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Event Details
  • Speed Date (you must be accepted prior to purchase)
    March 4, 2018
    4:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Writer-Producer Speed Date 03-04-18

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 ConquestsFarinelli and the King, BandstandPeter and the StarcatcherAn 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 GracieAmerican Buffalo and Wonderland on Broadway, the tour of Little House on the Prairie the Musical; off-Broadway This One's for the GirlsSistas, 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 (RagsForbidden 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)

Coaches:

  • Cate Cammarata
  • Samantha Saltzman

Trailing Producers: Karen BishkoLora Danley*, Sue Gilad* (Angels in America at the Neil Simon Theatre, Natasha, Pierre..., M. Butterfly, Disaster! The Musical, Significant Other and Doctor ZhivagoCagney 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)

Panelists
  • RASHAD CHAMBERS

    is 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 upcoming Broadway productions include American Son 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
  • 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 past Director of Theater Resources Unlimited’s Producer Development Program, and current Director of the program's Master Class. Current Broadway: The Prom beginning this fall.  Previously:  Farinelli and the King (5 Tony nominations)starring Mark Rylance, Bandstand, An American in Paris on Broadway (4 TONY Awards), National Tour and in London, Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Off Broadway and on Tour)Upcoming: Fingersmith. Previously: Peter and the Starcatcher (Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tour), winner of 5 TONY Awards; Ann, starring Holland Taylor (Lincoln Center); The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (London); The 39 Steps (OB, Tour); The Norman Conquests (TONY Award, Best Play Revival), Groundswell (the New Group), Beebo Brinker Chronicles (2008 GLAAD Media Award for Theatre). Other: OPA! at TBG Theatre (Best Commercial Production, MITF 2008), Take Me America (Best Musical, MITF 2007), Count Down, (Bank Street Theatre) and the one-woman show that started it all, MentalPause by Margaret Liston. Ms. Dubin is a full voting member of the Broadway League. She is Vice-President of the Board of Directors of Houses on the Moon Theater Company and a prior Board member of the League of Professional Theatre Women. 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 for One Billion Rising (V-Day) 2013 and 2014. She has been a member of the Grand Jury for NYMF from 2015 through the current 2018 season.

  • GENE FISCH JR.

    has had a diverse career while always holding dear a love for the arts.  Though his career is outside the world of entertainment, he's been able to be a part of some terrific projects always maintaining the philosophy of "doing versus talking".  He's produced on Broadway (High with Kathleen Turner), directed a television pilot picked up for four episodes, directed/produced the musical parody of Dexter (Off Broadway), consulted on casting for numerous shows, produced a Carnegie Hall concert donating all of the proceeds to instill music programs in the NYC school system and created the New York New Works Theatre Festival which provides playwrights the opportunity to have their work reviewed by legitimate decision makers and investors within the Broadway and television communities (every panelist is either a Broadway Producer, Emmy Winner, Tony Winner or leading industry professional.  Currently, there are 15+ shows advancing to the next level from the NYNW Festival receiving resources from panelists / Festival attendees.

  • WILLIAM FRANZBLAU

    created and produced 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-Braodway 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 currently is Producing and Co-Directing 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.

  • ALEXA KELLY

    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 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

  • SHAUN PEKNIC

    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

  • DEBORAH PAUTLER

     

    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.

  • KEN WAISSMAN

    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.

  • FRANK ZUBACK

    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

  • SUE GILAD

    is a theatre producer. Broadway credits include Angels in America (currently at the Neil Simon Theatre), Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 (nominated for 12 Tony Awards); M. Butterfly, Disaster! The Musical; Significant Other; and Doctor Zhivago. Sue produced Cagney off-Broadway at the York Theatre (which then transferred to the Westside Theatre for a year-plus run), and Popesical at the New York International Fringe Festival (Best of Fest Award). She is currently lead producer of A Taste of Things to Come in the Broadway in Chicago series, and plans to bring The Other Josh Cohen into NYC this coming year. Suzanne is an Associate Member of the Broadway League. Suzanne is the co-founder of Custom Broadway, a concert company that provides individualized, Broadway-level concerts and shows for theatres and Performing Arts Centers around the US, Canada and international markets.

  • RICHARD RIZZO

    is 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 ZAREH

    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).

Faculty
  • CATE CAMMARATA

    is a producer, director, freelance dramaturg and writer in NYC and is the Associate Artistic Director for Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Theater Collective. Cate has produced The Assignment off-Broadway and My Father's Daughter with Ursula Rucker at LaMaMa for Rhymes Over Beats. Regionally she produced My Life Is a Musical at Bay Street Theater and has directed many readings of new work in NYC. She is the Literary Manager for Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) and holds a BFA in Acting/Directing from Syracuse University and an MFA in Dramaturgy at SUNY Stony Brook, where she teaches Theatre Arts. Her latest book, "Contemporary Monologues for a New Theater," has just been published by Applause Books. catecammarata.com

  • SAMANTHA SALTZMAN

    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 TourOn 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.com

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