Apply Now! Current New Musical Development Opportunities

Don't miss an opportunity to develop your new musical at one of the many fantastic organizations around the country. Pictured: Cloaked at Village Theatre

Happy 2012! This year, consider making it your New Year’s resolution to submit the new musical in your life to a new works festival or development opportunity. I’ve listed below a handful of excellent programs that are currently accepting submissions.

I know the wonderful people who run all of these programs and I can tell you from experience that their skill at supporting the development of new musicals is topped only by their passion for musical theater!

National Alliance for Musical Theater

Deadline: January 19 & February 23rd (see guidelines)
Official guidelines and application, click here!

This festival occurs every fall during the annual gathering of regional musical theater companies as well as many of New York’s top commercial producers. I’m there every year and can attest that this is a great way to get your new musical in front of the biggest players both in NYC as well as around the country. It’s highly competitive but the added bonus is that each submission is reviewed by the Festival Committee, a group of distinguished artistic directors and producers. This means that even if your show doesn’t make the final cut, it will still be read by top industry folks who may take a shine to your work and contact you directly.

Yale Institute of Musical Theater

Deadline: February 1st
Official guidelines and application, click here!

I only recently learned about this exciting opportunity for the development of new musicals through the Yale Institute for Music Theatre – not just for Yale alums! Writers/composers from all over the country are encouraged to apply. They accept submissions from current grad students or those who have completed their undergrad or grad training within the past 5 years (again, not Yale specific).

Village Theatre

Deadline: No specific deadline but decisions for the August festival are made in early spring.
Official guidelines and application, click here!

The talented folks at Village Theater in Issaquah, WA have an exceptional track record of developing new musicals that go on to become mainstage productions at their world class theater company or in the case of past festival shows like Next To Normal and Million Dollar Quartet, Broadway productions! I’ve been personally involved as the producer of their August Festival of New Musicals and it’s an opportunity not to be missed!


Deadline: No specific deadline but decisions for the August festival are made in early spring.
Official guidelines and application, click here!

Based in the heart of the tech start-up scene in Palo Alto, CA, the team at TheatreWorks has built an exciting and multi-faceted new works development program that includes writers retreats and an annual festival. I’ve attended their August New Works Festival and highly recommend checking it out.

So no excuses! Get your act together, so to speak, and send in your submissions.

Break a leg!

If you know of additional new musical festivals or development opportunities with upcoming deadlines that would be helpful to your fellow writers, please post them in the comments section below!

I’ll continue to provide periodic posts with submission deadlines for other development opportunities as they arise.


  1. Thanks Brisa, here’s another one that’s brand new- for folks like me who are about halfway through writing their show:

    The Pitch-Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival

    Up to twenty shows get to perform a 40-50 minute program in front of an audience four times. Kinda like a backer’s audition. There’s an opportunity for audience feedback, both live and written. And they’re taking up to twenty shows. Two shows will be performed each week, back to back on the same stage. Deadline is February 8th.

  2. Thanks for sharing this resource, Mahesh. Looks like a fantastic opportunity. Let us know if your show is part of their next festival!

  3. That article was interesting– I almost went to New College in Sarasota, Florida, and was very interested in Asolo Theater– back in 1977, lol. Nice to see how involved they are with new work. Btw, I spoke with Robert Kelley, founder and artistic director of Theatreworks when they announced their new season this year, and he said they had their New Works Festival picked before January.

    Currently getting my Kleban award entry ready.

  4. Hi Brisa,
    Thought I’d add the material from your lastest apply now post here, so everything’s available in one place. Hope you don’t mind.

    The American Theater Wing’s Jonathan Larson Grant
    Deadline: September 14th, 2012
    The Jonathan Larson Grants recognize and support emerging composers, lyricists and book writers. Recipients of the grant receive an unrestricted cash grant, a public performance of their work in spring 2013, and an invitation to participate in a residency at the Running Deer Musical Theatre Lab in Washington State for the summer of 2013.
    Apply here:

    CAP 21 Writers Residency
    Deadline: August 31, 2012
    The CAP21 Writers Residency is a two-week space residency in New York City for musical theater writers. Three times per year, 8-15 writers and/or writing teams are selected and provided with studio space and a piano to work on new material.
    Apply here:

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