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Wanda is a Middle School Hero: Get to Know This Kid’s Musical That Gets to the Heart of the Matter

Tue, 2014-09-16 06:20

TheatricalWrites Readers:  Check-Out WANDA’S WORLD and get a FREE READING COPY of the script!

The start of Middle School/Junior High can be a scary time for our ‘tweens. As any drama teacher who works with kids of this age in school or in youth theatre programs will tell you, these young people are in a crucial stage of self-awareness development, as they leave the relative comfort of elementary school behind. The theatre is a place where we can get kids involved in stories that transcend the smart-mouthed style of the endless slew of  TV sit-coms aimed at ‘tweens, and give our bright middle schoolers a chance to revel in the most collaborative art form available. At TRW, we carefully curate our TYA and kids for kids show collections to offer nothing but top-quality book, music and lyrics with stories that both entertain to the highest level and have a message that is musically uplifting…and in some cases, shows that truly offer a lesson for all of us, no matter our age. WANDA’S WORLD is such a show.

The story:  Wanda Butternut is the popular host of the hit TV talk show, Wanda’s World, where kids call in to get advice from Wanda to solve their problems. Wanda is beautiful, confident and always knows what to say… in her fantasy. In real life, Wanda is a middle school girl with a rather large birthmark on her face, who is terrified to deal with the first day of school in a new town. Gradually, with the help of an extraordinary teacher, she overcomes incredible odds and learns to follow her own path.

This heartfelt musical is a place where ‘tweens and their families can share a beautiful and vital new story that speaks, or rather, sings to an age group that very much needs the gentle message that comes

with it. In their notes to directors and producers of the show, WANDA’S WORLD authors Eric H. Weinberger and Beth Falcone write, “there is a tween in all of us who still feels vulnerable, that each one of us has some kind of ‘birthmark’ which makes us feel set apart, and that middle school politics, unfortunately, often doesn’t end in middle school.” Some of our clearest memories are those of playground incidents of middle school, when alliances between classmates could lead to ugly behavior. While WANDA’S WORLD offers a healing message, it does it in a show that is pure musical theatre magic.

The score for WANDA’S WORLD is instantly likable, upbeat, totally-engaging pop-rock that delivers real power to this one act show. Beth Falcone’s music & lyrics deliver a truly infectious, radio-ready groove that starts from the downbeat and provides the engine that drives the WANDA magic. Eric H. Weinberger’s book is just the right balance of authentic kidspeak and beautifully structured story-telling. Falcone & Weinberger wisely crafted a tale that doesn’t focus our sympathy on Wanda, rather we are invited to explore our own natural fears through Wanda’s courage. The writing team offers this insight: “One thing to note is that every character in this show has a ‘birthmark’:  Mr. Lemmings stutters; Ms. Dinglederry, who is Irish, never fit in because of her inexplicable passion for all things Latin; Ty must succeed or risks being shunned by his powerful family; Jenny must be pretty and popular for the same reason; P.J. feels ‘small’; Alison is socially awkward, and so on.”

It’s clear this is a show that will make a real impact on your program, and producing and directing it is a delight! When you read and listen to WANDA’S WORLD, we know you’ll want to consider it for your next show. To receive a FREE PERUSAL copy of WANDA’S WORLD, Click Here, or at the end of the article. There is no obligation whatsoever and the offer is only good for e-perusals (limit 1 e-perusal per email, offer expires Oct 31, 2014). They are usually 5 bucks, but all you need to do is a bit of clicking and you’ll get a free copy to have and to hold. Electronically. You can hear all the tunes as you read on the WANDA homepage. And when you’re ready to roll with your production, we’ve got the music tools covered!

TRW is excited to announce that our premiere rehearsal and performance accompaniment tools are now available for WANDA’S WORLD! These tracks aren’t just good…they are amazing. These are true SHOW|READY & STAGE|TRACKS programs and they can take your rehearsal and performance process to the stars! Click Here to listen to WANDA’S WORLD song samples. You can totally have your own pit band, too. Your choice. Click Here for information on SHOW|READY & STAGE|TRACKS by Right On Cue Services for TRW.

Once you are ready to start planning your show, we know for middle school drama directors, having just the right number of roles is crucial. In casting WANDA, you’ve got a chance to involve as many actors as you like. WANDA’S WORLD can be performed with as few as 11 actors (6F/5M) or as many as you wish. Click Here to see more on expanded casting.

WANDA’S WORLD was produced Off-Broadway by Amas Musical Theatre, in association with Terry Schnuck, where it received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Book of a Musical and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Musical.

Click Here for your Free E-Perusal of WANDA’S WORLD.

Click Here to go to the WANDA’S WORLD homepage.

Photos: 2008 AMAS Production, © Carol Rosegg

UK/Ireland Customer Alert: Your Grail Awaits!

Tue, 2014-09-09 08:45

Now is the time…this is your Quest!

MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT is now available for productions in the UK & Ireland opening in September/October, 2016 or later. Be advised that you will not be permitted to begin advertising or marketing your production until 1 July 2016, after the next leg of the MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT UK tour concludes. Keep this advertising restriction in mind when selecting performance dates.

The MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT UK tour will commence in January and conclude by 30 June 2016. Get tickets now as you plan YOUR production! Click here for schedule & ticket info.

UK/Ireland customers, CLICK HERE to submit an Amateur License Application and book your production of SPAMALOT now! (if you recently applied you do not need to apply again).

Video Sells Tickets: CINEVATIVE Delivers Broadway Quality Ads, Branded with Your Production Info!

Tue, 2014-08-12 12:04

When it’s all said and sung, selling tickets is a top priority for all theatre organizations. Cutting-edge marketing that really works to sell your show relies on top-quality video promos for social networks, your website and broadcast. When you post a high quality video on your website and Facebook, Twitter, et al…you get results. Video engages your target audience with the visual excitement they seek to become motivated ticket buyers. And your boards of directors, school administrators and corporate donors will take notice that you know how to market your shows effectively and professionally on a tight budget.

Producing high quality video can be expensive and very time consuming. That’s where Cinevative comes in with VME (Video Marketing Essentials). Here’s the pitch: Their industry-leading standard for theatre promotional video is on display in their work, which you can see by clicking HERE. Cinevative offers customized web videos, commercials and promos for the performing arts. Imagine being able to run Broadway quality promotional videos and commercials without having to create anything yourself. Now you can…with Video Marketing Essentials by Cinevative. Video Marketing Essentials allows you to license customized, pre-made video trailers for some of TRW’s most popular shows at an incredibly low cost!

Once you’ve got your spot branded with your production’s specific info, you’re ready to use this powerful asset in your marketing arsenal. You can post anywhere on social networks for free and watch the ticket sales click through to your site. Consider even a small $5-$10 boost of your post on Facebook, targeted to theatre-goers in your area, and you’ll see measurable results at the box office…if you are linking to high quality content like Cinevative spots. And don’t count out good old TV! You’d be surprised how affordable spots on your local network station ad buys can be, and many offer free slots for

non-profits. A professionally produced commercial on TV can really help elevate your arts organization’s perception in your community. And, frequently your target theatre-going audience is up late for those very cheap late night buys on the local network affiliates and independent stations!

As you consider your next round of musicals with TRW, or if you are already producing one of our shows that has a Cinevative commercial available (click here for a list of TRW titles that feature Cinevative VME), take a look at what professionally produced video can do for your show’s marketing campaigns.

Click HERE to visit Cinevative’s Video Marketing Essentials website

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Video Marketing Essentials by Cinevative Intro from Cinevative on Vimeo.

Professionally Speaking with TRW’s Sean Cercone

Mon, 2014-08-11 07:55

Welcome to the first monthly installment of Professionally Speaking.  My goal – make your job a little bit easier... In the coming months we look forward to a website redesign, hosted blog launch and many EXCITING NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS!  Things at TRW are cookin’!

Did you know 72% of professional theatres in America have seating under 299 seats?

Yeah…that surprised me too when I completed the research.  We know, all too well, one of the biggest challenges we face producing in that size venue is finding material that is appropriate for your specific audience, fits your mission & budget and excites your creative staff.

Once you have that out of the way, you and your team then ask, “Yeah, but will it sell tickets?”

RING OF FIRE (Small Cast Version) was specifically created as a partnership between our office, Richard Maltby Jr. and Milwaukee Rep with these very questions in mind.  This version has already had 20+ successful runs at professional theatres across the US including Milwaukee Rep, La Comedia Dinner Theatre, Pitt CLO, The Barter Theatre, Cortland Rep, Shadowland Theatre, Art’s Garage,and many more!

Get your customized RING OF FIRE commercial for as low as $150.00!

Click on the play button below  to preview the :30 spot now exclusively from your partners at TRW & Cinevative!

Ring of Fire Licensing Spot from Cinevative on Vimeo.

Give me your opinion on 3 short questions! How do you think these upcoming Broadway musicals might do for your audiences?

Have You Seen the Big Bad Piggie? Close-up on TRW’s Brand New TYA Title with Simmons & Howard

Thu, 2014-07-10 08:24

Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW) is proud to announce the acquisition and immediate release of a brilliant new Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) musical from the team of Bret Simmons and David Howard (CHANGING MINDS, FALLING FOR EVE). THE THREE LITTLE WOLVES AND THE BIG BAD PIG is a beautiful adaptation of the perennial best-selling kid’s book of the same title by Eugene Trivizas. Simmons & Howard, currently are hard at work on their next title, THE FIRST GENTLEMAN, set for an Off-Broadway run in 2015. I recently spoke with them at their Los Angeles offices to discuss their entry into the exciting world of adapting great literature aimed for young people into a TYA musical.

David Howard (Book & Lyrics) is the writer of DreamWorks’ hit science-fiction movie parody Galaxy Quest. I asked him about the genesis of the project. “Steve (TRW President & CEO Steve Spiegel) approached us with the idea some time ago and told us about his TYA@TRW collection and urged us to find a book we loved that would be a great musical,” Howard said. And find one they did! Trivizas book, with illustrations by Helen Oxenbury, became an international best seller after his adaptation of the classical fairy tale had languished because  publishers were not eager to take on a book in which the wolf is not evil, but good. It has since been translated into seventeen languages and incorporated into the Heinemann collection of the ten best classic picture books ever published. Howard continued, “As soon as I read it, I knew that this source material was truly great.”

Bret Simmons (Music) said that he took his inspiration for PIG from the story’s “joyous and really, truly fun” take on the old tale. “I adored writing it,” Simmons said. It shows in the music. Simmons is always at home in a variety of styles, while keeping the show’s narrative moving forward with bright, inventive songs that really make the book come to sonic life. Great source material is the key and getting the author’s permission to adapt the book to a musical format almost didn’t happen. Howard explains:  ”We had never met Eugene (Trevisaz), so we Googled him and found that he lives in the U.K. I sent him an email and didn’t hear from him, so we figured it was a no-go. Then some months later, from out of nowhere I get this email back from him and he apologized that it had hit his SPAM folder. He readily agreed to the prospect of a musical and we started working.”

Simmons and Howard are frequent collaborators and their partnership has honed a trusting bond from which they work. “Bret is very involved in storyboarding early as we develop. Sometimes lyrics come first, sometimes music,” Howard said. “We get together and talk about what it means and then we storyboard it.”

Click Image for Larger View

The story begins as it comes time for the three little wolves to go out into the world and build themselves a house, their mother warns them to beware the big bad pig. But the little wolves’ increasingly sturdy dwellings are no match for the persistent porker, who has more up his sleeve than huffing and puffing. It takes a chance encounter with a flamingo pushing a wheelbarrow full of flowers to provide a surprising and satisfying solution to the little wolves’ housing crisis.

Now that THE THREE LITTLE WOLVES AND THE BIG BAD PIG is released, the team is back to work on THE FIRST GENTLEMAN. Simmons said, “At present there is a great production team in place and we’re excited that it looks like the show will open in NYC in 2015.” The duo last hit New York at the York Theatre with 2011′s FALLING FOR EVE.

To get a 99 Cent perusal copy of THE THREE LITTLE WOLVES AND THE BIG BAD PIG, click HERE and enter code PIG at check-out!

Click HERE to visit the show’s homepage.


Unforgettable Moments from the 2014 EdTA HS Thespian Festival: True Connections

Mon, 2014-06-30 14:35

Perhaps our favorite visitor at this year's festival: Wendy Frye from Fremont HS, CA as Wednesday ADDAMS

One of our biggest and best opportunities to meet our customers happens at the end of June each year in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Educational Theatre Association’s (EdTA) International Thespian Festival is held in this lovely and welcoming city each summer on the campus of the University of Nebraska. This year, nearly 4000 Thespians and their directors descended on the festival by trains, planes and automobiles (OK, mostly on 17 hour bus rides) and attended hundreds of high school shows and workshops with world-class presenters and teaching artists.

Team TRW attends the festival to have facetime with the people who make theatre happen with high school kids from around the globe. From as far away as Canada, London, Dubai, Qatar, and Saipan and Mound City, TX and…everywhere, these young people and their teachers come to show what they can do and learn more about their craft as they meet their peers and share their stories. The connections are real and they are invaluable as the world of high school theatre is elevated and celebrated through the magic that is the EdTA International Thespian Festival.

Complementing our convention headquarters in the lobby of the beautiful Lied Center for the Performing Arts, we lead a series of workshops at the festival that promote our musicals through sharing our experiences, our stories and our love of theatre arts. Our session focusing on MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT takes on the casting, directing, marketing and themes of the show, while discussing its production history and design elements. As happens throughout the festival, the resulting discussion is a great venue for getting and giving ideas and sharing the challenges and rewards of this amazing world of the high school musical.

The whole company of the Thespian Musicalworks 2014 (Photo by Jim Talkington, courtesy of EdTA)

TRW is the proud ongoing sponsor of the Thespian Musicalworks, which is a super exciting new program from EdTA. Our friends at Samuel French have long supported the Thespian Playworks program, and the model for the Thespian Musicalworks is similar, but with a few innovations for making it suitable for budding musical theatre writers.

Musicalworks is a program designed to promote original musical writing by high school Thespians. It also gives student lyricists and composers the chance to workshop their creation with working professionals and student musical theatre actors. Beginning each October, aspiring Thespian writers submit only the opening number to an original musical for review by the Musicalworks staff. One is chosen for workshop and a performance at the annual festival. If you are or are mentoring a young writer of musicals, you can find out more at this EdTA Facebook page link.

TRW's Jim Hoare (L), 2014 Thespian Musicalworks winner Billy Recce (C), & Julie Woffington, Executive Director, EdTA (photo by Jim Talkington, courtesy of EdTA)

In our new titles workshop we explored the brand new Broadway musical releases BIG FISH, THE ADDAMS FAMILY and GHOST THE MUSICAL. Their connection is death and it’s a perfect theme for musical comedy…and drama. Our Workshop Pro is TRW’s Director of Licensing, Jim Hoare, a 30+ year veteran of teaching and directing high school theatre. Upon retiring he was promptly hired by TRW’s President & CEO Steve Spiegel, a longtime leader in industry support of educational theatre, as the company’s Director of Licensing. Over the years of his teaching career, Jim brought hundreds of student actors and scores of shows to the Thespian Festival and is now a rock star for TRW at the convention.

“Whether I was the director of a mainstage production, directing a one-act or helping another school’s late-night strike backstage, my time spent at the International Thespian Festival was a highlight in my 31 years teaching high school theatre. When the opportunity arose to return to the festival as a workshop presenter, adjudicator and vendor for TRW, I was thrilled. The dedication, commitment, and sheer joy for making theatre displayed by students and teachers alike is inspiring.” His empathy and understanding of the unique challenges for high school drama teachers is unparalleled in the licensing industry. It’s a joy to watch him interact with the hundreds of teachers and students he connects with here each year.

The workshop takes a look at the theme of mortality in musical theatre history then examines that theme and its looming presence in FISH, ADDAMS and GHOST…and every other show ever written. The discussions with these directors never fails to amaze us as they make clear why they are leading top-notch drama programs for their schools and students. The value we get from being able to meet with them one-to-one is immeasurable.

This pic says it all: Happy Thespians on the bus! (Photo by Cori Johnson, courtesy EdTA)

The EdTA’s commitment to educational theatre is not limited to high school drama. They present a growing Junior Thespian Festival each year for Middle School/Junior High programs that is vital in creating a professional enrichment experience for the all-important drama directors and actors at the 6th-8th grade level. Their festival is a welcoming place where schools can present titles from any licensing company, making it a true festival environment. TRW is proud to be an ongoing sponsor of the Junior Festival, coming up in March of 2015 in Nashville, TN.

If you haven’t attended a Thespian Festival with your troupe or you aren’t a member of EdTA yet, you can find out all about the benefits at www.schooltheatre.org. It’s a week that zooms by, and over all too soon. Jim noted, “At breakfast on Saturday morning, a first-time attendee said how surprised she was that the week flew by so quickly. I said that it’s like when you’re in a great show – you’re never aware of a moment while you’re in one. It’s only when you leave that moment at the end of the show (or during a curtain call) that you become aware that you had one. I am grateful for the ‘moments’ spent at Thespian Festival 2014. It was a quick week – and I look forward to 2015!”

-Fred Stuart, Theatrical Rights Worldwide

6/30/2014

7 Crazy Good Reasons You’re Gonna Produce ALL SHOOK UP….These 7 Photos from Cortland Rep!

Thu, 2014-06-19 08:42
Cortland Rep’s Got It All!

Cortland Repertory Theatre‘s got blue suede shoes and are ready to shake, rattle and roll with their production of  ALL SHOOK UP, THE MUSIC OF ELVIS PRESLEY. They run June 18 – July 5 at the Rep in Preble, NY.

The Cortland Rep’s show looks like a spot-on ALL SHOOK UP. The joy of some of the world’s greatest music shines through their staging, design and exuberance, as evidenced by these awesome production photographs by Blatchley Photos, from the Rep’s Facebook Page:

Click HERE to view the whole gallery on Facebook

ALL SHOOK UP

Cortland Repertory Theatre

Directed by Bert Bernardi

Choreographed by Robin Levine

Music Direction by Logan Culwell

Featuring:  Kailey Prior, Andrew Conners, Thomas Mothershed, Debra Thaïs Evans, Hannah Zilber, Patrick Brady, Jasmine Harris, Will Vickers, Rebecca McGraw, Bill Lee, Courtney Blackmun, Denzel Edmondson, Joel Pellini, Jordan Silver, Kelsey Thompson, Michaela Vine, Imani Pearl Williams, Anthony Wright

Click HERE for more information on the Cortland Repertory’s production of ALL SHOOK UP.

Click HERE to find out more about producing your ALL SHOOK UP!

Close-up: The Color Purple at Virginia Rep

Wed, 2014-06-18 14:13

Watch this terrific close-up video with the cast and creative team of the Virginia Rep’s THE COLOR PURPLE. The entire team’s connection with the show is remarkable and a story we’ve seen time and again from our friends who have produced the show in their communities. Kudos to Virginia Rep on this great promo clip!

Drama Learning Center’s GHOST THE MUSICAL Premiere!

Tue, 2014-06-17 14:48

.@DramaLearningCt scores with their Premiere of 'Ghost'! Great theatre from young artists! http://t.co/FLlGaz8dEe pic.twitter.com/ifFi8SzNpV

— Theatrical Rights (@TRWMusicals) June 17, 2014