Event Details
  • May 14, 2016
    10:00 am - 5:30 pm
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Practical Playwriting: How to Write for Commercial Production

Saturday May 14th, 10am to 5:30 pm
The Playroom Theater, 151 W. 46th St., 8th Floor

What often holds playwrights back is that they rarely consider the person who will buy and produce their product: the producer.  With all the work, hope and sweat they invest in considering character, theme and plot, playwrights rarely take into account producibility.

Click here to download application. Please fill out and send to TRUStaff1@gmail.com

This one-day intensive will be taught by Diana Amsterdam (The Dodgers, Fast Girls, Sex and Death, Carnival Round the Central Figure), TRU's Program Director for Playwrights. With segments of the workshop taught by commercial producer Patrick Blake (The 39 Steps, My Life Is a Musical, Bedlam Theater's Hamlet/St. Joan, The Exonerated, In the Continuum, Play Dead)  founding artistic director of Rhymes Over Beats, TRU's Bob Ost and Gary Hughes offering marketing insights and Gillien Goll who will teach you how to present yourself successfully.

The day ends with a panel of commercial producers who will offer feedback on writers' pitches as well as suggest appropriate markets for the works. Panelists will include producers Pat Addiss (Gigi, Buyer and Cellar, A Christmas Story the musical, Promises, Promises, Little Women), Patrick Blake (The 39 Steps, My Life Is a Musical, Bedlam Theater's Hamlet/St. Joan, The Exonerated, In the Continuum, Play Dead)  founding artistic director of Rhymes Over Beats, RK Greene of The Storyline Project (A Time to Kill, Peter & the Starcatcher), Robin Rothstein, director of Operations at Broadway Across America and Lorenzo Thione of Sing Out, Louise! Productions, lead producer of Broadway's Allegiance, also associate producer of Slava's Snowshow, Green Day's American Idiot and the tour of Xanadu.

‚ÄĘ WHAT IS PRODUCIBILITY? The fact that producers always ask this question, and playwrights hardly ever do, causes a serious disconnect between the commercial producer and most playwrights.

‚ÄĘ WRITING TO A MARKET - We will ask each playwright questions he or she has probably never considered before: Who is your market? Who is going to buy tickets? Who is this play written for?

‚ÄĘ WRITING VIABLY - Creating writing that holds the attention of the audience with a strong storyline and defined events. This module will cover such primary writing elements as: arc, desire, motivation, conflict, and the clear delineation of theme.

‚ÄĘ WRITING ECONOMICALLY - Number of characters, number of sets, extravagance of sets: all these are serious considerations for most commercial producers.¬† Does the play require a casting director, or can it be done successfully by seasoned unknowns?¬† Is there a¬† chorus of thirty that can be pared down to two?¬† Are you kidding yourself when you think one actor can play eight parts?


Schedule (subject to change):

10:30am-11:30 How to Write a Play that a Producer Wants to Produce - Playwriting craft and structure taught by Diana Amsterdam

11:30-12:15 How to Tackle the Business of Playwriting - taught by Diana Amsterdam
Getting an agent, submitting work, the difference between nonprofit and commercial venues, unusual ways to get your work noticed.

12:15-1:00pm Practical Considerations: What Things Cost, What Producers Look For - practical guidelines taught by Patrick Blake

1:00-2:00 Lunch Break

2:00-3:15 Getting to the Essence: A Good Synopsis and How to Pitch It - taught by Bob Ost and Gary Hughes, working with each writer individually to discover the compelling "saleable" essence of your work

3:15-4:15 Practicing Your Pitch - taught by Gillien Goll
                  Reducing Stress, Increasing Confidence
                   Physical Ed: Body Language, Focus, Eye Contact
                   Pitching with Passion

4:15-4:30 Break

4:30-5:30 Identifying Your Market - an inter-active "pitch" session with feedback from producers 

Participants receive the Practical Playwright's Guide: A Take-Home Handout - including exercises in Play Structure and Story Truths, Examples of Query Letters, Loglines, and Synopses; Costs of Various Components of a Production including Actors' Fees, Costumes, Sets and More; a list of great New York theaters for rent; Invaluable Websites for Playwrights, and a list of Playwright Workshops.


    is a producer, most recently of Eclipsed (6 Tony noms). Other Broadway productions include A Christmas Story the Musical, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Promises, Promises, The 39 Steps, Bridge & Tunnel, Passing Strange, Spring Awakening, Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life and Little Women. Off-Broadway: Buyer and Cellar, Shout the Mod Musical and Housewives of Mannheim. She has produced several readings for the TRU Voices Series including Sparks, Cheese, and the musical At the Back of the North Wind. Ms. Addiss served for many years on the board of Theater Resources Unlimited, and was the 2010 recipient of the TRU Spirit of Theater Award. Ms. Addiss is a member of The Broadway League. On the board of NJ Rep and the League of Professional Theatre Women, at present she is working on Vox Lumiere Phantom of the Opera off-Broadway, Loves of Picasso in London, and the solo show Top Drawer, and the hottest off Broadway show Desperate Measures at the York, and now at New World Stages. Her new venture is speaking to Women's Groups "How to Reinvent Yourself." 



    is a producer of the Tony Award winning Broadway and off-Broadway hit Peter & the Starcatcher as well as Farinelli and the King, A Time to Kill and Harmony, by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman.  In addition to his business career, he was a founding member of the Seattle Group Theatre, a multi-cultural ensemble that produced its own work. In 2000, he founded The StoryLine Project, LLC, a commercial theater production company, to develop new plays and musicals. SLP made its debut as an above line producer for the Off Broadway hit, Room Service, and went on to produce Love Child, by Daniel Jenkins and Robert Stanton, Cougar: The Musical, and Terms of Endearment with Molly Ringwald.  In the non-profit world, R.K. is the Marketing Director at The Directors Company and helped to transfer Irena’s Vow to Broadway and produced several shows at 59E59 Theaters. Currently in development is the new musical Beau by Douglas Lyons and Ethan D. Pakchar. The world premiere album is available on the Sony Masterworks label, www.StoryLineProject.com. 


    is a commercial theatre professional and writer based in New York. Producing credits include: Mad Libs Live! (World Premiere Off-Broadway/New World Stages) which will launch a national tour in 2017 represented by the booking agency, Brad Simon Organization. Mad Libs Live! was also picked up by the esteemed Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagem Company (R&H) for publication and inclusion in their licensing catalog. In addition to co-producing Mad Libs Live!, Robin is also the show’s book writer and lyricist. Other producing: The award-winning When Last We Flew by Harrison David Rivers (FringeNYC 2010) and The Average-Sized Mermaid by Jessica Fleitman (FringeNYC 2011.) Robin is also Director of Operations at Broadway Across America, the leading presenter of touring Broadway, with a presence in 40 regional markets, and she was formerly a Booking Associate at The Road Company where she booked the North American tour of famed illusionist, David Copperfield. She is a member of the advisory board for the historic Cherry Lane Theatre, Chair of the Arts & Institutions Committee for Community Board 2 Manhattan and a proud graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.


    has been part of the production team of numerous productions on and off Broadway since 2008. His Broadway and Touring credits include the 2008 Broadway production of Slava’s Snowshow and the 2009 Broadway debut Green Day’s American Idiot, both of which were nominated for Tony Awards as best productions in their respective categories, as well as the national tour of Xanadu (all as Associate Producer). As the lead producer of Allegiance, Lorenzo assembled an experienced and veteran Broadway team, and brought a fresh and creative perspective to the challenges of commercial theater production. Mr. Thione is an experienced entrepreneur, a product and marketing expert, and is the co-founder and Chief Executive of The Social Edge, an innovative media & digital marketing company that spearheaded the marketing and social media reach for both George Takei’s brand and Allegiance.