associate/Assistant Directing credits: Southern Comfort (The Public), Sarah Brightman's Dreamchaser World Tour, On the Town (Barrington Stage), An Iliad (National Tour), Academia Nuts, and multiple shows at NYMF and FringeNYC. Select Directing credits include: The Arkadina Project, Urinetown, 210 Amlent Ave, and Madam Fury's Traveling Show. Drama League Directing Fellow. www.samanthasaltzman.com
About the Producers
PATRICK BLAKE is a writer/producer based in New York and San Francisco, and Founding Artistic Director of Rhymes Over Beats, a hip hop theater company. In New York theater, he is a producer of the off-Broadway revival of The 39 Steps, the off-Broadway transfer of Bedlam Theater Company's dual productions of Hamlet and Saint Joan, and is currently producing My Life Is a Musical (from the TRU Voices series) which had a debut production at Bay Street Theatre. He was one of the producers of Play Dead! at The Players Theatre, he has produced In the Continuum at Perry Street Theatre, Noah's Archive, Joe Fearless, The Exonerated (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Court TV's Scales of Justice Award) and The Soap Myth at Southstreet Seaport. He also produced Dirty Works at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He was Executive Producer for the short film, The Igloo, and the feature film Mr. Smith Gets a Hustler. Patrick is a proud board member of TRU.
CATE CAMMARATA is a producer, director, dramaturg and writer in NYC and is the Associate Artistic Director for Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Theater Collective. Cate has produced The Assignment off-Broadway and My Father's Daughter with Ursula Rucker at La Mama for Rhymes Over Beats. Regionally she produced My Life Is a Musical at Bay Street Theater and has directed many readings of new work in NYC. She is the Literary Manager for Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) and is the Director of Creative Development for MusicalWriters.com. Cate holds a BFA in Acting/Directing from Syracuse University and an MFA in Dramaturgy at SUNY Stony Brook, and teaches Theatre Arts at Baruch College. Her latest book, "Contemporary Monologues for a New Theater," was listed as one of the Top Ten Books for theatre lovers by BroadwayDirect in 2018. catecammarata.com, createtheater.com
MERRIE L. DAVIS has been an Out-of-the Box Marketer for over 20+ years in the Magazine Business dealing in the Hospitality and Tourism Industries, (which included working with the theater agencies) while owning her own magazines, IN New York and Where Magazines. She is now doing Marketing along with Producing, for Broadway and Off/Broadway shows helping the various shows compete and succeed utilizing techniques from her Objections Overruled seminars she has given over the years. Her producing career began with Gigi and she is currently a Producer on Eclipsed with Lupita Nyong'o and Himself and Nora with Matt Bogart (Jersey Boys) and Whitney Bashor (The Bridges of Madison County). Aside from heading up her company, Next Act 2 Follow, Merrie has worked on other shows including Allegiance and 39 Steps, utilizing her Objections Overruled "out-of-the-box" marketing skills and introducing inventive ideas to the Broadway scene.
JIM KIERSTEAD is a two-time 2013 Tony® Award-winning producer of the Broadway, touring, Toronto, and London productions of Kinky Boots and the revival of Pippin. He also was involved with the international hit musical Matilda on Broadway and on tour and is a co-producer of the 2016 Broadway musicals Waitress and Natasha & Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 starring Josh Groban. He has been a co-producer of the Broadway productions of The Visit (Tony nominated), You Can't Take It With You (Tony nominated), Side Show, It Shoulda Been You and Rocky. Jim has worked in New York theatre since 2000 investing and raising money for shows including Something Rotten, The Glass Menagerie, the revival of Hair (Best Revival), American Idiot, The Addams Family, Catch Me If You Can, among others. Jim began his career by developing and producing the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway premiere of Thrill Me - The Leopold & Loeb Story (nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical in 2005) and produced its original New York production in 2003. He founded his production company Kierstead Productions, Inc. in 2004. In 2010, he produced the Off-Broadway premiere of Yank! - A World War II Love Story. Jim has been an Executive Producer on the films Between Love and Goodbye, Kiss Me, Kill Me, and the upcoming Wakefield starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner. Currently, Jim is developing a new musical entitled Unexpected Joy with book & lyrics by Bill Russell (two-time Tony® nominated for Side Show), a play entitled Cover by Bill McMahon, and produced The Dodgers by Diana Amsterdam which had its World Premiere production at The Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles. Jim is on the Board of Directors of The York Theatre Company and The New York Theatre Barn.
JOHN LANT (Producer/Artistic Director) is a 35-year veteran in the entertainment industry and has been involved in over 600 television, film, music tours, and theatrical productions. An award-winning producer, director, writer, lighting/set designer, he has mounted productions at Cal Arts, Ricardo Montalban, Powerhouse, Glendale Center, Hollywood Playhouse, Long Beach Playhouse, the Jewel Box Theatres and Write Act Repertory garnering DramaLogue, Diamond, ADA, NAACP Awards, LA Weekly and Backstage Picks of the Week, Garland and Valley Theatre (LA) nominations. As an Executive Producer of New Frequency - Theatre of the Mind, he produced 150 all-new original Radio Dramas for XM Radio's Sonic Theatre - Ranked as the #1 Radio show. With Jonathan Sanger at Chanticleer Films, he worked on two shorts that won an Emmy and an Oscar, also mentored under Howard Storm and directed Children's TV Pilots Symphology, Carrot Talk, and Anonymous Confessions. Recently as Producing Artistic Director of Write Act Repertory/Director of Development for Twisted Media NYC his Off-Broadway production of FABULOUS! The Queen of Musicals! Other Off-Broadway Lead Producing credits; 2by Tennessee Williams (AEA), Pillars of NY; Off-Broadway productions currently running: Lili Marlene, Frankenstein, It Came from Beyond, Wicked Frozen, and in pre-Production Pearl-The Musical (with creative team members of Dreamgirls! Original Broadway Cast); Los Angeles productions currently running: - Finest Hour (Winston Churchill project), Wicked Wicked Mae West West, and Prez - The Lester Young Story.
CODY LASSEN is a Tony-nominated theatre producer and live entertainment consultant. Broadway productions include Indecent, the Deaf West Theatre revival of Spring Awakening, and the upcoming revival of Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive. He has been part of the producing team for other Broadway productions including Tootsie, What the Constitution Means to Me, Torch Song, The Band's Visit, Macbeth and Significant Other. Upcoming: the first revival of Titanic, The Flamingo Kid, Steven Sater & Duncan' Sheik's Alice By Heart and Burt Bacharach's Some Lovers. In addition to producing his own projects, Cody consults for producers, theaters and agencies to help them discover how they should market their shows for the best chance of financial and critical success. Previously, he was the director of marketing for Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group and its three theaters: the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Kirk Douglas Theatre. He is an active member of the Broadway League, the National Association of Musical Theatre, and serves on the Board of NY's Vineyard Theatre. More info at codylassen.com
NEAL RUBINSTEIN is a three-time Emmy winner & five-time nominee, receiving that coveted award while working as Editor & Producer for NBC Nightly News & The Today Show. He is also a TONY nominee (On The Town) and two-time BOLI winner. He's been represented on Broadway as Producer of On the Town, Velocity of Autumn, and was also involved with: Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Of Mice & Men, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Co-Lead for the upcoming Broadway revival of 39 Steps, and Lead Producer for a Broadway-bound original new musical Dangerous. Off-B'way: Tail Spin, Clinton the Musical, Associate Producer Handle With Care, and he's currently developing the quintessential Broadway musical of Aristophanes' comic farce, Trojanz Not Required - the real story of Lysistrata. Film: Exec. Prod., Ron & Laura Take Back America. Neal is currently a member on the Board, of AMAS Musical Theater, & Theater Resources Unlimited. He has served on the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), New York Chapter (four terms) as well as chairing the Membership Committee for six years, guiding the chapter to record increased growth while implementing innovative benefits for its members. Additionally, he served for sixteen years on the NATAS Awards (EMMY) Committee. Neal was the Associate Producer for the NY EMMY Awards, as well as Stage Manager for the National EMMY Awards and the International Film & Television Festival Awards.
CHERYL WIESENFELD Following a career in publishing, Cheryl began her theatre producing career in 1998. Broadway: The Great Society, The Heidi Chronicles, All The Way, Rocky, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, A Steady Rain, Legally Blonde, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 'night Mother, Caroline or Change, Elaine Stritch At Liberty, and Hedda Gabler. Off Broadway: 10th Anniversary Exonerated, Play Dead, In The Continuum, Shockheaded Peter, Talking Heads, The Exonerated, The Waverly Gallery. Film: Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me. Current: Ain't Too Proud- The Temptations musical. Upcoming: The Harder They Come. Cheryl has produced shows that have spawned national and international tours and sit down productions, regional productions, and London engagements which have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars. Cheryl has won numerous awards for her productions including the Drama League, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics Awards and 4 Tony Awards. She has been honored by Theater Resources Unlimited with "The Spirit of Theater" award in 2007, and The Houses on The Moon Amplify 2015 Award for her support in championing the unheard voice. Her board commitments: Theater Resource Unlimited where she co-founded the TRU mentorship program. The program to date has mentored over 200 commercial producers and self producing artists. Cheryl is on the board of Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut, and is on the Honorary Council of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven Connecticut. Cheryl continues her mentoring work and speaks at universities, on panels and for different organizations. She is in her second year of curating a theatre program with the title - Theatre that changes OUR World- at The Quick Center at Fairfield University.
Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-seven-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies.
TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program taught by prominent producers and general managers in New York theater and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop business skills. TRU serves writers through a Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab; programs for actors include the Annual Combined Audition.
Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported by The Storyline Project, the Montage Foundation and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation. For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit www.truonline.org.