Event Details
  • Speed Date (you must be accepted prior to purchase)
    March 5, 2017
    5:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Writer-Producer Speed Date

NOLA Rehearsal Studio
244 W. 54th St., 11th fl.

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?

Click here for application. Please fill out and email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com

Submission deadline extended to Saturday 2/25. We will let you know if you are accepted by Sunday 2/26. And do not purchase a spot through our ticketing app above left unless you have actually been accepted into the event. You must be accepted first.

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.

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: 

  • Luis Reyes Cardenas - co-artistic director Open Hydrant Theatre;
  • Dan Irwin/H Danforth & Co - producer (The Nose, upcoming Broadway musical tba);
  • John Lant - indie producer, artistic director, Write Act Repertory;
  • Wendy Leopold - producer (The Whitmores), producing associate (Ernest Shackleton Loves Me at Second Stage, Wakefield film with Bryan Cranston);
  • John Melo - theater and film producer;
  • Lawrence D. Poster/Asparagus Entertainment - producer (Rags, Forbidden Broadway Alive and Kicking,  Fingers and Toes);
  • Daryl Sledge - film and off-Broadway producer (Fried Chicken and Latkes; upcoming: Pound for Pound; plus films in development);
  • Ken Waissman - commercial producer (original Grease, Torch Song Trilogy, Agnes of God, Josephine the musical);
  • Shela Xoregos - artistic director of Xoregos Performing Company; 
  • Frank Zuback - commercial producer (Taking Leave, American Soldier, Roof of the World)

Trailing Producers to include Karen BishkoMark Brystowski, MaryAnne Dumont*, LeCee Johnson*, Ed LevyRalph Lewis (founding co-artistic director of Obie-winning Peculiar Works Projects), Melissa Nally*Yoni Vendriger*, others tba


  • Gary Hughes
  • Grace Kiley 
  • Mary Kate Burke

* member of TRU's Producer Mentorship & Development Program


    is Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Open Hydrant Theater Company, the first ensemble professional theater company in the South Bronx. Film: Shakespeare High Executive Produced by Kevin Spacey and From Bronx to Yale Executive Produced by The Guardian. Actor: Fools in Love at MET, BAM, Lincoln Center Boro-Linc and Open Hydrant, Balm in Gilead with Barefoot Theatre Company and Durang, Durang at Open Hydrant. Playwright: Play The Papers For Lupe, Visa Decline, Place of Assembly and Last Exit In New York. He is currently a member of the New Play Development at Laguardia Performing Arts Center and a member of The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Company's Playwright Unit. He is the Director of Individual Events at The Stanford National Forensic Institute at Stanford University. 


    is the founder of H Danforth & Co. Over the last four years Dan has worked with almost every major Off-Broadway theatre as well as on Broadway and at Radio City. Recent credits include Why You Beasting?, The Joint, Ruthless!, Fuerza Bruta, and more. Current projects include The Nose and a soon to be announced Broadway musical planned for the 17-18 season.


    is a 35-year veteran in the entertainment industry and has been involved in over 600 television, film, music tours, and theatrical productions as a creative director, consultant, and/or above the line entity. An award-winning producer, director, writer, lighting and set designer, John has mounted productions at Cal Arts, Ricardo Montalban, Powerhouse, Glendale Center, Hollywood Playhouse, Long Beach Playhouse, the Jewel Box Theatres and Write Act Repertory. His work and productions garnered DramaLogue, Diamond, ADA Awards, and Garland, ADA and NAACP nominations, as well as LA Weekly and Backstage Picks of the Week. John worked with Jonathan Sanger at Chanticleer Films, on two shorts that won an Emmy and an Oscar, and mentored under Howard Storm. Scripts he has developed include Children’s TV Pilots Symphology, Carrot Talk, and cable-themed Anonymous Confessions, and several adapted musicals. John received the California Service Award from the State Legislature for his Community Outreach and Service to the Arts in 2000, 2001, 2008 and 2009. In NYC, he is current Production Manager at Carnegie Hall, and on down time redesigns, redevelops and refurbishes theatres including the upstairs Davenport Theatre, Elektra Theatre, Times Square Arts Center Theatres, the Ricmond Shepard, and a new exciting project Summer 2017, refurbishing an old off-Broadway in the Theatre District to it's old glory. John's 30-week off-Broadway production of FABULOUS! The Queen of Musicals! was recently licensed through Steele Rights. This past year he produced 2 off-Broadway Shows at St. Luke's Theatre: Equity production of 2 By Tennessee Williams and the new musical Pillars of New York.  Current Producing Artistic Director of  Write Act Repertory and Founding Member of newly formed N.M.C.L.O. (New Musical Civic Light Opera), concentrating on the development of second stage musical workshop/productions for off-Broadway productions, and is the Director of Development for Twisted Media NYC, his current musical production Lili Marlene in LA will be moving here off-Broadway in the Summer of 2017.

    is a Tony-nominated theatre producer and live entertainment consultant. Broadway productions include the Deaf West Theatre revival of Spring Awakening, and Macbeth, starring Alan Cumming, Paula Vogel’s Indecent and Joshua Harmon's Significant Other. Upcoming: Untitled #4 off-Broadway and in LA Holding the Man, with The Australian Theatre Company and a revival of Merrily We Roll Along directed by Michael Arden. In addition to producing his own projects, Cody consults for producers, theaters and agencies to help them discover how they should market their shows for the best chance of financial and critical success. Previously, he oversaw marketing efforts for Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group and its three theaters: the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Kirk Douglas Theatre. He is an active member of the Broadway League, the National Association of Musical Theatre, and serves on the Board of NY’s Vineyard Theatre. More info at codylassen.com.

    is a two time NY Times critically Acclaimed Director, two time Village Voice critics choice. Currently reviving Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf. Michael's work has garnered critical acclaim from everyone from The New York Times and Village Voice to Stage Magazine and the Philadelphia Inquirer. In April 1998, Lincoln Center Theatre named Mr. LeLand to the Directors Lab. He was also one of only twelve directors selected by the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab to be showcased at Here Center for Contemporary Arts in the American Living Room Series. Mr. LeLand had the honor of directing Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award Winner, and Academy Award nominee Jason Miller in his one man play Barrymore’s Ghost. As an actor he has recently created and originated the role of Mark Taylor in The New York Times critically acclaimed Philadelphia Fringe production of Pig Iron Theatre's 99 Breakups. Other favorite roles include critically acclaimed turns as Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy and Jim in Big River. He originated several roles in Theatre Double productions including Harold Prine Artaud in ...And the Sky Can Still Fall on our Heads, Mr. Jack in J. Rufus Caleb's Ballad of Mistauh Jack and Malcolm Magic in Magic Bookshop series. He filmed a lead role in the web based mini Musical Pay to Play. This fall he will be recording his first cd, live The Sacred and The Secular.


    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 a theater producer as well as a film and television professional. He was the producer of the Off-Broadway solo project Fried Chicken and Latkes written by and starring Rain Pryor at the Actors Temple Theatre. His main objective is producing commercially whether it be Broadway, Off Broadway, Regionally/Touring and the West End. Daryl is lead producer for the play Pound for Pound by Steven Alexander, which he found through TRU's Speed Date, and is in negotiations to present a professional staged reading of the work. He produced the documentary, That Daughter's Crazy featuring Rain Pryor (winner of Saatchi and Saatchi Achievement in Film Award), and the HBO Best Short Film, 2nd LiFE by Jake Alexander, which is now in the first round for being nominated for Best Live-Action Short Film for the Academy Awards. He is developing a feature length screenplay/film based on the murder of Emmett Till and producing two smaller independent films: Satellite Flight and The Dark. He has been a member of Theater Resources Unlimited and has and is taking courses and attending seminars at CTI. He would love to see more people of color and women get involved with these two great organizations.


    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.


    began life and her dance training in Mississippi.  She studied ballet, tap and modern dance techniques. She moved to San Francisco’s North Waterfront area, opening the Attic Studio and Theater and incorporated her newly founded Xoregos Performing Company which became known for combining dance, plays, music, poetry and song in various permutations, for commissioning new works of music, choreography and theater as well as for dancing early American pieces. Writers from whom she commissioned scripts for the Xoregos Performing Company included Leonard Cahn (The Picture of Dorian Gray, L'Histoire du Soldat), Rick Foster (Birthday of the Infanta, Shadowfall, Love Isadora) and Curtis Zahn (Zahn Street). Choreographers who created distinguished dance works included Carolyn Carlson, Welland Lathrop, Rael Lamb, Nancy Spanier and stage director David Ostwald. She was invited to become Producing Director of Dance for the Atheneum Arts Foundation and produced concerts for them with ballet and modern companies, flamenco dancers and dance soloists including Ruth St. Denis and Noel Parenti.   Duke Ellington composed Psycheledic Suite for her, which she performed with him and his orchestra; the Duke then invited her company to dance in his Second Sacred Concert at Grace Cathedral.  She moved to New York City in the 1980’s, where she continues to work as a free-lance director and choreographer for New York and regional companies.  She directs classical theater (Euripides, Shakespeare, Wilde) as well as new plays and musicals. She continues to find and commission original works for the Xoregos Performing Company and maintains its important historical dance repertory: works by Charles Weidman, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Katy Litz and Loie Fuller.


    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

  • MARK BRYSTOWSKI (Trailing)

    is an emerging producer of theater and film. Theater: Bamboo In Bushwick (Working Theater), The Nose (Master Theater), Bachelorette (sold out run at Soho Rep.), Between Men (MITF Nom. Outstanding Production), Broken City: Wall Street (PopUp Theatrics). Film: Interiors (Dir. Reed Van Dyk), Zenith (Dir. Ellie Foumbi, premiering at Lincoln Center). Directing: Private Lives (Cap21). Production Management highlights: God of Vengeance (La MaMa - NYT Critic’s Pick), Death of a Salesman (Drama Desk Nom.). He has collaborated with Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, LAByrinth Theater Company, The New Group, Sinking Ship Productions, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Nomad Theatrical Co. and many others. Mark has worked on productions for VH1, Collegehumor, UCB, Brooklyn Sound, and We The Internet. He is always excited by the opportunity to meet new artists and expand his producer's toolkit. 


    received a B.A. in theater from Connecticut College and attended the Eugene O'Neill Theater Institute. She has studied acting with various teachers in NY and has worked with small theater companies, mostly doing original pieces. She has completed her first play The  Gift and joined the TRU Producer Development & Mentorship Program (PDMP) to learn how to self-produce.


    is a co-producer of Peculiar Works Project, and creates original theater as director, writer, teacher and occasional actor, having presented all kinds of multi-disciplinary events throughout NYC. Some Peculiar performance sites include Merchant’s House Museum, Jimmy’s No. 43, Marble Cemetery, Judson Church, Bowery Whole Foods, Greenwich House, La MaMa Annex basement, and the streets of Greenwich Village for the Obie-award winning, performed walking tour OFF Stage. Most recently, he directed America’s first play, Androboros, in an East Village boxing ring, 3 Robert Heide plays for Howl Happening, and his one-person show, Behind the Curtain, at the Neighborhood Preservation Center and Tompkins Square Library. Other directing includes Artichoke Arts Climate Change Theater Action, Tom Murrin’s Son of Cock-Strong in the Full Moon Festival at La MaMa, as well as terrific plays by William M. Hoffman, Megan Terry, Marina Shron, Hallie Flanagan, and Aristophanes, among others. He is a member of AEA, SAG, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and the League of Independent Theater. When not making theater, Ralph lives in a 200-year-old Federal house on the Bowery and volunteers with the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, NYC Loft Tenants, and CB3’s Arts Task Force.


    is an attorney, writer, and theatre producer. Current projects include The Wrong Box by Kit Goldstein Grant, and Morgan Street (Associate Producer) by Anika Noni Rose, Jeremy Alan Richards, and Eugene Gwozdz. She presented shows at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010 and 2011, and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 2012. She has also produced cabarets and benefits in the Philadelphia area. Melissa is a graduate of CTI's producer program and a current member of TRU's Producer Development & Mentorship Program.

    is a filmmaker, actor and entrepreneur. He is currently in the TRU Producer Development and Mentorship Program (PDMP), was an associate producer on Question One for the TRU Voices Musicals Series and is working on his first theater production, bringing in a play from Israel. He is also developing a not-for-profit company dedicated to bringing together works of Israeli and American artists. He has a company for photo favors called Magnetic Memories and you may have seen him in improv and sketch shows around town.