Magazine article Stage Directions

Fast and Furious

Magazine article Stage Directions

Fast and Furious

Article excerpt

The annual New York Musical Festival (NYMF) in Manhattan delivers an array of quirky, eclectic entries that both play into I and upend the genre's conventions. The festival's recent 14th season included a month of performances, workshops, concerts, and readings. NYMF has developed an efficient system to foster talented new writers, along with their exuberant casts and dedicated crews every year. They are paired with veteran directors and designers, tasked with the challenge of working under the festival's extremely tight schedules. At NYMF, bigger or bolder is not better if it eats up valuable production time. "You need that wild energy, but it has got to be contained systematically," says NYMF executive director Dan Markley, who just finished his fourth season with the festival.

While four NYMF shows have graduated to the Great White Way since its inception-specifically, Chaplin, Next To Normal, [title of show], and In Transit-many others have gone to off-Broadway houses or regional theaters around the country. Markley believes that productions trying to work outside of the NYMF umbrella would likely spend four to six times as much money to do so. NYMF buys everything "in bulk"-from real estate to sound and lights to marketing-thus reducing costs. "PRG has been a sponsor of the festival since its inception," says Markley. "Only through their financial subsidy can we offer the highest quality sound and lighting for NYMF productions and its patrons. Global Scenic is our official scenic sponsor, handling construction of rep scenic plots and offering flameproofing services to all of our shows. Tinc Productions acts as our festival production manager."

Through Tinc, NYMF provides an audio A1 and A2 for each venue, and the festival often connects writers with directors and general managers who have festival experience. "The directors and/or the GMs usually bring on designers they've worked with previously," notes Markley. "The GMs generally source the stage management, technical, and production support personnel not attached to the venue. NYMF also provides a resources portal where productions can source show personnel resumes for people who have indicated interest in working on a show."

He believes that the key to successful production design in the festival repertory context is meticulous planning and communication. "First between the creative team and the designers, then with the show and festival production management," explains Markley. "Each show submits their designs as well as set up, strike, and storage plans to the NYMF production manager supplied by Tinc Productions. The PM then coordinates all production and technical requests in an effort to give every show the aesthetic experience they want the audience to have. …

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