NOLA Rehearsal Studio
244 W. 54th St., 11th fl.
Note: we are starting one hour earlier than usual so you can get home in time for the Oscars!
You meet a producer at a party, and have two minutes to interest him 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. Relationships.
I participated in TRU's Writer's Speed Date Pitch session last year, and got a LOT out of it! I found it so motivating to have a deadline to create production assets and prepare myself for meeting producers. My partner and I worked tirelessly for days before the event to make sure we were in top form before presenting (as writers) to the "producers" on hand. My experience was one of the rare occasions where several producers expressed real interest in my work. Later, one attended my reading, and followed up with a coffee meeting to talk financing. We're still in touch. Again, this is never promised, but it does happen for some of us. In my opinion, the price of $85 for all that value is a BARGAIN! ~Ed Zareh
The speed date was essential to my production, helped me learn how to communicate about my work. ~Yaakov Bressler
I've had follow-up meetings with two people I met from the event. and provided scripts to three others. I also met some fellow playwrights, and through a chain of introductions coming out of that, I'm now working on a possible film deal in Los Angeles. If you have a project where you'd like to practice and receive feedback on your pitch; potentially make some connections that would be useful for script development or early production; and meet some other playwrights -- this is an ideal opportunity. ~William Roetzheim
Click here for application. Please fill out and email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com (PLEASE - put "Speed Date" in the file name) - we already have a nearly full lineup of producers, so check them out below, and apply early!
We'll have eleven producers lined up, from both the commercial and not-for-profit worlds, all with an interest in new projects; we also may have eleven aspiring producers from our Producer Development program. So you'll be pitching to as many as 22 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 snacks afterwards?
Confirmed producers include:
- Deborah Pautler, co-founder/co-artistic director, Open Hydrant Theater Company
- Rashad Chambers, producer (It Happened in Key West, Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting, the world premiere of The Erlkings)
- Jane Dubin, producer (Tony winning The Norman Conquests, Farinelli and the King, Bandstand, Peter and the Starcatcher, An American in Paris, Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, The 39 Steps, Ann)
- Gene Fisch, Jr., producer (High with Kathleen Turner), founder of the New York New Works Theater Festival
- William Franzblau, producer (upcoming Rocktopia, TONY Nominated Best Play Say Goodnight Gracie, American Buffalo and Wonderland on Broadway, the tour of Little House on the Prairie the Musical; off-Broadway This One's for the Girls, Sistas, Jewtopia, Evil Dead the Musical, Illuminate)
- Alexa Kelly, artistic director Pulse Ensemble Theatre
- John Melo, theater and film producer (On the Town)
- Shaun Peknic (artistic director) & Vinny Eden Ortega, (asst. artistic director), Planet Connections Festivity
- Lawrence D. Poster/Asparagus Entertainment, producer (Rags, Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging, Fingers and Toes)
- Ken Waissman, producer (Grease, Torch Song Trilogy, Agnes of God, Josephine)
- Frank Zuback, producer (Taking Leave, American Soldier, Roof of the World)
- Cate Cammarata
- Samantha Saltzman
Trailing Producers: Karen Bishko, Lora Danley*, Sue Gilad* (Angels in America at the Neil Simon Theatre, Natasha, Pierre..., M. Butterfly, Disaster! The Musical, Significant Other and Doctor Zhivago; Cagney off-Broadway; upcoming The Other Josh Cohen), Ann Harson*, Richard Rizzo*, Ed Zareh* plus others to be announced
* member or graduate of TRU's Producer Development & Mentorship Program (PDMP)
RASHAD V. CHAMBERSis a global producer, talent manager and lawyer. He recently produced the world premiere of It Happened In Key West at the Charing Cross Theatre in London. His Broadway productions include American Son, The Inheritance, Betrayal and Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations. In addition, Rashad produced the world premiere of The Erlkings at the Beckett Theatre in New York. He also produced an independent romantic comedy entitled True to the Heart, which won five awards at the Long Island International Film Expo and was an official selection of the Big Apple Film Festival. His short films, Hunger and Click, were official selections of the Urbanworld Film Festival, Hollywood Black Film Festival and Pan African Film Festival. Rashad is currently developing a TV series with Stacy Sutphen, Damon Sharpe, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and Electus. He has also developed and produced concerts series at 54 Below, 42West, Ars Nova and the 92Y in Tribeca. A licensed attorney in New York and Connecticut, Rashad earned his JD and MBA degrees from The Ohio State University and BA in Business Administration from Morehouse College. He is the Founder and President of Esquire Entertainment, a New York based talent management and production company. www.esquireentertainment.com
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 Master Class. Ms. Dubin is Chair of the Board of Directors of Houses on the Moon Theater Company. She is a member and recent Board member of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a member of the Broadway Women’s Alliance and the Off-Broadway League. For two years she was co-curator of the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center New Play Reading Series. She co-produced Hudson River Rising, presenting events in Westchester for One Billion Rising (V-Day). She was a strategic consultant to SPACE on Ryder Farm, an artists’ residency in Brewster, NY and a member of the Grand Jury for New York Musical Festival’s 2015 – 2019 seasons. She served as an evaluator for a NAMT innovation grant panel and is a juror for Bethany Arts Community residency program. She is a frequent panelist and guest lecturer on theater-related matters. Before embarking on her career in theater, Ms. Dubin spent over 20 years in the financial services industry. Productions: Upcoming: The Village of Vale. Recent: Is This A Room, Dana H., The Prom (Drama Desk Award Best Musical), Farinelli and the King (starring Mark Rylance, nominated for 5 Tony Awards), An American in Paris (4 TONY Awards, plus London and National Tour), Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Westside Theater and on Tour), Ann, starring Holland Taylor (Lincoln Center); Bandstand (Broadway), Beebo Brinker Chronicles (2008 GLAAD Media Award for Theatre); Groundswell (the New Group), Peter and the Starcatcher (Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tour), winner of 5 TONY Awards; The Norman Conquests (TONY Award, Best Play Revival), The 39 Steps (OB, Tour); The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (London). Film: Radium Girls.
GENE FISCH JR.
has been a passionate fan of the arts his entire life. Though only as a hobby these past ten years, he has either produced, directed, or invested in 100+ shows during that span, most all at the Off Broadway and Broadway levels. Philanthropy being his primary focus, he was the lead producer for Carnegie Hall performance / Album that donated the proceeds to establish music programs in NYC schools. He has two television pilots in his repertoire, one of which was his directorial debut that was funded for four episodes by a group who worked for ABC. Fisch is particularly fond of his work directing the Off Broadway parody of the television show, “Dexter”. Subsequent to being part of the Broadway producing team for High starring Kathleen Turner, Gene founded The New York New Works Theatre Festival, helping over 1,000 artists by giving them a shot on a top tier stage (historically the Duke and Acorn Theaters). Three shows from NYNW’s stages are on their way to Broadway and one (“12 Angry Voices” produced by his mentor and panelist, Lauren Class Schneider) is generating traction for its national tour. Submissions are free and NYNW outlays most all of the upfront costs with the hopes that the NYNW stage is only the first step of the project's journey (Numerous shows have moved forward). Every submission is reviewed by at least one Broadway producer. Gene has led a wonderfully diverse career outside of the arts and currently teaches Engineering Technogenesis at the Stevens Institute of Technology. "The bottom line is that theatre is awesome and if there is a way that we can help someone take their art to the next level while having a ton of fun, we’re all in!" nynwtheatrefestival.com
created and produced the recent Broadway Rocktopia, the Tony Nominated Best Play Say Goodnight Gracie, produced David Mamet’s American Buffalo on Broadway, and the tour of Little House on the Prairie the Musical starring Melissa Gilbert. He also served as the Executive and Lead Producer for Broadway’s Wonderland. He licensed and produced the off-Broadway shows, SISTAS the Musical (recently shot and broadcast on BET, now in its sixth year off Broadway), This One's for the Girls, Jewtopia, Evil Dead the Musical, the male intellect: an oxymoron, Respect and ILuminate (America’s Got Talent Finalist) while developing several Broadway shows including Paramount’s Crazy People and the new Rupert Holmes play, Kennedy/Reagan. He produced and Co-Directed Rocktopia for the 2016 PBS National Pledge Broadcast with a 2017 tour. As Chief Executive Officer of the high technology company, KATrix Inc. he created strategic alliances with the Walt Disney Company, Microsoft Corporation, MGM and the Intel Corporation. In the early nineties, Mr. Franzblau co-founded Interfilm Inc., a publicly traded company combining interactive technologies with cinematic art. He was the driving force in putting together an $18 million initial public offering underwritten by Smith Barney and subsequently facilitated the sale of the company via a reverse triangular merger with Palatin Technologies, Inc. From 1990 through 1992 Mr. Franzblau served as producer of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles touring show, a 21-month tour involving 500 appearances in 200 cities and 10 countries, for which he managed all aspects of the business development and operations. The tours grossed over $60 million in sponsorships, ticket sales and merchandising as well as spinning off a double platinum record and a national pay-per-view. Previous to the above Mr. Franzblau served as Executive Producer of three tours of the Moscow Circus on Broadway and North America and produced the touring productions of BEATLEMANIA. In 2021 he produced MANSlaughter (episodic podcast) which reached # 1 podcast in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.
Acting Coach, is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director for Pulse Ensemble Theatre. She has worked as an acting teacher and director for the past 30 years. She taught acting and directing at the University of North Carolina, University of Michigan, Alliance Theater Acting School, Walnut Street Theatre Acting School, Harlem Theatre Company. Since being in New York City, Alexa has directed extensively at Pulse Ensemble Theatre, Adelphi University, and Tisch School of the Arts, Playwrights Department. She founded and directed 15 seasons of the very popular Harlem Summer Shakespeare in Harlem. She coaches acting for graduate school admissions, scene work and play performances. Her acting coaching focuses on all aspects of the craft: the voice, the body and the technique. She works extensively with acting coaching for Shakespeare, and has made many students who thought they could not handle Shakespeare at all say “Wow! That really was easy!” www.AlexaKellyDirector.com
was the Associate Director for Once the Musical (Broadway, National Tours, West End, Toronto, Dublin). He was the recipient of The Lee Strasberg Directing Fellowship to direct Crystal Skillman’s Pulp Vérité for The Clifford Odets Ensemble Play Commission, he is an alumnus of NYU and the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, teaches directing at NYU/Playwrights Horizons Theater School, and serves as Director of Education & Artistic Associate at Musical Theatre Factory. He is a theater director with a focus on the development of new plays and musicals. Select directing credits: Manifest Pussy (Joe's Pub/North Carolina Rebel Tour); The Birds/The Receptionist (Cortland Repertory Theatre); I’m A Lot Like You (Salty Brine’s Spectacular Living Record Collection); Pulp Vérité (2015 Lee Strasberg Institute Directing Fellow); Comes a Faery (Nylon Fusion Theatre Company); Sherlock Holmes & the West End Horror (Cortland Repertory Theatre, nominated Best Director 2015 SALT Awards); One Night In New York! (Musical Theatre Factory); A Snowfall in Berlin (Nylon Fusion Theatre Company); Pageant Princess (Bleecker Street Theater); The Girl with the Red Balloon (The Tank); Must Be the Music (ArsNova); Chaser (New York Fringe Festival); Aimless (Theatre Row); A Streetcar Named Desire (New York University). Shaun is an alumnus of NYU and the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, a member of SDC and serves as the Artistic Associate and Director of Education at Musical Theatre Factory. Shaun is on the directing faculty at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School/NYU.
VINNY EDEN ORTEGA
is a New York City-based director and arts administrator currently serving as the Founding Artistic Director of The Dare Tactic, Associate Artistic Director of Planet Connections Theatre Festivity and as an Artistic Assistant for The Drama League of New York. As a producer Ortega has focused on the development of new works at various stages of progress. He has produced works at WOW Cafe Theatre, ShapeShifter Lab, St. Paul’s Theatre, Pace University, The White Horse Tavern, and Melville Gallery. As a director his work has been seen at the Wild Project, Exploriment Festival (Bangkok), Theatre Row, Dixon Place, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and more. vinnyedenortega.com
is a proud Co-Founder and Company Manager of Open Hydrant Theater Company, the first Equity Ensemble Theater in the Bronx. For the last 4 years, our company has produced 8 equity shows, creating opportunities for the youth and adult in the South Bronx and changing lives. I am also a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, retired Supreme Court Reporter and Reiki healer. Moving to New York City in 2000 to pursue my dream and passion of acting, I am rewarded every day when I see the faces of the children and members of the community mirroring the joy that is shared when they find their voices on stage and connect with the energy of the audience telling their stories. I am blessed to be surrounded by incredibly talented colleagues and artists who inspire and motivate me constantly. Learning new things and meeting new people to build relationships with is key to life and I embrace it daily.
LAWRENCE D. POSTER
is the Founder, Managing Member and Lead Producer of Asparagus Entertainment, LLC. He has been Associate Producer of 4 Off-Broadway Shows: Forbidden Broadway, Alive and Kicking – on almost everyone’s Top 10 List (2012-13); Forever Dusty (2012-13); Becoming Dr. Ruth (2014); and Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging (2014). He also was lead Producer of Fingers & Toes, developing it in New York and licensing it for 2 Regional Productions (2013, 2014). He is currently assisting Producers with several new plays and Musicals and is Lead Producer of The Harlem Ladies’ Knittin’ and Bitchin’ Society (www.harlemladies.com), now in development. His producing debut began with Rags, the 1986 Charles Strouse, Stephen Schwartz, Joe Stein musical of immigrants on the Lower East Side, which Mr. Poster hopes one day to return to Broadway. In addition to theater, Lawrence has also pursued a career in Management Consulting, Executive Search and Investment Banking. Lawrence is an Alumnus of numerous CTI courses, including the 14-Week Program, which at the time he attended was 16 weeks. He is or has been a Member of the Off-Broadway Alliance, The Off-Broadway Theatre League and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT), and has been a supporter of the New York Musical Festival (NYMF) – Platinum Supporter – 3 years; Playwrights Horizons and Amas Musical Theatre. He is also a veteran Member of the Amateur Comedy Club performing on its stage, most notably as Sergeant Match in What the Butler Saw.
is one of only two producers in the history of Broadway to have a musical run over 3000 performances and a play run over 1000. (The other producer he shares this distinction with is the legendary David Merrick.) Waissman developed and produced the original Broadway production of Grease as well as two of Broadway’s longest running plays, Agnes of God by John Pielmeier and Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein.Waissman's first Broadway credit was the 1971 Paul Zindel play And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little with Estelle Parsons and Julie Harris, and his prolific Broadway efforts have resulted in four motion picture features, a PBS TV special, 25 Tony Award® nominations, and 5 Tony Awards® including a Tony Award® as ‘Best Play Producer.’ His new musical, Josephine, inspired by Josephine Baker, had its World Premiere in April at the Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. Deborah Cox played the title role and Joey McKneely directed and choreographed.
was the Lead Producer for Moolah, a new comedy by Arje Shaw (The Gathering). Currently he is helping develop three new works: Taking Leave, American Soldier and Roof of the World. Frank has also had the great privilege of working on a number of shows and projects with the late director Tom O’Horgan (Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair). In addition, he has worked on over twenty musicals and was involved for thirty years on the Tony Awards. Also involved in the music and entertainment industry, Frank has worked with luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, conducted the Count Basie Orchestra, and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and consulted on nine Super Bowl half-time shows. Mr. Zuback founded Frank Zuback Productions, which provides a wide range of services in the music and entertainment industry. Website - http://fzpi.com
is a Grammy and Tony Award-winning theatre producer. Broadway credits include: Angels in America (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play); Moulin Rouge!, Jagged Little Pill (Grammy Award), Company (starring Patti LuPone). Off-Broadway: The Other Josh Cohen, A Commercial Jingle For Regina Comet. UK tour of Rock of Ages. West End production of The Last Five Years. New musical The Outsiders will premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. In development: Burlesque. Sue runs the US division of Creative Rights International, and is the Recruitment Co-Chair of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. She is passionate about arts education and loves taking her children to age-inappropriate shows. Visit www.InFineCompany.com for more info.
RICHARD RIZZOis the Producer/Director of the Rhinebeck Readers Theatre. He recently produced staged readings of 4,000 Miles and the The Velocity of Autumn as well as a production of Popcorn for a short play festival. In Their Own Words: The Roosevelt's was written, produced and directed by him at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, New York. Currently, he is directing a new musical Fragile Explosion. Nina Simone. The Celebration of a Life of Genius.
Ed's production experience is mainly on screen. He has researched, written and co-produced several documentaries, including the Emmy Award nominated Saturday Night Live documentary, Live From New York! for SNL Studios. His original piece about comedy director Del Close aired on National Public Radio to over one million listeners. At Second City’s New Media office in Los Angeles, Ed co-founded Shoot Club, where he wrote and produced short comedies appearing on The Second City Network, YouTube and Funny or Die. Back in New York, Ed has worked on multiple projects with the ground breaking immersive theater group, Third Rail Projects. He is a regular at Commercial Theater Institute (CTI) and Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU), where he is training in TRU’s Producers Development & Mentoring Program (PDMP).
is an Off-Broadway producer, director and dramaturg in NYC specializing in the development of new plays and musicals, and has been the Literary Manager for Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) for ten years. She is the Founder and Executive Producer of CreateTheater's New Works Festival and Artistic Director of The Experts Theater Company. Her company CreateTheater.com has developed and produced dozens of new plays and musicals since its founding in 2016. Off-Broadway: The Assignment, My Father's Daughter. Regional: My Life Is a Musical (Bay Street Theater), Bran Castle (Porchlight Theater). In development: Atlantis (book by Ken Cerniglia & Scott Morris, music & lyrics by Matthew Robinson), The Falling Season, a new hip hop musical by international hip hop legend Masta Ace,. During the shutdown of 2020-2022 CreateTheater developed and/or produced more than 70 shows with online readings, workshops and dramaturgical guidance. For this work Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) has honored her with the TRU Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2022. Cate holds a BFA in Acting/Directing from Syracuse University and an MFA in Dramaturgy at SUNY Stony Brook, and is Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at CUNY Baruch College. Her book, "Contemporary Monologues for a New Theater," published by Applause Books, was listed as one of the Top Ten Books for theater lovers by BroadwayDirect in 2018. www.CateCammarata.com www.CreateTheater.com
Current Directing Projects: Drama League Gala Honoring Steve Martin, and Bryant Park Christmas Skatetacular. Resident Director: Matilda the Musical (1st National Tour). Assistant Resident Director: Matilda the Musical (Broadway). Additional Associate/Assistant Directing credits: Southern Comfort (The Public), Sarah Brightman’s Dreamchaser World Tour, On the Town (Barrington Stage), An Iliad (National Tour), Academia Nuts, and multiple shows at NYMF and FringeNYC. Select Directing credits include: The Arkadina Project, Urinetown, 210 Amlent Ave, and Madam Fury’s Traveling Show. Drama League Directing Fellow. www.samanthasaltzman.