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BWW Special Feature: 99 and Under the Radar; Looking to Produce in the New Year?

Welcome to 99 AND UNDER THE RADAR: A LOOK AT INDIE THEATER'S MOVERS AND SHAKERS, BroadwayWorld's new weekly series that showcases standout productions and production companies from the independent theater scene in New York City. Each week, independent producer Michael Roderick will be discussing the latest goings on in the theatrical wings, highlighting those with potentially bright futures.

This Week's Title: Looking to Produce in the New Year? Join the Green Team!

Looking back on 2010, there was an amazing amount of work produced at the 99 and Under level. New companies were formed, new styles were explored, and a number of playwrights made their way into the mainstream of the Indie community. All of this was done in a time that was considered hard economically for all. In the wake of shows closing, theatres shuttering their doors, and funds being cut in half or completely, the Indie community has soldiered on and certainly left its mark on 2010 and that is to be commended. As we look ahead to the ball dropping and welcoming in 2011, the festival submission buzz begins. With that in mind, here is some info on one of the strongest festivals around: "The Planet Connections Theatre Festivity is New York's premiere eco-friendly theatre festival. Fostering a diverse cross-section of performances, the festival seeks to inspire artists and audiences both creatively and fundamentally, in a festive atmosphere. At the heart of the festivity are like-minded individuals striving to create professional, meaningful theatre, while supporting organizations, which give back to the community at large." This festival is where talents like Shelby Company, Jeremy Bloom, MT Works, amongst many others have thrived and has been the breeding ground for new works and new companies for the past two years.

As the festival heads into its third year of accepting submissions, the quality of the festival continues to develop and is poised to be considered a major player in the industry within the next few years. It would not be surprising to see some of the shows from previous festivals featured on a Broadway stage. The work itself is great, but what makes it stand out most is the team. The festival fosters a great sense of teamwork amongst the many participants. It is not uncommon to see one show helping another and all shows are also benefiting a charity with each performance. The festival offers many opportunities for the participants to connect including mixers, parties, walks for charity, and many other styles of gatherings. When prior participants were asked about their experience with the festival, they had the following to say:

"Planet Connections is by far the most supportive, friendly, nurturing and fun theater festival I have ever been a part of. It is a festival run by theater-makers for theater-makers, where the quality of the work is as important as the quality of the experience."
Leah Bonvisutto, Director

"I've always felt that theatre should be about creating a community. Being a part of Planet Connections enabled me to do more than just mount a play. I met a host of talented artists, worked with a terrific and supportive staff, and gave back to charity. The festivity is a true theatre community, and one that I am proud to be involved with."
Mark Jason Williams, Playwright

"Year after year, the Planet Connections Festivity has provided our company a safe and supportive environment in which we can fully explore our most fanciful ideas. I've come to see the wider circle of returning artists not only as worthy colleagues, but friends as well."
Sergei Burbank, Playwright, Producer

"Planet Connections is one of the most progressive innovative theater festivals in New York, if not the country."
Michael Schwartz, Director

"I have participated with the past two Planet Connections Theatre Festivites, and I highly recommend being involved. Based on the production of my play, Hound, as part of the inaugural PCTF, it has been published with Next Stage Press. With The Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, artists are guaranteed visibility, as the community is tight, the venues are accessible, and the work is outstanding."
- John Patrick Bray, Playwright, Producer, and Scholar

"Planet Connections Festivity is the green heart of INDIE Theatre!"
Roi "Bubi" Escudero -ETdC Projects' Lab

"A lovely experience through and through."
Lenny Schwartz
Daydream Theatre Company

"Young, nimble and open to risk-taking, Planet Connections is the best kind of theater festival. What's remarkable is that its scale can somehow accommodate such a broad scope of styles while sustaining a high level of professionalism."
Felipe Ossa, Playwright

"We had a great time being part of a creative, nurturing environment. The support and guidance from everyone was wonderful. I'm so happy we were part of the Festivity. And we just found out that our play LOVE ME is going to be published in Plays and Playwrights 2011! Hee haw and happy holidays to all at Planet Connections!"
Jason Grossman, Playwright,Producer

"From its inception Planet Connections has been the most progressive Theater Festival in New York. From its community outreach efforts to their personable handling of each artist, Planet Connections has quickly become an instant part of the NYC Theater Family."
--David Stallings
Artistic Director of MTWorks/Playwright

"Planet Connections gave my play a top quality venue....generated buzz across NY's indie theater community about my work, supported the company from beginning of the process to its celebratory end, and opened doors for me personally to new connections and creative forces."
Carol Carpenter, Playwright

"If you want to see your work in front of an audience in a supportive festival environment, where people are valued over profit, I highly recommend doing your new plays at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity!"
Monica Bauer, Playwright, Planet Connections 2010

As one can see from these accolades, this a festival to make sure to get in on. Submission information can be found here, but hurry submission deadlines are in February!

This Holiday add a little more Green and see you all in the New Year.

Read more of Michael's insights at


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