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New Musicals Inc. has been hosting the BIZ of the Musical Theatre BIZ since 2006. 

For the first decade, the conference happened every other summer in Los Angeles, and took place over an information-packed weekend filled with panels, networking, and lots of wonderful food!

When the pandemic hit in 2020, the conference shifted online and focused exclusively on pitching: starting with a weekend of panels devoted to practicing pitching with feedback, and ending with a series of opportunities to pitch directly to industry professionals.

The 2021 and 2022 conferences were variations on that pitching theme. 

Check back here to see what are plans are for the conferences to come!

2022: A Virtual Conference for Musical Theatre

July 22-24; Pitches July 30/31

The 2022 Virtual Conference featured on-line panels with industry professionals on various topics of importance to musical theatre writers in a post-pandemic world.

Since the pandemic began, theatres around the world had to pivot and figure out how to continue to produce. How did they do it? How are they doing it? How has it affected what they are choosing to program, and how they are presenting it?
Margot Astrachan (Owner, Margot Astrachan Production)
Joe Barros (Artistic Director, New York Theatre Barn)
Joey Monda (Partner, Sing Out Louise Productions)
Blair Russell (Producer/Speaker/Educator, Blair Russell Productions/Show Shepperd/Black Heart/Resounding)
Christopher Sepulveda (Producer, Apples and Oranges Arts)

Some aspects of the legal side of writing of musical don’t really change: collaboration agreements; public domain titles; underlying rights; etc. But there are also many new considerations regarding intellectual property on the internet, independent contractors; New Media agreements; and the like. This panel of experienced entertainment attorneys were there to answer the attendees questions (at a fraction of their usual rates!).
Michael R.  Blaha (Entertainment Attorney)
Gordon P. Firemark (Entertainment Attorney)

Many things came to the forefront in the first couple of years following the outbreak of the pandemic that had most theatre companies re-examining the kind of material they were looking to present in their theatres. How does that affect YOU as a creator of musical theatre? What do you need to know about telling diverse stories authentically; creating characters from all areas of life; making sure those roles are filled by a wide spectrum of performers; composing for the non-binary voice? Our panel got into the nitty gritty of this challenging terrain to help our attendees navigate this new world.
Abel Alvarado (Bookwriter/Lyricist, ARENA, Casa 0101)
Michael Cassara (Owner, Michael Cassara Casting)
Kalani Queypo (Actor, Filmmaker, Writer)
Philip Seward (Composer, Creator of NMI’s MUSIC LAB)
Michael Shepperd (Director/Actor)
Socks Whitmore (Performer/Composer/Storyteller)

What opportunities are out there in the world for YOUR musical? We talked to representatives from festivals, contents, grants, digital opportunities, etc.
Roger Bean (Creator/Producer, Roger Bean Productions)
Tim Kashani (Co-Founder, Apples and Oranges Arts)
Joshua Katzker (PiTCH Coordinator/Artistic Associate, The Rev Theatre Company)
Rebecca Lowrey (Producing Director, MusicalWriters.com)

Producers are being very thoughtful about what they are presenting to the public. We heard directly from regional theatre producers, Broadway producers, and other movers and shakers about what producers are looking for these days, and how they are going about finding it.
Jane Bergere (Producer, Jane Bergere Productions)
Brian Graden (Producer, Brian Graden Media)
Cody Lassen (Producer, Cody Lassen and Associates)
Kent Nicholson (Director of Acquisitions and New Works, Broadway Licensing)
Paige Price (Independent Producer)
Michael Rubinoff (Producer)
Jen Sandler (Independent Producer)

The conference weekend ended with a Pitch Prep session with the NMI Staff to prepare for the direct pitching opportunities the following weekend. All participants who were registered for the Full Conference Plus Pitch Panels were scheduled for at least TWO pitch sessions during the weekend of July 30/31. Each of those Pitch sessions was virtually attended by a variety of industry professionals from across the country, including: Michael Alden, Marleen Alhadeff, Stuart Ross, Matt Quinn, Jeffrey Herbst, Heather Provost, Gordon Firemark, John Coppola, Cody Lassen, Jaime Bartolett, Jane Bergere, and Brian Graden.

NMI’s conference was informative, well organized, and provided unparalleled access to top producers and theatrical practitioners. I would register for another one of their events in a heartbeat!

Dorie Clark (Absolute Zero)

The NMI Pitchfest was amazing. It was my second year participating in the event, and I was able to understand even more having had prior experience. The chance to be able to talk to and learn from professionals in the theater world is invaluable. In fact, two producers reached out to me after my pitch asking to read the script. Highly recommend it.

Michael Roche (High School Never Ends)

The business of the musical theatre business conference at NMI was incredibly valuable and chock full of golden nuggets. There was so much information and various insights from some heavy hitting producers and plenty of great opportunities shared. It was invaluable in terms of actually learning how to and how not to pitch one’s show. Of course with Elise Dewsberry and Scott Guy at the helm it was a supportive environment to explore various avenues of the business of the musical theatre business. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to get their show out into the world.

Lori Jaroslow (The Baby Project)

Thank you for putting together a succinct and encompassing Biz2Biz Conference. Your selection of presenters for the workshops and producers was top-notch. Each workshop was on point for me as a book writer, and I will say for the entire musical theatre community. Another highlight was the preparation you, Elise, and Scott gave us to present our material to producers. My ability to pitch my musical went well because of the coaching I had beforehand. I feel confident, prepared, and ready to have my musical produced now that I have been thoroughly educated about what producers are looking for now that the theatres are opening. And audiences are coming back to see more diverse and inclusive shows.

Yolanda Mendiveles (Blanca Nieves Christmas)

Thanks to NMI for organizing yet another incredible event - it was jam-packed with great information and top-notch speakers. Having the opportunity to pitch to producers, who were there not only to evaluate but to help us improve, was invaluable, as was getting to learn from all the other teams presenting their shows. I am constantly impressed by the NMI team’s ability to produce exceptional events, both in substance and in terms of logistics. I had previously attended the Biz Conference in person and I have to say, the online presentation of the event was phenomenal, in large part due to Elise’s shepherding both onscreen and behind the scenes. She and Scott really go above and beyond to provide value for us writers, and they helped us every inch of the way to improve our chances of being impactful in our pitches. Thank you NMI for everything you do!

Jennifer Rosenfeld (The White Rose)

The BIZ conference was extremely useful. In addition to the centerpiece of how to pitch a musical effectively, it raised my consciousness about many related issues that come up in development–contracts and legal protection, sensitivity to inclusiveness, effective networking, seeking financing and production help, and on and on. Well worth the time and money!

- Greg Beattie (The Very Last One and Only Highly Endangered Mountain Lion in Pennsylvania)

NMI’s Biz Conference is a powerful antidote against feeling adrift in the sea of ‘what-should-I-do-next?’, which overwhelms most of us working to get our musicals moving forward.

Joel Bailey (America Tropical)

2021: A Virtual PITCH Conference for Musical Theatre

July 16-18; and the week of July 19th

New Musicals Inc. invited dozens of producers from Broadway and regional theatres, large and small, to join us for A MUSICAL THEATRE PITCH CONFERENCE.

Here’s how it worked:

Friday evening July 16 — NMI Executive Director Scott Guy called upon his many years of experience in the world of television and Emmy nominations to give you insight into the pitching process, from the writers’ and producers’ perspective.

Saturday July 17 — Participants tried out their three-minute pitches on NMI staff for feedback that would help prepare them to meet producers.

Sunday July 18 — Participants pitched to an intimate, friendly group of producers, who will gave constructive and specific feedback on improving the pitches.

Week of July 19-23 — During the week of July 19th, each participating team got two separate opportunities to pitch live to a wide group of industry professionals. There was be a morning and an afternoon pitch session from Monday to Friday during the week. Participating teams were be pre-assigned to specific sessions.

After the conference — Following the entire process, all participating teams were given the opportunity to create a web page on the NMI website (facilitated by NMI staff) that included a logo, demo sound file, description and other information about their show (including links to outside websites/materials). These pages were made available to all of the industry professionals who took part in the conference; as well as a much longer list of industry professionals across the country.

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!

Michael Jung ( Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment)

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!

Hillary Rollins

The NMI Biz Conference represents a tremendous opportunity for pitching, learning, and networking for any writer hoping to advance a new musical.  It forced me to distill my two hour musical into a 4 minute pitch, which was initially terrifying but ultimately extremely useful.  The conference price is a bargain for the wealth of information provided, and the organizers and panelists are all at the top of their game.

Ron Friedman

2018 Conference: Artistic Director Daniel Henning at NMI - interacting with Kent Nicholson video conferencing from New York.

2020: Our First Fully VIRTUAL Biz of the Musical Theatre Biz Conference

July 24-26; and the week of July 27th


New Musicals Inc.’s eighth national conference for musical theatre bookwriters, lyricists, and composers was our first ever ALL VIRTUAL conference designed to give participants the chance to prepare, practice, and present three-minute pitches of their new musicals to industry professionals.

The weekend will launched with a Friday evening session on the art of pitching from NMI Executive Director Scott Guy, who called upon his many years of experience in the world of television.

Saturday’s sessions will gave all teams the chance to try out their three-minute pitches on NMI staff for feedback and help in making their pitches stronger and more compelling.

Sunday’s sessions gave all teams the chance to practice their refined pitches on chosen industry professionals who gave constructive and specific feedback on improving the pitches.

During the week of July 27th, each participating team was given two separate opportunities to pitch live to a group of industry professionals. Pitch sessions were be two hours long; there was be a morning and an afternoon pitch session from Monday to Friday during the week. Participating teams were pre-assigned to specific sessions.

Following the entire process, all participating teams were given a web page (set up by NMI staff) that included a recorded version of their pitch; as well as more info about their show including song demos. These pages were be made available to all of the industry professionals who had taken part in the conference; as well as a much longer list of industry professionals across the country.

I attended the 2016 conference and it was great. Now my show “New York in Chains” has six wonderful singers, a royal prince from Germany and three dates in the Hollywood Fringe!

Don Lewis

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.

John Aaron

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.

Barbara Heller

KNOW THE FUTURE: Sheldon Epps (Pasadena Playhouse); Padraic Duffy (Sacred Fools Theatre): Matthew Quinn (Theatre Asylum); John Perrin Flynn (Rogue Machine); Jeff Loeb (Pantages Theatre) and moderator Tim Choy (Davidson & Choy Publicity)

BIZ of the MUSICAL THEATRE BIZ Conference 2018

July 27, 28, 29
NMI, North Hollywood

NMI’s seventh national conference for musical theatre bookwriters, lyricists, and composers was 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.

A host of participants joined us in the musical theatre trenches, practicing, polishing and perfecting your pitch. We heard first-hand from writers and producers about epic fails and successes. There was fantastic networking as we were 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 was eligible to have one musical included in our complete pitch catalogue which we sent to nearly 100 producers across the country two weeks after the conference.

Highlights included “The Five Mistakes Every Musical Makes” with NMI’S Scott Guy; and a special concert reading of the new musical Bravo- the winner of NMI’s 2017 Search for New Musicals - written by Cristian Guerrero, Andrew Moorhead, and Steven Schmidt.

We also offered an additional optional add-on: a personal five-session PITCH Boot Camp leading up to the conference in which NMI’s Executive Director guided participants and made them hit deadlines for pitch materials; with a final follow-up session after the conference for individual advice on targeted marketing.

What a wonderful conference. Such fantastic panels and wonderful people. It’s always so inspiring to talk with people who make the magic happen.

Rachel Payne

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.

Kevin Purcell, Orchestrator (Andrew Lloyd Webber)

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!

Lori Ada Jaroslow

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

BIZ of the MUSICAL THEATRE BIZ Conference 2016

July 22, 23, 24
Convention Center at ANC Productions, Burbank


NMI’s sixth biennial event was a conference just for musical theatre writers. There were EIGHT incredible panels, eleven power-networking sessions, and several opportunities to pitch musicals to producers all around the country. It was a jam-packed weekend with producers, directors, writers, entertainment attorneys, money-raisers, dramaturgs and other insider theatre professionals, all ready to rub shoulders with the attendees and answer their questions. For serious musical theatre writers, this was this place to be.

There was also lots of opportunity to network while having great meals and snacks; and an evening concert where two new musicals written by conference participants received staged-reading presentations of excerpts; followed by a feedback session with NMI staffers and guest Brian Graden.

A highlight of the weekend was an entire session with Broadway’s KEN DAVENPORT …Ken’s the guy who’s breaking new ground with streamcasts like Daddy Long Legs, his amazing social media savvy, and producing credits which include over a dozen Broadway shows, including Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening, Allegiance, The Visit, Kinky Boots, Macbeth, Mothers and Sons, and Godspell, as well as six Off-Broadway shows, including Altar Boyz, The Awesome 80s Prom, That Bachelorette Show, and Daddy Long Legs. Face-to-face with Ken Davenport — it was a highlight of the weekend!


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.

Joel Adlen

For anyone pursuing their musical theater writing dreams, you cannot afford to miss this conference.

David Eshleman

Broadway Producer Ken Davenport inspires the participants at the 2016 Conference.

BIZ of the MUSICAL THEATRE BIZ Conference 2014

July 18, 19, 20
The NoHo Arts Center, North Hollywood, CA

The 2015 Conference began with a special pre-conference staged reading of the new musical Little Miss Scrooge by John Caird and Paul Gordon. Conference participants got to hear a special concert reading of this new musical - headed for Broadway this winter - and then participated in the feedback session with writers John Caird and Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre, Daddy Long Legs). This was a lively discussion about what it takes to get a musical produced; including new models of for-profit/non-profit producing partnerships. Featuring the producing team from Little Miss Scrooge (on their way to Broadway) and the writer/director of A Night with Janis Joplin (2014 Tony nominated Broadway show).

Other highlights of the weekend included: Getting Connected; Getting Smart; Getting Paid; and the final panel of the weekend, GETTING REAL, where participants got the opportunity to submit short pitches about their musicals that were discussed by our guests: Ken Davenport (Tony Award-winning Producer of Kinky Boots); Sheldon Epps (Artistic Director, Pasadena Playhouse); Heather Provost (Broadway Producer); Murphy Cross (Tony Award and Ovation Award-winning Producer, Wetrock Entertainment, Inc.), and Tim Kashani (Producer, Apples and Oranges Entertainment).

BIZ of the MUSICAL THEATRE BIZ Conference 2012

July 20, 21, 22
The NoHo Arts Center, North Hollywood

The 2012 Conference kicked off with a Keynote Address by Scott Wittman (Smash, Hairspray), laying the framework for the weekend and contemplating the future of the American Musical.

A busy weekend of panels and networking sessions followed, including panels about legal issues; getting your show into festival around the country, and MEET THE MONEY: a frank, eye-opening discussion about the logistics and politics of raising money for theatre production. From small productions to million-dollar funds, we got the inside scoop from the people who do this for a living, including Rick Culbertson (Producer, Divorce, the Musical), Michael Shapiro (Kensington Entertainment), Peach Reasoner (Producer, Hoboken to Hollywood); and Marco Gomez (Venture Hill Entertainment, DOMA Theatre Company).

Another exciting highlight was MEET THE ENTREPRENEURS - where we discussed such questions as: Should you produce your own show? Should you raise your own money? Find out directly from the people who work in the trenches of self-production and self-promotion. Get tips on promoting your show from marketing and publicity gurus. Evaluate your own risk/reward scenario, and prepare yourself for what lies ahead if you want to produce or finance your own work - with panelists Ken Werther (Public Relations); David Elzer (Producer, Writer, Demand PR); Debbie Kasper and Pat Sierchio (Writers-Producers, Boomermania); Michael Antin (Writer, Sophia); Peter Colley (Writer, Cagney, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight); and Stefany Northcutt (Associate Director of Artistic Development, Write Act Repertory)

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 NMI. So congratulations, congratulations, congratulations!!!!!

Randi Wolfe

The panels were AMAZING and the networking opportunities were probably the best I’ve had at any conference.

Patrice Cassedy

Conference 2018 Attendees during a schmoozing coffee break.

BIZ of the MUSICAL THEATRE BIZ Conference 2010

July 23, 24, 25
The NoHo Arts Center, North Hollywood

The 2010 Conference was an action-packed weekend in North Hollywood that included panels on using social media to promote your show; info on festivals and contests, and an exciting session called PRODUCE ME! Launching a Musical from Los Angeles in which we discussed the questions: How do you launch a musical in Los Angeles, for a regular or extended run, or one designed to hit the road and beyond? Local artistic teams talked about premiere musicals in Los Angeles over the previous two years: how did they get launched, and where are they now? We heard from panelists Rick Sparks (Director, Divorce: the Musical); Kevin Bailey (Producer, NoHo Arts Center); David Elzer (Producer, Writer, Demand PR); Michael Shepperd (Artistic Director, Celebration Theatre); and Karyl Lynn Burns (Producing Artistic Director, The Rubicon Theatre).

Sunday morning brought an opportunity for participants to get a taste of ANMT style feedback from Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry, Executive Director Scott Guy, and Director of Music Curriculum Ross Kalling. We ended the weekend with an opportunity to pitch your musical to our guests Cate Caplin (Award Winning LA Director/Choreographer); James Blackman (Executive Director/Producer, Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities); Daniel Henning (Founding Artistic Director/Producer, The Blank Theatre Company); Richard Fowkes (Business Affairs Executive for Paramount Studios); and Hilary Genga (Independent Producer).