Whether or not you live in NYC you probably dream of getting your musical on its feet in the city that never sleeps. However, when your musical is still in its infancy, don’t discount the advantages of working out the kinks in your hometown or a friendly city somewhere far from the bright lights of Broadway. Here are a handful of good reasons:
1. The price is right.
In NYC you’d be hard pressed to put together a high quality reading or developmental production on the cheap - the cost of musicians, actors, directors, and rehearsal/performance space can add up fast and doesn’t make financial sense too early in the process. Whereas in pretty much ANY other city you could still assemble a top notch local cast, but space is cheaper and you may find a welcoming local theater or university with funding to help. Developing new musicals is hot right now and a lot of theaters want in on the action. This takes the pressure off early drafts of your show and keeps costs down.
2. Your show is not perfect.
Every new musical starts out a little rough. Better to finesse and develop early versions away from the ever watchful eye of judgment that is hard to avoid in little ol’ Manhattan. If an early draft gets a bad reputation, it’s hard to shake, even if your musical goes from borderline to brilliant. Better to bring it onto the scene in the best shape possible.
3. You need to build your credibility.
New Yorkers have the chance to see a new show every day. It’s old hat and doesn’t particularly cause a stir. Do your new musical elsewhere, however, and local people notice. It becomes a special event and the opportunity to be part of a process that they don’t normally see. You’ll develop fans and followers who will come in handy later both emotionally and financially.
4. If your show is exciting enough, the key people will come to you.
I fly all over the country seeing new musicals and I always run into industry people in the most out of the way places. Not only does this give you an edge to see who makes the trip, it also gives you exclusive access to these people on your turf. They can’t slip out at the end to head back to their New York office. You may even get drinks after the show or run into each other in the next door coffee shop. Your new musical becomes a destination not just an afternoon on the job.
In short, let your new musical fall down and scrape its knees a few times in the safety of your own backyard. Save the bright lights and big city until your show has found its balance.
Don’t forget to post info about your readings and workshops in the comments below. Where ever you are in the country, we have readers who want to support your new musical!