BIZ conference agenda | NewMusicalsInc

conference agenda

BIZ of the MUSICAL THEATRE BIZ Conference 2018

July 27, 28, 29

New Musicals Inc.
5628 Vineland Avenue
North Hollywood, CA 91601


NMI's seventh national conference for musical theatre bookwriters, lyricists, and composers will be three jam-packed days of insiders' tips about finding and approaching producers. Held at NMI's newly-renovated facilities in North Hollywood July 27, 28 and 29.

Join us in the musical theatre trenches, practicing, polishing and perfecting your pitch. Hear first-hand from writers and producers about epic fails and successes. Fantastic networking as you'll be joined live and online by fellow writers as well as producers from all over the country, representing regional, commercial, and touring theatres of every size and taste.

Every conference registrant will be eligible to have one musical included in our complete pitch catalogue which we'll send to nearly 100 producers across the country two weeks after the conference.

We're also offering an additional optional add-on: a personal five-session PITCH Boot Camp leading up to the conference in which NMI's Executive Director will guide you and make you hit deadlines for your pitch materials; with a final follow-up session after the conference for individual advice on targeted marketing.

Register by June 1 to receive $100 off


(The schedule of panels is subject to change.)

Friday, July 27

7:00 pm to 8:00 pm     Registration and Opening Schmooze

8:00 pm to 9:30 pm


Broadway and Hollywood writers and producers talk about disaster pitches, as well as ones which turned out to be triumphs. Hear directly from those who've done it.

Confirmed Moderator:
          Elise Dewsberry (Artistic Director, NMI)
Confirmed Panelists:
          Brian Graden (CEO, Brian Graden Media)
          Dana Iris Harrel (Disney Imagineering/Disney Parks Live Entertainment)
          Stuart Ross (Writer/Director/Producer (Forever Plaid, Fun with Dick and Jane))
          Cheri Steinkellner (Tony nominated bookwriter, Sister Act)

9:30 pm to 10:00 pm     Wine & Cheese Reception

A sneak peek at some of the great food our conference staff will be preparing for all the conference registrants!

Broadway producer Ken Davenport, author of the blog THE PRODUCER'S PERSPECTIVE, at the 2016 Conference.

Conference 2016 Attendees get a chance to introduce themselves and their projects.

Gordon P. Firemark (Entertainment Lawyer) and Michael Blaha (Entertainment Lawyer, Producer) conduct our perennial favorite - the lawyer's panel.

2016 Conference participants during one of the networking breaks.

Logan Vamosi, Chris Warren Gilbert, Farley Cadena, and Heidi Appe in the reading of "The Devil, You Know?" by 2016 Conference attendee Mitch Glaser.

Saturday, July 28

8:30 am to 9:00 am     Breakfast Networking

9:00 am to 10:30 am


Our savvy expensive lawyer tells you how to protect you, your idea, and your bank account. Followed by a lively Q&A in which you can ask anything (anything!).

Confirmed Panelists:
          Lisa A. Callif (Entertainment Lawyer, Donaldson + Callif, LLP)

10:30 am to 11:00 am     Mid-Morning Networking

11:00 am to 12:30 pm


Commercial and independent producers tell you how to approach them...and how NOT to. This panel will give you insight into what producers look for in a pitch.

Confirmed Moderator:
          Scott Guy (Executive Director, New Musicals Inc.)
Confirmed Panelists:
          Marco Gomez (Independent Producer)
          Cody Lassen (Producer, Cody Lassen & Associates)
          Heather Provost (Commercial Producer)
          Christopher Sepulveda (Producer)

12:30 pm to 1:30 pm     Network Lunch

1:30 pm to 2:30 pm


A relaxed round-robin in which you get a chance to tell everyone about you and your musicals...and NMI gets a chance to tell you about how we can help.

Confirmed Moderator:
          Elise Dewsberry (Artistic Director)
          Scott Guy (Executive Director, New Musicals Inc.)

2:30 pm to 3:00 pm     Mid-Afternoon Networking

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm


What's the right pathway for your musical? We'll show you a number of pathways to consider.

Confirmed Moderator:
          Michael A. Kerker (ASCAP Director of Musical Theatre)
Confirmed Panelists:
          Roger Bean (President, Steele Spring Stage Rights)
          Beth Blickers (Literary Agent, Agency for the Performing Arts (APA))
          Sean Cercone (President, Broadway Licensing)
          Stuart Ross (Writer/Director/Producer (Forever Plaid, Fun with Dick and Jane))
          Steve Spiegel (President and CEO, Theatrical Rights Worldwide)

4:00 pm to 4:30 pm     Coffee Networking

4:30 pm to 6:00 pm


What other ways can you get your musical/music out there? Our panelists will talk about pitching to internet platforms; cabarets; showcases; and other opportunities for getting yourself into the limelight!

Confirmed Moderator:
          Denise Acosta (Producer/Director)
Confirmed Panelists:
          Kate Pazakis (Producer)
          Hillary D Rollins (Producer, Hillary Rollins Presents)
          Mychal Simka (CEO, SuperDopeTV)
          Nicholas Tana (Freelance Writer, Director, and Musician)
          Peter Welkin (Producer, A Little New Music)

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm     Dinner on Your Own

8:00 pm to 10:00 pm


A concert reading of the new musical BRAVO! - the winner of NMI's 2017 Search for New Musicals - written by Cristian Guerero, Andrew Moorhead, and Steven Schmidt.

Sunday, July 29

9:30 am to 11:00 am


NMI'S Scott Guy says: "For twenty years of presentations and pitches, I've seen musicals make the same five mistakes. I'll point them out so you can avoid making them." (A light breakfast will be available DURING this panel.)

Confirmed Moderator:
          Scott Guy (NMI Executive Director)

11:00 am to 12:30 pm


How to interest an artistic director in your musical...and how to make sure your approach doesn't backfire. What are Artistic Directors looking for...and how do you find that out?

Confirmed Moderator:
          Daniel Henning (Artistic Director, The Blank Theatre)
Confirmed Panelists:
          T.J. Dawson (Artistic Director, 3-D Theatricals)
          Kent Nicholson (Director of Musical Theatre, Playwrights Horizon)
          Ann-Carol Pence (Co-Founder/Associate Producer, Aurora Theatre)

12:30 pm to 1:30 pm     Network Lunch

1:30 pm to 3:00 pm


The good news is you don't have to PITCH to festivals. We'll tell you how to submit to festivals, and how to know which ones are right for you.

Confirmed Moderator:
          Elise Dewsberry (Artistic Director, NMI)
Confirmed Panelists:
          Anika Chapin (Artistic Associate, Goodspeed Musicals)
          Mark Fleischer (Producing Director, Pittsburgh CLO)
          Alexander Gemignani (Artistic Director, The National Music Theater Conference at the O'Neill Center)
          Ciera Iveson (New Works Director and Producer of the Festival of New Musicals, National Alliance for Musical Theatre)
          Joshua Katzker (PiTCH Coordinator/Artistic Associate, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival)
          Matt Quinn (Executive Producer/Owner, Combined Artform/Theatre Asylum)
          Rachel Sussman (Producing Artistic Director, New York Musical Festival)

3:00 pm to 3:30 pm     Coffee Networking

3:30 pm to 4:30 pm


A chance - just before the final big PITCH panel - for us to summarize the weekend, and make sure you know everything you need to prepare your submission to our list of nearly 100 producers

4:30 pm to 6:30 pm


Finally it's your turn. Producers in the room (and online) will have YOUR Pitch in their hands to discuss what catches their eye and why.

Confirmed Moderator:
          Scott Guy (Executive Director, New Musicals Inc.)
Confirmed Panelists:
          Michael Alden (Producer, Michael Alden Productions, Come From Away, Bat Boy)
          Tim Kashani (CEO, Apples and Oranges Productions)
          John Mitchell (Independent Producer)

6:30 pm to 7:30 pm     Closing Schmooze

Brady Schwind (conceiver/director, CARRIE THE MUSICAL); and Theresa Stroll (MY BIG FAT BLONDE MUSICAL), discuss the trajectories of their musicals at the 2016 Conference.

Artistic Directors Daniel Henning (The Blank Theatre); and Michael Michetti (The Theatre@Boston Court), at the 2016 Conference.

NMI Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry and Executive Director Scott Guy at the 2016 Wrap Up.

Sheldon Epps, Tim Kashani, Ken Davenport, Murphy Cross, and Heather Provost (with the conference registrant’s pitches in hand) at the 2016 Pitch Panel.

New Musicals Inc.
5628 Vineland Avenue
North Hollywood, CA 91601

The 2018 Conference will take place back home at NMI in North Hollywood so we can take advantage of our newly updated Main Hall.



Bob Hope Airport, Burbank


Holiday Inn Express North Hollywood
11350 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601

Portofino Inn Burbank
924 West Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91506

Amarano Hotel Burbank
322 North Pass Avenue, Burbank, CA 91505

Best Western Plus Media Center Inn & Suites
3910 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505

Coast Anabelle Hotel
2011 West Olive Avenue Burbank, CA 91506 USA


Perfect, the sandwich shop across the street (in the strip mall on the NW corner of Burbank and Vineland), has nice fresh sandwiches and fairly good coffee. We also refer to this as the Carpuccino Store (check out their neon sign and you will see why.)

Robina’s is an Indian restaurant, located just east of Vineland on the north side of Burbank Blvd.

Hyatt’s Kitchen is an excellent (small) middle Eastern restaurant and is located tucked away in the far corner of the strip mall on the NW corner of Burbank and Vineland.

There are several Mexican restaurants and an Asian noodle restaurant on the adjacent corners, and a 7-11 and McDonald’s just west of here on Burbank Blvd.

Circus Liquor (you DID see the big clown, didn’t you?) is what you would expect.

A little further away - around the corner of Magnolia and Lankershim, there a lot of more upscale restaurants, including:

The Eclectic Cafe
Family-run outpost with a patio offering American fare & craft cocktails in a contemporary setting.
5156 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

Pitfire Pizza
Family-friendly spot offers thin pizza, other Californian-Italian fare & beer on tap, with an out-door fire pit.
5211 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601