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NEW SERIES: TRU COMMUNITY GATHERINGS

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we started a weekly Zoom meetup called the TRU Community Gathering. Each week, we feature guest speakers discussing the changing events in the world of theater, how people are coping and adapting to new technology, platforms, and other approaches to keep theater and creativity alive and active. Zoom meetings are held every Friday between 4:30pm - 6pm. If you aren't able to join us on Fridays, we are providing the audio podcasts for you to take advantage of.

 Click TRU Community Gathering to jump to the podcasts!


For podcasts before 2019, please visit our PODCAST ARCHIVES featuring panels and producer boot camps. 


 SERIES ONE: RECENT TRU PANELS
(click here for workshops)

BUILDING BACK BETTER: THE CAUTIOUS REOPENING OF NOT-FOR-PROFIT THEATER COMPANIES
7/29/2021 Speakers to include Chad Austin, artistic director of Abingdon Theatre Company; Debra Ann Byrd of Harlem Shakespeare Festival; Frances Hill, founding artistic director of Urban Stages; Ralph Lewis, co-founder of Peculiar Works Project. As theaters begin to reopen, many theater companies are bringing the lessons they learned during the pandemic with them into the future. They're reevaluating "best practices" to determine what still works and what needs to change, now that the nation is different from when we closed our doors. Moving forward may involve returning to basics: defining and focusing your theater's vision and purpose, creating an infrastructure with clearly defined roles, understanding the purpose of a board and how it can support the success of your company. We will also look at fundraising and audience building strategies, and the importance of branding for attracting supporters. Throughout, our panel will confront the question: How do you balance the tried-and-true with the need for flexibility and adaptability that we have learned the hard way?    

DUST OFF YOUR DREAMS: THE LONG-AWATED RETURN OF OUR FAVORITE FESTIVALS
6/23/2021 With confirmed panelists Cate Cammarata, literary manager TRU Voices Reading Series; Gene Fisch, Jr., festival director New York New Works Theatre Festival; Dennis Corsi, artistic director of Fresh Fruit Festival; Glory Kadigan, founding artistic director of Planet Connections Festivity/Zoomfest; a rep from the Dream Up Festival at Theatre for the New City; Van Dirk Fisher, artistic director Strawberry One-Act Festival and Strawberry Theatre Festival. The shutdown sure changed the way we do things, and put a damper on one of our basic stepping stones for the development of new work: the festival. How did our favorite festivals weather the pandemic? Did they use this imposed time off for planning or for reinventing themselves virtually? Do they have plans for coming back? And what did they learn in the last year that they might incorporate going forward? We'll also check in on who's open for submissions, and whether their mission and guidelines have been affected by the ongoing shocks of political and social upheaval in our country.   

RETHINKING MARKETING STRATEGIES TO REACH THE WIDER VIRTUAL AUDIENCE
3/25/2021 With guest speakers Roger Gonzalez of Alliance Media Theatricals and LocalTheatreUSA.com, Monica Hammond of Big Leap Brands (former director of marketing for Davenport Theatrical Enterprises) and Toni Isreal of Realemn Productions (former managing director of Walker International Communications). The shutdown of live theater threw many into a tailspin, but some rebounded and embraced the new medium of virtual performance to keep their projects moving ahead, and their passion alive. Bravo! Now how do you reach audiences? Are they the same people who support live theater? While production possibilities may be limited, audience bases have actually widened now that we can easily tap into markets beyond our geographic location. The landscape has changed, and will remain changed for some time. With little money to spend on traditional ad campaigns during these tough times, the emphasis on reaching new audiences has also shifted. A digital world needs a digital marketing strategy, of course. And we will look at facebook ad strategies, email marketing, adwords, partnerships with Goldstar/Groupon, etc. - all the tools we used before the shutdown. But how we use them now may be different.   

DEVELOPING NEW WORKS IN A VIRTUAL NEW WORLD: DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, DIFFERENT CHALLENGES
1/28/2021 With guest speakers: Australian producer Neil Gooding (Australian premieres of Gutenberg! The Musical!, and Dogfight and New York productions of Church and State, Handle with Care, The 39 Steps, Alan Cumming’s one-man Macbeth on Broadway; upcoming production of Back to the Future in London); New York producer Cody Lassen (Tootsie, What the Constitution Means to Me, Indecent, Significant Other, Spring Awakening revival; upcoming Titanic, How I Learned to Drive); and London producer Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment (UK Premiere Tour of The Addams Family, 50th Anniversary Touring Production of HAIR, European Premiere of The Toxic Avenger and Off-West End Productions of Pippin, Spring Awakening, Mame, Rags and the British Premiere of Unexpected Joy at Southwark Playhouse which she also was a part of at The York Theatre, Off-Broadway), and the creator of the From Page to Stage festival of new musicals. New York doesn't see a likelihood of reopening theaters until September. London has tried opening theaters with social distancing but is now back in lockdown. Australia has had theaters re-opened since late November. The current COVID situation is really causing problems for our business around the world. Nevertheless, with all the roadblocks, New Works can still be developed right now. So what is the best use of the time and resources we currently have at our disposal? The vaccine is a likely pathway to the return of live theater, but how do we plan for the future with so many unknown factors?   

 


SERIES TWO: PRODUCING BOOT CAMPS

A. RECOGNIZING COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL: IS THIS SHOW WORTH INVESTING IN?

Facilitated by attorney Eric S. Goldman with a panel of commercial producers and investors offering their experience and observations. Panel includes  William Franzblau, producer (TONY Nominated Best Play Say Goodnight GracieAmerican Buffalo and Wonderland on Broadway, the tour of Little House on the Prairie the Musical; off-Broadway Sistas, Jewtopia, Evil Dead the Musical, Respect and Illuminate); Josh Goodman, producer (Rocky, Pippin, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike); Jeremy Handelman, producer (On the Town, White's Lies, F#@king Up Everything); Cody Lassen, producer (Indecent, Significant Other, Deaf West Spring Awakening); James Simon (Hand to God, Something Rotten, Pippin). 

It’s every producer’s job – to find investors for your production. Whether you are a self-producing artist looking for a lead producer to option your piece, a lead producer looking for co-producers and investors or a not-for-profit theater looking for enhancement funds, at some point you will have to sit down and make the case for why your show is the right investment.

Part 1:

Part 2:

B. ESSENTIALS OF SELF-PRODUCING 

Essentials of Self-Producing Part 1 - Introduction to Self-Producing with TRU executive director Bob Ost, presentations by successful self-producing writers: “Why Are You Doing This?” with Nancy Holson (Emmy Award winning The News in Revue); “Wearing Many Different Hats” with Dorothy Marcic (long-running off-Broadway musical Sistas); plus a Nuts and Bolts overview of "What You Need to Make It Happen” with Bob Ost.

Essentials of Self-Producing Part 2“Marketing, Promotion and Self-Promotion” with Jay Michaels of Jay Michaels Arts & Entertainment; “Finding or Creating Opportunities” with writer/actress Karen Eterovich (international touring solo pieces about Aphra Behn and Jane Austen); and The Psychology of Self-producing, and a summary of what it takes to self-produce, with Bob Ost, Karen Eterovich and Jay Michaels.


SERIES THREE: TRU COMMUNITY GATHERINGS

Friday 12/10 - Exploring the Australian Theater Biz, Pre- and Post-COVID. Nancye Hayes, legendary Australian actress, dancer, singer and choreographer/director and narrator, a leading figure in Australian musical theatre as well as plays; Jason Langley, an award-winning Australian director and actor with thirty-two years in the theatre; Natalie Mosco, an American actress and choreographer who became a star of Australian musical Theatre and TV; Alexis Fishman, Australian born Helpmann Nominated musical performer and cabaret performer and coach who splits her time between New York and Australia.

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Friday 12/3 - Finding Our Way Back to the Off-Broadway We Love and Need. producer Cody Lassen, Larry Rogowsky/In Fine Company, and other producers talk about how off-Broadway has changed over the years, and what we have lost and hope to regain. With a focus on the post-COVID show A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet and its developmental path to production and the pandemic detours ... finding a producing model to fit the post-COVID climate ... and the overall need for a development ground for scrappy new works that may not quite fit into the high-stakes world of mainstream commercial theater.

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Friday 11/19 - Expanding the Idea of Theater: Performance Art, Devised Theatre and More. Pablo Helguera, artist, performer, author and former Director of Adult and Academic Programs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; and Sarah Hughes, director and producer of collaborative theater works and new media. Non-traditional modes of creating theater have had a long proud history, and yet are not understood – or are misunderstood – by so many theater professionals today. Given the fact that we are returning to a post-COVID world of live performance, and that we have had a year and a half to reconsider our priorities and our art, perhaps this is a good time to explore creative options. Collaborative processes may have an appeal after being in isolation for so long. Now that we've been pushed to work in virtual medium, will new media be part of our toolbox? Can new media and VR be considered theater, film, both or neither? Can these forms express and explore themes and issues more effectively than linear narrative plays?

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Friday 11/12 - Two Producers Hit the Restart Button on over a Year's Worth of Projects. But Is It Back to Business As Usual?  Neil Gooding/Neil Gooding Productions  and Martin Platt/Perry Street Theatricals. Functioning as both producers and general managers, Neil and Martin are taking a slew of projects off hold. Martin is reopening Woman in Black in NYC and starting a second touring company, as well as gm'ing the London hit Everybody's Talking about Jamie in its US debut in LA, as well as seven new shows opening around the US. Neil, in addition to being on the teams for UK musicals Back to the Future and What's New Pussycat?, is the lead of three UK and European tours, the NY Conversations with Mother and three US tours, as well as three Australian tours. That's a lot! But is it as easy as hitting the restart button, or has the business changed due to a year and a half of shutdown? And how do they determine the right market and trajectory for each of these projects?

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Friday 11/5 (PARTIAL) - Radical Hospitality: Consciously Welcoming the Theater Communities You Serve.  Raymond Bobgan, executive artistic director Cleveland Public Theatre; Robert Barry Fleming, executive artistic director of Actors Theatre of Louisville; Jack Reuler, founder/artistic director of Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. As we enter a post-COVID #BLM era in which inclusivity and diversity are simply obligatory and urgent, we may need to rethink practices on both sides of the footlights. Having 7 new Broadway plays by black writers with predominantly BIPOC producers is a step in the right direction, but there is another side to the equation: the need to consciously cultivate a relationship with more diverse audiences. Simply put, radical hospitality means welcoming people in a fundamentally different way that is specific to their culture and needs. We'll look at how this applies to theater, from programming to ticketing

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Friday 10/29 - What More Can Government Do to Support the Reopening of Theater? Erik Bottcher, Democratic nominee for the 3rd district of the New York City Council, and Carla Hoke-Miller, Director of Theatre Programs and Partnerships for the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. While government support for the arts is a given in many countries including the United Kingdom, America has been slow to step in and nurture the development of our cultural footprint. Though many politicians respect the arts, this touchstone of our national identity is rarely mentioned in political speeches about key issues that affect our country. In our schools, sports throttle the arts in the arena of funding. Is this a result of our political ideologies? Is it inevitable that other social issues be prioritized over the struggle of artists? In this post-COVID period of reopening, conscious efforts are being made in New York to support the return of live theater, a key component of the New York economy. How can we keep theater top-of-mind going forward into the future?

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Friday 10/22 - The Art of Performance: How a Concert Pianist Interprets and Portrays Ideas.  Beth Levin, an American classical pianist who studied with Rudolph Serkin, devoted to the highly expressive and demanding repertoire of Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Brahms, Rachmaninoff and Ravel, as well as to the work of leading modernists. Come hear why she thinks acting and making music have deep connections. We'll look at interpretation, emotion and sub-text and explore the theatrical aspects of her performance style. And of course we'll consider how seventeen months in pandemic isolation has affected her, and what opportunities have kept her creative and productive.

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Friday 10/15 - The Road to Success: Building Your Brand and Touring Your Show.  Quinn Lemley, star of Burlesque to Broadway and The Heat Is On!, a life in concert celebrating Rita Hayworth currently at Don't Tell Mama in NYC, host of the virtual TV show Secrets of the Stage on MNN and director/co-producer of Rebel Rebel The Many Lives of David Bowie, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Wall and co-producer of The Ultimate Queen Celebration. We'll talk about creating a successful touring show, and how she has kept fans and built a following for over a decade, touring across the US and Canada in first-class performing arts centers. Did shutdown affect her brand and her bookings? Has her virtual presence helped her maintain her brand? And how did she use it to stay in touch with audiences for the last 18 months?

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Friday 10/8 - A Conversation with Angelina Fiordellisi: Changing Times and the Cherry Lane Theatre. Angelina Fiordellisi, actress and proprietress for 25 years of the landmark Cherry Lane Theatre, and leader of the non-profit Cherry Lane Alternative service organization. The beloved space on Commerce Street is now 100 years old, and has been part of the birth and evolution of off-Broadway. We'll talk about its rich history, the effects of shutdown and some thoughts about its future as it enters a new chapter.

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Friday 10/1 - Hands Across the Sea: Bringing Together Producers on Both Sides of the Atlantic.  Chris Grady, producer, director at CGO Institute, fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, staunch networker; and Megan Schadler, US/UK producer/writer (Yonder Window Theatre Company), co-founder of The Fifth Producer multi-national collective. We'll hear about current initiatives to foster stronger ties among producers, with a focus on international collaborations that generate opportunities to find what connects us all as human beings. Plus a dive into the differences in producing here in US versus UK, and the variables in reopening theater right now.

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Friday 9/24 - From One Community to Another: Welcoming the Episcopal Actors Guild to TRU. Rebecca Lovett, assistant director, and Jamie Soltis, charitable programs associate. Their mission involves services and support for performers. Their programs include emergency financial assistance, as well as the Actors Pantry, The Headshot Project, Artist Afternoons, exercise classes, and the Open Stage grant. Their community engages everyone of any faith or no faith, and extends to writers, directors and all members of the arts community in search of a creative home. And like the rest of us, they found ways to keep their community engaged during a shutdown.

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Friday 9/17 - How Off-Broadway Made It Through the Pandemic. attorney Peter Breger, president of the Off-Broadway Alliance; Ed Gaynes, off-Broadway producer and general manager, as well as a theatre owner in NY and LA; and John Lant, off-Broadway producer & production manager, producing artistic director Write Act Rep & Park Theatre. Once a primary incubator of new works, off-Broadway has grown expensive, yet it is still valuable in gaining recognition and building an audience for a property. We'll look at newer financial models and not-for-profit partnerships, as well as the newest challenge of reopening after a shutdown and winning back audiences.

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Friday 9/10 - Theater for Young People: Cultivating the Artists and Audiences of Tomorrow. Luis Reyes Cardenas, artistic director of Open Hydrant Theatre. Learn about the only Equity ensemble theater company serving the Youth of the South Bronx, and how it has made an impact on an under-served community. Before COVID they produced yearly seasons of creative works based largely on non-traditional interpretations of Shakespeare's plays, as well as work by new playwrights and underdog classics. Though shutdown created obstacles, it also offered opportunities to rethink and re-evaluate programs, and they are coming back now and committed to empowering diverse creative artists, especially youth.

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Friday 9/3 - Progress in a Pandemic: Developing New Works, Cultivating New Understanding. producers Rashad Chambers of Esquire Entertainment and Blair Russell.  Two successful producers discuss their progress with current projects, and the development detours taken during shutdown. We'll also look at long overdue efforts for greater inclusion in the arts: what progress is being made and what more needs to be done, as well as the specific challenges of being a producer of color in a white-dominated industry, and current programs to inspire, educate and include more BIPOC producers and artists.

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Friday 8/27 - Art and Community: Keeping Audiences (and Artists) Engaged During a Pandemic. Tandy Beal, founder of Tandy Beal & Company, a multi-faceted California company that has created original concerts in dance, theatre, circus and music since 1974; and Kandie Carle of East Haddam Stage Company, bringing theater with minimal set and maximum audience connection to outdoor sites around Connecticut. Though COVID tried to stop them, both found alternative safe programs to keep both artists and an art-starved community continually engaged.

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Friday 8/20 - Coming Back to Live: Protocols, Persistence and Projections. Jonathan Hogue, producer/writer of StrangerSings!, the first new musical to open since COVID hit; Edward Einhorn artistic director of Untitled Theatre Company #61, and Iben Cenholt, technologist for the streaming of Alma Baya. How difficult was it to find a safe plan for opening a live performance? What were the minimum requirements for feeling safe enough to bring in audiences? Was it challenging finding a venue that fit those requirements? What are the protocols in place, both backstage and in the theater? How has the audience response been? Have there been compromises, or have there been unexpected advantages?

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Friday 8/13 - How a Pandemic Brought New Perspectives to Theater. Moderated by Emileena Pedigo of The Show Goes On Productions. Bonnie Comley, commercial producer and founder of BroadwayHD; Jane Dubin, commercial producer, board member of House on the Moon theater company; Kathryn Jones of Collective Agency live-streamed fundraising events; and Julie Saltman, producer/costume designer/co-creator of the Virtual Reality extravaganza Taking Wing. The shutdown was a mixed blessing in some ways. It forced us to look at things through a different lens. We had to come up with creative new ways to present our work, adapt to a new medium and reach new audiences. We had to adapt our mindsets around money: how to measure value, set ticket prices, prep "the ask," and balance art and business. And many non-profit companies were pushed to reconcile mission-driven passion with operating a sustainable Arts business, whether for one project or a whole season. What are the lessons learned?

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Friday 8/6 - What TRU Can Do for You (and How We Can Do It Virtually). Moderated by TRU Board Chair Sandy Silverberg. Cate Cammarata, TRU literary manager, facilitator of How to Write a Musical That Works; Jane Dubin, program director for our Producer Development and Mentorship Program; Tamra Pica, tech magician behind the Writer-Producer Speed Date; Ric Wanetik, facilitator for the Director-Writer Communications Lab; Patrick Blake, facilitator of the Practical Playwriting workshop. Learn how TRU can help your development as a theater professional, with a focus on 5 of our key programs. Meet the people who run these programs and learn more about how they can not only help you hone your skills but also help you navigate the business more successfully. How have these programs adapted to virtual presentation? What are the pluses and minuses? And will we stay virtual or go back to live programming?

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Friday 7/30 - Growing Pains: Starting, Maintaining and Evolving a New Theater Company. founder/producing artistic director Magaly Colimon-Christopher of Conch Shell Productions (presenting Caribbean-American and Caribbean Diaspora voices); founder and executive producer Carolyn Harrison of Good Light Productions (opportunities for underrepresented voices); founder and executive Fred Rohan-Vargas of Mixing It Up Productions (multi-media entertainment company). So many missions, so many companies. And so many choices, starting with whether a not-for-profit or commercial model is best for achieving your goals. Which means understanding your goals. Join us for an honest look at how these companies first came to be, and how they defined and structured themselves as they found their identity and their community. And how greater inclusion is at the heart of their missions.

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Friday 7/23 - NFP and NGO: How Some Non Profit Theater Companies Extend Their Mission and Work.  co-founder and executive/artistic producer Carolyn Brown of True Colors Project/My True Colors Festival, founding executive director Jesse Fahay of Ripple Effect Artists, founding and artistic/executive director Ludovica Villar-Hauser of Parity Productions, co-founder and artistic director Emily Weiner of Houses on the Moon. Some not-for-profit theater companies extend their mission beyond performances, and offer a range of services and support for specific communities. Sometimes this drifts into the realm of an NGO, a nonprofit organization that operates independently of any government, whose purpose is to address a social or political issue. How do the two parts of their identity amplify each other? Are there any stumbling blocks that this structure might incur? And how much of their time and donations are allocated to community work, and how much to performance?

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Friday 7/16 - The Challenges of Running a Not-for-Profit Theater Company (Especially During a Shutdown).  artistic director Teri Black and resident director Valerie Adami of Break a Leg Productions; interim co-artistic director and workshop director Meghan Crosby of American Renaissance Theatre Co.; executive and artistic director Judith Estrine of Prism Stage Company. We'll hear the histories and missions of these four companies and learn about their infrastructure and survival strategies, as well as the how the shutdown has effected their operations, any adjustments they may have made for virtual performance and their plans for re-emerging into live production.

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Friday 7/9 - How Broadway Records Kept the Music Playing Throughout the Shutdown.  Van Dean, Tony and Grammy Award-winning Broadway producer and the president and co-founder of Broadway Records talks about how his company survived, pivoted, and even expanded during the pandemic. Including high-profile COVID-inspired projects like best-selling author Jodi Picoult's Breathe musical, the all-star home-recorded Artists in Residence, a new collaboration with NY Theatre Barn of recordings of new works in development, Ahrens & Flaherty's Legacy, If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album, the Averno magical transmedia Universe of musicals and a current initiative with Black Theatre Coalition for an upcoming Black Writers Amplified, an album consisting entirely of new works by Black musical theatre writers.

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Friday 7/2 - An International Perspective: What in the World Is Happening to Theater? Australian producer Neil Gooding (Australian premieres of Gutenberg! The Musical!, and Dogfight and New York productions of Church and State, Handle with Care, The 39 Steps, Alan Cumming’s one-man Macbeth on Broadway; upcoming production of Back to the Future in London); UK producer Ramin Sabi, award winning theater and film producer (London: The Prince of Egypt, Olivier Award winning Company, Gypsy with Imelda Staunton, Nativity the musical; NY: upcoming Company, The Ferryman, 1984). We're finally heading back to live performance here in New York. London and Australia have had their ups and downs, with reopening attempts long before ours. How has that worked? We'll meet two producers who have dealt with – and are dealing with – getting shows back up in what we hope is the post-pandemic era.

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Friday 6/25 - Interviewing the Interviewer: Meet Multi-Media Personality Jim Masters.  Jim Masters, TV & radio personality, host, correspondent, spokesperson, anchor, voice talent, writer, producer, marketing & lifestyle expert. With years of Live and scripted TV and radio professional broadcast experience, Jim made a COVID pivot in April 2020 and became host and executive producer of The Jim Masters Show LIVE!, an entertainment talk show series broadcasting live worldwide 7 days a week. He'll share stories of the celebrities he has interviewed, and his observations of how COVID has affected our industry and pushed us to adapt and evolve, and how he himself has changed in these last 15 months.

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Friday 6/18 - Way More Than a Platform: A 360° Approach to Story Development.  entrepreneur and award-winning artist Peter Rafelson of ElectraCast and marketing expert Mark Netter, co-founder of this new 360° content company focused on inspiring and connecting people, creating a better world through compelling entertainment and storytelling, developing content along multiple verticals and mediums, spinning off hit podcasts into film and television adaptations, and connecting entertainment with social impact goals.

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Friday 6/11 - The Regional Perspective, 5: A Tale of Two Theaters (and the Return to Live Performance).  Joe Grandy, consulting producer of the Cape Playhouse in Cape Cod, and Daniel C. Levine, Artistic Director of ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) of Connecticut. Two very different theater companies: one just a few years old, the other a part of theater history since 1927. The shutdown impacted them each in very different ways. How did they maintain their audience bases, and perhaps even increase their visibility during COVID, and how is each approaching the return to live performance?

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Friday 6/4 - Politics and the Arts: Being the Change.  Leslie Boghosian-Murphy, running for City Council in NYC District 3, former investigative journalist and SAG-Aftra member; Jeffrey Omura, running for City Council in NYC District 6, actor, activist and second-term officer of Actor's Equity; Jeff Gold, State Committee Member and Manhattan Chapter Officer of the Working Families Party of NYS; Stephanie Pinto, political activist. A conversation about their personal journeys merging art and politics, insights into understanding how to work within "the system" and the importance of letting your voice be heard. Rarely are the arts even mentioned in most campaign speeches. Here are people who are passionate about helping the arts claim their place among the many cultural shifts that are needed for a healthy recovery from a year of shutdown.

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Friday 5/28 - How to Craft a Writing Career (In Spite of a Pandemic). playwrights Phil Olson (A Nice Family Gathering, Mom’s Gift, Don’t Hug Me series of musicals) andRich Orloff(Blessings from the Pandemic, It's a Beautiful Wound, Big Boys, Funny As a Crutch, Advanced Chemistry). Both have a long history of multiple productions and publishing deals for their works. What are their secrets of success? And how have they stayed active and visible even during a year-long shutdown? In addition to the arduous and endless work of self-promotion, how has their business head learned to collaborate with their creative side?

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Friday 5/21 - How Virtual Contracts and Costs Have Evolved, and How That Will Impact Live Performance. R. Erin Craig of La Vie Productions LLC, producer / Producing Director (Austen's Pride, Mr Rickey Calls A Meeting, Into The Wild, In The Heights, Irena's Vow, Velocity of Autumn, High Fidelity, Stalking the Bogeyman, Beatsville, Right Before I Go ) and Martin Platt, producer-general manager Pemberley Perry Productions, Perry Street Productions (The Woman in Black, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Dames at Sea, The Last Ship starring Sting, Everybody's Talking about Jamie, In the Continuum, an oak tree). The latest look at the ever-evolving agreements for virtual production, and how COVID will effect the cost of returning to live theater. What will the transition look like, and can we generate a viable financial model for reopening?

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Friday 5/14 - How a Pandemic Created an Artistic Home for Writers. Cate Cammarata, Artistic Director of CreateTheater/The Experts Theater Company, and TRU members David Kurkowski (Madame Curie), Melissa Bell (Lady Capulet), and Joel Krantz (Ocean in a Teacup). CreateTheater was already set up for development of scripts through readings and early production of work, but a pandemic pivot turned it into a theater company and artistic home for writers for the development of new work. Synergistic programs include writers groups, producing groups, readings every Thursday night within the community, and more public Monday Night reading when the work is ready for production.

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Friday, 5/7 - Monetizing Virtual Performance: How a Mentalist Has Amazed Us All. Producer Adam Rei Siegel and mentalist Jason Suran explain how their hit virtual show Reconnected has sold out 400+ shows since summer 2020, adopted the work for corporate teams at Google, Facebook, Apple, Walmart and more, and attracted the support of celebrities. They will discuss the creation, business development, client retention as well as their plans for the upcoming stage adaptation.

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Friday 4/30 - The Mystery of the Successful Podcast ... Solved! writer Dorothy Marcic and producer Bill Franzblau of MANSlaughter, a podcast based on Marcic's true crime book about the murder of her uncle, which reached #1 podcast in the US, Canada, UK and Australia! A conversation about adapting a book for podcast, the technical skills needed to generate a professional and engaging product, as well as effective marketing and distribution.

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Friday 4/23 - The Regional Perspective, 4: Rethinking and Redefining As We Prepare for the Future. In the room: Gretchen Shugart, executive director, Carl Sylvestre, director of development and R.K. Greene board member of Theatre Forward, a nonprofit organization supporting a network of 19 prominent regional theaters in their efforts to build communities and make theatre accessible to all; with Kit Ingui, Managing Director and Betty Monz, Director of Philanthropic Engagement at Long Wharf Theatre; and Tom Parrish, managing director of Trinity Rep. What's happening generally at regional theaters now, and what we can expect in the future? Besides the challenges of COVID-19 there new challenges as they re-define their purpose and roles in their respective communities, and try to address social issues.

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Friday 4/16 - Still Swimming Up-Stream: New Advances in Virtual Musical Presentation. In the room: Joe Barros, Artistic Director and Jen Sandler, Associate Artistic Director of New York Theatre Barn, return to update us on the evolution of their ongoing programming of incubating original musicals in real time and in front of live audiences, and their quest to making musical theatre development the most accessible that it’s ever been both for artists and audiences. We'll continue our previous conversation from last July, about virtual development and projects that converge at the intersection of theatre and film.

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Friday 4/9 - Advocacy, Opportunity and Inspiration During (and After) COVID. In the room: Aimee Todoroff, director, Managing Director of the League of Independent Theater and Chris Harcum, award-winning actor, producer, and playwright (and Director of a Bright Future for LIT). They are co-founders of Elephant Run District indie theater company. The power of advocacy and the founding and evolution of the League of Independent Theater, including initiatives to help theater venues, as well as theater artists, survive the shutdown. And the difference between Open Culture and NY Pop Ups, and their roles in bringing back live performance.

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Friday 4/2 - BroadwayRadio Has Been Listening to Us. What Has It Heard? In the room: host James Marino and co-hosts, theater reviewers Peter Filichia and Michael Portantiere, have been interviewing the theater community since 2009. On radio. The perfect socially distant medium. Has the audience increased during shutdown? What have people been saying? What has changed in the last year? And what are the predominant views of the future of post-pandemic theater?

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Friday 3/26 - A Conversation with David Armstrong (and the Podcast Pivot). In the room: David Armstrong, voice of the Broadway Nation podcasts about the roots of American musical theater; director (Scandalous on Broadway), writer, producer, lecturer, educator and choreographer. The journey from artistic director of the influential Fifth Avenue Theater in Seattle to podcaster, and how he single-handedly created a full year of 37 podcasts. We'll explore the technical challenges of creating a professional sounding podcast, as well as offer lots of thoughts about how outsiders helped shape the Broadway musical.

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Friday 3/19 - Thinking in Zoom (3): Our TRUSpeak Writers Share What They Have Learned. In the room: playwrights Melissa Bell, Richard Castle, T Cat Ford, Melvina Douse Manuel, Michele Miller and Joe Nelms talk about the whole virtual process: how they came to submit, and why ... what their expectations were and what the reality turned out to be ... how well they navigated the learning curve and how the experience has changed them as a writer.

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Friday 3/12 - How Literary Agents Are Navigating This Virtual New World. In the room: Beth Blickers of APA (Agency for the Performing Arts), Samara Harris of Samara Harris Literary Agency and Michael Moore of Michael Moore Agency. The effect of the shutdown on the role of literary agents: how contracts have changed, and the way of doing business in general has shifted. With a look at how the shutdown has affected the development of new works, and whether the role of an agent has shifted in any way. Are there still opportunities for new works to flourish, and how do agents play an active role?

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Friday 3/5 - Thinking in Zoom (2): Producers and Technologists. In the room: producers Maureen Condon, Jonathan Hogue, Stephanie Pope Lofgren and Claudia Zahn, and technologists Iben Cenholt of RuneFilms and Carley Santori. A conversation with producers and technicians of the TRUSpeak ... Hear Our Voices! benefit. A look at the newly defined relationships, and dynamics, in this new working environment, and the stumbling blocks and solutions along the way.

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Friday 2/26 - Thinking in Zoom: How Directors Adapted to a New Medium. In the room: directors Cate Cammarata, Van Fisher, Jessica Garrou, Glynn Borders plus tech coordinator Iben Cenholt of RuneFilms. A conversation with four of the directors, and the tech coordinator of the TRUSpeak ... Hear Our Voices! benefit, and how they conceived, collaborated and created something new and exciting using the strengths of virtual presentation.

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Friday 2/19 - More Alternatives to Live Theater: Podcasts and Radio Drama. In the room: Claudia Catania of Playing on Air, a radio program and podcast, dedicated to sharing great short theater with the public. With short plays written by some of the country’s top playwrights. Plus initiatives to help educators across the country share the power of great theater.

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Friday 2/12 - Addressing Social Issues, and Making Art, from a Distance. In the room: Anne Hamburger of En Garde Arts, a company dedicated to Art and Artists programs that reflect a fundamental emphasis on equity, diversity and inclusion; and how that mission is fulfilled safely during the current shutdown. Including current EnGarde efforts to return to their site-specific roots, with plans for activating loading docks, storefront windows, front stoops and more and creating opportunities for countless artists and technicians.

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Friday 1/29 - The Limitations, Possibilities and Best Uses of Virtual Performance: A Conversation. In the room: Jane Dubin, producer (The Prom, Tony winning The Norman Conquests, An American in Paris, Peter and the Starcatcher; off-Broadway The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelky, 39 Steps) and board chair of Houses on the Moon Theatre Company; R.K. Greene, producer (Peter and the Starcatcher, The Lightning Thief tour, Farinelli and the King, A Time to Kill; upcoming Beau the musical); Jeremy Handleman, producer (Tony Award nominated for John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons and the revival of On the Town; plus the Off Broadway rock musical comedy Brooklyn Crush, formerly F#%king Up Everything). We continue exploring the frustrations of art during COVID, and how to make the best use of this time.

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Friday 1/22 - The Dramatists Guild Digital Rights Agreement. In the room: Kristoffer Diaz of the Dramatists Guild’s New Media Committee, Ralph Sevush and Aisha DeCoteau of the Dramatists Guild’s Business Affairs Department to talk about navigating new media in the theater industry. In response to the pandemic, the DG created a New Media committee and promulgated articles and contracts to help their members weather this unprecedented time. Join us as we discuss this journey and why DG thinks that new media in theater is here to stay.

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Friday 1/8 - Adapting Works for Socially Distanced and/or Virtual Performance. In the room: writers Betsy Kelso and David Nehls of The Great American Trailer Park Musical. Starting wth the path from the TRU Voices Series to off-Broadway and icensing. Moving to the unique challenge of adjusting “live” material for these times, and the importance of staying open to whatever different theaters feel is right for their market.

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