Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


Anne Hamilton to Dramaturg at NYMF in 2014

The New York Musical Theatre Festival has accepted me as a staff dramaturg for 2014. I am terrifically excited and thankful for this opportunity. My special thanks go to Director of Programming Mary Kate Burke.

I was referred by my long-time client Andrew Barrett, whose musical JULIAN PO was presented in 2013.  It was given a full production, and won the NYMF awards for  Best Music (Ira Antelis) and Best Actress award (Luba Mason) .  Andrew’s lyrics won an Honorable Mention. I have just finished dramaturging a rewrite of the musical.

I am so impressed with how interconnected the musical theatre world is. This fall I have been dramaturging a terrific new musical called PUMPED, which presented a staged reading in NYC. Luba Mason appeared in PUMPED in the iconic  role of Margaux Bottier. PUMPED features the hot new composer/lyricist team of Kyle Ewalt and Michael Ian Walker, as well as librettists Marla Woodhill, J.D. Jacobson and Nicole Jacobson.

I love dramaturging musicals, and have worked on many of them over the years with Andrew Barrett, B.T. McNicholl,  The Harold Prince Musical Theatre Institute/The Directors Company, George Marcy, Bob Goldstein, Pat Holley and I.B. Daniels, and Louis Steven Santora (Creator of GUILIN).

Not many people know this, but I primarily identified myself as a singer and a writer before turning to dramaturgy. I spent twenty years as a singer on major stages in New York City, performing classical music, show tunes, and some opera.

For my MFA thesis at Columbia School of the Arts, I served as Production Dramaturg at Classic Stage Company under director Michael Mayer on Marivaux’s THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE. It was the New York City premiere of James Magruder’s adaptation of the comedy. Later, Michael and James adapted the play into a musical and took it to Broadway, starring Betty Buckley, F. Murray Abraham and Susan Egan.

I am really looking forward to my work with NYMF.



JULIAN PO – An NYMF Opener

Congratulations to Andrew Barrett, my friend and long-time client, whose musical JULIAN PO (co-written with composer Ira Antelis) has been selected as an opener for the 10th annual New York Musical Theatre Festival on July 8th. Congratulations, Andrew and Ira!

JULIAN PO

Five performances only:

1. Monday July 8th at 7pm
2. Wednesday July 10th at 9pm
3 & 4. Saturday July 13th at 5pm and 9pm
5. Sunday July 14th at 5pm

Julian Po
Book and Lyrics by
Andrew Barrett
Music by Ira Antelis
Based on the book “La mort de monsieur Golouja” by Branimir Šćepanović
and the screenplay “Julian Po” by Alan Wade

Julian Po is about a mysterious man who is determined to end his life at the sea, until he finds himself stuck in the smallest, strangest town in middle America. While waiting for a connecting train, he makes friendships that start to sway him from his mission, with repercussions no one anticipated. This darkly humorous modern day myth is set to the quintessentially American sounds of pop, rock and bluegrass.

National Music Theater Network. Now entering its tenth year, The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) exists to “revitalize musical theatre culture by discovering and promoting new musical theatre artists, producers and projects; nurturing a vibrant and innovative artistic community; and connecting one of America’s greatest art forms with a diverse, contemporary audience.”

For more information, visit NYMF.org.



“What I’m Dreamin’ Of” from JULIA PO

Here’s a terrific song from Andrew Barrett and Ira Antelis’ musical JULIAN PO.

Hunky Bobby the barber is newly married, but dreams of something bigger. Take a listen: http://snd.sc/ZN4ruJ

Julian po photo

https://www.facebook.com/JulianPoNYMF



JULIAN PO at NYMF

Congratulations to Andrew Barrett, one of my TALFs (Theatre Artists I Love to Follow) and his writing partner, the composer Ira Antelis, whose musical JULIAN PO has been chosen for the New York Musical Theatre Festival’s 2013 Next Link Project. This project is NYMF’s primary writer service program. Titles will be seen at the tenth annual New York Musical Theatre Festival, which will run July 8-28 in New York City.

The Next Link Project, according to NYMF, “empowers emerging musical theatre writing teams as both artists and entrepreneurs by providing the training and relationships needed to help them move their musicals from readings to fully-realized productions and to advance their careers by maximizing the exposure they receive in the Festival. Ten of the Festival’s full production slots are reserved for participants in The Next Link Project.”

Participants attend a special weekend-long symposium, featuring seminars on fundraising, marketing, industry outreach and self-producing, led by industry professionals. The writing teams are introduced to potential collaborators, supporters and producers, and receive dramaturgical support from professional literary managers and dramaturgs. Finally, each Next Link show receives financial support in the form of a $5,000 subsidy toward its production in the Festival.

Julian Po
Book and Lyrics by Andrew Barrett
Music by Ira Antelis
Based on the book “La mort de monsieur Golouja” by Branimir Šćepanović
and the screenplay “Julian Po” by Alan Wade
“Julian Po is determined to end his life at sea, but he finds himself stuck in the smallest, strangest town in Middle America. While waiting for a connecting train, Julian makes friendships that start to sway him from his mission, with repercussions no one anticipated. This darkly comic tale is led by four modern-day muses and set to the quintessentially American sounds of pop, rock and bluegrass.”



Andrew Barrett Still Loves SMASH

Thanks again to Andrew Barrett (my TALF) for weighing in on SMASH. Check out his blog at: http://barrettny.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/five-new-reasons-why-i-love-nbcs-smash/

Five New Reasons Why I Love NBC’s “Smash”

Ratings are up, story lines continue to intrigue and hopes are high.  So without further adieu, five new reasons why I love NBC’s “Smash.”

1.  Art vs. Commerce. Not since David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow” has the debate between the dream of the artist vs. the dream of the producer been so honestly depicted.  Many haters have blogged and posted and tweeted how inauthentic “Smash” is (i.e. Season One featured Ivy running through Times Square in her “Heaven on Earth” costume).  The rules and regulations of costume wearing off-stage are not the thing of great drama.  A serious conflict between art and money is great drama.  Based on my own experiences sitting in more than one producer meeting, I was thrilled by the accuracy of the arguments, tensions, and solutions centered on this dramatic conceit.  And it made for great drama Tuesday night.

2.  Urban Cowboy.  Veanne Cox delivers one of the best inside joke one-liners I have ever heard…ever!  And because it’s Veanne Cox, it’s delivered perfectly.  If you haven’t seen this week’s episode of “Smash,” I won’t spoil it.  But for theater folks in the know, I am 100% sure there was a collective gasp followed by a well-deserved guffaw.

3.  Jerry Rand.  To be honest, I don’t know where this storyline is going.  Case in point, if he is in it to ruin “Bombshell,” he’s doing a terrible job since his fight to make it “commercial” is making at least one of the creators happy.  (And by episodes conclusion it would appear both writers are happy).   Still, Michael Cristofer makes for a potentially great villain.  I’m waiting for the J.R. Ewing or Alexis Carrington or even Angela Channing moment of pure evil, and I hope it is as enjoyable as Hagman, Collins and Wyman made their moments.

Come on “Smash.”  You can do it!  You almost had it when Jerry threatened Karen, but here’s hoping that evil will be unleashed on Eileen instead.  With her, you can be guaranteed a martini in the face!

4.  Baz Luhrmann’s “La Boehme” on Broadway. If you’re gonna go fringe, find symbolism from the guy who was totally fringe but succeeded commercially…Baz Luhrmann.  In a nod to his artistically stunning Broadway version of “La Boehme,” “Hit List” borrowed their basement theater set design (see the back wall) from the noir-romantic design from the 2002 Broadway production.

5.  Saturday nights.  Guess what everyone…the show is starting to improve in the ratings.  It’s true.  Here is a encouraging quote from their press release (Go Bob Greenblatt!): “”Smash” is currently building on this week’s lead-in by 29% or 0.2 of a point.  Note that “Smash” continues to add an exceptional amount of viewership via time-shifting…”  So rather than cancel the show outright, NBC is wisely placing the show on Saturday nights.  This will capitalize on the larger number of time-shift viewing they know they are getting.  This is a very smart move inspired by the commercial realities of TV.

And there ya have it.  My five new reasons for loving “Smash.”  What are your reasons for loving the show?  (Besides the too infrequent cameos of Ann Harada!)



Why Andrew Barrett Loves SMASH

Here’s a great blog post by my friend and long-time client Andrew Barrett, an L.A.-based playwright, lyricist and librettist. He’s another of my TALFs (Theatre Artists I Love to Follow).

http://barrettny.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/five-reasons-why-i-love-nbcs-smash/

Excerpt from “Five Reasons Why I Love NBC’s SMASH” by Andrew Barrett:

“For the past year, like so many others in show biz (musical theatre, specifically), I’ve been following all of the hating on NBC’s nighttime musical theatre soap opera “Smash.”  It’s already been described in other articles like sitting in Joe Allen’s.  Or better yet, I think it’s like that catty, queeny character James Coco played in “It’s Only A Play” by Terrance McNally who famously delights about everything that happened on opening night with, “Terrible.  Just terrible!”  So I decided to spend a little time spreading some love…”

Enjoy!



“I LOVE SATAN” Staged Reading in L.A.

Here is a message from my long-time friend and client Andrew Barrett, who is based in Los Angeles. He developed this play while in a Royal Court International Residency. I dramaturged the play when he returned from London.

Time: Saturday, February 16th, 2-3:30pm PST

Place: 3269 Casitas Avenue in Atwater Village, Los Angeles, CA 90039
“Here is your chance to enjoy the 90 minute version of my darkly comic play (I revised it after The Blank Theatre reading this past fall). It’s based on a true story of a NYC teen who got beat up by a high school classmate for being a Satanist. Who is going to win in court: God or Satan?Directed by Kirsten Sanderson with an amazing cast.It was selected for The Winterfest Festival at The Ensemble Studio Theatre in Atwater Village. Tickets are FREE (but there is a suggested donation of $10). General seating, so just show up!

I hope you can make it.”



BETWEEN TIME AND TIMBUKTU in L.A.

One of my favorite Theatre Artists I Love to Follow (TALFs) is having a reading of his new musical in Los Angeles on May 21st. Andrew Barrett and I have been working together since 1998, and I’m proud to say that I’ve often served as his dramaturg on both stage plays and musicals.

Here is a short article in which he describes the development of the piece, including its being one of four new musicals selected for development in the ASCAP/DreamWorks Musical Theatre Workshop in LA this past February under the mentorship of Stephen Schwartz.

Details for the Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series

Monday May 21st, 8pm
Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA

BETWEEN TIME & TIMBUKTU: A VONNEGUT MUSICAL
Book & Lyrics by Andrew Barrett
Music by Ira Antelis
Directed by Kirsten Sanderson

For more information and to RSVP: http://theblank.com/pages/livingroomseries.html

Anne Hamilton: Congratulations on this new development in the life of this musical. What are the new features you’ve added for this reading?

Andrew Barrett: The ASCAP/DreamWorks workshop is an astonishing experience for writers of the musical theatre.  You perform in front of an audience of 150 theatre lovers, mostly writers, and then a distinguished panel critiques you in front of everyone.  You need a thick skin!  The panelists who listen to your work and critique it are simply the best of the best.  In addition to Stephen Schwarz, we were fortunate to have such intelligent minds as Irene Mechhi, Bill Damaschke, Paul Lazarus and Mark Saltzman.  All offered invaluable insights.

However, they are only listening to up to 50 minutes of your show.  If you understand the structure of musicals you know why they do this.  A musical must have certain elements at very specific moments in the show.  I do not know one successful musical over the decades that has not followed these rules.

What makes a show unique is how it plays with this format.  But you must follow this format.  This includes the opening number that sets the audience on the path with the show (“I Hope I Get It” from A CHORUS LINE and “Comedy Tonight: from A FUNNY THING HAPPENED…).  Shortly after, your leading character must have the I Want song.  This is often mocked by haters of musical theatre (or lovers, such as the Orlando theme in BOOK OF MORMON).  Within the first hour, that leading character must face some sort of revelation that gives new perspective to what they want.  (“And I’m Telling You…” from DREAMGIRLS).

So we did our 50 minutes and we learned something important.  Our opening was spot on, and we had the audience with us right away.  But then we lost them because we were not clear about what our leading character wanted.  We waited too long to state it.  In addition, once he was off and running, he suddenly went from being very active to being passive, an observer of action he would later act upon.

All of the panelists picked up on this problem and gave us invaluable feedback to help improve things.  This new version of the script addresses those two major adjustments.  It also meant cutting one of our beloved characters.  But sometimes, as they say, you have to kill your babies.

AH: How did you come to write this musical?

AB: The truth is, I’ve been writing this musical my whole adult life.  I first fell in love with Vonnegut, like millions of others, when I was a teenager.  When I was 15, I discovered the published teleplay our musical is based on and I began trying to adapt it.  The longer I live the closer I get to understanding how to successfully tell this story.  More than anything else I have written it is so closely aligned dramatically and thematically to who I am.  This version has been in development since August of 2009.

We did an informal reading in Chicago, where my brilliant composer/ collaborator Ira Antelis lives.  That reading provided us with one of the most crucial components for moving forward – a producer!  A dear friend, Josh Felderstein, had done well with investing in the Broadway production of THE COLOR PURPLE.  He offered his financial support to develop our musical.

So we were able to do a big, fancy Broadway staged reading in January of 2010.  That afforded us two fantastic development opportunities.  The first was in November 2010.  We did a student workshop at The Boston Conservatory.  If you ever lose faith in musical theatre simply spend one day with the brilliant students and faculty at my undergrad alum.  That was a real privilege.

From there, Peter Flynn at The Hanger Theater in Ithaca, NY offered to develop the musical in their gorgeously renovated theatre in the heart of Kurt Vonnegut country (yes, he’s from Indiana, but he went to Cornel).  Kirsten Sanderson has since come on board to help us develop it further and her artistic home is The Blank Theatre in LA.  And so…here we are!

AH: What do you hope that people will take away from this reading?

AB: Kurt Vonnegut wanted as many people as possible to read his books.  He made his books easy to get into and an absolute joy to get through.  He did not use big, fancy words and sentence structure.  But underneath his hugely accessible style were strong Humanist ideas (Vonnegut was a Humanist).  His love of the idea of America was only second to his fear of its inevitable fate.  These are the same things Ira and I think about and feel.

We want audiences to have an easy time getting into our show and then have an absolutely joyous experience throughout.  But when they get home, perhaps something begins to stir.  They think about Stony and his mother and the world they live in and they start to think about their own world.  We hope they are completely entertained, and then surprisingly provoked after the fact.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share our history and thoughts.  I hope this has proven informative and in some way to useful to anyone reading it.

AH: Thank you, Andrew. It’s always a pleasure to learn from you.

Download the interview here: Interview with Andrew Barrett – BETWEEN TIME AND TIMBUKTU