I’m a HUGE fan of new musical festivals. What could be better than spending days or even weeks immersing yourself in brand spankin’ new musical theater?! One of the biggest festivals in the country, the New York Musical Theatre Festival, is kicking off this week.
I’ve been checking out the roster and not only does there promise to be some great new musical theater, but these shows are helmed by some incredible entrepreneurs.
Here’s what some top-notch musical theater festival writers, producers and entrepreneurs are doing right…
- Spread the word early, often and everywhere! Many of this year’s NYMF participants started facebooking, e-newslettering (I know I invented a verb there), and tweeting the second they got word from NYMF that their show was selected. It takes a while to get on people’s radar so it pays to jump on it right away. Talk up your show’s performance dates, news, casting, venue, gossip, challenges, and successes early and often.
- Invite key industry contacts personally. Even with my best efforts, I can’t attend every new musical that looks interesting. However, a personal invitation from the writer or producer will ensure that even if I can’t attend, I’ll take a minute to look through the materials or website they’ve sent. A group invite or a tweet however, may get overlooked and never assume that just being in a festival will catch the eye of your targeted producer or agent.
- Don’t quit when the curtain comes down. At the end of the festival when you want nothing more than to curl up in an (air-conditioned) cave and sleep for a week, take one well deserved day off and then start on the follow ups. Thank anyone who came to the show – particularly people you personally invited. Then, send an update to those you invited who couldn’t attend letting them know what a smash hit they missed with photos and relevant quotes. Then think about how you can leverage your festival successes for next steps.
- Last but not least… enjoy the ride! Festivals are a unique opportunity to showcase your new musical: You’re given the chance to share your musical with the public but often with the bare minimum of sets, lights, costumes, musicians, time, load-in, etc. Accept that. Embrace it. Get creative. Make your show better for it. Congratulate yourself and your team often. And have fun!
To all of you with shows in NYMF, as well as the many other exciting new musical festivals this summer, break a leg! And to those of you who don’t, I hope you’ll join me at the theater as often as possible to support our talented and hard working colleagues.