The Academy for New Musical Theatre's (ANMT) roots go back 40 years to the original musical theatre workshops of Lehman Engel, the preeminent Broadway musical director. After Mr. Engel, John Sparks, Lenning Davis and Marty Hansen led the workshop for many years until John Sparks assumed sole Artistic Directorship of the workshop for the past three decades. In 2002, Executive Director Scott Guy expanded the Academy's historic writers' workshop to include an actors' repertory company and a professional wing to develop musicals directly for producers and theatres. In 2003, the Academy appointed Elise Dewsberry as resident dramaturgy; she was appointed Artistic Director in 2010. Since 2004, the writers' workshop has taken an increasingly active involvement with its own writers as well as freelance writers, from expanding its curriculum in writing for the theater, to brokering new collaborations between authors and musicians, to producing their works for public audiences. ANMT moved to its own home in July 2005, and now offers rehearsal rooms and a large workshop space to writers, actors and theatre artists. During the summers of 2006, 2008 and 2010, ANMT produced and hosted a major regional conference on the "Business of the Musical Theatre BIZ" with participating producers, writers, entertainment attorneys from dozens of musical theatre producing organizations, ranging from Equity Waiver houses to mid-size theatres to Broadway producers. The fourth conference is planned for Summer 2012. In 2008, ANMT expanded its Board of Directors to its current 12 members, hired three independent producers and nine part-time, monthly contractors. It is currently exploring options for a larger facility that can support productions, as well as a number of co-production ventures.
We asked ANMT's Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry what keeps her passion going.
I love musical theatre and I love nuturing musical theatre writers to help them achieve their intentions and ambitions as fully as possible. Some of our biggest successes would be: IMELDA THE MUSICAL at East West Players, and AGING OUT at UC Irvine.
Tell us about ANMT's New 2011/12 concert reading series.
ANMT's 2011-12 Concert Series kicks off with The Angel of Painted Post on December 12 at 7:30pm at the Lonny Chapman Theatre at 10900 Burbank Blvd . Book by Adrian Bewley, music by Matthew Levine and lyrics by Richard Castle. Reading will feature members of the Academy Repertory Company, including Noel Britton, Elise Dewsberry, Evelyn Halus, Christopher Maikish, Sari Rose Poll, Andrea Press, Tedd Szeto, Peter Welkin and Ross Kalling at the piano. Tickets are $10.
The Angel of Painted Post tells the story of a resourceful mother in 1945 rural Massachusetts who begins charging admission fees for folks to see the visions which appear in her comatose daughter's bedroom window. This new musical began in ANMT's Full-Length Curriculum last year, and was so promising we gave it a slot in Stages Musical Theatre Festival, after which the writers wrote a new draft which we are now featuring in the concert series.
The Concert Series will continue on February 6, 2012 with Emerald, written by Chris Burgess and Denise Wright from London, England. Emerald won ANMT's 4th Annual Search for New Musicals, and received a workshop with the Academy Repertory Company in April 2011. The Concert Series will feature a new draft, based on the work which the writers have done since the April workshop.
Thank you ANMT for helping to keep American Musical Theatre alive & well!
Academy for New Musical Theatre, 5628 Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood, CA, 91601