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Event Details
  • Speed Date (you must be accepted prior to purchase)
    October 14, 2019
    4:30 pm - 11:30 pm
Writer-Producer Speed Date 10-13-19

797 Studios, 797 Eighth Avenue, 3rd floor

Sunday October 13, 2019 - submission deadline 10/4
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'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: 

  • Margot Astrachan, producer (The Prom, A Gentleman's Guide..., Ghost the musical, Around the World in 80 Days, Nice Work If You Can Get It, On a Clear Day...);
  • Robert Driemeyer of Driemeyer/Sills Productions, producer (off-Broadway Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging, Party Face, The Two-Character Play, Shear Madness; Broadway Elling, La Cage Aux Folles revival);
  • John Melo, theater and film producer;
  • Oliver Roth of OHenry Productions, producer (The Inheritance, Derren Brown: Secret, Sea Wall/A Life, Slave Play, Burn This revival);
  • Norberto Troncoso, artistic associate Open Hydrant Theatre;
  • Ken Waissman, producer (Grease, Agnes of God, Torch Song Trilogy);
  • Anita Waxman, producer (Marie the Little Dancer, Slave Play, Escape to Margaritaville, 1984, Hello Dolly!, Doctor Zhivago, Rocky, Bombay Dreams, Enron);
  • Sharon Weiss of Tweiss Productions (Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking, Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging, Hell's Belles, A Short Wake, Goodtime Charley revival);
  • Shela Xoregos, artistic director Xoregos Performing Company;
  • Claudia Zahn, former managing director Malibu Playhouse;
  • Frank Zuback, producer (Taking Leave, American Soldier, Roof of the World).

Coaches: Diana Calderazzo, Cate Cammarata, Allison Sheff

Trailing Producers Mark Butler*, Mara Lee Gilbert*, Stephanie Grayson, Adam Gregory*, Marty Glynn, Sharon Kilfoyle, Eric Saul*, Jeffery Lyle Segal*, Raquel Tatuem*.
[*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! ~Ed 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

Faculty
  • CATE CAMMARATA

    is a producer, director, 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 La Mama 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 is the Director of Creative Development for MusicalWriters.com. Cate holds a BFA in Acting/Directing from Syracuse University and an MFA in Dramaturgy at SUNY Stony Brook, and teaches Theatre Arts at Baruch College. Her latest book, "Contemporary Monologues for a New Theater," was listed as one of the Top Ten Books for theatre lovers by BroadwayDirect in 2018. catecammarata.comcreatetheater.com

  • ALLISON SHEFF

    is a stage director with a background in performing and marketing. She previously worked in the Marketing Department for the Huntington Theater Company as well as working as a marketing consultant for actors and regional theater companies. She has taught her business and marketing workshop at universities across the country and for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. As a director, Allison has worked in numerous regional theaters and has helped develop productions in New York City. She recently served at the Assistant Director on the revival of Smokey Joe’s Café. Allison has also served as an Artistic Liaison on 11 Broadway productions. Allison believes in telling stories with heart, humor and authenticity. She strives to challenge perspectives and affect change while encouraging tolerance and empathy. She has a strong commitment to diversity in casting and telling the stories of the underrepresented.

Producers
  • MARGOT ASTRACHAN

    is a Tony Award winning commercial theatrical producer based in New York. Broadway: Tony Award winning A Gentleman's Guide to Love and MurderThe Realistic JonesesNice Work If You Can Get It, the revival of On a Clear Day You Can See ForeverBonnie & ClydeBusker AlleyGhost the Musical National Tour, and the only staging of Stephen Sondheim’s Evening Primrose. She also recently produced The Sting starring Harry Connick Jr. at The Papermill Playhouse. Upcoming: Diana, A New Musical (La Jolla, February 2019)Margot wrote, produced and performed five one-woman cabaret shows.  New York: Danny’s Skylight Room, Judy’s, The Plaza Hotel, The Oak Room of The Algonquin Hotel, the Triad, The National Arts Club, and Don’t Tell Mama’s, among others. With dancer/choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, she wrote the book of a new Jazz musical, which has been read at Lincoln Center and at The York Theater.Margot was the American Artistic Director of the Jermyn Street Theatre in London and The Kings Head Theatre in London, and has had over 30 years’ experience producing special events for Arts Organizations such as The York Theatre Company, The Theatre Museum, and Brit-Arts of The St. George’s Society, which with Jim Dale, featured British and American theatre professionals in readings and panels in New York. She is the Vice Chair of The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), a board member of The Alumni & Friends of The LaGuardia High School for the Arts, The League of Professional Theater Women, and The Theater Board of The Kaufman Cultural Center. She is a graduate of CTI (The Commercial Theatre Institute) and is a member of The Association of Performing Arts Presenters, The National Alliance For Musical Theatre, The Broadway League, The Dramatists Guild, the Advisory Board of TRU, British American Business, Inc. and BAFTA East Coast. She is the past chair and current board member of The American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Her latest project is Radio Galaxy by Michele Aldin Kushner (found in the TRU Voices series) and directed by Mark Waldrop, currently in development.

  • ROBERT DRIEMEYER

    Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles starring Kelsey Grammar and Douglas Hodge, and Elling starring Brendan Fraser and Denis O'Hare. Off Broadway he produced Tennessee Williams' The Two-Character Play starring Amanda Plummer and Brad Dourif, and Party Face starring Hayley Mills and directed by Amanda Bearse. Other Off Broadway credits include Shear Madness and Forbidden Broadway. He produced David Parr's critically acclaimed Slap & Tickle directed by David Drake in Provincetown, MA. He and producing partner Morgan Sills formed Driemeyer-Sills Productions which focuses on new works and classic revivals, and offers producing and executive producing services, reproducers.com

  • 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.

  • OLIVER ROTH

    is a Producer at OHenry Productions, a New York-based production company which he founded in 2014. His producing and co-producing credits include – Broadway: Burn This (Tony Award® Nomination), Sea Wall/A LifeDerren Brown: SecretSlave PlayThe InheritanceEscape to Margaritaville; West End: The Inheritance (Olivier Award); Off-Broadway: Little Shop of HorrorsInvisible Thread; National Tour: Escape to Margaritaville, Hundred Days; Upcoming: LempickaSam’s RoomDrive Change. In addition to his commercial producing projects, Oliver is the Consulting Producer to the Dennis & Victoria Ross Foundation (DVRF), a nonprofit dedicated to developing new work and supporting emerging theater artists.  He is also the host and co-producer of “The OHenry Report,” BroadwayWorld.com’s podcast covering current stories, issues, and trends in the theater industry. Oliver is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University.

  • NORBERTO TRONCOSO

    is the Co-Founder of Open Hydrant Theater Company, alongside Luis Cardenas, Sarah Rosenberg and Deborah Pautler. With a mission to provide underserved youth with professional opportunities in theater and film, he has produced soldout youth productions, quarterly short play festivals with adults of the community, as well as various AEA productions for the company that have brought Open Hydrant to the forefront of the theater world, with fiscal sponsorship by The Point Community Development Center and by also partnering with the Theater Development Fund, The Mile Long Opera, 92nd Street Y, HSBC, and many more. A graduate of Pace University and a product of the South Bronx community, he is dedicated to make theater happen in his neighborhood and bring the Bronx to Broadway  

  • 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.

  • ANITA WAXMAN

    is an award winning producer whose shows have garnered several Tony awards and Pulitzer prizes over the years. Current shows: Hadestown, Betrayal, Come from Away and Fiddler on the Roof (Best Revival off-Broadway). Her upcoming shows include Marie the Little Dancer, Tina, Terra Firma, Lemicka. Previous shows include: The Real Thing, Hello Dolly starring Bette Middler (Tony Award), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Tony Award), Cabaret (Tony Award), Top DogUnderdog (Pulitzer Prize), Glass Menagerie starring Sally Field, Waverly Gallery, Young Man From Atlanta (Pulitzer Prize), Electra, Jesus Christ Superstar, Dr. Zhivago, Escape to Margaritaville, Gypsy starring Bette Middler, Front Page starring Nathan Lane, Music Man, & Bombay Dreams. Outside the theater world, she brings many years of experience as both an executive and advisor to privately held companies, especially in the healthcare-related industry. Ms. Waxman founded and served as CEO and Chairman of Howe-Lewis International, a global management consulting and executive search firm. She was part of the team that founded Diasonics, which brought Diagnostic Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology and equipment to world markets. She was also the Co-Founder and Director of American Biodyne Inc, the first ever manage-mental healthcare company in the United States.

  • SHARON WEISS

    With Eileen B. Weiss, partner in Tweiss Productions. Associate Producers of  Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking, Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging. Producers of Hell's BellesA Short Wake, Between the Lines, NY revival of Goodtime Charley. In development: How to Marry a Divorced Man; Appendage

  • SHELA XOREGOS

    began life as a dancer and actress, morphing into choreography and directing.  She has directed and/or choreographed for festivals, museums, regional theaters as well as for many NYC theaters. She has discovered and premiered short plays by Oscar Wilde, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sarah Bernhardt, others, as well as directing neglected classics and original plays by living authors. Recently, her non-profit Xoregos Performing Company has produced a dozen Harlem Renaissance one-acts (including plays by Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes), Jean Racine's Britannicus, an a capella opera in the round with dance and a fantasy bio of Anna Nicole Smith by Grace Cavalieri.  Coming in 2019, the premiere of Six O'Clock Sky, a surreal romp (with songs) by Arnold Schulman, screenwriter.

  • 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. Claudia is member of the board of directors at the York Theatre Company. 

  • 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).

  • MARA LEE GILBERT

    is an award-winning actor and writer (including the Award of Artistic and Technical Merit-Best Shorts Competition; Richard Henry Hommel Award for Outstanding Theatrical Contribution; Audience Choice Award-Macabre Faire Film Festival), with experience producing both film and theater. Film roles as an actor include The Pleasure of Being Served, Maxine (lead), Isabelle (lead), How You See Me (lead) and Threeway (Nominated for Best Comedy Feature at the Austin Revolution Film Festival). Ms. Gilbert explores the lines between beauty and the grotesque, seeking to unravel taboos, while drawing on stories of violence, sexual expression, and power dynamics in intimate relationships.  A three-month drama program with inmates at Bayview Women’s Correctional Facility led Ms. Gilbert to write, co-produce and star in the film, What's Left. She ran the first drama therapy group inside the notorious Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center for the criminally insane, which strongly influences the focus of empathy in her work. Her full-length play, PASSAGE, exploring the importance of pleasure when facing death, has been invited to showcase in both NYC and LA and is currently in discussion for an Off-Broadway run in NYC. She is also taking part in TRU's Producer Development Program.

  • MARTY GLYNN

    The two web sites I maintain: TheaterOnline.com and OOBR.com contain over 4,000 reviews of productions by emerging actors, playwrights, directors and producers spread over almost 30 years. If you do a search on LinkedIn.com for those web sites, you will see long lists of people whose careers we have helped to advance. During the last 10 years, I was professionally involved in developing software for the healthcare industry and my theatrical sites were neglected.  Now that I am retired, I look forward to being passionately involved with the Theater again.  I will be updating the UI of our web sites, expanding our listings and retaining critics to review Off and Off-Off Broadway  productions again.

  • STEPHANIE GRAYSON

    was the Associate Producer of Kevin McDonald Alive on 42nd St, on Theatre Row, summer of 2019. She serves on the Board of Directors for Prospect Theater Co. (2016-present), and has been a social media strategy/marketing advisor for arts organizations since 2008, advising theater and festival producers.
     
  • ADAM GREGORY

    graduated from Temple University with a BA in Theater / Art history and has appeared in plays, television, short films, industrials and commercials and had a minor role in Jason Bourne working with Oscar Winner Alicia Vikander. He has directed short scenes, and trained at Atlantic Theater and Barrow Group here in NYC. In 2018, Adam assist directed An Enemy of the People at Lee Strasberg and Executive produced Death of a Salesman in Los Angeles. Adam is inspired by other artists in the entertainment business, and hopes to one day produce and direct on Broadway and in films. 

  • ERIK SAUL

    is thrilled to be joining as a trailing producer with TRU. Originally from San Antonio, TX Erik holds a B.F.A in Musical Theatre from Sam Houston State University and is currently a co-producer on The King’s Speech which is planned to premier on Broadway in 2020. Erik is also a member of TRU and actively participates in the Mentorship program. Erik is also a working actor and is represented by Pastorini Bosby Talent.  

  • RAQUEL TATUEM

    "Raqi Lily" is a producer, director and performer. With over 10 years of experience both on the stage and behind the camera, Raqi has managed to work with a broad range of networks and companies. Her first love of the performing arts began with a role in Will Power's The Seven directed by Lee Richardson. This play marked the beginning of years of performing music and theatre in venues such as Warmdaddy's and with shows such as Oz Comes to Harlem. From there she graduated from Temple University with a BA in Broadcast, Telecommunications & Mass Media. Her career as a producer began in unscripted television production and eventually landed her as a Supervising Producer & Director of digital and branded content. She's had the opportunity to work with amazing companies and shows such as Dreamworks Animation, Fox, Cake Boss and Restaurant: Impossible. With years of production experience, she is finally pursuing her passion by pivoting into the world of theatre as both performer and producer.

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