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Event Details
  • Speed Date (you must be accepted prior to purchase)
    July 14, 2019
    4:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Writer-Producer Speed Date 07-14-19

Studios 353, 353 W. 48th Street, 2nd floor

Sunday July 14th/ Submission deadline Wednesday July 3 (extended to July 6th, 3 spots remaining)
Session 1: coaching at 4:30, pitching at 5:30
Session 2: coaching at 5:30, pitching at 6:30

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 interested in meeting you. Okay, they probably won't option you on the spot, but they'll give you valuable feedback about your work and your ability to talk about it. And you'll have the opportunity to start developing a relationship. And that's what this business is all about. Relationships.

The Speed Date is the only event I know of that gives writers the chance to meet high level producers one-on-one in a room. To me, that's what makes the Speed-Dates so valuable. And you do it with kindness, which I value in life. ~Vincent Amelio (How Alfo Learned to Love)

Click here: WriterSpeedDateApp-85-75 for application. Please fill out and email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com (PLEASE - add your name to the document name, and put it first when you "save as") - we already have a  lineup of 11 producers, so check them out below, and apply!

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: 

  • Peter Celos, producing artistic associate Open Hydrant Theatre Company;
  • Nolan Doran, producer (Head Over Heels), writer/director;
  • Lee Feldshon, entertainment attorney (New York Musical Theater Festival, Who's Your Baghdaddy, Desperate Measures, Money Talks, Liberty: The Musical, Rooms, Always Patsy Cline, Forever Plaid, Saint Heaven);
  • Gene Fisch, Jr, producer, director of the New York New Works Theatre Festival;
  • Hillel Friedman of Evan Bernardin Productions (Eco VillageSafeword, The Greatest Musical Never Written), general manager of Prospect Theater;
  • Harold Heno, producer (TRU Voices Miracolo, Romeo & Juliet & Tango);
  • John Lant, indie producer (Frankenstein the musical, It Came from Beyond, Fabulous), artistic director Write Act Repertory;
  • John Melo, theater and film producer;
  • Kim Vasquez/Gray Lady Entertainment (Be More Chill off- and on Broadway, Broadway Bounty HunterChurch and State; founding producer of NYMF);
  • Ken Waissman, producer (original Grease, Torch Song Trilogy, Agnes of God);
  • Claudia Zahn, former managing director Malibu Playhouse;
  • Frank Zuback, producer (Taking Leave, American Soldier, Roof of the World).

Coaches: Emileena PedigoBailie Slevin, Gary Hughes

Trailing Producers to include Mark Butler*, Christen Cato*,  Antonia Kasper* (45 Coffee Dates, True Confessions of the Straight Man), Sharon Kilfoyle, Wendy Leopold* (The Whitmores, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me), Joanna Muzeja (Dangerous the musical), Ed Zareh*, others tba.
[*members and alumni of TRU's Producer Development program]

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! ~Eddie Zareh (Long Lost John)

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

Producers
  • NOLAN DORAN

    is a writer, director, and producer who creates new works across theatre, music and film. He has worked with hit-makers and artists like Desmond Child, Michael Mayer, Neil Patrick Harris, Merce Cunningham and Margo Lion to name a few. His original theatre works include The Lesson, Woody - A New Fairy Tale (Main Street Musicals winner), The Spectrum (Azalea Film Festival winner), The King (L.A. Indie Film Festival winner) and music for Ayodele Casel's While I Have the Floor (Spoleto Festival). He was recently Co-Producer and Assistant Director for the Broadway musical Head Over Heels with songs of the Go-Go's. Past Broadway: Associate Director for Michael Moore’s The Terms of My Surrender and Assistant Director of the star studded one night concert Hillary on Broadway. Doran has also worked as Associate Director for CHESS at Kennedy Center, Assistant Director of Jamboree starring Sutton Foster & Jonathan Groff at NY City Center, Associate Director for Wigstock with Lady Bunny & Neil Patrick Harris filmed for HBO as part of Wig and Assistant on the Sony Classics release of The Seagull starring Annette Bening and Saoirse Ronan.  Current projects include: The Museum of Broadway in Spring 2020, The Secret Life of Bees at The Atlantic Theatre, The Golden Girls Musical Parody: Pride Edition at HERE, and a concert of his original work My Eclectic Life at HERE in NYC.

  • LEE A. G. FELDSHON

    has over 23 years of experience in entertainment and corporate law. He recently formed Feldshon Law PLLC to launch his private practice, after having partnered with David Schwartz in Feldshon & Schwartz, LLP for the last 10 years. He represents producers, co-producers, composers, bookwriters, lyricists, directors, and other creatives in the live theatrical industry. He has represented the New York Musical Theatre Festival since its 2004 founding.  He was production counsel for the Broadway revival of Pump Boys & Dinettes and represented stars (including a Tony-award winning actor) in connection with the Tony-award winning Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He did legal work for Desperate Measures (2018 Drama Desk Award for original music and lyrics), Who’s Your Baghdaddy, Money Talks, Bloody, Bloody, Jessica FletcherLibertyEmojilandRooms, and other Off Broadway shows.  He represents co-producers on the Broadway productions of Moulin RougeKing Kong, and Chasing Rainbows.  He negotiates screenplay option/purchase agreements and financing documents for film producers, and has worked as film production counsel for Good Girls GoneFly Away (SXSW Official Selection), and the documentary Darkon: An American Fantasy (2006 SXSW Audience Award). While Director of Legal Affairs and Business Development of the Radio City Entertainment division of Madison Square Garden, L.P., he worked on The Radio City Christmas SpectacularA Christmas Carol, and Rockettes performances. As a Levine Plotkin & Menin associate, he worked on Rent (Broadway, touring), The Wild Party (Broadway), De La Guarda (Off Broadway), and other shows. He started his career as a corporate associate at White & Case. He received a B.A. from Columbia College in 1991 (magna cum laude, Rhodes Scholar State Finalist) and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1994 (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar). Bar Admissions: New York.

  • GENE FISCH JR.

    Broadway Producer and founder of the New York New Works Theatre Festival, helping over 1,000 artists by giving them a shot at some valuable exposure.  Submissions are free and NYNW outlays most all of the costs with the hopes that their stage in only the first step of the project's journey (Numerous shows have moved forward).  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 there is a way that I can help someone take their art to the next level, I'm all in!  (Those are my Niecelets in the picture)"  nynwtheatrefestival.com  

  • HILLEL FRIEDMAN

    is passionate about all things theater, from management and producing, to composition, performance, and design. In addition to his work as a general manager at Evan Bernardin Productions (Eco Village by Phoebe Nir, Safeword  by S. Asher Gelman, The Greatest Musical Never Written created by Alan Kliffer), Hillel is also the general manager of the OBIE award winning company, Prospect Theater. He has worked on The Mad Ones (Kerrigan and Lowdermilk), One Thousand Nights and One Day (Michelson and Grote), and many concert presentations at the New York Times Center. Hillel is also a proud member of both the New York Choral Society and the Upstart Creatures. Hillel graduated from Princeton University where he majored in philosophy and minored in music theater. He received the Spirit of Princeton award in recognition of his contributions and service to the University community.

  • JOHN LANT

    (Producer/Artistic Director) is a 35-year veteran in the entertainment industry and has been involved in over 600 television, film, music tours, and theatrical productions. An award-winning producer, director, writer, lighting/set designer, he has mounted productions at Cal Arts, Ricardo Montalban, Powerhouse, Glendale Center, Hollywood Playhouse, Long Beach Playhouse, the Jewel Box Theatres and Write Act Repertory garnering DramaLogue, Diamond, ADA, NAACP Awards, LA Weekly and Backstage Picks of the Week, Garland and Valley Theatre (LA) nominations. As an Executive Producer of New Frequency - Theatre of the Mind, he produced 150 all-new original Radio Dramas for XM Radio's Sonic Theatre - Ranked as the #1 Radio show. With Jonathan Sanger at Chanticleer Films, he worked on two shorts that won an Emmy and an Oscar, also mentored under Howard Storm and directed Children's TV Pilots Symphology, Carrot Talk, and Anonymous Confessions. Recently as Producing Artistic Director of Write Act Repertory/Director of Development for Twisted Media NYC his Off-Broadway production of FABULOUS! The Queen of Musicals! Other Off-Broadway Lead Producing credits; 2by Tennessee Williams (AEA), Pillars of NY; Off-Broadway productions currently running: Lili Marlene, Frankenstein, It Came from Beyond, Wicked Frozen, and in pre-Production Pearl-The Musical (with creative team members of Dreamgirls! Original Broadway Cast); Los Angeles productions currently running: - Finest Hour (Winston Churchill project), Wicked Wicked Mae West West, and Prez - The Lester Young Story

     
     
  • JOHN MELO

    Zephyr Communications, Inc. has over 30 years experience in advertising, strategic marketing, corporate communications, branding, interactive and multimedia in multiple industries. In the Entertainment Industry we cover Film, Theater, TV and Cable. Our Entertainment division has worked in the motion picture industry for over 25 years, engaged by most of the major studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Orion Pictures Corporation, Warner Bros., Universal Studios among others. As well as the independents as: Miramax, New Line Cinema, Cinema Shares International, Magna Distribution, Atlantic Releasing and Jim Henson Productions “The Muppets”. We started marketing Broadway theater productions in 1976, our first major involvement on Broadway was the original Dreamgirls. Recently we have expanded into assisting Broadway, Off, and Off Off Broadway productions to get started, thru readings, development, and marketing of their projects.  We are also assisting producers on the funding of both theater and film projects.

  • KIM VASQUEZ

    Producing Artistic Director of Gray Lady Entertainment, a theatrical producing and consulting company, not only specializing in the development and structuring of new works in plays and musicals, but also producing commercial theatre On and Off Broadway. Kim is currently a producer on the Broadway production of Be More Chill playing at the Lyceum Theatre and this summer, she is producing Broadway Bounty Hunter starring Annie Golden (Orange is the New Black, Hair) and Brad Oscar (Something Rotten). Kim also co-produced the Off-Broadway play Church & State by Jason Odell Williams at New World Stages now playing nationwide. Originally from the Twin Cities, Kim has spent over 25 years in New York City as an Actor, Director, Executive Producer and General Manager for various shows. She has served on the general management team at The Producing Office for the Broadway productions of In The Heights, Avenue Q, Rent, Ragtime, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, to name a few and with Robert Cole and Steven Chaikelson on A Moon for the Misbegotten and The Price. She is a Founding Producer of the New York Musical Festival (NYMF), which is currently celebrating its 16th year as a New York arts institution. She has acted as an Executive Producer and General Manager for many musicals within the festival.

  • 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.

  • CLAUDIA ZAHN

    is a director, producer, teacher and development consultant. Claudia returned to NYC last year, after living and working in LA. She was Managing Director and a board member of Malibu Playhouse, where she co-produced most of the mainstage productions in addition to running the daily operations of the theater. Since returning to New York, Claudia has been working with Mango Baroque as producer and director for their concert series in the city, and as a development consultant for Welcome Change Productions and Academy Award®-nominated documentary filmmaker Alice Elliott. In addition to working nationally as a freelance opera director, Claudia taught for ten years as Director of Opera and Music Theatre at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she directed and co-produced both operas and musicals, as well as teaching acting and directing.

  • 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

  • MARK WILLIAM BUTLER

    has written and produced over twenty plays, musicals and revues, including Ugly Christmas Sweater, The Musical, which was chosen for the TRU Voices New Musicals Reading Series, and award-winning productions of The Laundry War, The Nickname Fairy, and Bad Christmas Sweater. His work has been selected for various festivals in NYC, including The Midtown International Theatre Festival, The Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, The Players Theatre Short Play Festival, The Bare Knuckle Festival, 8 Minute Madness, and The Manhattan Rep One Act Festival. His short story, Cool and Clean and Crisp, was published in the Best American Erotica book series (Simon & Shuster). He also produces shows for non-profits, including the annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Irish-American Writers & Artists, and The Amazing Library Variety Show, a fundraiser for Urban Librarians Unite, a library advocacy group. He is also a published poet and journalist, and a member of DGA, ASCAP, and Theater Resources Unlimited, as well as a graduate of TRU’s Producers Development and Mentorship Program (PDMP).

  • HAROLD HENO

    most recently produced the industry reading of Miracolo, A New Musical, as part of the TRU Voices new musical reading series.  Prior to this he has been a full time director and producer, recently directing a new site specific immersive experience in lower Manhattan, The Bloody Deed of 1857, and a staged reading of his own work, Bards in a Bar.  Harold has been directing and producing for organizations across the country, from the city of New Orleans to cities and towns in Oklahoma, North Carolina, New York and New Jersey, for almost 30 years.  His passion is to create theatre which emphasizes entertainment that helps audiences to escape the troubles and worries of their everyday lives for the 90 to 150 minutes they sit in a dark theatre.

  • ANTONIA KASPER

    Not only an active producer, Kasper knows every aspect of how to get a show from creation to production. She produced, wrote and directed the ‘90s fun farce True Confessions of The Straight Man with a cast of seven in celebration of World Gay Pride 2019. TCSM had a very successful run at The Players Theatre, NYC with sold-out houses and enthusiastic testimonials. She launched her successful one-woman show based on her book, 45 Coffee Dates -In search of my soul-mate through cyberspace and beyond!  She also produced an independent film It’s Me, Matthew. Antonia plans to produce a show every year and actively move smaller productions into long running Off-Broadway/Broadway runs and tours. Kasper Productions is her production company that not only consists of Kasper’s creations but also supports other women-geared theatre, film, tv, web and books. She has studied at Circle in the Square, Playwrights Horizons, The Actor’s Studio in NYC and in Europe at The Sherman Theatre. She is a grateful graduate of the TRU basic and masters PDMP; a Co-Chair and member of The Think Tank in The League of Professional Theatre Women and is a member of The Off Broadway Alliance.  To contact her: 45CoffeeDates@gmail.com

  • WENDY LEOPOLD

    has been Lead Producer, Associate or Producing Associate for Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, Off Broadway at Second Stage; The Whitmores by Ben Ducoff (in development); Wakefield, a film starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner; Goodbye New York (in development) with NY Rep; Someone Who'll Watch Over Me with Animus Theatre Company. Proud recipient of TRU's 2016 Randall Wreghitt Award for Excellence in Producing. 

  • 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).

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