Submissions for Musical Cafe

Musical Cafe Submission Guidelines

Submissions for the 2017 Spring Showcase closed as of midnight, January 31, 2017.

Performance dates are Saturday, May 20 at 3:00 p.m., and Monday and Tuesday May 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m.

About the Showcase:

The Musical Cafe Showcase is a production of Play Cafe (, a Berkeley-based nonprofit whose mission is to help Bay Area playwrights develop their work. The Showcase is an evening 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.

Musical Cafe provides a pianist for the performances and some select rehearsals. Participating creative teams cast and secure a limit of six (6) performers and arrange their own team rehearsals. There will be a limited number of rehearsal times available with our pianist. Creatives are expected to participate in planning, promoting, and producing the Showcase to the fullest extent possible (e.g., helping find volunteers, etc). 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 & Guidelines

1.  The composer, book writer, or lyricist for the entire show (composer, book writer, lyricist) must live in Northern California. In other words, if one verse of a song was written by a NorCal resident, that doesn’t count!

2.  The show must be previously unproduced (other than a workshop production). The submission committee may concern substantially changed versions of shows that were previously produced. The key word is “substantially.”

3.  The show may be complete or a work-in-progress. This means that the entire show need not be written.

4.  If the show is an adaptation, you must own the rights to underlying material, unless it is in the public domain.

5.  The music must be original. No jukebox musicals, in other words. Unless the jukebox material is your own.

6.  Creatives must have a written collaboration agreement.

7.  Shows of any length are eligible, but the material presented in performance may not exceed 20 minutes. The production team reserves the right to request changes to the final material in order for the material to better fit the presentation timeslot.

8. Creatives are not permitted to perform in or direct their showcase segments. The point of Musical Cafe is to provide a workshop-style performance of a selection of the material; our credo is that the development process and your hard creative work are best served by handing the work off to other creatives and talents, as we hope you will eventually have the chance to do when your wonderful show goes into full production! Please do not ask for an exception to this stipulation; we’ve learned a lot from our experience producing these showcases. (You are welcome to perform in and/or direct another team’s showcase; in fact, we’d encourage that!)

Submission Materials

1. A 500-word-maximum synopsis of the entire show. The synopsis is not selling the show or its creative team or its inspiration here; it is synopsizing the entire story.

2. Ten (10) properly-formatted pages of the libretto in PDF format.

3. A separate cover sheet with contact information for all creatives/collaborators.

4a. Three (3) songs from the show in mp3 format. We’re not looking for premium-quality studio recordings; on the other hand, we encourage you to give consideration to aspects like background noise, etc.

4b. The written piano/vocal score for any one (1) of the three songs in PDF format.

Formatting guidelines for a musical script and/or score are available at Cloud-based linkage to files is acceptable as long as the links are easily accessible. Give consideration to the professionalism of your submission materials!

Attach files and/or provide links for any/all of the above materials to submissions will not be considered.




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