Directory Update #1

This blog is a part of The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers, found online at www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com
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I thought you might appreciate a quick update on where the Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers project stands, since I launched it a couple weeks ago.

So far, the concept of the directory has been very well received by my BMI Musical Theatre Workshop colleagues and the students and alumni of NYU Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.  Several have enthusiastically contacted me about submitting their materials.  Based on what I’ve received thus far, I can tell you I’m getting some wonderful songs, which is very exciting!

Other writers have contacted me with what I would call cautious optimism.  They like the idea of the directory, but want to make sure their work will be protected.  This is an understandable concern, given that today so many people pirate and share PDF scores with others, taking income away from the writers (see my interview with Kait Kerrigan for more on this subject).  I will do my best to put them at ease, confirming that hard copies of their scores or recordings will never be made available for purchase OR distributionby me.  When I give them a clearer view of what I’m presenting at the NATS National Conference, they’re usually ready to sign on.

In terms of hard numbers, here’s what I have thus far:

COMPOSER/LYRICIST or COMPOSER/LYRICIST TEAMS:

  • 21 Inquiries, 8 Submissions

COMPOSERS with MULTIPLE COLLABORATORS:

  • 6 Inquiries, 1 Submission

LYRICISTS with MULTIPLE COLLABORATORS:

  • 2 Inquiries, 0 Submissions

To be honest, this is a slower rate of response than I expected.  I think there are a couple reasons for that.  It takes a while for people to respond to submission calls like this, especially given it’s a new project.  I’ve also asked for a lot of specific information in the electronic form I e-mail them, and it has to be filled out in one sitting.  For others, knowing the deadline isn’t until April 1 makes it a bit easier to push off completing the form and submitting the required materials.

The slow start, however, has given me time to set up a system by which I can handle an onslaught of submissions.  My google e-mail is organized by “Preliminary Correspondence” and “Completed Submission” folders, along with a folder for e-mail confirmations when an electronic form is sent.  The only thing that will remain in my inbox are incoming e-mails.

I’ve also created a folder on my desktop for the directory.  In it, I have folders with the names of all the writers who have inquired about the directory, last name first.  Inside that folder, I have separate folders for their scores, recordings and head shot.  Once a writer’s submission is complete, their entire folder moves to the “Completed Submission” folder, so I can clearly see who I need to contact about getting additional materials.

Can you tell I enjoy organizing things way too much??

Here are my next steps in the coming weeks:

    • Send out a follow-up e-mail to the BMI and NYU writers, reminding them of the April 1 deadline.
    • E-mail a couple colleagues personally, asking them to submit and spread the word.
    • Post this blog, and hope you’ll give strong musical theatre writers my e-mail address: dsisco75@gmail.com.
    • Continue blogging about contemporary musical theatre in order to bring more attention to the project.  I have some phenomenal posts coming up, including: an interview with my former Marymount student Jason Gotay, who’s currently playing Randall in the national tour of Bring It On; a list of the top ten contemporary songs no one wants to hear at auditions; and a break-down by genre of all the musical selection books we found at Colony Records (see my 2nd post), along with a roster of performing artists associated with those shows.

My goal still remains to represent over 150 writers in the first edition of the directory.  It’s ambitious, but I think it can be done.

I’ve had frequent conversations about the directory with Lorene Phillips, my project assistant, in the last couple weeks.  It’s very easy to get overwhelmed.  I feel a lot of pressure to handle the writer’s work with great care and make sure the directory is a truly valuable resource (along with this blog).  I haven’t even gotten to what my poster presentation site will look like.  I need to speak to my graphic design colleague and come up with an eye-catching logo.  There are so many details to be worked out.

I’m confident, though, that everything will slowly come into focus if I keep showing up daily – responding to some e-mails, drafting the next blog, reaching out to some writers…

Thanks for your continued interest and support in the project.  More shall be revealed soon!

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Visit www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com for more information on over 180 contemporary musical theatre writers and 550+ songs, all searchable by voice and song type.

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