Finals of NEW YORK NEW WORKS THEATRE FESTIVAL Bring Out Broadway's Elite

By: Sep. 18, 2015

Broadway's elite turned out in style for the finals of the 2015 New York New Works Theatre Festival! Industry leaders congregated at the sold out Elektra Theatre for a superb evening of performances that were mentored by the panel of Broadway Producers and Emmy Award winners.

Created by Gene Fisch, Jr. as a "give back project for the arts", 43 aspiring writers performed their work for Broadway Producers, investors, and Emmy winners during the month of August and into September. Participant Mara Lee Gilbert states, "It was exciting having Emmy Award winners and Broadway Producers telling me how raw, real and emotional my piece was and asking to keep in touch! I am so thankful for this new network of supporters!"

The itinerary for the evening represented some of the top aspiring writers in their quest for Broadway:

"The Nose That Didn't Fit" by Kelley Birney and Kristen Tumminello began the evening capturing the hearts of the audience in delivering a message that you a wonderful the way you are and that everyone is "a present". The musical is based on the top selling "Worry Woo" series by Andi Green and has garnered significant interest from the NYNW panel. An Off Broadway run is anticipated in the near future!

"From Southern Belle To Miss Cartel" by Donna Thomas escorted us through the gripping story of a 19 year old who fell in love with and marries a leader in the Columbian drug cartel. A producer in the audience has begun conversations with Ms. Thomas re: creating a movie around this project for the Sundance Film Festival.

"Going Up" by David Hersh followed next (and won the evening) with it's roaringly comedic musical centering around an eccentric group of characters stuck in an elevator. The show has received investment capital from Festival patrons and expects to open full versions of the show in both Boston and Canada. Also too, there was panelist interest in workshopping the piece at the New York Theatre Workshop.

"Passage" by Mara Lee Gilbert transported through the journey between life and death as a terminally ill patient plans his demise with the assistance of an expert in euthanasia, a subject largely untouched in our society.

"With This Ring" by Joe Minchik went 5th and also garnered seed capital from an Festival investor. The story centered around a marriage proposal that was well planed yet thwarted by a phone call from the "proposee" with a proclamation that marriage isn't in her future (The unexpected arrival of the proposer's parents added to the audience laughs)!

"Casey and Adam" by Maggie Rose rounded off the evening with it's comedy centered around the couple's experience with a hysterical pregnancy which was hysterically funny!

The New York New Works Theatre Festival provides the platform by which terrific work can be reviewed by individuals that can elevate it to the next level. Participant Jayne Atkinson states, "It is so wonderful to be supported - what I love about what Gene is doing with this Festival is that it levels the playing ground". Panelist, Sjon Dowell (Avengers, Toy Story 3, Armaggedon, Finding Nemo, Pearl Harbor) declared, "What a magical evening of theatre; what this Festival has been able to accomplish is astounding! I'd love to discuss producing some of these performances in Los Angeles".

Throughout the Festival, casting agents, investors, and producers were in attendance. Several of the shows within the Festival were able to garner investment or representation which is a win in and of itself. The Festival was general managed by Good People Management Group (general management and consulting services founded on the principle of solid practice with a fresh perspective) with PR by Bonnie Hilton Green and Malini Singh McDonald. The patrons in attendance were exemplary (Red Carpet pictured below from left to right - Novelist / Broadway Producer Lizabeth Zindel, Executive Producer of Law & Order SVU Julie Martin, Festival Creator / Broadway Producer Gene Fisch, Jr., Executive Producer Johnny Carson Show / Emmy Winner Lucia Kaiser, Broadway Producer Erin Craig).

The 2015 Festival Panel comprised of:

Hinton Battle (3 time Tony winner for Miss Saigon, The Tap Dance Kid, Sophisticated Ladies)

Christian Cazares (5 time Emmy winning journalist. "Investigative News Story" for Telemundo62)

Larry Kaye (Producer. American Idiot, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Trip to Bountiful)

Paula Levine (3 time Emmy winning writer and producer)

Lucia Kaiser (Producer. Johnny Carson Show, Bruce Lee Productions)

Gordon Hughes (Producer. LaBete, Ghetto Klown)

Vincent Morano (Emmy winning Production Supervisor. The Good Wife)

Sjon Dowell (Finding Nemo, The Avengers, Iron Man, VP Walt Disney Studios)

Michael Barra (Stageworks Media, Disney Theatrical Group, Senior Disney Theatre Executive)

Paul Sladkus (Emmy winning Media Executive. All in the Family, Carol Burnett)

Gene Fisch, Jr. (Producer. HIGH with Kathleen Turner)

Julia Broder (Producer. Macbeth starring Alan Cumming)

Douglas Denoff (Producer. The 39 Steps, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Peggy Sue Got Married)

Stu Sternbach (Producer and Agent. HIGH with Kathleen Turner)

Erin Craig (Stalking the Bogeyman,Velocity of Autumn, In The Heights)

Lauren Schneider (Producer. Velocity of Autumn, HIGH with Kathleen Turner, Looped)

Lizabeth Zindel (HIGH with Kathleen Turner; Novels include Girl of the Moment, The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies, and A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills)