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TRU Seeks Submissions For TRU VOICES Play Reading Series

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) seeks submissions for the 11th Annual TRU VOICES New Plays Reading Series (deadline December 29, 2008). The TRU VOICES New Plays Reading Series is a unique series geared towards producers who have an interest in developing new plays. Shows selected will receive staged readings to be presented in the spring of 2009. Each reading will be followed by a "Dollars and Sense" panel discussion with prominent New York producers, general managers and artistic directors focusing on potential venues, marketing and budgeting of the work. The series was created to help develop new plays and to help producers develop the skills needed to produce new works.

Producers are invited to submit new work that they are interested in developing. Theater companies are invited to submit new work that they wish to produce in the series. Writers are invited to submit, and are strongly encouraged to find a sponsoring producer for their work; if no producer is attached, and the play makes it to final consideration, TRU will make an effort to find one. "We sometimes call ourselves a dating service for producers, and to be honest, we've made some very successful matches in the past that have continued well beyond our series," say TRU president Bob Ost.

The TRU VOICES track record is impressive. Among the shows that started in the series are The Great American Trailer Park Musical by Betsy Kelso and David Nehls, which went on to a popular off-Broadway two seasons ago and is currently touring; Nor'mal by Yvonne Adrian, Cheryl Stern and Tom Kochan, which went on to win a Larsen Award and played a limited in the East Village starring Barbara Walsh; and last year's Opa! by Mari Carras and Laurel Ollstein, which was a recent sell-out hit of the Midtown International Theatre Festival. For the 2001 Series, TRU President Bob Ost cast the perfect actress for the one-woman musical The Ambition Bird by Matthew Sheridan, Victoria Clark (who won a Tony for Light in the Piazza). The show went on to be a selection at the Cardiff Wales International Festival, as was About Face by David Arthur, which is also scheduled for the upcoming New York Musical Festival (NYMF). And in the 2005 Series, TRU found a producer for Saint Heaven, a writer submission from Martin Casella and Keith Gordon; TRU put the show in the hands of Van Dean and Hillary Cutter of Van Hill Entertainment, and also matched Van and Hillary with mentor Broadway producer Cheryl Wiesenfeld (Legally Blonde, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, In the Continuum). As a result of this successful partnership, Saint Heaven moved from a reading in December ‘05 into a full production in June ‘06 at the Stamford Center for the Performing Arts starring Deborah Gibson and Tony winner Chuck Cooper and it is scheduled this fall at The Village Theatre in Issaqua, Washington.

Unlike other talkbacks, TRU's "Dollars and Sense" panels focus on the producing needs of the show, welcoming suggestions for further development for the work, with discussions about venue, marketing and budgets and other business concerns. Top professionals who have graced the panels included producers Michael Alden (Bridge & Tunnel, Bat Boy), Ken Davenport (Altar Boys, My First Time, 13), Jennifer Manocherian (Spring Awakening, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Crucible, Caroline or Change), Dan Markley (Shockheaded Peter, High Fidelity, Damn Yankees revival, Stomp), Pam Koslow (Jelly's Last Jam) and Cheryl Wiesenfeld; artistic directors Robert LuPone (MCC), Sue Frost (formerly of Goodspeed), Mark Hoebee (Papermill Playhouse) and James Morgan (York Theatre Company); and general managers Peter Bogyo, Laura Heller, Jamie Cesa, among countless others. Frequent panelist Elysabeth Kleinhans of 59E59 Theatres has gone on to produce two plays that she found in the TRU Series: Taxi to Jannah by Mark Sickman and Missives by Garret Jon Groenveld. The latter was produced at 59E59 in association with TRU.

TRU welcomes both mainstream commercial works and non-traditional works, and encourages multi-cultural and minority submissions as well. "We'd love to find the next big Broadway smash, but we also understand that there are many other markets for new works. We are interested in any interesting, well written show that has a producer who is passionate about producing it," Ost explained.

Submissions must be received by December 29, 2008 for shows with a producer; and January 4, 2009 for shows without a producer. Readings will take place Monday evenings in June of 2009. There is a $25 submission fee, waived for TRU members, and all submissions receive a feedback letter based on the evaluations of readers. Guidelines and application form may be found at or by sending an SASE to Theater Resources Unlimited/TRU Plays, 309 W. 104th Street, #1D, NYC, NY 10025. Submissions will not be accepted without an application.

For more information, visit

This series is made possible in part through the generous support of the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Friars National Association Foundation.

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