We have an exciting announcement to share about our Launch Concert for The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers.
But first, a brief personal reflection.
About ten months ago I began this blog with the support of my colleague Lorene Phillips. I wanted to write about things that effect people in the musical theatre industry. I was also beginning the process of developing The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers, an unparalleled resource to help voice teachers, students and professionals connect with writers and discover well-written, largely unpublished solo songs. From the beginning we decided we didn’t want to actually sell the writer’s work – we feel writers should earn full pay for the songs they’ve written. The Directory would simply be a curated resource where people could research the songs, then contact the writers directly to purchase the scores. We wanted to create an interactive user community that supports writers both known and unknown and creates an ongoing conversation about musical theatre craft.
For five months Lorene and I planned, created Google Doc forms for submissions, reviewed materials with our panel of musical theatre and voice professionals and eventually developed a hard copy of the Directory. There were over 140 writers and 300+ songs in the Directory at that time. It was a lot of work putting the resource together, but a world opened up to us in the process. We were consistently blown away with the richness and diversity of the songs we heard.
Others were too. We took the Directory to the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) National Convention as a poster paper, where teachers expressed a great deal of interest in the resource. Our favorite scene from the convention: a teacher and her student sitting on a couch behind our presentation site, taking copious notes on various songs while listening to our iPod playlist of The Top 25 Songs.
Something special happens when what you’ve created is appreciated. Lorene and I were overjoyed – not just because our hard work had paid off, but because we knew this meant helping writers who’s work deserves to be known and performed.
Fast forward to today. Our blog has been viewed by well over 14,000 people. Our Directory has grown to 150+ writers and 350+ songs. We’re ahead of schedule (so far) for launching an online version of the Directory on November 1. It will make searching all this great material a piece of cake. It will connect writers with their audience and, what’s more, do it in a completely interactive way using social media and other technology.
We’ve been planning a launch concert for as long as we’ve been working on the Directory itself. We envisioned producing a special evening to celebrate this project and the writers in it.
Dreams do come true. We’re proud to release the details of our forthcoming Launch Concert.DATE: Monday, January 21, 2013 TIME: 8 PM HOST: TBA** VENUE: Second Stage Theatre
The 90-minute concert – featuring approximately 25 writers and 12-13 songs from the Directory presented by Broadway performers and a six-piece band – will be a benefit for the Dramatist Guild Fund, which supports writers in need. Laura Josepher will direct; Matt Castle will musical direct. Tickets will go on sale through Second Stage in mid-December.
This journey is far from over. But oh, what a phenomenal ride it’s been thus far! Lorene and I are deeply grateful to all the writers, who have entrusted us with their work. From what we’ve seen, we don’t have to worry about the state of contemporary musical theatre anytime soon!
Join us as we attempt to rethink and reshape what’s possible in connecting writers and performers through this interactive website and launch concert!
** – 9/28/12 – Andrew Lippa – who is one of our favorite writers and people – graciously stepped down from hosting the Launch Concert due to a recently rescheduled workshop of his forthcoming musical. We’re eager to hear what comes from his pen, and are deeply grateful for his support of the Directory project!
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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.