Musical Cafe 2016 Spring Showcase Lineup

Musical Cafe

We are thrilled to announce the selections for the Musical Cafe 2016 Spring Showcase. Come see and hear them June 5 & 6 at The Flight Deck! Watch this space for tickets and more information!

THE MANY WOMEN OF TROY
Book by Brian Allan Hobbs
Music and lyrics by Michael John Boynton

THE QUEST FOR CHRISTMAS
Book, lyrics and music by Miranda Ferris Jones

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Book, lyrics and music by Alan Coyne

YOUNG DAVID COPPERFIELD
Book, lyrics and music by Jeffrey Scharf

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Musical Cafe Showcase accepting submissions

Play Cafe is currently accepting submissions for the Spring 2016 Musical Cafe Showcase. The submission deadline is February 15. For details and submission guidelines see musicalcafe.org.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One Minute Play Contest

One Minute Play Contest for Play Cafe Members Only
Selected plays will be performed at Inferno Theatre’s Third Annual Contemporary Performance Diasporas Festival May 6-8, 2016 in Berkeley.

Guidelines:
Must be a current dues paying member of Play Cafe (see the “Membership” tab to join or renew your membership).

Inferno Theatre staff who are also Play Cafe members may not participate.

Two submission limit per playwright.

Topic: diaspora(s) – do not limit your play to a specific diaspora. Keep in mind the root of the word, from the ancient Greek “to scatter about.”

One minute long, 2 page limit, standard play format, size 12 font

No more than 6 characters in play

Entries due March 1, 2016.

No fee

Playwright must attend with an entourage!

Selections announced March 10, 2016

One or two plays will be selected.

Send entries to: infernotheatrecompany@gmail.com
In subject line: Diasporas Play Contest
One attachment: Script in PDF format with playwright’s contact information on the script.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FALL MUSICAL CAFE SHOWCASE

Musical Cafe now has its own web site!  Check it out at musicalcafe.org.

Our Winter and Spring Musical Cafe Showcases were so successful (both sold out) that we’re having two performances of the fall show!  Our venue will be the Flight Deck in Oakland (just one block from Oakland City Center BART).  Tickets go on sale September 9. All tickets $20.

For details about the featured shows see the Musical Cafe page.

The Fall Musical Cafe needs volunteers!  Help with concessions or box office at one performance and receive two comp tickets to the other.  We also need a bartender to serve wine at the Sunday show. Bartender must have a TIPS (alcohol safety training) certificate. If you’d like to help out, please contact Sandy at musicals@playcafe.org.

Submissions for the January, 2016 Musical Cafe Showcase will be accepted from October 1 to October 25. For details, please see musicalcafe.org.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 9 Scene Night is at Language Studies International

Due to renovations at our previous location, Play Cafe’s July 9 Scene Night will be relocated to Language Studies International.

Thursday, July 9, 2015
7pm-10pm (scene sign-up starts at 6:45pm)

We will be meeting at the close-by Language Studies International Building at 2015 Center Street, between Milvia and Shattuck in Berkeley (one block from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station and right next to the parking garage).

We will meet in a room on the first floor.

Anthony Clarvoe will moderate.

Stay tuned for the location for August and future dates.

Hope you can make it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Announcing the 2015 Fall Musical Cafe Showcase, with TWO performances!

We’re returning to the East Bay, and putting on two performances this time!

Play Cafe’s third Musical Cafe Showcase of 2015 will be presented on Sunday September 27 at 3:00 p.m. and Monday September 28 at 7:00 p.m. at The Flight Deck in Oakland. Our selection committee is busy evaluating the submissions received this round, and we’ll ultimately choose four new musicals from Bay Area writers and composers. Actors, directors and our musical director will then bring 20 minutes’ worth of songs and scenes from each of them to the stage.

We will announce our selected musicals by the end of June, so watch this space! And stay tuned for information about tickets for the September showcase, as well as information about our 2016 calendar and the submission window for the January 2016 showcase.

Actors interested in performing in the September showcase:

The general auditions for the September showcase will be held Saturday August 1, 2015, exact time and location TBD. If you are interested in auditioning, send an email to musicals@playcafe.org with “MC Auditions” in the subject line.

About the Musical Cafe Showcase:

The Musical Cafe Showcase is an afternoon of songs and scenes from new musicals by Northern California writers and composers. A maximum of 20 minutes of material will be presented from each show. Our first two showcases from January 2015 and May 2015 were enormously successful.

Details about the shows that were presented on May 3 can be found at the Musical Cafe tab.

Details about submissions for the Musical Cafe showcases can be found here.

It takes many hands to make the Musical Cafe Showcases happen. If you’d like to help in any way, please get in touch with Sandy at musicals@playcafe.org.  We’re particularly looking for a House Manager, and help with box office, social media, and traditional marketing/publicity. Want to participate in some other way? Maybe direct a 20 minute musical theatre piece?  Are you interested in performing?  Making a donation?  Let us know!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Submissions are now open for the September Musical Cafe Showcase!

The May Musical Cafe Showcase was a huge success!

Play Cafe’s second 2015 Musical Cafe Showcase, presented on May 3 at Stage Werx Theatre in San Francisco, was a huge success!  Songs and scenes from four new musicals by Bay Area writers and composers were performed by a cast of 16 talented actor/singers to a sold-out audience. The show featured work in a variety of styles and settings, from classic to contemporary, with music direction by Phil Surtees.

About the Musical Cafe Showcase:

The Musical Cafe Showcase is an afternoon of songs and scenes from new musicals by Northern California writers and composers. A maximum of 20 minutes of material will be presented from each show.

Details about the shows that were presented on May 3 can be found at the Musical Cafe tab.

It takes many hands to make the Musical Cafe Showcases happen. If you’d like to help in any way, please get in touch with Sandy at musicals@playcafe.org.  We’re particularly looking for a House Manager, and help with box office, social media, and traditional marketing/publicity. Want to participate  in some other way? Maybe direct a 20 minute musical theatre piece?  Are you interested in performing?  Making a donation?  Let us know!

Call for Submissions for September 2015 Musical Cafe Showcase

Submissions will be accepted from April 1 to May 31, 2015

Performance date September, 2015 (exact date and location tbd).

About the Musical Cafe Showcase:

We will provide a pianist. Participating writers and composers must provide their own performers (maximum 6) and arrange for their own rehearsal time and space. There will be a limited number of rehearsal times available with our pianist. Writers and composers will be expected to participate in planning and promoting the Showcase. The pianist’s fee and the costs of venue rental, insurance and limited publicity will be paid by Play Cafe, but there is no additional funding available. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to offer feedback on submissions at this time.

Eligibility:

1.  At least one member of writing team must live in Northern California.
2.  The show must be unproduced (other than a workshop production).
3.  The show may be a work in progress, or have been completed within the last five  years.
4.  If the show is an adaptation of another work, you must own the rights to underlying material, unless it is in the public domain.
5.  The music must be original.
6.  Unless book, lyrics and music were all written by the same person, you must have a written collaboration agreement.
7.  Shows of any length are eligible, but the material presented may not exceed 20 minutes.

The submission deadline is midnight Sunday night, May 31, 2015.

Send (1) a short synopsis of the show (maximum 500 words), (2) 10 pages of the libretto in pdf format with a cover sheet giving your contact information, (3) 3 songs in mp3 format, and (4) the written piano/vocal score of one of the three songs in pdf format.  (Formatting guidelines for a musical script and/or score are available at anmtstore.com.)

Send the above materials to musicals@playcafe.org.  Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

 

 

 

Posted in Musical Cafe | Leave a comment

Musical Cafe Performance Sun, Jan 25

Play Cafe is proud to support the work of Northern California musical creators through our Musical Cafe project. The primary function of Musical Cafe is to gather musical book writers, lyricists, and composers to network and present their work.

In January, Musical Cafe is hosting a one-night event that showcases selected scenes and songs from five new stage musicals by Bay Area writers and composers. Works will be presented in a concert reading format.

Sunday, January 25, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
Musically Minded Academy
5776 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94618

General Admission $15

Purchase Tickets Online

Featured musicals:

THE FOUR IMMIGRANTS MANGA, by Min Kahng. Based on a documentary-style comic book written and illustrated by Henry Kiyama, this show follows the adventures of four Japanese immigrants who came to the USA in the early 20th century.

THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH, by Richard Jennings and Pamela Winfrey. As Dot and John Peerybingle prepare their happy home for Christmas, a mysterious stranger takes up lodging at their house. Based on a Dickens novella, this musical explores the meaning of love, faith, and trust.

THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR, by Joe Blodgett, Adrian Bewley, and Chana Wise. It’s 1936, the golden age of Hollywood. The leading men from two rival movie studios fall in love. They suddenly find themselves having to navigate a dizzying world of artifice, backstabbing, lavender weddings, double-crossing starlets, and a moral crusader from the Legion of Rectitude.

SCHRODINGER’S CHRISTMAS, by Jerome Joseph Gentes and Jon Rosen. Set in Boston, Schrodinger’s Christmas is a ten-minute “opera” about love and particle physics.

This is the first of a series of Musical Cafe events. Submission guidelines coming soon!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jan 14 Scene Night @ Language Studies International

Play Cafe’s Thursday, January 14 Scene Night will continue to be hosted at Language Studies International. Writers are welcome to bring up to 20 pages to be read (please provide enough copies for each actor and stage directions) or 10 pages with time for feedback. Attendees are welcome to attend without bringing pages.

Thursday, January 14, 2015
7pm-10pm (scene sign-up starts at 6:45pm)

We will be meeting at the close-by Language Studies International Building at 2015 Center Street, between Milvia and Shattuck in Berkeley (one block from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station and right next to the parking garage).

We will meet in a room on the first floor.

Anthony Clarvoe will moderate.

Hope you can make it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Get Your Work Produced Highlights

By Annette Roman

Twenty-five playwrights gathered on Saturday afternoon of October 27 at the Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre for the Play Cafe’s inspiring panel discussion “How to Get Your Work Produced.”

The illustrious local panelists were: award-winning playwright Anthony Clarvoe; artistic director of Impact Theater Melissa Hillman; playwright, librettist, and educator Carol S. Lashof; co-founder and executive director of Theater MadCap Eric Reid; and recent president of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco and associate artist with Wily West Productions Jennifer Lynn Roberts. The panel was smoothly moderated by executive director of Play Cafe and artistic director of All Terrain Theater Tracy Held Potter.

I took notes, but before I look at them, I’m thinking about what advice stands out most in my mind: “Be nice to everyone.”

The panelists discussed “networking,” but cringed at the terminology. (What a pleasure to attend a panel of writers and performers! Nary a dull inarticulate moment!) The point was, if you’re being smarmy to get something, that’s icky. But if you’re genuinely interested in someone else’s work and in working with them, don’t hesitate to connect. And if you’re shy, Roberts pointed out, social media is a great way to do it.

The panelists are all supportive of others in the theater community…and recommend you be too. Hillman pointed out that promoting others won’t hurt you—anything that promotes theater is good for everyone in theater. So go forth and post about theater you enjoyed.

On the other hand, the panelists reminded us, “Remember, it’s a small community. We’ll talk about your work. And we’ll talk about you.” I think that’s why it’s sometimes hard to get honest feedback from other people in the theater community. They’re afraid of hurting your feelings or inadvertently dissing your secret lover in the backstage crew. Luckily, organizations like Play Cafe give you a safe place to develop your work by giving and receiving critical feedback!

I was left wondering…if you’re not nice, can you learn to be just to better your chances of getting your play produced? Probably not. But since we all have a bit of the drama queen in us (or we wouldn’t be doing theatre), perhaps the best way to implement the panelists’ advice is to reach out generously and be mindful of the context and impact before criticizing or complaining.

On to my notes…

What do producers look for?

• People who know plays (read a lot of them to get the form and format right!).

• When submitting a play, match it to the theatre’s aesthetic, mission, and constraints. If they love the play but can’t use it, they might pass it on to someone else. So don’t be devastated when you’re rejected. Melissa Hillman loves to find a good home for a good play!

• Fun or unfun fact: At Impact, about 99 plays are rejected for every one that is accepted. This rate is fairly typical of other companies as well. So your rejected play is in good…heh, heh…company. (Note to self: puns are bad writing.)

So your play got rejected. Now what? Perhaps it’s time to improve it:

• Lots of great writing advice from Clarvoe, including: See how deep the response of your audience is, how it got under their skin. How does your script give actors opportunities to show their skills? Look at every syllable of your script. Ask yourself, have I attended to every moment? Does everything have a purpose? Or did I just write it because it’s fun to write? Take the time it takes to become the person you need to be to write this play.

• The panelists agreed: Be yourself. That’s what’s unique about you. Don’t try to be somebody else or write for someone or something. Write first, then search for the theater/producer that matches your work.

How do I self produce?

• Roberts: Just do it! Somehow. Get a group of writers together and commit to putting on each other’s plays. Playwright collectives are popping up all over the country are great models to collective self-producing. Check out The Welders; The Orbiters; Boston Public Works; Lather, Rinse, Repeat; and San Francisco’s own, 6 New Plays. These are short-lived commitments, not a theater company. Plus, you’ll gain experience in a few other areas of theater, which is valuable for a playwright. Get funding. Check out Fractured Atlas, who has funded at least two of these collectives. Or, find a sight-specific location for one of your plays. Partner with the business there. Or charity. Say you’ll donate your proceeds to their charity and they can do the marketing, etc. So, yeah. Just do it! And send me an invite so I can come see it.

• Find a space (wayyyy in advance). Rent it. Book it. Borrow it. Bribe it. Consider unusual spaces: your Grandma’s living room? A street corner?

• Pitch the play to a sponsor: a charity, a university with a program related to your topic (bonus: academic institutions have theatre spaces!).

• Don’t be intimidated by Equity rules (new producers get breaks—for a little while at least).

• Don’t be shy about putting your work out there. You are a job creator for theatre people!

• An important PSA from all the panelists: playwriting isn’t for making money.

How do I promote my work?

• Try to get reviewed, but don’t expect to be for the first few productions/years. There are very few reviewers and newspapers left in the area.

• Use social media to get the word out.

• Put yourself on calendars (like the SF Chronicle’s).

• Invite producers/potential collaborators personally, but don’t be offended if they can’t make it. They are busy, busy people. The invitation itself is an opportunity for them to find out that you’re getting your work out there.

What organizations should I join and who should I “follow” online?

• Join Play Cafe; the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco; the Playwrights Foundation; the Official Playwrights of Facebook; Yeah, I Said Feminist: A Theater Symposium; the Dramatists Guild; Theatre Communications Group; and Theater Bay Area! Community connections may lead to readings and staged readings and productions. Not to mention better writing.

• Read the Playwrights’ Survival Handbook and The Dramatists Sourcebook.

• See tons of shows! Volunteer at theatres!

• On Twitter, follow: #pwops, #howlround, #newplay and @RachelBublitz.

Additional suggestions from Anthony Clarvoe:

• Many theaters only accept unsolicited scripts when they offer a new-play competition (Marin Theatre Co., for example). If you’re interested in submitting to a theatre, check their website for information about submission guidelines, including when in the year they accept scripts.

• Take classes. If you can afford it, consider hiring a dramaturg. A number of writers I know have risen quickly from long-term creative and career plateaus by making this relatively modest investment.

• Look outside the immediate area for opportunities. While many contests have regional residence requirements, many do not. The more often you submit, the more chances you have to win!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment