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Here's a chance to pitch your work to a roomful of serious producers ...
TRU Writer-Producer Speed Date
(The Art of the Pitch)

No, it's not really a "date." It's a quick way to meet over a dozen producers -
from beginner to Broadway level - and practice your pitching skills.

Sunday June 26th, 5:30pm and 6:30pm
deadline to apply: Friday June 17th

The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street, 3rd floor


Scheduled producers include:

Patrick Blake - off-Broadway (Play Dead, In the Continuum, The Exonerated)
Tracy Cameron Francis - Hybrid Theatre Works
Doug Denoff/Sutton Square Entertainment (Baltimore in Black and White, The 39 Steps, Peggy Sue Got Married, Beebo Brinker Chronicles)
Jane Dubin
- Broadway/off-Broadway producer (The 39 Steps, The Norman Conquests, Groundswell)
RK Greene/The Storyline Project
- off-Broadway (Room Service, Love Child, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
Sarahbeth Grossman - off-Broadway (The Irish Curse, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
Patricia Klausner - artistic director Shotgun Productions, producer (The Scottsboro Boys, Clear..., Santa Claus Is Coming Out, The Chaos Theories, Don't Hug Me)
Pam Koslow - Broadway (Jelly's Last Jam, Jane Eyre),
off-Broadway (Yank!, Captain Louie, How I Got That Story, Mona Rogers)
Michael Sgouros - theater owner, producer
Ken Waissman - Broadway (Grease, Agnes of God, Torch Song Trilogy)
Dauna Williams - producer (The Scottsboro Boys)

Click here for producer bios.
Click here
for the application in Word format.
Deadline for 6/26 Speed Date was 6/17. We accept submissions on an ongoing basis.

Email application to TRUnltd@aol.com
Evening limited to 22 writers.

Cost: $75 if accepted ($65 for TRU members)*

*WRITERS: If you are accepted into the Writer-Director Communications Lab,
and you also apply for this 6/26 Speed Date,
you will be guaranteed a slot and you can pay for both events with a 25% discount.

 Thank you for providing such an incredible opportunity!  I will admit I was completely terrified, but this was exactly what I needed.  In the process of preparing the pitch and materials I learned a lot about how to distill my play down to its essence.  Your guidance and comments were very helpful, as was the practice coaching before.  I learned a lot about how I can make my pitch better, and what questions I need to be better prepared to answer.  And the best part is, several producers expressed interest in my work!  I am so glad I was able to participate! ~Natalie Wilson, Sept '10

"Speaking as an out-of-town playwright I have to tell you that TRU’s writer/producer speed date program accomplished as much for me in one evening as I accomplish in a year of blind script submissions. The quality of the people participating – playwrights and producers -- was impressive and the program’s format of structured four-minute sessions with each producer was a godsend for me. Frankly, I’m a hopeless klutz at parties and other social situations where meetings with producers might happen casually or spontaneously, so when you created this concept of a concentrated four minutes devoted exclusively to the play and the producer, you liberated me from all those social bonding rituals at which I’m so awful. And I came away with the sense that, however brief it was, my plays finally got the stage I’ve hoped they would receive. I hope that, if you have more writer/producer speed dates, I can participate again." ~Sean O’Leary, Feb '09

"I thought the speed date was one of the best learning experiences I have ever had." ~ Toni Hart, Feb '09

CLICK HERE for more quotes from writers

You meet a producer at a party, and have two minutes to interest them 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 looking for new work. Okay, they probably won't option you on the spot, but you'll meet them and have the opportunity to start developing a relationship. And that's what this business is all about. We'll have nine producers lined up, from both the commercial and not-for-profit worlds, all with an interest in new projects; we also may have nine aspiring producers from our Producer Development program. So you'll be pitching to 18 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. And did we mention the wine and cheese afterwards? Click here to meet the producers.

ABOUT SPEED DATING. How does it work? 11 writers will arrive at 5:30, and we have two coaches coming who will coach the writers on their presentations. Then at 6:30, they go into the Pitch Room to meet the producers - one at each of the stations. We ring a bell, writers have two minutes to pitch. We ring a second bell, producers have two minutes to respond and ask questions, or give feedback. Writers bring a packet with a synopsis, bio, cast breakdown and production requirements to leave with each of the producers. If the project interests the producer, he may request that you send a full script.

Meanwhile, group two is in the Coaching Room getting coached for an hour starting at 6:30. Second group goes into the Pitch Room at 7:30. We estimate that pitches and turnaround should take about 50 minutes total for all eleven. We will have wine and cheese afterwards, so although the pitch sessions will end at around 8:20, we hope writers and producers will stay and chat informally until 9pm or so.

Yikes! Eleven writers pitching to eleven producers at one time? Think of it as the "cocktail party" pitch where you have to hold someone's interest with dozens of conversations going on around you. A little chaotic perhaps, but true to life.

WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING: A one-page (maximum) synopsis, a one-page writer/theater resume or bio, production history (including reviews), set and cast breakdown. You will need 22 sets, one for each of the producers. Make them nice - it's part of that all-important first impression.

ABOUT THE COACHES: we are bringing in two professional coaches to work with each writer on vocal technique, presentation skills and content. Click here to read about Bailie Slevin and Gillien Goll.

NOT EVERYONE WILL BE ACCEPTED. We will judge your application based on the viability of the project, your experience as a writer and the specific interests of the participating producers. If accepted into the program, the cost is $65 for TRU members and $75 for non-members (and yes, you can always join as a member to qualify for the discount).

Click here for the application in Word format.

Email application to TRUnltd@aol.com
Evening limited to 22 writers.

Click to return to top of page.
THE PRODUCERS - as of 6/22

PATRICK BLAKE is a writer/producer based in New York and San Francisco. In New York theater, he is 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. He is the Director of New Play Development for Dog Run Repertory.

"I'm mostly looking for plays about serious subjects (the unfair legal system, AIDS, our feelings about death) that use non traditional ways of telling the story."

TRACY CAMERON FRANCIS is the co-artistic director of Hybrid Theatre Works, in addition to working as a free-lance director and producer. Producing credits include Psalms of A Questionable Nature (NY Fringe), A Marriage Proposal (Cairo, Egypt), as well as the producer for Hybrid Theatre Works "Artist Response Forum" new performance series.  As a director she has worked with Williamstown Theatre Festival, NYTW, LaMama, Terra Nova Collective, International WOW, Monarch Theatre, Curious Frog, Negro Ensemble Co. among others. She works extensively in new play and comedy development. She has been involved with the NY Arab American Comedy Festival for the past 7 years, in addition she has worked at Saturday Night Live. She has presented at the "Arts in One World" conference at Brown University, and the "Theatre In Conflict Zones" conference at LaMama which she was also one of the organizers. She has a B.A. from Fordham University at Lincoln Center, and was a participant in LaMama's International Directing Symposium in Italy. 

Hybrid Theatre Works is a growing network of theatre artists, scholars and activists dedicated to deepening the role of theatre in peace-building efforts internationally and within our own communities. Hybrid Theatre Works creates innovative events and programming at the intersection of theatre and peace-building. Committed to: international exchange, conflict resolution, and social justice through performance.

DOUGLAS DENOFF/Sutton Square Entertainment was nominated for the Tony Award as a producer of The 39 Steps, the hit comedy by Patrick Barlow based on the Hitchcock film, which ran over three years on Broadway; the longest-running play in over 7 years. Denoff was also a producer on Beebo Brinker Chronicles, the critically acclaimed off-Broadway play now currently being developed as a television series for HBO. He is producing the Broadway musical of the acclaimed film Peggy Sue Got Married, featuring music by Jersey Boys composer Bob Gaudio, book by the film's authors Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner, and lyrics by Leichtling; and  Baltimore in Black And White, a new comedy by Jason Odell Williams. www.peopledonthugenough.com

  JANE DUBIN is a TONY Award winning producer and the President of Double Play Connections, a theatrical production and management company committed to supporting emerging artists and playwrights in the creation and development of new works. Jane is a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute's 14-week (NYC) and O’Neill Center Intensive (CT) Producing Workshops and Director of Theater Resources Unlimited’s Producer Development Program. Current: unFRAMED by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo.  Recent Productions: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (London), The 39 Steps, The Norman Conquests (7 TONY nominations, winner - TONY, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, Best Play Revival), Groundswell (the New Group), starring Larry Bryggman, David Lansbury and Souleymane Sy Savane; Beebo Brinker Chronicles at 37 Arts (2008 GLAAD Media Award for Theatre). National tour: The 39 Steps. Other: OPA! at TBG Theatre (Best Commercial Production, MITF 2008 (NY); TRU Voices Award for Most Promising New Musical 2007), Take Me America by Bill Nabel and Bob Christianson (Best Musical, MITF 2007), Count Down, by Dominique Cieri, at the Bank Street Theatre and the one-woman show, MentalPause by Margaret Liston, at the WorkShop Theatre (MITF 2006), DTW Studios and Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia
R.K. GREENE is an entrepreneur having started several businesses over the years. A theatre professional since 1978, he was a founding member of the Seattle Group Theatre, a multi-cultural ensemble that produced its own work. As an actor, he appeared in numerous productions Off-off Broadway, on tour and in regional theater, producing several projects including a multi-state tour of Mass Appeal. In 2000, he founded The StoryLine Project LLC, a commercial theater production company, to develop new plays and musicals. Projects in development have included Dearest Cousin, The Other Side of Newark, and Cougar! The StoryLine Project made its debut as an above line producer for the Off Broadway hit, Room Service, and went on to produce Love Child and the recent revival of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. In the non-profit world, R.K. is the Business/Marketing Director at The Directors Company, and helped to transfer Irena’s Vow to Broadway.

"Seeking dynamic stories for the commercial theater."

SARAHBETH GROSSMAN is President of Sobelle Productions and a Managing Member of Brooklyn Basement Theatricals, LLC.  Ms. Grossman served on the production team for Time Stands Still, and Ghetto Klown on Broadway and Umbrellas o Cherbourg in London’s West End.  She will be represented on Broadway fall of 2011 with the new comedy Stick Fly by Lydia Diamond, directed by Kenny Leon. Off-Broadway credits include the 60th anniversary revival of A Tree Grows In Brooklyn at the Peccadillo Theater Company, and the highly acclaimed comedy, THE IRISH CURSE by Martin Casella, directed by Matt Lenz.  Ms. Grossman’s producing career began at Yale Repertory Theater where she served as Associate Managing Director and managed the annual WinterFest of new plays.  She was Producing Director of the Los Angeles Stage & Film Company, where she produced the LA Premiere of Time On Fire: A Comedy Of Terrors by Evan Handler.  Film and television work includes stints at Showtime Networks and Viacom Pictures, production work on Me and Veronica directed by Don Scardino, Bohpa! directed by Morgan Freeman, Strapped directed by Forest Whitaker,  Threee Wishes and IOut to Sea (Associate Producer)  directed by Martha Coolidge.  Sarahbeth also served as VP of Development & Production for Ms. Coolidge’s Ozma Productions under a television development deal with Pearson Entertainment.   Ms. Grossman was Executive Director of Global Brand Strategy & Business Development at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, and spent a short time as VP of Marketing at Variety before forming Sobelle Productions. 

PATRICIA KLAUSNER has produced, written and assistant directed theater since 1990. She was a producer of the acclaimed Broadway shows The Scottsboro Boys and Stick Fly. As the Managing Director of Shotgun Productions, a theatrical non-profit, she has developed & produced theater, dance and operas. Productions include: Clear. . .A new musical experience (co-production with Dixon Place, Hendel Productions, Wayne Brady, Michele Crowley & Earl Dax), Santa Claus is Coming Out (co-production with Penguin Rep & Diverse City Theater), Marc Deaton in Vienna (classical concert, Schoenberg Center, Austria), The Lost Boy (co-production with QTIP & The Helen Hayes Theater in Nyack), Tristan und Isolde in Sofia (staged concert, Bulgaria), 24-Hour Drama-Thons, Big Kids, The Chaos Theories, Seduction (musical theater dance opera), Undivulged Crimes, Don't Hug Me (co-production with NJ Rep), Mia Michael's R.A.W. (dance concert), and Joined at the Head. Ms. Klausner has a Ph.D. in sociology and has taught women's studies, race relations, and criminology at the University of Delaware and Montclair State College. She held a seat on the University of Delaware's President's Commission on the Status of Women and was co-Chair of the Delaware Chapter of Sociologists for Women in Society. A graduate of CTI, she is a member of the Dramatist Guild and the TRU Producer Development & Mentorship Program.

"Looking for plays that speak to contemporary issues and have the power to enlighten or at least create dialogue."

PAMELA KOSLOW co-produced YANK! the musical at the York Theatre (nominated as best musical of the year by the Outer Critics Circle and the Lucille Loertal Award); and JANE EYRE THE MUSICAL at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in NY, having shepherded the project from a workshop in Wichita, Kansas, to a production in Toronto, Canada to one at The La Jolla Playhouse in California and finally to Broadway.  Her additional Broadway credits include the Tony® Award-winning musical JELLY'S LAST JAM written by George C. Wolfe and starring Gregory Hines.  Ms. Koslow produced FLOATING RHODA AND THE GLUEMAN written by Eve Ensler, author of the long-running and internationally–acclaimed VAGINA MONOLOGUES. She served as executive producer for HANDSHAKE, a new American play premiered off Broadway in  Manhattan and was a producing consultant for THE HENRY PROJECT, based on the music of Henry Mancini, conceived and directed by Otis Sallid.  Other producing credits include SMART ALECK, MONA ROGERS, and HOW I GOT THAT STORY. Her most recent production was CAPTAIN LOUIE, based on the children’s book by Ezra Jack Keats, music by Stephen Schwartz, presented at The York Theater in Manhattan.

MICHAEL SGOUROS is owner of The Players Theatre. The facility includes, a main stage 248 seat Off-Broadway theatre, a 50 seat black box theatre, 4 rehearsal studios, an office suite for arts organizations and the famous Cafe Wha?, which has been a Greenwich Village mainstay since the 1960's. A native New Yorker, Michael has enjoyed performing in a variety of musical settings which have included the Broadway productions of The Secret Garden, Falsettos, The Goodbye Girl, Sunset Boulevard, Miss Saigon and Phantom of the Opera. Mr. Sgouros has served as producer/composer for the Off-Broadway show The Selfish Giant and has worked professionally as drummer/percussionist with Eartha Kitt, Mandy Patinkin, Michael Rupert, Bernadette Peters, Martin Short, Danny Aiello, Michael Kamen, Alison Janney, Laura Linney, Jake Weber and Richard Thomas. Currently, Michael is director of the percussion program at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY. In addition, he is producer/composer for the Off-Broadway show Treasure Island and the interactive Off-Broadway music production, Percussion People at The Players Theatre (www.theplayerstheatre.com).

"As a theatre owner, I am always interested in co-producing productions which might help fill out our calendar. Often these are productions which already have some support and just need a few extra concessions to get on their feet. In addition, shows that are interested in a recurring non-prime slots such as Mon-Wed evenings and late night Thur-Sat are shows which I have an interest in co-producing. These shows can run as little as once a week or even once a month."

KEN WAISSMAN is a Tony Award-winning theatre producer. Waissman's first Broadway credit was the 1971 Paul Zindel play And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little with Estelle Parsons and Julie Harris. The following year, while he and partner Maxine Fox were in Chicago, they attended Grease, a popular local play about high school life in the 1950s being performed at the Kingston Mines Theater in the Old Town section of the city. The two thought it would work better as a musical and encouraged its writers, Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, to relocate to New York City and embellish it with a score. The result was Grease, which Waissman and Fox mounted off-Broadway before transferring it uptown. It garnered him his first Tony nomination. He was nominated again for Over Here!; the third time proved to be the charm when he won not only a Tony but a Drama Desk Award as well for Torch Song Trilogy. Other credits include Agnes of God, The Octette Bridge Club. Asinamali!, Carrie - The Musical and Street Corner Symphony.
DAUNA WILLIAMS is a member of the Tony-nominated producing team, R2D2, which was one of the producers of 12 Tony-nominated The Scottsboro Boys.  She's currently developing and/or fundraising for other theatrical and film productions for Broadway, Off-Broadway and cable.   A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law,  Dauna is a practicing intellectual property/technology attorney.  She once founded Content360, a dot com that created interactive entertainment vehicles.  Dauna has not strayed from this vein, with her current avocation being mashable and other forms of multi-media theatre and related marketing.

Click to return to top of page.

THE COACHES

GILLIEN GOLL  has been teaching Public Speaking and Presentation techniques for over ten years. From her background as an actor, writer, director, and acting teacher, she has  derived a method for teaching others to present themselves powerfully and authentically.  Her clients hold a range of professions from soup (Campbell’s Soup) to nuts (discretion prevents identifying these!). Clients have appeared on such television programs as Oprah, Court TV, MTV, and The CBS Early Show.

As an acting teacher, she currently teaches both privately and at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). She has also taught at Fordham University among other institutions. Acting students have appeared on Broadway, tour, film, television, and commercials. She was recently brought up to Halifax, Nova Scotia, by ACTRA (the Canadian film, television, and radio union) to teach acting there.

BAILIE SLEVIN is currently a financial advisor with Forest Hills Financial Group, where she gives trainings on selling and pitching. She is currently on a mission to bring fiscal health and responsibility to the entertainment community. Member of AEA, League of Professional Theatre Women and The New York Coalition of Women in Arts and Media.  Bailie has stage managed, general managed and produced shows and events off-off Broadway, Off Broadway and Broadway that have won IT Awards, OBIE Awards, Drama Desk  and Tony Awards. 

MORE QUOTES FROM WRITERS WHO HAVE SPEED DATED WITH US

"The educational value of the Speed Date was truly helpful. I worked with Samantha, who was great. With her help, TRU helped me refine and polish my synopsis along with my pitch." ~ John Doble 

"The Speed Date was a terrific experience and once I relaxed into the rhythm and sense of it, I enjoyed myself a lot, which was a surprise. I will recommend this to other of my writing friends - I think they will really benefit from it." ~ Rebecca Ortese

"I wanted to say thank you for a terrific experience. I learned a lot and enjoyed meeting the producers. They were lovely, patient, and interested. The best thing for me was I learned what I didn't know. I was able to practice pitching, which was great. So, thank you. I just wrote all the writers in my theatre company and told them they should do it. And the reception was lovely, too." ~Pamela Scott

"You did a magnificent job on the speed date. It was an awesome experience and I really appreciate being part of it.." ~ Dorothy Marcic

"I just wanted to let you know once again how much I enjoyed the speed date Sunday night. As you promised, I really had my pitch down pat by the end of the evening. I can now pitch to anyone at anytime." ~Kathy Kafer

"Thank you so much for the great Speed Date evening. It was a blast and such a great opportunity to meet with the producers. They were incredibly open and gracious and it meant a lot to all of us nervous first-time "daters." The experience of pitching in that format was really helpful in getting across what our story was in a short, concise manner, finding a way to convey it passionately, and making sure our intentions were clear. Thanks, also, to our coach Karen. She was amazing and cut and slashed away at our long, drawn out speeches.... Your efforts on behalf of writers and producers are greatly appreciated." ~Marylee Martin, writer

"Thank you so much for this experience. As you well know we writers spend so much in our own little think tanks and the opportunity to meet so many interesting people - not even to mention the chance of having our work read, exposing ourselves to not just one but 22 producers is just invaluable! Everyone was kind, friendly and very positive - what a great energy in that building! On a personal note, I've always been intimidated by the verbal pitch (my brain freezes - now what was my play about?) so last night for me was a personal triumph. In short - what you've done is awesome." ~Michele Aldin-Kushner, Feb '09

"Thank you for making tonight happen and giving me an opportunity to meet so many accomplished producers. A special tip of the hat to Jane whose coaching session was so helpful. I think my pitch was strong - so much stronger than it would have been - and that's the important thing." ~John Doble

"Thanks for a fabulous "Speed Dating" event. I think the most helpful part of it was to get my collaborator, Wayne Barker, and I on the same page about exactly how to pitch our show and what to highlight when we talk about it together. Jane, our coach, was amazingly helpful and calming. By the end of the pitching hour, I was exhausted but enthused by the response to our pitch. You organized a great event and both Wayne and I look forward to participating in more TRU events in the future." ~Donna Kaz and Wayne Barker

"The producers were all engaging and supportive, and asked very concrete questions about cast and orchestra size, marketing opportunities, who's the audience, what other shows are like our show. As we worked our away around the circle, the pitch got more and more clear and concrete. Great fun - do it if you can!" ~Mark Sutton-Smith

"It was quite an amazing experience and quite helpful to the playwright. It is wonderful that there is an organization like TRU seeking to forward the interests of creative artists and the producers who bring their work to the stage." ~Marshall Tarley

"Speed Dating was very powerful for me. My learning and the powerful engagement with the producers helped me a great deal. While I would have loved sending the full script off to one of the producers, their excellent questions (each producer different by the way!) were so helpful. And their 'getting it' right away was also encouraging. And when something catches someone, then I will be less an outsider for having met these amazing people. Thank you thank you!" ~Mickey Bolmer



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