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Event Details
  • Writer-Producer Speed Date (DO NOT PURCHASE UNTIL ACCEPTED!!!)
    March 10, 2024
    2:00 pm - 7:15 pm
Details Price Qty
TRU member $75.00 (USD)   Goes On Sale
March 3, 2024
Non-member $90.00 (USD)   Goes On Sale
March 3, 2024
Addt'l collaborator $25.00 (USD)   Goes On Sale
March 3, 2024
Non-participating observer (you'll watch coaching & pitching) $75.00 (USD)  

Writer-Producer Virtual Speed Date 3/10/24

We're Zooming ahead into the Virtual World - Speed Date has been reformatted for Zoom! More tech, less noise – each writer will be in an individual breakout room with each of our 11+ producers. 

Sunday 3/10/24 - deadline to apply is Wednesday 2/28.
Early submissions will be given priority consideration.
Session 1: coaching at 2:00, pitching at 4:00 ET (there will be an hour wait time between coaching and pitching)
Session 2: coaching at 3:00, pitching at 5:30 ET (there will be a 90 minute wait time between coaching and pitching)

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-90-75virtual-rev3 for application. Please fill out and email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com (PLEASE - add your name to the document name, and put your name 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.

Confirmed producers include (subject to change):

  • Margot Astrachan, producer (Diana, 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...; upcoming: Radio Galaxy, found in the TRU reading series);
  • Merrie L. Davis, producer (Tony winner for Parade, 5 TONY awards for Company Broadway, 4 Olivier awards for Company London, 6 Tony Nominations for Eclipsed, Gigi; Himself and Nora; Museum of Broadway; upcoming Working Girl);
  • Jane Dubin, producer (Is This A Room, Dana H., The Prom, Tony winning The Norman ConquestsAn American in ParisFarinelli and the KingBandstandPeter and the StarcatcherAbsolute Brightness of Leonard PelkeyThe 39 StepsAnn; upcoming: The Village of Vale, an original fantasy musical audio drama);
  • Sharon Fallon/Sharon Fallon Productions, executive producer, general manager and consultant (IndecentBeautiful Broadway, London & National Tour, Matilda The Musical, Lysistrata Jones);
  • Tiffani Gavin, executive director of the O'Neill Theatre Center, former executive producer with Clear Channel Entertainment;
  • John Lant, producer/director/showrunner/consultant specialist for musicals/plays off-Broadway;  (17 off-Broadway shows: Frankenstein, Wicked Frozen, It Came from Beyond, Wicked City Blues, Fabulous; Earnestly LGBTQ+, XIMER), artistic director Write Act Rep NYC/LA (20 years); 2-time NAACP, 4-time DramaLogue & 4-time CA for the Arts Winner; PM Carnegie Hall (13 years), TV/Film Studio Operator for @ Studios for stage to screen or film productions; 
  • Greg Schaffert, producer (Peter and the Starcatcher, All Shook Up, Burn the Floor, National tour of The Lightning Thief, off-Bway Bat Boy, Striking 12, Shear Madness) and has developed over 50 plays and musicals;
  • Ric Wanetik,  (Tony nominated Twilight Los Angeles: 1992, Broadway’s Marlene, Broadway and National Tour Matilda The Musical, Off-Broadway’s Jolson and Company) and senior advisor for America to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC); 2024-25 South Florida premieres of Fat Ham and The NEW Fantasticks; 
  • Lauren Yarger/Gracewell Productions, writer, director, critic, producer of the Outer Critics Circle Awards, the "Table Readings at the Palace Theater" series in Waterbury, CT, "Staged Intent" Series in Ivoryton Playhouse and "Women of a Certain Age" in Westport County Playhouse;
  • Aly York, indie producer, LA and Philadelphia area including two world premieres by Phil Olsen, the short film Graham: A Dog's Story and Neil Simon's London Suite at the GRT in Los Angeles;

Coaches: Diana Calderazzo, Emileena Pedigo, Chelsey Shannon

Observing Producers: Robert Brophy*, Maureen Condon*, Elizabeth Coplan*Amy Drake*, John Ewing III*, Charles Hitchcock*, Mary Miller*, Patrick O'Leary*, Carly Santori*, Kenady Sean*, Lalit Sritara*.

[*members and alumni of TRU's Producer Development program]


At TRU they not only provide you with the opportunity to meet 11 different producers, but they also provide you with tools and coaching to make your pitch night a success. They also bring producers that love the educational aspect of the pitch night and genuinely love meeting new writers. So, even if you don’t walk away with an option, which they tell you not to expect, you walk away with a better pitch, new ideas, and a bigger network. ~Kenady Sean, musicalwriters.com 

I really am impressed with the info and support from TRU. I've done several of these with [another] group. I quit last year. With you guys it's like you're setting us up for success, what a concept. ~Kurt Johns (Hello Kitty Must Die)

I just wanted to relay a huge thanks to you and everyone at TRU for this experience, it was awesome! We really felt supported the whole way through, and we feel so much better prepared to market our show after getting the chance to practice pitching. If there's anywhere we can write a review or something for this experience, please let us know. And thank you and the rest of the team for all the tech effort behind this. ~Daniel Rosen & Alara Magritte (Safe Hands)

Just wanted to say “thanks” for your Herculean efforts in making the event so worthwhile.... Honestly, I much preferred pitching via Zoom than in person with everyone else within earshot. ~Sam Affoumado (Panic Defense)

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

Producers
  • MARGOT ASTRACHAN

    is a Tony Award winning commercial theatrical producer based in New York. Broadway: Diana, A New Musical, The Prom, 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 produced The Sting starring Harry Connick Jr. at The Papermill Playhouse. 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 was the Vice Chair of The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), and is a board member of The Alumni & Friends of The LaGuardia High School for the Arts, Chair of the Theater Advisory Committee of the Library For the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, a Board Member of The Transport Group and Co-Chair of the Rachel Crothers Award of the League of Professional Theatre Women. 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 of The American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Upcoming: Radio Galaxy by Michele Aldin Kushner (found in the TRU Voices series). 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 Theater Resources Unlimited and The American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. 

  • MERRIE L. DAVIS

    is a producer and Tony Winner for Parade, Best Revival of a Musical 2023; Tony & Olivier Winner  (New York, London), for Company 2022 for Best Revival of a Musical and West End (winner of 4 Olivier awards total including Best Musical Revival 2019); and a Tony nominated producer for Eclipsed with Lupita Nyong’o (6 Tony nominations). Her producing career began with Gigi the Musical, Himself and Nora with Matt Bogart (Jersey Boys) and Whitney Bashor (The Bridges of Madison County). Since coming into the New York theatre world she has been investing and raising money for shows including Dear Evan Hansen, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hello, Dolly!, The Band's Visit and Moulin Rouge, among  others. In addition to producing, she is an Out-of-the Box Marketer who founded Next Act 2 Follow, a producing/marketing company, utilizing her unique marketing skills and introducing inventive ideas to the Broadway scene on shows including Allegiance and 39 Steps. Prior to making a career change into producing, Merrie had been a Publisher and Out-of-the-Box Marketer for over 25+ years in the magazine world dealing in the Hospitality and Tourism industries. While owning her own Visitor Magazines, IN New York and WHERE that were distributed in the hotels, she also had the pleasure of working with all the theater agencies.  Merrie is on the Board of TRU, Abingdon Theatre Company and the Broadway Association and is still delighted that she took the giant leap into an industry that she had always loved!!! 

  • 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 Director of Theater Resources Unlimited’s Producer Development Program Master Class. Ms. Dubin is Chair of the Board of Directors of Houses on the Moon Theater Company.  She is a member and recent Board member of the League of Professional Theatre Women.  She is a member of the Broadway Women’s Alliance and the Off-Broadway League.  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 in Westchester for One Billion Rising (V-Day).  She was a strategic consultant to SPACE on Ryder Farm, an artists’ residency in Brewster, NY and a member of the Grand Jury for New York Musical Festival’s 2015 – 2019 seasons.  She served as an evaluator for a NAMT innovation grant panel and is a juror for Bethany Arts Community residency program.  She is a frequent panelist and guest lecturer on theater-related matters. Before embarking on her career in theater, Ms. Dubin spent over 20 years in the financial services industry. Productions: Upcoming: The Village of Vale.  Recent: Is This A Room, Dana H., The Prom (Drama Desk Award Best Musical), Farinelli and the King (starring Mark Rylance, nominated for 5 Tony Awards), An American in Paris (4 TONY Awards, plus London and National Tour), Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Westside Theater and on Tour), Ann, starring Holland Taylor (Lincoln Center); Bandstand (Broadway), Beebo Brinker Chronicles (2008 GLAAD Media Award for Theatre); Groundswell (the New Group), Peter and the Starcatcher (Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tour), winner of 5 TONY Awards; The Norman Conquests (TONY Award, Best Play Revival), The 39 Steps (OB, Tour); The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (London).  Film: Radium Girls.

  • SHARON FALLON

    Sharon Fallon Productions, Inc. is an independent Theatre Producer, General Manager, and Theatrical Consultant.  working both in the commercial and non-profit theatre industry, Sharon brings a unique perspective to her work. In 2015 she created a boutique theatrical production company with a mission to bridge the gap between art and business allowing productions to be financially viable and artistically satisfying. Taking a holistic approach – from page to stage and everything in between, she works directly with early-career producers and artist-driven niche projects as well as on larger union and non-union projects. She has worked in the theatre as an actress, director, general manager, managing director, and producer. Broadway credits include IndecentBeautiful the Carole King Musical, Matilda The Musical, and Lysistrata Jones. Off-Broadway credits include The Little Match Girl, Creeps, Krymov Lab NYC. In addition to producing commercially, Sharon served as the Associate General Manager of both the Helen Hayes Theatre and Lyric Theatre in New York. Currently, she is the executive producer on several projects in development.  Sharon is a Board Member of NAMT, the National Alliance of Musical Theatres, co-chair of the Festival of New Musicals Committee, and a Member of the Off-Broadway League. 
  • TIFFANI GAVIN

    Executive Director of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Tiffani began her career in general management at The Public Theater in NY and as a company manager at Blue Man Group, she went on to hold leadership positions in both nonprofit and commercial theater organizations, including Clear Channel Entertainment and the American Repertory Theater. She's been the Manager of the Marquis Theatre on Broadway and has managed productions such as the National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera. As an Executive Producer for Clear Channel Entertainment and later as the General Manager/VP of Production at Martian Entertainment she commissioned and developed new work by emerging artists across the U.S. and internationally. While producing at Clear Channel, her broad portfolio included Broadway and off-Broadway productions as well as national tours. Among them were Ragtime (National Tour), The Producers (Broadway, National Tour), Hairspray (Broadway, National Tour), Sweet Charity (2005 Broadway Revival), Gumboots (National Tour, European Tour), Squeezebox (Off-Broadway), and Contact (National Tour). She was also the Sr. Director of Professional and International Licensing for Theatrical Rights Worldwide where she acquired and licensed secondary performing rights for musicals such as Monty Python’s Spamalot and The Color Purple

  • JOHN LANT

    Producer/Director, Consultant specialist for musicals/plays off-Broadway and TV/Film studio operator for stage to screen. 43-year veteran in the entertainment in over 750 television, film, theatre/music tours, and live theater. Production Manager at Carnegie Hall since 2006-2020 season for over 2,000 events. Award-winning producer, director, writer, lighting/set designer; Interlochen, Cal Arts, Ricardo Montalban, Hollywood Playhouse, Long Beach Playhouse, Glendale Center, 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 Radio Producer New Frequency - Theatre of the Mind for SIRIUS/XM Radio - Ranked #1 Radio show. Mentored with Jonathan Sanger/Chanticleer Films for two shorts (Emmy & Oscar Winners), 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. 17 Off-Broadway Lead Producer / Director (AEA/Non-union) credits include Fabulous!, 2By Tennessee Williams, Lili Marlene, Frankenstein, It Came from Beyond, Wicked Frozen, Teen Party Massacre, Swing!, Wicked City Blues, Geeks! 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 money raise - Pearl Bailey Musical (with Tony winning team members of Dreamgirls! and Hamilton). Development Director/Consultant for TV Film - Twisted Media NYC, Nathan Murphy Prod, Gatehouse Entertainment, Tin Mirror Prod and Trinity Theatrics network and streaming content for 3 TV pilots & 2 feature film currently in pre-production. COVID Compliance Supervisor certified for Film/TV/Broadway Theatre.
  • GREG SCHAFFERT

    is a Tony Award-winning producer with 30 plus years of experience working in every facet of the theatre. He led the production of Rick Elice’s Peter and the Starcatcher, based on the Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson best-selling novel, with writer Rick Elice and co-directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers. The play received nine Tony Award nominations, the most ever for an American play. It won five Tony Awards, making it the only play ever to win Tony Awards for the complete design team. He was an original producer of the Broadway productions All Shook Up and Burn the Floor and the National Tour of The Lightning Thief. He also supported the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal. He was on the producing teams of the off-Broadway, award-winning musicals, Bat Boy and Striking 12 and the longest-running American play in history Shear Madness. Greg has developed over 50 musicals and plays, and has Executive and Line Produced a number of developing musicals and plays in Festivals and Regional Theatres around the country.
  • RIC WANETIK

    President of Ricochet Group LLC, a strategic planning and communications advisory.  Known for his onboarding of leadership at major theaters here and in England, Ric is a frequent advisor to several regional theaters and is an active producer, investor and production supervisor. He is the Senior Advisor for America to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).  He served as the President of RSC America, a US entity supporting the work of the Royal Shakespeare Company here and around the world. An investor in over 35 Broadway and Off- Broadway productions, Ric was the lead producer and Tony nominated for Anna Deveare Smith’s Twilight Los Angeles: 1992. In 1999, he was the lead producer for Broadway’s Marlene, and was the sole producer of Off-Broadway’s Jolson and Company.  For eight years Ric was the supervising producer for the Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show on CBS-TV and has produced several TV Specials for cable, PBS and universities including: Segment Producer, Great Performances Anniversary Special; Executive Producer, A Tribute to Comden and Green directed by Patricia Birch; producer for Ohio TV Network and CBS, What Ohio Kids Need. He is guiding the 2025 South Florida premiere of Fat Ham and the 2024 South Florida premiere of The NEW Fantasticks.  He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on theatre management and marketing. 

  • LAUREN YARGER

    With her company Gracewell Productions, Lauren produces the Table Readings Series at the Palace Theater, CT; "Staged Intent" Series Ivoryton Playhouse; Women of a Certain Age in Westport County Playhouse. She is the executive producer of the Outer Critics Circle awards, co-founder of the CT chapter of the League of Professional Theater Women and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.
  • ALY YORK

    holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Syracuse University and is an alumni of the prestigious Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Additionally she is a member of the Classical Theatre Lab in Los Angeles, Ca. Aly is an indie producer and has produced several plays throughout the Los Angeles and Philadelphia area. She has produced 4 of Phil Olson's plays; 2 of which were world premieres -- additionally she produced Phil's short film he wrote with Paul Lazarus called Graham: A Dog's Story starring Tatyana Ali and Chris Williams. Recently Aly produced Neil Simon's London Suite at the GRT in Los Angeles, Ca. Aly has worked with the great Tony Tanner, Louis Fantasia, Richard Digby Day, Howard Fine and Jay Goldenberg.

  • MAUREEN CONDON

    is a recent graduate of TRU’s Producer Development Master and Foundations Classes, and was assistant to the producers for the 2021 TRUSpeak Benefit.  In 2019, Condon helped raise production funding for the Cape Cod Theatre Company’s debut of her new musical comedy CRUDE-The Climate Change Musical. Condon has produced and directed TV commercials that have aired on The Weather Channel and other cable TV channels. Condon has also produced documentary and promotional videos for Fortune 500 and high tech companies. Notable, among her productions focusing on technology, are:  “Severe Weather,” a documentary distributed nationwide to TV weathercasters; a documentary about NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Fly-by of Saturn by NASA’s Voyager II Spacecraft; and a Maysles Brothers’ cinema verite film about Polaroid Corporation’s technology. Condon has also produced, directed and choreographed multi-media/live fashion and magic shows for trade shows nationwide. Memberships include:  Theater Resources Unlimited; League of Professional Theatre Women; CreateTheater; ASCAP; The Dramatist Guild; and The Eventide Theatre Company’s Playwrights’ Lab.

  • ELIZABETH COPLAN

    is a 40+ year marketing and public relations veteran. She is also a playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and producer. In 2016, Elizabeth first produced Grief Dialogues: The Play, a series of short plays by six different playwrights, interspersed with poetry, followed by facilitated talkbacks with experts in the field of dying, death, and grief.  The play enjoyed productions in Seattle and Bainbridge Island in Washington, Memphis, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Sedona, and Portland, Oregon. She served as the Executive Producer on the short film 8 a.m. by Mark Harvey Levine.  In 2019, through her commercial production company Mampsh Productions, along with 18th and Union Arts Space and Starstrewn Productions, she presented the world premiere of Overcoming, a collection of short plays by woman-identifying playwrights. With her husband Scott she produced Queens Girl in the World at the Abingdon Theatre in 2022, and was an investor in Parade in 2023.  They are also financial backers of Village of Vale and recently signed on as members of the Producers Circle for the upcoming Off-Broadway production of Still with Tim Daly and Jayne Atkinson.

  • AMY DRAKE

    is a playwright and producer. She has held the positions of Sr. Accountant working in stock trading and Sr. Communications Coordinator in IT with Nationwide Insurance for which she was awarded a Silver Quill of Excellence by the International Association of Business Communicators for web content. She holds a MALS degree and a master’s degree in marketing and communication which has allowed her to market her own productions and work with other theater practitioners as clients. Amy has self-produced numerous short plays in festivals in NYC winning two Audience Favorite Awards. She is an alum of the Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive, the Yale Writers’ Workshop, and the Cambridge Univ. Summer Study Program.

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