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 Village, Safeword, 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 Hunter, Church 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 Pedigo, Bailie 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
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 25 years of experience in entertainment and corporate law. He launched his private practice, Feldshon Law PLLC, in 2018. He represents producers, co-producers, composers, bookwriters, lyricists, directors, and other creatives in the live theatrical industry. He represented the New York Musical Theatre Festival from its 2004 founding to its dissolution. He was production counsel for the Broadway revival of Pump Boys & Dinettes, and represented a Tony-award winning actor) in connection with the Tony-award winning Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He represents the producers and/or authors of other live theatrical works including Stranger Sings! The Musical Parody, EPIC, Lizard Boy, Islander-A New Musical, Mozart-The New Musical, Dangerous-A New Musical, Who's Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started the Iraq War, Desperate Measures (2018 Drama Desk Awards for Original Music and Original Lyrics), Rooms, and others. He is also co-producing Austen's Pride: A New Musical of Pride and Prejudice. He negotiates screenplay option/purchase agreements and financing documents for film producers, and has worked as film production counsel for Fly 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 Spectacular, A 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. In addition, he handles trademark and copyright registrations for clients, and represents talent management companies. 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.
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
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.
(Creative Producer / Artistic Director / Consultant) 40-year veteran in the entertainment in over 700 television, film, theatre/music tours, and live theater. Pre-Covid: Production Manager at Carnegie Hall since 2006-2020 season for over 2,000 events. Award-winning producer, director, writer, lighting/set designer at Interlochen, Cal Arts, Ricardo Montalban, Powerhouse, Glendale Center, Hollywood Playhouse, Long Beach Playhouse, the Jewel Box Theatre Center and Write Act Repertory garnering DramaLogue, Diamond, ADA, NAACP Awards, LA Weekly and Backstage Pick of the Week, Garland and Valley Theatre (LA) nods. Executive Producer New Frequency - Theatre of the Mind 150 original Radio Dramas for SIRIUS/XM Radio's Sonic Theatre - Ranked #1 Radio show. Mentored with Jonathan Sanger & Chanticleer Films for two shorts that won an Emmy and an Oscar, Howard Storm CBS Radford and TRU PDMP Master fellow under Jane Dubin and Jennifer Issacson. Directed TV / Pilots Symphology, Carrot Talk, BET JAZZ Master Awards (1&2), Toronto Independent Shorts Awards, Funiki-Jam Season 2, and Anonymous Confessions. 14 Off-Broadway Lead Producing (union and non-union) credits include FABULOUS! 2By Tennessee Williams, Lili Marlene, Frankenstein, It Came from Beyond, Wicked Frozen, Teen Party Massacre, SWING!, Wicked City Blues, Great Cat Massacre, GEEKS! (St. Luke's & Actors Temple). Recent Pre-COVID LA productions: Finest Hour (Winston Churchill), Wicked Wicked Mae West, The Lester Young Story, and Frank and Eva. TV/Film Credits include King of New York, The Freshman, Army of Darkness, Renegade, Power Rangers, and HBO Max's The Flight Attendant (CCO Supervisor). Tours include Phantom of the Opera, Singin' in the Rain, Gypsy, and Evita. Current Off-Broadway pre-production Pearl Bailey Musical (with Tony winning team members of Dreamgirls! and Hamilton). Development Director/Consultant - Twisted Media NYC, Nathan Murphy Prod, Gatehouse Entertainment, Tin Mirror Prod and Trinity Theatrics for new network and streaming content. COVID Compliance Officer for Film/TV/Theatre.
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.
Gray Lady Entertainment, Inc. is a theatrical producing and consulting company, specializing in the development and structuring of new works in plays and musicals in NYC and beyond. Originally from the Twin Cities, Kim has spent the majority of her professional life in New York City and, during Covid 19, back in the Twin Cities, wearing many hats as an Actor, Director, Voice and Speech coach, Mentor, Executive Producer and Producing Director.
Kim is currently a co-producer on The Kite Runner (The Hayes) which runs through October 30th, 2022 with a tour beginning in early 2024. She is also a producer on How to Dance in Ohio and Bruce both of which are potential Broadway bound new musicals. She is a producer on the world-renowned Be More Chill (Broadway, Off-Broadway, London and Japan) and the Off Broadway productions of Broadway Bounty Hunter, which starred Annie Golden, Alan H. Green and Brad Oscar and Church & State. 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. Kim is an original Founding Producer of The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). This month, Kim will be leading a professional training lecture to the BFA/Guthrie 4th year graduating students on her experiences and life as a Broadway Producer and she is participating as a director for The Senator Speaks by Michael Hagins for The Playwrights Playground and Ripple Effects Artists.
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.
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. Claudia is member of the board of directors at the York Theatre Company.
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).
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.
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
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'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).