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Grand Opening of the Theatrical Rights Worldwide Shop on the ScenePartner Webstore: 6 e-Script Titles Now Available for the Awesome App!

Wed, 2014-04-02 11:17

Theatrical Rights Worldwide

April 2, 2014

New York, NY

Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW) announces the Grand Opening of the Theatrical Rights Worldwide Shop on the Scene Partner WebStore. After launching three titles in 2013 (Spamalot, All Shook Up and Curtains), the Scene Partner App, from leading theatrical app developer MyTheaterApps.com, is now available for The Addams Family, Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Memphis, and Ghost The Musical. With the ScenePartner debuts of these three musicals, TRW customers can now rent six of our best-selling show librettos with their licensed productions.

Scene Partner is a powerful iPhone®, iPad® and iPod Touch® app that helps actors with the age-old problem of how to memorize lines. The ScenePartnerApp WebStore gives licensors a secure way to offer theater organizations and actors access to e-Scripts to memorize lines while mounting officially licensed productions.

According to Steve Spiegel, President and CEO of Theatrical Rights Worldwide, “We’re proud to be launching these three new titles and opening the TRW shop. Scene Partner®, the premier theatrical app developer, is an integral part of our top tier rehearsal and production tool resources. TRW’s customers are telling us they want what the Scene Partner App provides. Everyone can see the value of getting their actors off-book early.”

J. Kevin Smith, owner of MyTheaterApps.com and the developer of Scene Partner®, stated, “We are excited to add three new TRW titles and announce the Grand Opening of their new e-Script Shop! TRW’s customers depend on these essential tools to help make their productions a top-notch experience for both their audiences and the actors who perform in their productions.”

Scene Partner customers can find available TRW titles at ScenePartnerApp.com. Theaters can rent multiple copies of an officially licensed TRW musical and distribute the e-Scripts to their casts during the term of performance licenses through a secure, online theater library. Actors who are participating in TRW- licensed productions can rent a copy of the e-Scripts for their personal libraries as well.

You, TRW & The Addams Family Musical: Let’s Do This!

Mon, 2014-03-24 10:59

Are You Ready for Some Addams?
THE ADDAMS FAMILY musical is available in North America and the UK! (Other territories, please contact us for availability.) If you haven’t submitted your license application, now is the time to secure your preferred production dates and then get ready for the excitement around casting and ticket sales for this musical blockbuster. Featuring a Broadway dream team of writers, with score and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (BIG FISH) and book by Marshall Brickman (JERSEY BOYS) and Rick Elice (PETER & THE STARCATCHER, JERSEY BOYS), THE ADDAMS FAMILY is taking the world’s musical theatre scene by storm, a terrific tempest, with some of the most beloved characters of all time. And, THE ADDAMS FAMILY offers a flexible-sized ensemble with truly featured roles that drive this wonderful musical story.

Rachel Weisbart as Morticia from the French Woods Festival for the Performing Arts 2013 Production

THE ADDAMS FAMILY features an original story, and it’s every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY is Now in Wide Release…You Can Do It!

Get Your .99 Cent E-Perusal Now and Get Started!
THE ADDAMS FAMILY is available for professional, community and school theatre groups everywhere! This irresistible show is brilliantly successful with casts & audiences alike. Whether for your community theatre group or school organization, THE ADDAMS FAMILY offers amazing lead casting opportunities for 5 females and 6 males and a super-featured, any-size ensemble of Addams Ancestors that can steal the show! As a TRW E-Club Member you can get the only discounted ADDAMS FAMILY perusal offer available. Click HERE to go to the PERUSAL STORE. ENTER CODE:  ADDAMS at check-out.

All Photos courtesy The French Woods Festival

THE ADDAMS FAMILY Tour is Almost a Wrap!

Click HERE for Tickets to all remaining Tour Dates

3/25 – 3/26   Yakima, WA

3/27   Bellingham, WA

3/29   Logan, UT

3/30   Butte, MT

4/01  Grand Forks, ND

4/3   Texarkana, TX

4/4   Tyler, TX

4/5   Fort Smith, AR

4/6   Saint Charles, MO

4/8 – 4/13   Columbus, OH

4/27   Cleveland, MS

4/28 – 4/29  Columbia, SC

4/30   Athens, GA

5/2   Jacksonville, FL

5/3   Daytona Beach, FL

5/5 – 5/6   Peoria, IL

5/7   Springfield, IL

5/8 – 5/9  Paducah, KY

5/10  Bowling Green, KY

5/11  Opelika, AL

5/13 – 5/18  Indianapolis, IN

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE FRENCH WOODS PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL

Read These Words from GHOST Writer Bruce Joel Rubin

Mon, 2014-03-10 10:07
Plus: Official Press Release from TRW on GHOST THE MUSICAL’S SPECIFIC AVAILABILITY DATES


As the hugely successful U.K. Tour of GHOST THE MUSICAL drew to a close this past weekend, the creator of the show reached out to the hundreds of thousands of fans of the show with this beautiful statement, released via the tour’s official social media sites on Saturday, March 8, 2014:

To All of Our UK fans,

Bruce Joel Rubin

“When I wrote GHOST as a movie nearly 25 years ago I never dreamed that people would still be talking about it all these years later. And I never ever imagined that they would be singing its songs (I never imagined that it would even have songs) or that people would see it repeatedly in theaters all over the UK. I am told that there are people who have seen it 50 times (besides the producers) and I am overwhelmed by the love and support you have offered all along the way. From the moment we opened in Manchester, almost three years ago, I could feel the roar of approval and joy that filled the theater night after night. I can even feel it now. Thank you for that gift. Thank you for embracing our show, for caring about it, for believing in it. You are why we made it. It is my deepest hope and prayer that the love inside – you take it with you.” —Always, Bruce Joel Rubin

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Get Your Perusal of GHOST THE MUSICAL for Just .99 Cents! The E-Club Code is Here

We’ve just announced the general release of Performance Rights for this hot new pop-rock show!

Adapted from the film by Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Bruce Joel Rubin, GHOST THE MUSICAL features a hot rock-pop score by Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Grammy Award-winning Glen Ballard. This exciting “new show release” is for pro & community theatres everywhere. Read for .99 Cents. Believe.

Read, listen…BELIEVE! We are so excited for the hundreds of productions around the world that will be coming for GHOST THE MUSICAL!

To receive your .99 Cent Perusal Script Download (That’s a $6 savings!), simply enter CODE: GHOST at check-out from the PerusalsNOW store. Click HERE to get yours!

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Official Press Release from TRW on GHOST THE MUSICAL Acquisition GHOST THE MUSICAL JOINS THEATRICAL RIGHTS WORLDWIDE’S BROADWAY DIVISION

MARCH 6, 2014, New York City, New York

Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TRW President & CEO Steve Spiegel

Leading musical theatre licensor Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW), announces exclusive representation for stock and amateur rights for GHOST THE MUSICAL. The show was nominated for three Tony Awards, five Olivier Awards and is still successfully touring North America and the U.K. The musical joins a roster that includes Tony Award-winners MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT and MEMPHIS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, and THE COLOR PURPLE.

Based on the Paramount Pictures film written by the musical’s book writer Bruce Joel Rubin, GHOST THE MUSICAL features a pop-rock score by Dave Stewart (EURYTHMICS) and six-time Grammy Award winner Glen Ballard. The iconic “Unchained Melody” written by Hy Zaret and Alex North, complements the musical journey of this beautiful story.

Dave Stewart

GHOST THE MUSICAL’s national and UK tours will end August 17 and March 8, 2014 respectively. The title will then available for production by all stock and amateur groups in these countries. Perusal copies are available now at www.theatricalrights.com.

TRW President & CEO Steve Spiegel, celebrating his 35th year in the Broadway musical theatre licensing industry, said in a prepared statement, “Once again we are proud to announce the representation of a new Broadway/West end musical that we can immediately offer to thousands of our pro and amateur theatre groups. GHOST THE MUSICAL magically portrays the beloved story of Sam and Molly in a heartfelt, riveting theatrical telling,” he said. Spiegel pursued representation of the show after seeing both the London and Broadway engagements. “It will be a perennial favorite with professional and community theatres along with high schools for years to come.”

Key Regional Theatre and other professional productions are already booked through TRW including Atlantis Productions in Manila.

Glen Ballard

TRW's Director of Music David Abbinanti

TRW’s Director of Music, David Abbinanti, has created new orchestrations for the show, making it accessible to theatres everywhere. “We have a new orchestration that is scored completely for live musicians and geared for the expertise and budgets of our stock and amateur organizations,” Abbinanti said in a recent interview.

Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW) represents musicals from Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as shows originating in regional theatres and elsewhere. It is our mission to cultivate and introduce new work along with extending the production life of musicals to all theatrical marketplaces.

For further information contact:

Theatrical Rights Worldwide

marketing@theatricalrights.com

570 Seventh Avenue, Suite 2100

New York, NY 10018

http://www.theatricalrights.com/ghost-musical

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Interview with TRW’s David Abbinanti on His New ‘Ghost the Musical’ Orchestrations

Thu, 2014-03-06 08:37
“…scored completely for live musicians and geared for the expertise and budgets of our stock and amateur organizations.”

Theatrical Rights Worldwide is proud to now represent GHOST THE MUSICAL. The Broadway production was both visually and aurally stunning, with spectacular special effects surrounding the well-known characters first introduced in the award-winning movie. One of the big differences between the Broadway production and the version which TRW licenses is a brand new orchestration. We recently sat down with our Director of Music and Materials, David Abbinanti, to discuss this process and what to expect from our new version of GHOST THE MUSICAL.

TRW: Let’s start with the initial decision to create new orchestrations for the show as opposed to using the orchestrations from the Broadway production. What led to that decision?

DA: Obviously we were big fans of the musical when we saw it on Broadway. The songs are wonderful and the Broadway orchestrations, using live players in combination with recorded tracks and technological attributes required a specific environment. However, our role as the licensing source is to provide performance materials, especially orchestrations that are best suited to our marketplace. Therefore, the decision was made to create a new orchestration that is scored completely for live musicians and geared for the expertise and budgets of our stock and amateur organizations.

TRW: Is there a difference in the size?

DA: Yes. The Broadway orchestra was a 17-piece. Ours is a 9-piece.

TRW: And you did the orchestrations yourself?

DA: I did.

TRW: So take us through the process. How did you decide on the instrumentation?

DA: I spent a great deal of time studying the script, the characters and their storytelling and planned out the instruments based on musical styles associated with each moment in the show. Modern orchestration is very different than traditional orchestration. More often than not, the conductor plays piano. Most orchestrators today use at least two keyboards. So that was an immediate decision. After that, I had to examine the music and what styles were used. There is a good deal of “rock” so that immediately adds drums, bass and guitar. There are lush, romantic ballads which beg for strings. So I decided on a common pairing of one violinist and one cellist. For power I added a trumpet player and for color, one reed player who plays four instruments. Also, because of the rock nature of the score, I made the Keyboard 2 part into a Utility. The Utility primarily plays Keyboard 2 but also doubles on Acoustic Guitar. It’s all about the authors’ intent. The music will dictate which instruments are chosen. Once I had decided, I had a phone conversation with Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart and they approved the new instrumentation.

TRW: You also use some non-traditional instruments and techniques. Tell us what they are and why you incorporated them.

DA: GHOST is first and foremost, a love story. But three main characters also get killed. Two of the death sequences suggest demons taking the spirit away, so eerie effects needed to be used. The first thought I had was to double the violin on an instrument called a waterphone. When played with a bow, it sounds like a “door creaking” from an old horror movie. There are numerous times when I call for the guitarist to use an e-bow. There are also moments when the percussionist is called upon to use a violin bow on the cymbals. Little things like that can certainly provide the audience with a sense of uneasiness and fear. (It’s also fun for the musicians to do something different.)

TRW: Is the waterphone a common instrument that a violinist would have?

DA: I would guess that 99.9% of violinists don’t own a waterphone. But theatres do. If there is not one available, ad lib. harmonics on the violin can achieve a similar effect.

TRW: I understand there is one moment when the orchestra plays with a recorded track?

DA: Yes, there’s one time but it’s a plot point. Molly turns on the radio and UNCHAINED MELODY comes on. Sam sings along with the radio and the orchestra. Here, I made sure to score the scene very sparsely with just a few instruments—remaining sensitive to the fact that some Music Directors might be working solely with the sound coming out of the onstage radio. That number has minimal orchestration.

TRW: Will the keyboard patches be made available?

DA: Yes they will.  They are in the final stages of creation right now and will be available to all of our customers.

For more information about GHOST THE MUSICAL, including specific orchestra breakdown, visit:

www.theatricalrights.com/ghost-musical

3 New Broadway Musicals Now Available: TRW Announces the Release of THE ADDAMS FAMILY, GHOST and the Acquisition & Release of BIG FISH!

Mon, 2014-02-24 00:31

Theatrical Rights Worldwide has three great newly-released titles!

  • THE ADDAMS FAMILY is now available for licensing throughout North America for productions commencing on or after June 1st, 2014. Some cities and states may be available now.
  • Our very favorite show of the current Broadway season, BIG FISH, is joining our Broadway Blockbuster catalogue and is now available for licensing for productions commencing September 1st, 2014!
  • GHOST THE MUSICAL is now available for licensing throughout North America for productions commencing on or after September 1st, 2014. Some cities and states may be available now.

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THE ADDAMS FAMILY features an original story, and it’s every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents.

BIG FISH is a new Broadway musical featuring music and lyrics by Tony nominee Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, The Wild Party) and a new book by esteemed screenwriter John August (Big

Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton, BIG FISH centers on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward’s incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales. Overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft, BIG FISH is an extraordinary new Broadway musical that reminds us why we love going to the theatre – for an experience that’s richer, funnier and BIGGER than life itself.

Adapted from the hit film by its Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Bruce Joel Rubin, GHOST THE MUSICAL follows Sam and Molly, a young couple whose connection takes a shocking turn after Sam’s untimely death. Trapped between two worlds, Sam refuses to leave Molly when he learns she is in grave danger. Desperate to communicate with her, he turns to a storefront psychic, Oda Mae Brown, who helps him protect Molly and avenge his death.

To find out if a show is available in your area, please submit an application. Allow up to two weeks for processing.

*Some restrictions may apply.This email is NOT a guarantee of a license. It is only upon receipt by TRW of the executed Production Terms Order Form along with payment that your performance rights are secured. Geographical and advertising restrictions may apply.

JDP & TRW: ‘Holding the Torch for Liberty’: A Great Musical Theatre Learning Experience for YOUR School or Theater!

Sun, 2014-02-23 15:16

HOLDING THE TORCH FOR LIBERTY tells the story of the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, circa 1920.  Through ragtime, classic blues, New Orleans and Cuban infused original music this musical traces how courageous working women joined forces to fight for and win final passage of the 19th Amendment.  Combining actual historical events with magical realism, the Statue of Liberty comes to life, goes dancing in a Harlem nightclub, and later meets a determined group of suffragists, Ms. Liberty’s torch becomes a window to the future, as the roles for women in the country grow – women doctors, lawyers, engineers and even the president.  With the country openly divided, a lone congressman from Tennessee gets and inspirational letter from his mother reminding him that standing up for justice and doing what is right comes easily when you follow your heart.

HOLDING THE TORCH FOR LIBERTY is a part of the Jazz Drama Program (JDP). TRW is the exclusive representative for this JDP title and NORA’S ARK. The Jazz Drama Program creates original jazz musicals for young people to perform for their peers. It was founded in 2003 as a non-profit arts organization in New York City by jazz musician Eli Yamin, and teacher Clifford Carlson to advance the appreciation of jazz and musical theatre among youth.

“We embrace the infinite possibilities of using jazz to tell stories which are important to children,” says Eli Yamin. “As a dynamic, engaging and challenging platform for creativity, jazz provides us with a forum for new directions in theatre for young people and an educational framework rooted firmly in America’s most influential indigenous art form. Jazz grew out of the African American experience and has become a universal language celebrated worldwide. The Jazz Drama Program provides an opportunity for children to experience for themselves the joy and richness of jazz. Each new show is suitable for young people to perform and yet maintains the integrity of being ‘real music.’”

Jazz Drama Program musicals reflect the many styles of jazz.The original music is evocative of the sound and spirit of great jazz masters like John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Sun Ra, Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Although Jazz Drama Program musicals are written for Middle School students to perform, they have been performed by both younger and older students. Each musical features a large cast (30+ speaking roles), five ensemble musical numbers, a jazz underscore, and an accompaniment CD. The running time for each show will be about an hour.

'NewsGirl Rag' from the 2003 Louis Armstrong Middle School production of Holding The Torch For Liberty

The Jazz Drama Program (JDP) has created a dynamic, groundbreaking learning platform that can reveal the importance of jazz in American life on a totally new level. Though the JDP believes that telling the stories of great jazz musicians is important, the JDP has learned that there is a much better way to reach young people with the subject of jazz. The relevance of the story being told provides intrinsic motivation to students and facilitates an exceptionally accelerated learning environment. The JDP experiential method enables students to own the essential ingredients of jazz in the context of the stories they are telling.

Teaching Artists guide students in making the swing and shuffle beats their own in a spirit of fun and collaboration. The notion of improvisation becomes an unstoppable learning tool, which can be used both in music, theatre and every day life. Historical dances such as swing and the cakewalk, become visceral learning experiences with clear connections to American History. Practicing diction in the context of singing a bebop line with many syllables and a driving rhythmic framework challenges students both physically and mentally to expand their view of their own abilities cognitively, creatively and in terms of self confidence.

Click here to learn more about producing HOLDING THE TORCH FOR LIBERTY with your school or theatre organization.

Click here to learn more about NORA’S ARK, also from the Jazz Drama Program!

‘Tilly the Trickster’ a Terrific New TYA Musical from TRW!

Sun, 2014-02-23 00:28

TILLY THE TRICKSTER
music and lyrics by Drew Fornarola, book by Jeremy Dobrish, based on the book “Tilly the Trickster” by Molly Shannon


Molly Shannon has created numerous unforgettable characters on Saturday Night Live and in movies such as SUPERSTAR and NEVER BEEN KISSED and now introduces young readers to her latest hilarious creation, TILLY THE TRICKSTER, the musical!

Tilly is a mischievous girl who loves nothing more than causing a little trouble. From leaking cups to toothpaste-flavored cookies, Tilly has a trick for everyone: her mom, dad, brother, classmates, and even her teacher. But when the tables are turned and her family does some scheming of its own, will Tilly decide to change her trickster ways? Order a Perusal of TILLY now and get set to book your production of this terrifically tuneful new TYA show from TRW.

Tips, Tools & Tricks from Three Spamalot Directors That’ll Put the Python in Your Production

Fri, 2014-02-21 06:30

Getting in the driver’s seat for a production of MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT, the Eric Idle and John Du Prez penned Tony Award-winning Best Musical, is a true opportunity to give your cast, crew and audiences the theatre experience of a lifetime. Since launching the wide-release of SPAMALOT over a year ago, there have been hundreds of productions around the world by groups from community, high school and university theatres to high profile professional companies to a new West End production, still lighting up the stage in London. SPAMALOT is a ticket sales machine wherever it is produced for the sheer excellence of a show that has become a beloved musical classic, that never existed in the shadow of its wonderful and iconic cinema source material Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Representing SPAMALOT is a labor of true love and hearing from our customers about what a joy this show is to present is a daily thing. We also get lots of great questions about the show from folks who are ready to take the Python-plunge but need a nudge, nudge to send the money and put it on their season. While this brilliant show is built on the Python classics (yes your audiences WILL say the lines of SOME parts with the actors), SPAMALOT takes it’s movie mommy to a new place as a true classic of the American Musical Theatre. While lovingly skewering Big Broadway, it takes the form on like a seasoned pro, expertly crafting a defining book musical with a big heart, wrapped in an irresistibly silly escape. OK…love the show. Got it.

Over the last year we received hundreds of great photos and emails from directors around the world about their SPAMALOTs and I reached out to three of them to ask if they would share some time to discuss the finer points of mounting the show. Actor’s Cabaret of Eugene (ACE) Director Joe Zingo was unable to make the date so he joined us via technology. He directed his smashing SPAMALOT at ACE in Oregon in summer of 2012 in one of the first productions post-release, marking the Northwest US Premiere. The other two readily agreed, so we flew them in to NYC and put ‘em up at the Four Seasons and dined at…at…Sardi’s, yeah…while doing the interview accompanied by several glasses (bottles) of pricey sparkling water.**

Mark A. Zimmerman, The Akron School of the Arts

Our dinner-view guests are Mark A. Zimmerman, the Director of Ohio’s Akron School for the Arts, who directed SPAMALOT in March of 2013 and Otto Layman, Director of the Santa Barbara, CA High School Theatre, who delivered his Grail in April of 2013.

FS:  Thanks for coming guys. I trust everything at the Four Seasons is cool?

MZ and OL:  Yes. It is nice.

FS: So let’s dive right in. Mark. What other shows have you done in the past few years and what led you to select MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT in 2013?

MZ:  We have spent the past ten years or so pursuing musicals that are either brand new or unusual for a high school.

FS: Nice! And…lean into the mic when you talk just a little there. Not that much. Good. What other new-ish shows recently?

MZ:  We have presented shows such as THE PRODUCERS, THE COLOR PURPLE, HAIRSPRAY and LEGALLY BLONDE at the first possible moment.

FS: Hmmmm. Love THE COLOR PURPLE, those others aren’t familiar…

MZ:  As a performing arts school we want to challenge our students with material that they are unlikely to have seen elsewhere and also to blaze a trail for other area schools when it comes to play selection. I have a short list of shows I am prepared to present as soon as they become available. SPAMALOT has been one of those. I tried to pry it away from you in 2012 for an All-City Musical production but was gently denied.

Santa Barbara HS Theatre's SPAMALOT (Photo: K. Sestak)

FS: Just doing our job, Mark. The tour was still out.

MZ:  A student mentioned to me over the summer that it was available and I applied for the rights before the end of the day.

FS: Smart kid! Probably heard about it on the Facebook. Otto, were your audiences and cast inviting of a newer-style Broadway show?

OL: Very much so!  In a small city that has three public high schools, and a few smaller private high schools, four or five small professional groups  and PCPA to the north, there is a fierce competition for titles and for the general public audience—and I am happy that we are given the opportunity to work on shows that are contemporary—usually the trickle down to high school from Broadway is 8 to 10 years.  Having titles that have played recently is great for recruiting—especially if we get them before other schools!  While the scope and professionalism of what we do is a great recruiting tool, so is our ability to show modern students that we are able to produce modern works.  Audiences have grown as word of mouth has grown our  reputation, and being able to give Santa Barbara and its big tourist trade a quality production that competes nicely with local professional theatres.

FS: Mark, your production was very well received too, yes?

MZ:  The response I received from the community was overwhelmingly positive…They have mostly told us that we “nailed” it.

FS: Was there anything that stands-out to you as far as your students ‘connecting’ with the style of the show?

OL: Spamalot is a show that allows for, that encourages, demands and insists upon the creative input of the actor.  I love actors, and trust them to bring their own sensibility to the play.  Spamalot was probably the greatest rehearsal period we’ve ever had, and most rehearsals were funnier than the show, I think, as we had to decide what to keep and where to move on.  It’s a great show for getting young actors outside of themselves and letting go as performers—because the fear of looking silly is antithetical to the spirit of Python.

The Akron School for the Arts Spamalot, 2013.

FS: Did you find your young actors were familiar with Monty Python?

MZ: Many of my students were familiar with Monty Python and were excited about the show. I know that at least a few students auditioned for the show simply because they were Python fans. In particular, the young man who played the French Taunter and the Swamp Castle Guard was especially excited to audition for his first musical as a senior and likely would not have done so for another show. His taunting was definitely one of the highlights of the show.

FS: Your mother was hamster!

MZ: My son in particular has been a Python fan since a young age and became the go to guy for how a costume or prop should look to best reflect the film. He and I had both seen the Broadway production so we had a good idea for how the show should be and we ran with it. He was originally assigned to the show as a student production manager but ended up being a lighting co-designer (with me) and also playing the role of Tim the Enchanter. His work on all three areas was excellent and I am very proud of him.

Otto Layman, Santa Barbara HS Theatre

FS: As well you should be. Otto, any particular casting innovations, use of girls in non-traditional casting stuff? Some folks worry there aren’t girl roles in this thing.

OL: Our very gender-flex casting seemed to really work!  Not really a challenge at all.  Except for the principal knights everything else is readily adaptable and gender-flexible.  I think our cast list was pretty much 50/50, and the suggestions in the material from TRW was extremely helpful.

FS: You’re welcome.

OL: Girls as well as boys were able to connect with the show in a meaningful and powerful way. One thing about Spamalot I found was that there is an emotional core that is authentic, and the love of the Knights for each other played against the buffoonery of the plot makes for a very rich experience.

The French! Santa Barbara HS Theatre (Photo K. Sestak)

MZ:  We had to get in front of the curve on this one. As many of my students were already familiar with the show from having seen the recent tour, there was concern that there was really only one female role available and the rest were basically chorus roles. I assured everyone that we would do everything we could to feature women in other roles and I guess they trusted me because we had plenty of women audition for the show.  We of course felt obligated to cast females in traditionally male roles. We cast the following roles with women without changing a single line or action: Not Dead Fred, some of the dead, the Monks, the Knights Who Say Ni, Concorde, Mrs. Galahad, who is traditionally played by a male, and two of the minstrels.

FS: Galahad’s mom should be a boy! IMHO, bro. It’s cool.

MZ: Interestingly enough, once we got into rehearsal it became apparent that we were short one Laker Girl because we could not spell out the name Galahad even with Mrs. Galahad being assigned the final “D.”

FS: That part is always fun in rehearsal. And by fun I mean, get your ducks in a row before you stage it!

MZ: Yeah, we wrestled with that a little bit and eventually cross-cast that role with a male actor who volunteered to fill the role. He also played the parts of  Herbert and the Finnish Mayor. I was glad to add him as a Laker Girl to further feature him in the show and as a nod to the Python tradition of cross-casting.

FS: Well done, sir. Clink. So, what did audiences think?

MZ: It is interesting how different audiences react differently. Our more adult audiences laughed heartily at the traditional Python set pieces. They sometimes started to laugh when a new scene began in anticipation of what was to come. As we explained to our cast, almost everyone over the age of 30 in the audience would know many of these scenes word-for-word.

Santa Barbara HS Theatre's SPAMALOT "Find Your Grail" (Photo: K. Sestak)

FS: Any particular set innovations, like your genius forced perspective thing with the giant Grail?

MZ: My favorite part of our set was the false proscenium we built to accommodate the tower windows in the opening scene. The entire show was viewed through what was a tremendously large castle gate and each side had a window closed with a wooden shutter. Each window was about 14 feet high and created a wonderful visual. We used it several times during the show to great effect. I would like to take credit for the forced perspective on the grail but it was really a happy accident. We cut the piece out of two-inch Styrofoam board and had the art department paint it to match the poster. When our Lady used it the first time in rehearsal we knew we had a winner. It looked fantastic. Since it was made out of foam, it was not hard or especially heavy for her to carry during the entire number.

FS: You’ve got a pretty big theater. The current West End production really takes it back to just a bare-bones production values thing and it is awesome, too. Our buddies at Actor’s Cabaret of Eugene, the director there Joe Zingo, told me he it really worked in his 75 seat theater, and I believe it! He’s a master of getting big shows in a small space and making them more than just work, they are brilliant. Since Joe couldn’t fly in from Oregon to join us here at our fancy dinner at Sardi’s, let’s text him now for a quote.

FS txt: BFF #joezingo what RU you up2? Hey. What did U do for yr set for Spamalt? TXT back NOW:)

Actor's Cabaret of Eugene (ACE) Spamalot 2013

FS: He’ll text right back. So. How’s the salmon? OOh. Here he is:

JZ txt: Cant talk rhrsal for once on this island

FS txt: never heard of that 1. you always with the new stuff:)

FS: Isn’t this aoli out of this-Ooh. Here he is:

JZ txt: shut up

FS: Oh, Joe! Ooh. He’s typing again…

JZ txt: We simplified the set into one moving castle section, which traveled the stage to accommodate the scenic needs. Plus two smaller castle sections on each of the downstage sides of the stage. don’t text me anymore plese

FS: He loves me. I gotta run to the little girls room. Talk for a long time about the set. This thing’s still recording.

Santa Barbara HS Theatre's SPAMALOT (Photo: K. Sestak)

MZ: We tried to keep the scenery simple. We built a large piece that we called a “bridge” that served as the main background for the play but also as the French Castle. It turned around to reveal Swamp Castle with an added piece behind it to provide the tower winder and escape platform. The Camelot Castle split in two sections so that it could more easily be stored with the wings. Other pieces were made small enough that they could be run through a standard-sized door and into the adjacent hallway when they were not in use. We built God’s feet, His hand, and the roulette wheel out of Styrofoam sheets so that they would be light and easy to fly. The good news with special effects is that they don’t need to look all that good to work in the show. Since the whole thing is so silly, silly props and effects work just great.

WAITER: What about the Black Knight thing? Is that like impossible to stage?

MZ: The black knight sequence is perhaps the toughest trick in the show and we accomplished it thanks mostly to a diligent costume crew. Could I get a little more water, please? The audience seemed to enjoy it and accept it for what it is — a silly joke. We created a duplicate costume and stuffed it with batting. It was easily attached to the door with a hook and a built in clothes hanger. The Black Knight’s head came through a special trap door. He was able to pull a string through the door to detach the legs and allow them to fall to the floor. The funniest part is that they never did fall in unison: it was always first one and then the other. It never failed to get a big laugh.

"It's just a flesh wound." Santa Barbara HS Theatre

DINER AT NEARBY TABLE: What about when Lancelot’s little Patsy-like guy gets the arrow?

MZ: Our student engineering program created a tension-release device for the arrow/message Concorde receives in Act II.  It worked amazingly well and was ultimately very simple.

FS: And…back! Don’t bother other tables, Mark. This is Sardi’s. There’s Matthew Broderick. What about the all-important Killer Rabbit?

MZ: I bought a rabbit online.

FS: Gotta love the Internet. In my day we had to MAKE our own killer rab-

MZ: -I suspect it was a souvenir puppet sold originally in the lobby at the Schubert.

FS: Puppets onstage for a whole musical would never work, but one for the rabbit is a killer idea.

MZ: It worked fine although I wish it had been a little bigger. Losing Bors’ head is also a challenge. We made it work and while it looked very silly it definitely got a big laugh.

"No visible means of support!" Santa Barbara HS Theatre

FS: Bors is like that Star Trek guy from the original, when they like landed on some planet and all the regular Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Scotty, Chekov’s and such are there and then one guy you’ve never seen before and inside of a minute he’s killed by some weird thing. Speaking of which, there’s some combat in the Spamster. How’d you approach kids and sticks?

MZ: We struggled with the swords, not wanting to use actual stage weapons. I had initially intended to purchase wooden but we began practicing with the padded swords my son’s troupe uses in their Belagarth competitions. We eventually committed to using them in performance. In the final analysis they worked fine as they were not the focus of any scene in particular and allowed the actors to use them without concern for injuring their partner. We gave Arthur a large, elaborate toy sword to use as Excalibur.

Akron School for the Arts, SPAMALOT

FS: Hilarious! How now the flying cow?

MZ: Making the cow was fun! We had an art teacher work with one of his classes to “sculpt” it out of chicken wire and carpet padding. It was painted with black and white spray paint and looked fantastic. Once we put the safety railing on the bridge we knew we could no longer catapult the cow over. Instead we compromised: the two French Guards simply tossed the cow off the bridge and onto poor Patsy. It worked fine but I still wish we could have tossed her over the bridge instead of off of it.

FS: No worries. Have some more bread. What about the fish for Schlapping? When I did the show I used some I found online that were the consistency of large gummy fish. Made a nice ‘schlapping’ sound and no one got hurt. Pretty much. I cut cardboard for another production and that worked ok. We had the tech booth operate live schlapping samples from a small MIDI keyboard.

MZ: Making the fish for “Finland” was a challenge. We eventually cut fish-shaped patterns out of camping tarps, stuffed them with remnants from the cow, and had art classes paint them.

FS: Sounds labor intensive. I’d just get enormous Swedish fish. Edible prop. What’dja do with your fabulous set when it was all over?

MZ: Most of our specialty items for this show have already been claimed by a local community theatre that will present the show on their stage in the summer of 2014.

"Ni!" Santa Barbara HS Theatre (Photo: Kristi Sesak)

FS: Sharing is good. Speaks highly of your program that they’re using your stuff! As the process went along, did you discuss any themes arising from the content of the show with your cast?

MZ: We mostly approached the subject matter from the direction of comedy. We would often discuss why a certain event or scene was funny. I would highlight the comic elements of it for the unenlightened and would discuss the show in that context. I know we initially had trouble making “I’m Not Dead Yet” funny because the dead chorus had been staged to dance like zombies with at least one or two nods to “Thriller.” Once we realized that zombies for the most part are not funny, we could get on with the making the incongruity of a dancing/singing chorus of dead people who were decidedly not zombies.

FS:  Actually, Zombies are hilarious. Have you seen The Walking Dead?

MZ: And, we gave much thought to the casting of Herbert.

FS: Yeah, I want to talk about that. “But Father, I want to SING!”

MZ: While the part is played for laughs I think it also has to come from a place of respect. I did not want to cast someone who was going to make a mockery of it. I approached one of my best performers who also happens to possess an amazingly broad singing range. He did a fantastic job and recently posted in our FB group that the show has inspired him to “find his own grail.”

"Plumage don't enter into it!" Santa Barbara HS Theatre

FS: Exactly! Love that! Well said, Mark.  He’s kind of the heart of the show. Otto, the beautiful pictures of your show speak for themselves as far as production values. A beautiful execution of all the tech elements and a superb cast and musicians. Are there any titles fresh from Broadway you are interested in taking on next? Just fishing for a quote, here, Otto.

OL: Funny you should say “fish.”  My daughter, who is a sixteen year old sophomore here at SBHS, was in New York in November and was adamant that we do Big Fish—which we will be doing as one of the first post-Broadway productions  in November of 2014.  So thanks for that!  It is our kind of show—my choreographer is not only brilliant as a dance teacher, but she is a professional puppeteer and aerialist, so we are excited about the design possibilities.  My wife and I get to LA a lot, and try to get to New York once a year—there are a couple of shows, Peter and the Starcatcher, or Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 were brilliant.

Joe Zingo of the Actor's Cabaret of Eugene (ACE)

FS: Never heard of them. Lovely. Well, it’s time to run to catch the train. Thanks for the convo!

MZ & OL: Sure. Thanks for everything.**

FS: Thank YOU, two. And Joe! Seriously. You delivered great shows and I appreciate you sharing your SPAMALOT experiences with us…here at this fancy NYC restaurant.

**SILLINESS NOTE: This interview was actually conducted via email. Not from Sardi’s. Nobody got to fly to NYC or stay at the Four Seasons. Sardi’s doesn’t have wireless or TVs. And who the heck are all these people on the wall?

**SERIOUS NOTE:  I had the real pleasure of  meeting Mark A. Zimmerman at the 2013 EDTA Thespian Festival in June of 2013, and his knowledge and excitement about SPAMALOT was remarkable. He runs a superb Theatre program at Akron School for the Arts, in Akron, Ohio. My thanks to him for sharing his expertise. Otto Layman was kind enough to share his photos of his SPAMALOT and after seeing them we had to talk! His program at Santa Barbara HS is a model of excellence. Joe Zingo is Director of the venerable Actor’s Cabaret of Eugene, Oregon and a longtime friend of Theatrical Rights Worldwide. My thanks to all three of them.

-Fred Stuart

We Proudly Announce, Direct from Broadway, the Catch & Release of…BIG FISH!

Thu, 2014-02-13 12:23
Fresh from its Broadway run, this beautiful new musical is just right for Community, Professional, High School and University Theatre groups. BIG FISH is a classically-crafted, family-friendly tale that will transport your audiences to a place where they really can “dream BIG!” From the pens of original Big Fish author John August and beloved composer Andrew LippaTHE ADDAMS FAMILY), this musical is set to ignite  the coming theatrical season. The really BIG news?It’s available NOW for productions starting this fall! You can premiere this Broadway show in your town!  Click here to get started!

SPECIAL .99 Cent BIG FISH Instant Perusal Available Now Exclusively to TRW E-News Readers: Enter Code BIGFISH

You can read and listen to song clips from this exciting new release right now, for just .99 Cents! That’s a savings of $6 dollars for your own reading copy of BIG FISH. This code is available for a limited time only and is just for YOU, readers of TRW’s E-News!

Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the film directed by Tim Burton, BIG FISH centers on Edward Bloom,who’s larger-than-life stories thrill everyone – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales. Click to go to the Perusal Store on our site: Enter Code at Check-out: BIGFISH

Overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft, BIG FISH is an extraordinary new Broadway musical that reminds us why we love going to the theatre – for an experience that’s richer, funnier and BIGGER than life itself.

“A rollicking fantasy set in the American South, Big Fish centers on the charismatic Edward Bloom, whose impossible stories of his epic adventures frustrate his son Will. As Edward’s final chapter approaches, Will embarks on his own journey to find out who his father really is, revealing the man behind the myth, the truth from the tall tales.” – Playbill.com

“YOU SIMPLY MUST SEE BIG FISH.” – Norman Lear

“SPECTACULAR. BIG FISH has BIG talents, a BIG cast, a BIG orchestra, BIG production numbers and really BIG special effects…” – The New York Times

“REMARKABLE! A show for everyone who loves musicals. DON’T DARE MISS THIS!” – Variety

“4 stars! A GORGEOUS, CHARMING, DREAM MUSICAL! RAVISHING and ENCHANTING, with ONE KNOCKOUT DANCE NUMBER AFTER ANOTHER…” – Bloomberg News

“A HEARTFELT, POWERFUL AND MOVINGLY SCORED NEW AMERICAN MUSICAL full of QUALITY WRITING by JOHN AUGUST.” – Chicago Tribune

Click Here to Visit the BIG FISH Homepage

5 Tech Tools Every Director in the Musical Theatre Industry Should Be Using

Fri, 2014-01-31 11:04

—Theatrical Rights Worldwide

New York, NY           January 31, 2014

Here’s the five newer tools, and some shameless plugs for our preferred stuff, that are becoming indispensable for the directors in our office in NYC and our friends around the world in pro, community and school theatre production:

Click to watch a quick video about Show|Ready

1.  Digital Music Rehearsal Apps Ok, this list-topper isn’t new, but it’s got a new sheriff and is the grandmommy of them all:  A computer program that will playback a rehearsal accompaniment from a virtual player that is perfect for repeated starts and stops from specific measures, endless choreography rehearsals, pounding out parts and more. This program is designed not to replace your talented and wonderful rehearsal accompanist (who may well be you or your music director or both!), but to free that human being up for more advanced pursuits like vocal coaching, orchestra rehearsals and mani-peds. While this technology has been around for quite a while now, it’s ‘newer’ and number one on our list, for recent innovations from some new players in the field. Bold new companies like Right On Cue Services (ROCS) have developed a brilliant new rehearsal accompaniment tool that has revolutionized the modern musical rehearsal environment. To get in-depth on what this thing actually does, get to know Show|Ready here. If you are already using available rehearsal accompaniment programs for your rehearsals, you know how super-productive those hours are, as your cast is able to hear and learn their individual parts via their smartphones and computers. Make changes to the dance break? Cut a verse to a song? No, problem. You make changes and instantly transmit the new version of the song or show to every company member! You can constantly update your edits and get that out to your people pronto! Show|Ready is the new standard for rehearsal accompaniment. Programs like Show|Ready are available on a by-title basis from whatever licensing company represents the show you are doing. Some use Real-Time music and other companies that have rehearsal players. Whatever show you are doing, ask your licensing agent if they have digital rehearsal tools. Or just say, “do you have the computer thing that plays for rehearsal?”

Scene Partner App Screenshot

2.  Line-Learning Apps No one expects this in the number two slot on this amazing list. But, years of theatre from both sides of the tech table have taught me that an actor who has mastery of the material earlier in rehearsal is an actor who will be able to use rehearsal time for the detail, depth and the true commitment she can find through getting beyond just memorization. Mastery. An actor is one with the text so he is able to truly forget it until the moment he NEEDS to say those words. There are as many tried and true ways to learn lines as there are actors. New theatre-tech inventors have attacked the task of line-learning with new apps that are uniting actors personal electronic devices with their, hopefully, ever-present duty: Running lines. I think #3 on the annoying actor list is…all of us. Like vampires stalking our next victim in the Green Room or waiting in front of the rehearsal room door until that poor cast member approaches and…”Dude, can you please run my scene with me?” “Are you off-book?” “Totally. I memorized it last night. I just need to run it real quick. Thanks.”And so we begin. We dutifully read the other part and our friend gets a few lines correct and then…”Um…line. What is it??! That’s not in there, is it?? I KNEW THESE LAST NIGHT!” And so it goes. When I was a boy (…oh, no!), I used an ancient tape recorder to record all the lines and then just the other lines, leaving space for my line. Given my style of acting, sort of an overblown 18th Century Shakespearean shout, with lots of elongated vowels, I never left enough room for my line. “The Queen, my lord…is…dead…” A three second line would come in around 45 seconds. The point is, the extremely smart people at ScenePartner have developed a brilliant new app that will be your scene partner any time you want. Like the rehearsal accompanist tools, I think this one takes the drudgery out of theatre tasks that must be done so you can get to the fun part! And, in alliance with rehearsal accompaniment programs, you can create a rehearsal where smart, prepared actors are a part of the initial creative process, not a roadblock. When a part of a licensed TRW show, you’ll receive codes to unlock your script for a nominal charge. Way less than all the coffee you could buy bribing folks into running lines with you.

The GoButton App in Action!

3.  Virtual Player for Audio Cues Apps “NEVER HIT PAUSE AGAIN!” So says the GoButton website, home of a hot new smart sound player app designed for live shows! The scoop? GoButton is your sound cues – “mobile, untethered. Consistent & foolproof, show after show. Anywhere you take your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.” After reading the product description, We took it for a drive during a recent production of MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT, and are happy to say that this baby lives up to the considerable hype. CD’s take another hit here for sure as Go Button plays your sound cues exactly the way you want, at every performance, from one pristine player. To have the entire soundscape for our production, practical sounds, voice overs, everything, all from one button was amazing. The ability to make fades, auto-stops or auto-follows, loops, ducks, and the tons of other on-board features takes this app over the top to the indispensable category. Take this thing for a spin NOW.

4.  Digital Perusal Apps Staying on top of the latest thing in any industry is a key to career success and no less so than in the always-hungry-for-new-titles contemporary musical theatre game. You can use PerusalsNOW or any of the great e-script services available from licensing companies to keep your edge! As an artistic director (that means you pretty much decide what shows happen…teacher, director, board member, play-reading committee,  principal, critic or audience…or-or the traditional ‘I’m moody and wear all black and I see and read everything and here’s the new season’ type) you are the person they count on to say ‘yes!’ when asked, “Have you ever seen DAUNTLESS DICK DEADEYE?” “Why yes! Yes I have,” you’ll say…if you were in London in 2006 and saw the 2006 Olivier Award-nominated best musical. OR…You can read it and impressively respond, “No…but I’ve READ it!” Cheers erupt. Your place as arbiter of what show yer doin’ next is intact. But, time will tell you that you can’t see and read everything! Now you can read and hear musicals right now.

5. Pen with a Light App Ok, so this isn’t really an App or even high-tech. What it is, is super cool. Write your notes in the dark! This device will instantly set off a chain-reaction of positive things for your theatre organization and you personally:  First, a practical thing, your notes to the cast and crew after tech/dress rehearsals will be delivered 15-30% more efficiently than without this magic pen. The time spent trying to de-cipher one’s own writing vanishes.

-Fred Stuart