You will find testimonials of different kinds throughout this website.
To view personal stories from writers who have worked with us, check out “our stories”
To view feedback from writers who have received dramaturgical feedback through our Search for New Musicals, check out the search for new musicals page
Or, use the category filter to the right to choose your own category and view all the testimonials!
Elise Dewsberry is spot on. Her approach is thorough, extensive, direct and supportive. Her comments resonated as she identified and made suggestions for the hiccups and obstacles that had been thwarting us for too long. We wish we had her help years ago, and we look forward to working with her again soon on all of our projects.
Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull
Empire the Musical
My co-writers George Stiles & Anthony Drewe and I worked with Elise when she provided dramaturgical services on our show Soho Cinders. Her insights were invaluable. She asked exactly the right questions to make us think about our characters with a fresh perspective. As a result, characters and their journey arcs tightened up and the overall show did so as well. As a writer, you think you know your piece but it is amazing what a professionally focussed look at your work can do to enhance it. Elise provides just that forensic approach.
Elliot Davis, George Stiles, and Anthony Drewe
We really did appreciate all your help - you’ve got just the right tone to critique. It’s a matter of “A Spoonful of Sugar Helps The Medicine Go Down”!
Mary Poppins, Honk, Soho Cinders
Elise is the Sherlock Holmes of dramaturgy. ‘Having gathered these facts, Watson, I smoked several pipes over them, trying to separate those which were crucial from others which were merely incidental.’ With her keen eye, extensive knowledge and thoughtful commentary, she has managed to suss out exactly what the creatives must do to improve their story-telling. I’d love to have her expertise on all new shows I work on.
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Director/Choreographer
Ragtime, High Society, Secret Garden
I recently had the pleasure of working with New Musicals Inc. on a reading of The Grouch’s Daughter, my new musical co-written with Jack Helbig. NMI staff member Elise Dewsberry served as both dramaturg and director, and in our years of working on this show, no one person has been as helpful to us as she was. Prior to the reading, we received a set of notes that were as thoughtful as they were thorough. NMI’s suggestions led to a rewrite that greatly helped me shape the show and refine its style. I’m deeply impressed with the care and intelligence of their creative input, and would not hesitate to work with NMI again.
Tony award-winning composer, Urinetown
I couldn’t be more impressed with the folks at New Musicals Inc. They are dramaturgs, coaches, and teachers of the greatest, highest caliber. The feedback they’ll offer you on your work is astonishingly insightful and detailed. I was amazed to find this level of professionalism and intelligence about musical theater outside of NYC. You can take or leave, of course, anything they say, but when they critiqued a project I wrote there, I found 90% of their feedback right on the money and incredibly helpful, and the project I was working on there grew by leaps and bounds because of their input. I highly, highly recommend getting their input on your new musical projects. Their teeth are sharp as sharks’, but they don’t bite.
Tony award-winning co-creator of Avenue Q
Thanks again for all of your help in the on going journey which is Clyde ‘N Bonnie : A Folktale. Your critiques are very detailed and you’ve presented us with lots of possibilities for rewrites that reflect a more, intellectual approach. You provide a wonderful service to those up and coming writers of musical theater. There are very few places to go to learn how to write in this art form. And as you know….it ain’t easy.
Hunter Foster and Rick Crom
It’s incredible what these guys can do to help a new musical. They are nurturing and supportive, and they help writers and producers conceive, develop, write, and produce dynamic, stage-worthy new musicals. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
co-creator, Jekyll & Hyde
author, Beating Broadway
We are so grateful for your thoroughness and the insight of your comments. Your report has given us a fresh approach to the project.
I’ve never received a more cogent and useable evaluation before. I’m very comfortable with the critique process but I have never finished reading a critique/evaluation with as much desire and energy to go to work on and polish a piece.
Thanks for the fantastic feedback that you provided on the evaluation. It sounds like you really understood my vision for the show more than many of the people I’ve shown it to.
The critique was spot on. I would say that the work that you are doing is the most helpful I have ever received from any arts organization. I only wish that more organizations were able to do as much for the field of musical theater. I think that your entire approach is great, serving a wide number of artists at many different levels in their careers. An incredible process really.
I thought the critique was very thorough, thoughtful, and encouraging, and it inspired many new ways of thinking about my project.
I found the feedback extremely helpful. It was thoughtful, thorough and very supportive. This is the first time I have attempted to write the music, lyrics and book and your comments have re-energized me and I am currently hard at work on a second draft of my piece. Thank you so much!
2008 Search Writers
ANMT is a welcome oasis for musical theatre devotees in the Los Angeles area. Its highly qualified staff knows the art inside-out, and in a stunningly comprehensive first year instilled in me the necessary tools to write professional level musical theatre. Their connections with the local and national musical theatre community provided me the dream chance of a lifetime: to write an original musical with a nationally recognized theater. I am grateful to ANMT for strengthening and deepening my already fervent passion for musical theatre.
Wow! So awesome! This is extremely helpful and - wow! I say it again! So amazing that you would spend your time helping us in this way. We submitted Planet Eden in one of its initial drafts and received amazingly detailed feedback. Clearly, whoever was assigned to our project had read the script numerous times and took copious notes and we got them all. This has been one of my most personally satisfying interactions with an arts advisory group that I have ever experienced! We cannot thank you enough.
Aaron Kirk Douglas
We are both very very happy with the knowledge and experience you have brought to this evaluation, The time and thought you have put into it is quite evident and greatly appreciated….Thanks again for all the work you have done in helping us to make [our musical] as good as it can be.
We have found everything that you have sent our way extremely illuminating and constructive. It has been fascinating to watch it evolve and I hope the performers have enjoyed playing it as much as we have enjoyed watching them.
Alexander Bermange and Michael Gyngell
Der FrankLloydWrightenLieder was absolutely wonderful. Hilarious, fun, memorable, and energized performances from the pair of you. Tour de farce, indeed. Kudos and congratulations! 🙂
First of all, I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I was a little leery of sending my work out because of being unsure if this was going to be legitimate feedback. Your words are a true life lesson for me. This has truly been enlightening
ANMT has found a way to combine both the educational component - How To Write A Musical - with the practical application - access to people and organizations looking for new musicals. In that, they are unique and proven. ANMT was responsible for bringing the three of us together - composer, lyricist and librettist - and introducing us to Steve Ullman and the South Bay Civic Light Opera. Without ANMT, <i>The Cotton Club</i> would never have happened for the three of us in the way it did.
Arnold Margolin, Jason Kuller, Weslie Brown
The Cotton Club
This conference is a MUST for anyone who has written a musical and is ready to pitch it. The resources, wisdom and contacts you’ll garner from attending will amaze you and you’ll find them extremely helpful. The people who attend and speak at this conference are kind and not looking to bring EGO to the work just help others learn.
I wanted to tell you how much we appreciated your very thorough evaluation of our Musical, Gift of the Magi: The Musical. Your comments & suggestions were right on and gave us great insight to things in the show that we hadn’t noticed. We have already made many changes to the script & songs as a result of your input. Thank you!
Beverly Bremers and Faith Grant
ANMT is a group of very talented writers and actors who are keeping the art of musical theatre alive and well through collaborations and commissions from theaters, producers and directors. Since joining the workshop, my knowledge and skills have grown immensely through the support and guidance of the fabulous staff, which includes the best dramaturges anywhere!
I realize I haven’t been in touch since our reading, and I wanted to tell you three that our day of feedback has been incredibly useful and launched me into a completely new phase of work on the show. You’ve inspired me to start a serious education as a musical theatre writer
The only people who really who what they’re talking about when it comes to making musical theatre work!
Burgess & Wright
Winner Sidney Brown Award, London
I am thrilled that I took the trip to NOHO. The production was amazing. It was an exciting afternoon. I just can’t begin to tell you how I was impressed my friend and I were with the professionalism of the production. We definitely look forward to attending future performances. Bravo!
I want to thank you one last time for the care and attention you gave to Mad Bomber. I think it is a much better play than it was when I first submitted it and any further improvements will have started with you and ANMT. I will always be grateful for your enthusiasm and professionalism. Thanks again.
The Search evaluation provided not only insights, but also inspirations - ANMT transformed the rewrite process into something exciting and fun!
G & S on Wall Street
What a Triumph you had last night and how glad I was to be there to see it! (Especially the Frank Lloyd Wright garb, which was accurate and satiric at the same time!) Good as the adaptation was, it ended too abruptly! A really delightful surprise as a show. Thanks for a Grand Evening in the theatre!
Thanks for yet another amazing evaluation session, and the wonderful performers who did the reading. We are always incredibly moved by the dedication and focus of you people, and your devotion to the cause of ‘putting it together’. What a powerhouse ANMT is, and an inspiration for all of us trying to create new musical work.
I can’t tell you how useful your feedback is. We have NOTHING like this in England. No system at all for informed investigation of a musical. It’s so rewarding to see a group of professionals-in-the-know examining your work and not letting you get away with anything. It’s all too easy to kid yourself.
Mercury Musical Developments, London
What can we say? We are DELIGHTED with your evaluation and we are now going to forge ahead with further revisions to make this show as water-tight as possible (before the forensic scrutiny it will eventually get in workshop rehearsal, when things will - inevitably - change again!!) You have an eagle eye and a pitch perfect ear and we treasure your insights and suggestions. A big thank you yet again from across the pond. We really wouldn’t be where we are with this show without you.
Chris Burgess & Denise Wright
You are making me aware as I need to be….I really do thank you.
I just auditioned for Beauty and the Beast and I had a blast! That audition was so much fun because of everything you taught in the workshop. It was my chance to perform, and come what may, I had a great time and I accomplished my personal goals. Thank you so much!!
Hi Elise, I just want to thank you VERY MUCH for that unbelievable feedback you gave me. It is phenomenal!!! I agree with most of what you said and I am truly glad I am working on this process.
You are making incredible things happen and I am truly humbled by what you both are able to achieve. And even more so that you invited me to be a small part of that. I had a wonderful time, felt incredible supported, and mostly really appreciated the chance to work with you.
The Blank Theatre
For anyone pursuing their musical theater writing dreams, you cannot afford to miss this conference.
To get professional feedback for a ridiculously low fee, where else are you gonna go?
Just a huge thank you for the feedback and suggestions. Way more detailed and involved than I expected, and extremely constructive. Feeling energized.
Without ANMT’s help this project would never have come this far! After last year’s search and Elise’s analysis before that, I have received top notch plot help, character development, and musical advice. Useful is not a strong enough word. ANMT has been a guiding force in this project’s evolution, for which I am most grateful. One of the most difficult things for writers is obtaining professional feedback. Working in a vacuum is almost impossible. Collaboration and constant outside feedback is part of the process. I would certainly recommend ANMT to fellow writers.
Thanks so much once again for all of the help over the past two years. All of you at ANMT have truly been so instrumental and crucial in my evolution as a writer as well as in helping to reunite me with lifelong love of musical theatre.
Tisch, New York University
This sort of feedback is priceless. I love your frankness and honesty and willingness to disagree with each other. We have nothing like this in the UK, and it’s easy to feel you’re writing in a vacuum over here. For a self-trained musician like me, who lacks the all-round knowledge a formal grounding gives you, your comments are so valuable and appreciated as I strive to lift my game to your standards.
Thank you for your evaluation of Eye of the Storm. WOW! That is all I kept saying to myself as I got thru Act 1’s eval. I appreciate EVERYTHING you pointed out to me and believe me I have thought many of the remarks myself along the great writing way. You just confirmed so much of my gut feelings for the things I need to work on. I wanted to get my first thoughts off to you before I continue with Act II’s eval. Again, Elise, thank you for all you did to make me want to continue to fix Eye.
Thanks again for your honesty and smarts. Your candor, insights and graciousness are much appreciated. It’s the best tutorial I’ve ever had and, like most artists, I generally don’t sit still for tutorials.
It is always amazing how you always manage, with seriousness, humor, and respect, to pinpoint what works and what can be improved in the works presented to you, and offer helpful suggestions. I just love the process of writing this way. Having you guys on our team is stimulating, helps us keep on track, and on our toes!
Thank you all three for the wonderful work you do. And for the great opportunity you, through ANMT, offer us writers to improve what we do. It is always amazing how you always manage, with seriousness, humor, and respect, to pinpoint what works and what can be improved in the works presented to you, and offer helpful suggestions. I just love the process of writing this way. Having you guys on our team is stimulating, helps us keep on track, and on our toes! THANK YOU!
I thoroughly enjoyed your show last night. So well written. Both you and Elise were terrific, perfectly cast, and had great chemistry.
[Your reading and feedback] yesterday was one of the highlights of my career.
Just wanted to send a quick thanks for all that you’ve done. The final performance was great, and though I’m not sure I nailed it (I dunno if I ever feel that way) I DO know that I got my confidence back. I’m trying hard to get outta my head, and just be in the moment and know where my talent lies, and be confident in that. Your class helped me to get there. I’m taking away lot’s of great audition techniques, great audition pieces, and the confidence that I can do it. Mucho thanks to you, my friend! You are a talent and a joy. Your smile and humor helped to make that class something to look forward to every week. You and Jake are a great team, and I can’t thank you both enough! Much thanks,
Mercury Musical Developments has used ANMT’s excellent writer training as a model and inspiration for many years. ANMT is ensuring, vitally, that new talent is nurtured, focused and honed. The organisation deserves huge plaudits for its commitment and service to new musical writing.
Mercury Musical Developments, London
Thanks and congratulations Scott, Elise, John and everybody else who helped make the Stages Festival a triumph! I’ve never been more proud of the great work that ANMT is doing. For those who attended, you know how wonderful this weekend turned out. For those who couldn’t, you don’t know what you missed!
There is nothing better than getting together with like-minded artists and co-creators who all have a passion for the musical theatre and sharing the comraderie, inspiration and necessary information to further your career and your artistic development. Everyone who is interested in Musical Theatre should attend!
There is nothing greater than the power of the right idea. We are blessed to have a visionary staff who are determined to nudge us out of inertia, down the bumpy road to musical theater success. We are also very fortunate to have the support of our performer members, who continue to prove themselves indespensible to the process.
I wanted to drop you a note to tell you that Mark and I have found your notes very helpful — very very helpful. We are incorporating many of your suggestions and looking forward to working with you on the new draft of the show we are now calling THE GROUCH’S DAUGHTER.
collaborator with Mark Hollmann (Urinetown)
Creating a musical in a vacuum is easy, it’s only when you learn the art of collaboration that you realize what you’ve been missing and what your strengths and weaknesses are. The Academy for New Musical Theatre is on time, on target and long over due. If you’re a serious writer, lyricist or composer and love musicals, stop playing around. Get to the Academy and get it done.
Thank you so much for your evaluation. I’m gratified by how whole-heartedly you engaged with the piece, and your report is full of useful insights and suggestions which will help us greatly in the next phase. Thank you to you and your colleagues for running this programme.
You are wonderful actors and the show is so clever. Hope it goes on to more theatres.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the insightful, perceptive, intelligent, thoughtful discussion with the three of you. Wow! It was clear to me that not only did you all really hear what I had to say, but understood the dilemmas and took perceptive leaps in your responses. Still, the most critical piece for me was your approach. I don’t know if you are “”tougher”” with others, but I have to say that your sensitivity — to my sensitivity,allowed me to hear and take in everything you said, even when I was disappointed in your reaction to what I had written, I still was able to hear you and understand your position about it without feeling like I had to defend myself from you. That made all the difference in the world for me.
In a world of diminishing standards, it’s inspirational to be part of a group constantly striving to raise the bar.
Jeffery Lyle Segal
I expect to be connected to ANMT for many, many moons to come. It’s like heaven to me there. A rare and rarified atmosphere, to be sure.
The Academy for New Musical Theatre is a wonderful place to learn new skills, make friends, see your work come to life and grow as a person. As a recent Core Curriculum grad, I can’t say enough about the patience, skill and support one receives during the sometimes scary process of writing a musical that will actually be produced on a stage in L.A. The work they are doing at ANMT will serve American Musical Theatre very well in the coming decades, helping it to stay alive and prosper. Bravo to ANMT!
Once again you have identified moments that are not quite working and suggested ways to make them work. I will address the remaining points … and return to you an outline that should be the springboard for creating a fine show. We can’t thank you enough.
Wherever you are in your career, there is a lot to be gained by attending this conference. Not only do you have a chance to feel the pulse of today’s musical theater scene, but an opportunity to delve into areas that may not be readily accessible - or comprehensible - unless you have access to an inside track. And this is that inside track. For example: Want to adopt a book or film? Thinking of writing a juke box musical? Wondering what non-profit producers are looking for? Curious as to what is it like to work on a commercial hit? Or simply, how do you better pave the road to get your show show up? All that and more is part of this terrific conference.
I learned a lot more in one weekend than I had in the many moons I’ve been kicking around in theater. It was a good reminder to hear about the economic realities of non-profits, the co-joining of show “”world premiers,”” the attorneys who had advice about trying to get rights, etc. etc. In short: kudos!
It was a pleasure to spend the weekend with you and John [at the first session of the Core Curriculum]. Your keen eye, clear-minded and supportive vibe goes a long way to helping people feel that ANMT is a good space to grow in. John’s insights and encyclopedic knowledge of musical theatre are inspirational. I spent more than a few years with various master teachers (Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Elia Kazan, Arthur Penn, Sydney Pollack, and the delightful Harold Clurman). Many had a quality similar to John’s- the view of craft honed over a span of many years.
KUDOS. BRAVO, BRAVA.
I’ve been to lots of workshops over the years in many disciplines. Yours was one of the most comprehensive I’ve ever attended. And, as a brand new playwright, it was incredibly valuable.
I’ve spent many years looking for an organization dedicated to supporting, encouraging and training entertainment industry professionals and amateurs in the art and craft of musical theatre. When I discovered Elise and Scott at ANMT I knew I had finally found that organization. With so much expertise - Elise in performance and story craft and Scott in music and production - it’s a miracle that the musical theatre community has not lost them to higher paying industry jobs. The studios could certainly use the talents of these extraordinary professionals. We’re fortunate that they’ve dedicated themselves to our community. Their dedication alone should encourage any group with the resources to support ANMT. In addition, Elise and Scott’s expertise increasingly contributes to the community’s success, which means that increasing support for ANMT is in the best interest of the community itself.
Wow. This was a really detailed analysis. Many thanks.
Re Board event on July 14: Never expected such a fabulous party. Couldn’t help but enjoy the poolside ambiance while munching on your array of tasty tidbits, of which I went back twice. We all loved the show, the cast, and especially the operatic vocalist. Cheers to everyone.
How much I’ve learned from you! It’s just been invaluable. I have yet to be able to find anything local in NYC that’s as good as what I get from your program.
WOW- I wish I could come out to California and take your classes. I was blown away by the depth and breadth of what you are offering. Kudos!!!
I am a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and have a client who is just 16 months from Aging Out. So I was really interested in seeing how the creators of this piece would handle. So I was pleasantly surprised. We thought the music, lyrics and book were exceptionally good. The writers did a very good job of illustrating these young people and the problems they are forced to deal with at a very young age. Your creative team really brought to light a full range of angst that these young people have inherited. I would hope that you all will continue to move this piece forward.
A strong lineup, along with many exceptionally good performers. A smooth operation and a worthy successor to those good times in Chicago. Take a bow.
Fabulous conference. So well structured with pertinent, relevant and fundamentally useful content and discussion for all music theatre writers - at all levels of experience and knowledge. Please pass on my thanks to all your staff for their terrific efforts on our behalf.
Orchestrator (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
I absolutely want to put in my thanks for the reading you conducted on Monday, and for your comments about the work. It’s going to help us greatly on our next leg of the process. Conversations are already heating up about how to further shape the material. I’m sure that our show will be much better for the process.
bookwriter, The Gypsy King
A true class act through and through.
Larry Dean Harris
ANMT. An incredible catalyst for new musical theatre.
Larry Dean Harris
I just wanted to thank you again for bringing Scott Guy up to San Francisco for the ANMT workshop. He is such a wonderful teacher and has such an amazing amount of talent and experience from which to pull. Thanks again for your love of musical theatre, your dedication to it and your help in giving folks like us a chance to grow and develop our shows. You rock!
Manson’s Girls was FANTASTIC. So well written and crafted - amazing.
I just finished reading your evaluation and want to thank you So Much for your perspectives and time. What you wrote is exactly the kind of fundamental theatrical feedback I was hoping to get for the work. Its always hugely helpful getting feedback revealing where the conceptual blind spots are.
Thank you very much for your feedback, I’ve found it very useful. Perfect. Thank you very much!
You are a miracle wrapped in a dream.
This year’s line-up of instructors for seminars is really excellent. Scott Guy has in-depth knowledge of forms, rhyme and scan in poetry and the knowledge of how to adapt this to create excellent prosody in writing lyrics for musicals. He’s also written the lyrics to many musicals and has a depth of practical experience in collaborating with musicians, having worked with several. I’ve benefitted personally from his critiques. I’ve also personally experienced Ross Kalling’s expertise in teaching song-writing for musicals. From knowledge of musical styles as used in existing musicals to details of piano-vocal scoring, from macro to micro, he is ‘it.’
Thank you so much for these valuable notes. They are an incredible help and will push the show to the next level. It’s given me something to think about and dwell on before moving forward. I miss all you guys and the intensity, professionalism, and talent over at ANMT.
Holy Cows of Credence North Dakota
John Sparks is a wonderful teacher and was a real help to me. I still think about things he said in that Workshop. He’s a real boon to people writing musicals.
Thank you for the notes … We’ve made a lot of changes, many of which were based on your direct feedback. It was very good to get an opinion from someone with your expertise.
Killer in Drag
We appreciate your constructive review of our project. It was the best $100 we’ve spent in a while. In fact, a substantially revised version, that includes many of your recommendations, is being staged this summer by the El Paso Community College.
Enormous thanks for your incredible analysis of ‘FALLING FOR LARA’. Both your overview and your detailed analysis is invaluable and we marvel at your ability to really ‘get inside’ a story. Our previous treatment of ‘ROCKSWOP’ (which you also dealt with) went on to be scripted and has been optioned by Hopscotch Films and Ealing Studios; and this was in no small part due to your terrific critique.
A really well written piece. I am impressed. Marvelous humor in the writing and performance keeps our enjoyment up throughout. And in the end we feel that, as bad as parts of our lives may sometimes get, there is always hope for something better. Excellent work!
ANMT stands for excellence, in songwriting and in scriptwriting. In this musically challenged time we live in, they are one of the few organizations, whose goal is to maintain the high standards, we have always expected of the theatre. My association with ANMT has been incredibly rewarding, as they have not only been generous and supportive of my work, but also nurturing and inspiring, to students I have taught, who have gone on to learn more about musical theatre.
There are unfortunately few arenas where quality and dedication, are still appreciated. I have been told by every student of the Academy that they have found this dedication and commitment, at ANMT, more than anywhere else.
As you live, and learn to value what music and theatre have added to your life, you begin to appreciate more and more, those people and organizations who will bring that level of adventure, romance, mystery, and excitement to future generations. I could not be more enthusiastic about the Academy For New Musical Theatre. Had I been involved with such a group, earlier in my career, I might have written a Broadway musical myself. I hope everyone who treasures the great works of the past, and believes in their responsibility to the future, will continue to support the efforts of this wonderful organization. By the way, they also put on wonderful benefits…
Grammy-Award winning lyricist for Barry Manilow
Thanks for encouraging me to audit these readings! You all gave very good critique and I was pleased that I had similar impressions of the strengths and weaknesses of the works. Listening to you gave me terms and a framework for articulating what I sensed.
Mary Lou Newmark
I’ve had hundreds of classes not only in getting my doctorate but all the many of the post-doctoral classes I’ve had. Your class taught me more in those three hours about working out a story than ever I’ve known before. Thank you for it!
Your bulletin for June makes me salivate. Were I a couple of thousand miles nearer, I’d sign up for every minute of it. Congratulations all around!
The real value of this service is in its rarity: from genuine industry professionals who have the clarity and vision to provide feedback with no bias or agenda and which asks the right questions and suggestions to enable YOU to genuinely UNDERSTAND how to make your work a better piece of musical theatre - the long term benefits of which are incalculable!
I wanted to give you a final round of thanks for your great work presiding over my lyric lab experience. I found your comments to be insightful and valuable supplements to the main body of Scott’s lectures. And I especially appreciated your patience with my numerous questions.
Michael Gordon Shapiro
Thank you, what an honor to be part of such a wonderful and prestigious event. It is thrilling to see such dialogues happening in our community and especially to be a part of it!
I’m extremely pleased and appreciative of your evaluation. It’s the first constructive evaluation I’ve had. Your thoroughness and assistance pretty much blew me away. I am both impressed and enthused.
We are crazy impressed and honored to be working with you. You all rock so very very hard!!
Elise & Scott, Just a note to say congratulations once more. ANMT is a very important part of the NoHo Community and not only is it great to see great work being performed at the Secret Rose, but it is truly an honor that your first production is being performed on our stage. I am sure that this is the first of many, many more great productions to come. Also, you and your cast and crew have been so easy to work with that it truly has been a joy and I really appreciate that. As always let me know if there is anything you need or anything I can do for you.
I don’t usually do this, but I HIGHLY recommend the new musical that opened tonight at the Secret Rose- ANMT’s “”40 is the New 15″”! It blew me away! Very funny, very well crafted, extremely talented cast - simply excellent all the way around! This show plays only on Wednesday and Thursday nights - but I urge you not to miss it. There are only 11 performances left, but I’m pretty sure that when word gets out about how good it is tickets will be hard to come by, so get them early. Again, don’t miss it - it is so good!
I’m really pleased with what we managed to accomplish with our show, and I wanted to thank you for the crucial part you played in the process. You keep me honest, even if I don’t take all your suggestions. I learned several lessons about collaboration as well as about the actual writing, so the whole endeavor has been well worth the effort. And of course the performances are going to be a gas. Thanks again!
If you are serious about creating for the musical theatre, the program at ANMT is nonpareil. Experienced, professional, talented, and enthusiastic teachers guide a hard-working student body. This is the real deal, a bargain, great fun, and where careers are born.
The panels were AMAZING and the networking opportunities were probably the best I’ve had at any conference.
THANK YOU for your wonderful critique. Your comments are thought provoking and very helpful. I like your video style. Watching and listening to you was enjoyable and much clearer than written comments would have been. I now feel that I know you.
I can’t let 2007 proceed much further without putting officially into words what 2006 and my collaboration with ANMT has meant to me. John Sparks and his fabulous team were the best thing that could have happened to FAIRYSTORIES. Scott Guy and Elise Dewsberry’s careful and insightful feedback provided me with expert and informed opinions and still allowed my show to change and grow in the way I wanted it to. They applied their knowledge to both the general and the specific and did so with unfailing generosity of spirit. I can’t believe we did all this by email and video feedback and we’re still speaking to each other! Not only were they careful and caring with the content of the FAIRYSTORIES, they also magnificently guided an (at times) overwhelmed author/composer through the various stages of the process. They don’t just know what makes a good musical, they know that it takes experimentation, U-turns and false starts to get a show to a stronger place. The subsequent workshops at Theatre Building Chicago and the beautiful development production at Village Theatre, Issaquah were really able to blossom as a direct result of the time that FAIRYSTORIES had spent with Elise, Scott and John. I would recommend this programme to any writer, composer or producer with a new musical… or a not so new one that isn’t working…or a show that IS working but could work better. You could not wish to be in safer hands!
Paul Graham Brown
Thank you so much for the evaluation. It was more helpful than I could have imagined. Your words inspired me to work most diligently …You are more valuable than money and gold! I really appreciate your insights and clarity.
A big thanks to both of you for the kind advice and helpful hints throughout a hugely enjoyable experience.
Peter Shrubshall & Richard Free
What a wonderful conference. I have only one regret. That I couldn’t attend Friday night and Saturday as well. Such fantastic panels and wonderful people. It’s always so inspiring to talk with people who make the magic happen.
Any musical theatre project in development can benefit greatly from the objective, knowledgeable feedback services provided by the Academy for New Musical Theatre. Their efficient staff provides a supportive viewpoint, rare in the profession.
As I’ve had a chance to step back and reflect on it these last couple of days, it was even more of a magnificent opportunity than I could recognize in the middle of it. Just the chance to listen first-hand to the wide array of speakers, coming from their various positions and backgrounds in the theatre community, was invaluable and also inspiring and hopeful. And the chance to commune in such a friendly and collegial environment made it all the easier to feel a part of things and to feel I was among friends - and potential collaborators - rather than competitors. The conference literature - from start to finish - was elegant, classy, spirited, and ever efficient and professional. The food was plentiful, easily (and constantly!) available, and sophisticated without being pretentious. The building looked lovely and well-utilized, and reflected a certain dignity that is, in fact, the dignity of everything associated with ANMT. So congratulations, congratulations, congratulations!!!!! Can’t wait to see what comes next!
I want to thank you both again for the tremendous help you’ve given us with Romancing the Throne. Please convey our thanks to the cast as well for all their hard in putting up the reading. I know I speak for Kirby as well in thanking you especially for the in-depth analysis and critique you provided. We’ve already begun discussing your comments and we’re pumped up to start rewrites. We also plan to take you up on your offer to run our new outline by you. Again, much appreciated for all your help in this.
The Gypsy King
It’s refreshing to find someone who can present important information as effectively as you [did at your Bay Area Musical Theatre Workshops]. I’ve learned new things, I’ve been eased into thinking about things I know in new ways and I’ve enjoyed seeing the work of others. I enjoy your attention to detail. Your discussions are very professional. You bring valuable discussion to our rather isolated community. I wish you well.
Thank you so much for all the great notes, Elise. You’ve truly got a gift. I used to be a script analyst for Oliver Stone, James Cameron and Sydney Pollack - also Miramax, CAA etc. And I know a truly insightful eye when I see one.
Had a great afternoon with the coaching and the Master class. Learned quite a bit from both. Took many tools away from both classes yesterday as well as re-enforced some old tools and ideas I needed to be reminded of. It was great.
I always thought I had it in me to write for musical theatre, but it took ANMT to lead me through the steps to learn the craft, develop the skills, and ultimately find my own voice as a writer.
Wow!! Thank you so very much. I love all your ideas. It’s as though you were reading our minds — Roger and I tossed some of those questions around as well — then YOU magically solve our problems with the answers!! What’s particularly brilliant is that you are having us work through the process in manageable stages. What a gift you have, that you can lead us so that we need to climb out of only puddles of quicksand of our own making, rather than oceans of it! We both hold you in the absolute highest esteem imaginable. Your very grateful students…
Roger Love and Ann McNamee
Your video lectures and lab assignments are all very informative. A lot of great learning here!
We are in receipt of your video and your analysis of the piece. After watching the video and taking notes, we feel as if a nurturing dramaturgical Mary Poppins has visited us with wonderful insightful nourishment. It appeared to us that you seemed to rea
Thanks for the honest evaluation. That’s not easy to come by and the level of detail you provided far exceeded my expectations so I feel I got more than my money’s worth. I realize that ‘jukebox’ musicals are sometimes viewed as the step children of the genre and I suppose in many instances rightfully so. But in my head I see the narrative arc of these songs clearly so I think I’ll keep revising to improve the telling of that story rather than work it into more of a musical revue type piece. I hope I can get to LA to see one of your productions sometimes soon.
I looooooooooooooooooved the musical. Thank you for an inspiring evening.
For the person interested in musical theatre, there are few places greater at bringing together support, critique, and artistic collaboration than The Academy of New Musical Theatre.
ANMT (formerly Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop) has taught me everything I know about composing for musical theatre. I am very grateful to the organization for inspiring me, equipping me, and broadening my opportunities.
Elise Dewsberry has been the most influential, helpful, encouraging but brutally honest mentor in my six year attempt to write the book and many of the lyrics of a Broadway-style musical. I recommend Elise without reservation. Entering the Search was the beginning of a year-long association with ANMT, and I will continue to seek Elise’s help and very happily pay for it.
I just wanted to drop a line to let you know that I really appreciate all of your feedback and recommendations for my song. I have acted on basically all of your recommendations including finding a character Rylie could be singing to, changing the lyrics to support the musical climax, making the song more focused on a particular idea and lyric changes to support improved rhyme. I really thank you for the quality of the review you provided me and for taking the time on the phone to discuss it with me so that things “”clicked”” more for me. Thanks again for everything.
A Dance for Rylie
Elise Dewsberry’s rare gift for analyzing plot and character is enormously helpful to writers. Her story sense is phenomenal.
Wow! Almost 45 minutes of detailed analysis - I’m frankly feeling a bit blown away! Such helpful insights. I’ve listened to the evaluation twice now. MANY THANKS for taking so much time to share such helpful insights.
If you’re like me, you may think that you can construct an original story around an idea for a song or plot point –or even a favorite line of which you have become particularly fond. The Outlining course offered by the Academy for New Musical Theatre will persuade you that this is unlikely to be successful; and will show you a far better approach. The course will teach you how to use fundamental principles to construct a rock-solid, self-consistent structure that embodies the story that you are trying to tell. Following an introduction to the basics of story-telling, the course offers you the opportunity to build your own story in layers of increasing complexity, with guidance from an expert dramaturge at every step along the way. I guarantee that by the end of the course you will have a far deeper understanding of what you are trying to write. You will also have the practical result of a scene-by-scene scenario that can be expanded into a full script. I found Elise Dewsberry to be the perfect guide along the journey to discover my story. She never compromised her standards and always forced me to confront weaknesses that I would otherwise have overlooked, but always in a supportive and encouraging way. I would recommend the Outlining course for anyone trying to write an original story for the musical stage.
Wowee, wow-wow, Scott. This is great!
Jekyll & Hyde
First of all, let me just say thank you …for this amazing experience. I would be remiss if I didn’t just say how grateful I am for this experience. I will certainly recommend ANMT to other writers I know.
Bookwriter, Greenbrier Ghost
The most useful creative experience I’ve had. Grueling and rewarding.
Deadlines and pressure are
Second nature to me now
Like breathing out and breathing in
I was serenely independent and content before we met,
But I don’t think I’ll ever be that way again and yet
I’ve grown accustomed to the way
Our peers critique and say
Keep at it don’t dismay.
Do it, you won’t regret it.
EWP had an opportunity to create an original musical from idea-to-production. We would never have attempted it on our own, but ANMT’s incredible creativity, energy and artistic quality of musical development drove us all the way to production. The process is astonishing. We can’t imagine how we would produce an original musical again without ANMT.
East West Players
I wanted to say thank you for the advice and feedback on Saturday’s [Bay Area Musical Theatre Workshop]. I’ve been finding these meetings inspiring and help me refocus on my goal. What we pay can’t cover the time you are putting into it. This is a gift you are giving us, and I appreciate it greatly.
I am so impressed with your evaluation. It is far more thorough than I expected, and full of valuable critiques and suggestions.
ANMT is a fantastic resource to experience Musical Theatre at all levels. A truly professional team who educate, entertain and light up the stage in So Cal.
When I met Joshua Finkel over two years ago, I was in awe (and fairly intimidated!) of his obvious natural genius. His sensibility regarding coaching others whether it be for musical theatre, television, film or commercials, he truly understands how to convey the truth of the piece. He is incredibly specific in communicating and assisting the actor in being present and have their work efforts show up in the room. While Joshua is incredibly FOR the actor, encouraging them to always do their very best work, he in no way allows them to become lazy or slack. To allow that would be to disrespect them and their talent and that is something that Joshua is non-negotiable about. There have been so many times that I have needed last-minute advice or coaching and Joshua does everything possible to help me and fit me in to his schedule. He continually goes beyond the call of duty, including referrals to other wonderful coaches. Because of these referrals, I have grown immeasurably and am a much more well-rounded performer! In addition to being an incredible teacher and coach, Joshua is well-known in the industry and as a result has even referred me (and others) for a few role auditions when producers and directors he personally knows have called and asked if he knew anyone.
Joshua is amazingly generous, giving of himself, his endless talent, and vast information without complaint. Though he has no children of his own, I view him as a (very young!) father to every one of his students. He nurtures the talent within each performer, drawing out their very best. I truly cannot imagine my creative life without Joshua. I have grown ten-fold in the past two years as a result of his coaching and teaching techniques. In addition to everything I have mentioned, I consider him a personal friend. How much more personal can one get than to help grow the performer within another?
Jake Anthony, Joshua’s “”trusty side-kick”” and most talented musical director never fails to awe someone with his prolific piano accompaniment. He offers praise and encouragement as well as gentle, truthful, constructive criticism. In fact, it is obvious that he has an incredible love and esteem for both Joshua and each workshop performer. The love comes through the keys as he interprets each piece and becomes part of the performance. Jake is the performer’s “”partner in crime””–always there, ever professional!
I am so thankful and grateful to have both Joshua and Jake in my life. I know with quiet certainty that I would be no further along in my theatre/film/TV career had I not had the great fortune to have met Joshua and Jake and become a part of the wonderful ANMT program!
Run–don’t walk–to join these amazing men and other very talented performers in the outstanding program at ANMT!! You will NOT be sorry!”
I am impressed with the detail to the stages and in depth study requirements at every step of [the Music Lab]. I’ve been immersed in it and realise that this is what it takes for it to really become part of one’s tool box of skills to be able to write musical theatre.
[I have found] the evaluation to be very enlightening; I’d like to add that such a detailed treatment was far beyond my expectations and proved your organization to be totally sincere and definitely concerned with promoting quality and professional musical theatre.
If anyone is hesitant about the cost of submitting to you guys, be sure to have them talk to me. Your evaluations are worth ten times the fee.
We were fortunate to have Elise Dewsberry as advisor for our presentation at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. Elise provided kind, thoughtful and wise script guidance during the strenuous work of chopping our musical’s first act to forty-five minutes. She was a constant encouraging presence offering sage advice based on the strength of her experience with musical theatre presentation, promotion and marketing. NAMT was a challenging ride and we can’t thank Elise enough for assuming so many roles on our behalf, from dramaturg to cheerleader. We will always value her knowledge, dedication and care.
Jennie Redling, Phillip Palmer, Stacey Luftig
My Heart Is The Drum, Village Theatre
Thank you so much for your insightful and constructive comments. I intend to take most of what you said to heart and continue to develop the work. Again, thank you for your unblinking honesty - there is nothing more valuable.
Your analysis was very thorough and you caught numerous contradictions I had missed. It is clear that you carefully read every word, and your suggestions as to how to clarify the main conflict was most helpful. You are a treasure to the theater writers’ community.
The Lyric Lab videos are invaluable. I wish I had encountered them 10 years ago!