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Dramatists Guild National Conference - Aug 22 - 25


Conference Schedule by day:

Thursday, August 22

Friday, August 23

Saturday, August 24

Sunday, August 25


Conference Attendees

Click Here for a complete list of conference attendees

After Hours at the DG Conference

In just a few short days hundreds of us will converge on the Chicago Hilton for Having Our Say: Our History, Our Future. We’re absolutely thrilled that so many Guild members have signed up for the After Hours slots we were able to make available for programming after regular conference hours, ranging from regional meetups to readings of new work by DG members.

Click Here for the schedule.

See you in Chicago!


We’re so excited to be closing in on our time in Chicago. Here are some new additions to our programming.


Council member and Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Doug Wright will be joining the programming offering his wisdom and experiences on the panel for Adaptations/Translations, sharing his journey in conversation with Northern Ohio regional rep Faye Sholiton, and closing out the conference with a few words during our member breakfast.


Jeremy Cohen, Producing Artistic Director of The Playwrights Center, will also be joining us for a discussion of his iconic development organization and adding his thoughts to the panel When Is the Work Finished? – with John Weidman and Rebecca Gilman.


Really exciting news: a number of Guild members have signed up for readings of their plays in our After Hours Series, using the resources of the conference hotel to share their creative work with conference participants. Additional After Hours programming ranges from a workshop on meditation for writers to an improvisation workshop. Space is still available to conference participants at RStump@dramatistsguild.com.

We’re extremely proud to welcome these organizations into our conference programming:


Focus Publishing       &      Goddard College


With over 450 Guild members, Council members, staff and sponsors, we think it’s going to be an event not to be missed. Conference registration is still open at:  https://app.certain.com/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x1445521f3ba

Update: Conference Schedule

There are only 6 days left to take advantage of a reduced conference fee of $375 and to secure a hotel room at the conference hotel. After the 18th, conference fees increase and the hotel can't guarantee you a hotel room. So join us in Chicago, if you can, to celebrate our history and plan our future.


On Thursday, August 22 – the first day of the conference – Ralph Sevush, Executive Director of Business Affairs, David Faux, Associate Executive Director of Business Affairs, and Deborah Murad, Director of Business Affairs, will be on site and meeting with members one-on-one for 15 minute sessions to answer any business questions the member might have. This is the perfect time to have real face time with the Guild’s lawyers and ask the questions that have been troubling you. No contract reviews will be possible in these sessions.

All registered members of the conference will be sent an email on or around July 1, allowing them to sign up for a member slot.

Today is the last day for early bird registration. If you haven't registered, register now and see you in Chicago!



After the success of the first ever National Songwriter/Bookwriter Exchange at the 2011 conference, we’re pleased to announce the 2nd National Songwriter/Bookwriter Exchange, to be held on the first day of the Guild’s upcoming conference in Chicago and to be moderated by Guild Director of Membership Roland Tec.

At the Exchange, twelve playwrights or librettists interested in developing new works of music theatre with new collaborators will hear twelve songwriters each perform one song. Songwriters will have an opportunity to hear the bookwriters each talk briefly about a new idea they have for a musical, for which they have not yet attached a composer. Following these 5 min. introductions, the room will break into informal mingling. Over the years, these Exchanges have resulted in many fruitful collaborative teams of writers creating new musicals of all shapes and sizes.

Interested composers and playwrights are now invited to submit the following materials for consideration. Please email the following to Rebecca Stump, Membership Assistant at: rstump@dramatistsguild.com no later than Monday, July 1, 2013, to request a spot: All submissions that meet the specs outlined below will be pooled and a lottery will be drawn to select the 24 participants. Accepted participants will be notified by July 8th.

1) a short (250 word max.) bio outlining your professional accomplishments to date

2) a brief personal statement about the type of musical theatre you're interested in creating and a bit about how you like to collaborate.

3) A PDF of sheet music to one song you would like to perform for a roomful of colleagues. Please note: If you are unable to perform your own song, you must make arrangements for its performance by outside performers. The Guild will not be able to assist you in the procurement of Chicago-based performing talent; however, we encourage you to post frequently to the Members Bulletin Boards on our website to seek guidance from fellow members who may be able to help. Because any performers brought in for the Exchange will not need to register for the conference, we will need to receive their full names and contact information by August 1st to ensure proper arrangements are made for their entry.

1) a short (250 word max.) bio outlining your professional accomplishments to date

2) a brief personal statement about the type of musical theatre you're interested in creating and a bit about how you like to collaborate.

3) One or two paragraphs describing your idea for a new musical, paying close attention to the type of music you envision and the storytelling techniques you mean to employ. This need not be a polished synopsis. The Exchange is intended to bring together artists at the earliest possible stage in the development of new material, so rough ideas are welcome and encouraged. Try to capture the essential flavor of your imagined musical. That’s enough.

Please note: All participants must be registered for the conference. Single-day registrants are welcome. The Songwriter/Bookwriter Exchange will be moderated by Guild Director of Membership Roland Tec and will begin Thursday, August 22nd at 4PM. 

Because we are in Chicago for our national conference, and there are so many extraordinary opportunities for writers both locally and nationally in the area, we are working to embrace as much of the theatre community as we can. As you know, Martha Lavey, Artistic Director of Steppenwolf Theatre, will be our opening keynote event on Thursday, August 22. Shortly following this event, we’ll have the meet and greet hosted by the Chicago League of Theatres, where dramatists can speak directly to representatives of the Chicago Theatre community. To all of this, we’d like to add the following:

A Panel Discussion with Chicago Artistic Directors, Literary Managers 

Rick Boynton (Creative Producer, Chicago Shakespeare Theater)
Ricardo Gutierrez (Artistic Director, Teatro Vista)
Reginald Lawrence (Executive Producer, MPAACT)
Tanya Palmer (Director of New Play Development, Goodman Theatre)
Russ Tutterow (Artistic Director, Chicago Dramatists)
Andrew Volkoff (Artistic Director, About Face Theatre Company)

Moderated by Douglas Post (Chicago Regional Rep for the Dramatists Guild)

This discussion will focus on the development, production and future life of new American plays and musicals. We’ll ask such questions as: what sort of development do you currently do on new plays and musicals?  What would you like to be doing more of?  What is on your wish list?  How do you support the work once the play or musical is actually in production?  What, if anything, do you do to help the work go on to second and third productions?  How do you contribute to its future life?  There will also be a Q/A session for audience members.


As we did throughout our first conference, we’ll be selectively live streaming a few of of our workshops, panels and keynote events in Chicago. For those of you unable to join us in Chicago, you’ll be able to sit at your computer and watch some of the fascinating programming. Once the events are live-streamed, they’ll be recorded and re-broadcast on our website for you to watch at your leisure.


Call for Submissions of Original Songs for Late Night Cabaret 

A showcase of original songs by new musical theatre and cabaret composers and lyricists is being planned to coincide with the activities of the 2nd National Playwright’s Conference the weekend of August 22 -25, 2013 in Chicago.  The showcase will be a cabaret-style evening in a nightclub (tbd) and is sure to be a fun, exciting, creative way to socialize with other theatre artists, meet local talent and producers, and enhance your Chicago experience if you are attending the conference! While this event is being created and produced by two DG members (who will themselves be attending the conference), please understand that it is entirely independent of the Dramatists Guild and the official conference activities. The Guild is in no way sponsoring, underwriting, or adjudicating participation.  However, they are making every effort to cooperate and coordinate to avoid scheduling conflicts and be encouraging and supportive of this member-driven project. 

To submit please send an mp3 and lyric sheet (and brief explanation of dramatic context if relevant) to both Hillary Rollins at hillaryrollinscabaraise@gmail.com and Larry Todd Johnson at ltj@larrytoddjohnson.com by June 23, 2013.  Electronic submissions only.  Recordings do NOT have to be professional demo quality.  Include your name, all contact info, and what days you’ll be attending the conference.  Up to three (3) songs may be submitted for consideration but there will only be one (1) song per writer or writing team performed at the event.  Please let us know if you will require a pianist and/or singer(s) or will be playing/performing your own material.  (Either is an option but the only instrumentation provided will be acoustic piano.)  While we hope to accommodate as much material as possible, please understand that the final decision for inclusion in the showcase is at the sole discretion of the producers.  You will receive email notification of receipt of submission and decisions will be made by July 15th.  No pay.  No fee to apply. 

Member-Generated Workshops

We thought we’d give you a sampling, with each e-blast, of some of the extraordinary workshops conducted by your colleagues and peers. Below are four of those workshops:

Shaping Real Life, Present and Past (Sheila Curran Bernard, moderator) How do dramatists balance fact and fiction when crafting stories from real life events? This panel, made up of award-winning playwrights and documentarians, explores how factual materials can be crafted, shaped and transformed using the dramatic writer’s art.

Writing Catastrophe, Dramatizing Disaster (John Biguenet, moderator) Depicting recent historical events, especially catastrophes, obviously raises questions about what theater can convey that news reports and documentaries cannot. But when plays dramatize events that audience members themselves have experienced firsthand, larger questions are posed about the role of theater in society. What is the purpose of a play about a terrible event for an audience whose wounds suffered in that disaster have not yet healed?

MFA as an Older Student (Roberta D’Alois, moderator) Why an MFA? Why now? What’s it like to return to school while juggling a myriad of other responsibilities and where will it get you in the end? We offer playwrights, of any age, the perspective that learning one’s craft in a formal setting can have many advantages.

The Orchestrator and The Composer (Kevin Purcell, moderator) Ned Ginsburg and Kevin Purcell discuss all you need to know about theatre orchestrating: from the composer/orchestrator collaboration, to how to set up a good songwriting studio with the right tools. The insight and expertise needed to transition your compositions into fully realized and effective orchestrations.


Participating Council and Visiting Artists

We now have a complete list of those artists we’ve invited to the conference for keynote events, workshops, panels, “Conversations With. . .” If you were with us in Fairfax, you know how educational these events can be:

Kristen Anderson-Lopez
Gretchen Cryer
Rebecca Gilman
Carol Hall
Winnie Holzman
David Ives
Lisa Kron
Martha Lavey
Bobby Lopez
Terrence McNally
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Marsha Norman
Theresa Rebeck
Stephen Schwartz
Jeff Sweet
John Weidman
George C. Wolfe
Charlayne Woodard

Chicago Meet and Greet, The League of Chicago Theatres (an organization of 200+ professional theatres) will be held on Thursday, August 22 at 7:30 pm, the first evening of the conference. The event is designed so that playwrights, composers, lyricists and librettists from across the country can have an opportunity to speak with the artistic and literary staff of Chicago area theatres about their mission, the kind of new work they are interested in, what kind of submissions they take, etc.  The format will be a “fair” type, with each theatre having a table on which they can display materials. All conference participants will be emailed how to participate on June 3. Participation will be on a first-come, first-served basis as space is limited.

Update: Early Bird deadline extended plus Workshops and Panels.

The Early Bird deadline ($300 for the conference fee; $375 after) has been extended from May 15 to June 1. Because we know so many of you would like to see more of the programming in place before you actually commit to the expense involved in the conference, we’re extending the deadline while we finalize the programming. But as a hint of what we have in place, here is a sampling of some of the workshops and panels being designed:

Models of Self-Production
Playwriting for Under-Served Communities
National Songwriter-Bookwriter Exchange
Improvising Your Play
New Media: Dramatists in the Age of Twitter and Facebook
Synopsis Clinic
Older Students in MFA Programs: Is it Worth It?
Shaping Real Life: Past and Present
Writing Catastrophe, Dramatizing Disaster
Creating Character
Writing for Television
The Artist as CEO
Contracts 101
The Orchestrator and Composer: Artful Collaboration
Dream Logic for Dramatic Writers
Grant and Application Writing for Dramatists
Creating the Historical Drama
Dramatists Creating Opportunities
Activism: Youth and Community
Software for Dramatists
Writing For Young Audiences
Crafting Comedy
Musical Theatre Comedy Songs
Writing the Solo Drama
Collaborations in Musical Theatre
Business Affairs Q & A

Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Ives, Carol Hall, Winnie Holzman to join conference programming

Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights, Bring it On – The Musical), David Ives (Venus In Fur, All in the Timing), Carol Hall (Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,  A Christmas Memory) and Winnie Holzman (Wicked, Assisted Living) will be joining us for programming in Chicago. If you attended the 2011 conference, you know David’s Crafting Comedy was one of the more popular events that week. He'll be repeating that panel/workshop in Chicago.


Registration and Hotel Room Fees

Several members wanted a simple reference to the fees associated with the conference. Here they are:
Early bird registration saves you money. From April 1 – May 15, members may register for the conference for $300. On May 16, that price goes up to $375.  And with late registration (after July 19), the price goes to $400.  

For non-members, early bird registration is $400. For students in a university or college program, the cost of the conference is $175, BUT, $50 will be refunded on that amount if the student works four hours on-site at the conference.

The conference hotel (Chicago Hilton and Tower Hotel) has several combinations of sleeping rooms to help you save money. The rates are $169 a day for a single/double,  $194 for a triple and $219 for a quad – plus hotel and city tax for all rates. Very reasonably priced restaurants are throughout the neighborhood.

To register for both the conference and hotel, you can go to our webpage: www.dramatistsguild.com.


Bobby Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Terrence McNally to join conference programming

As we build more and more programming for our national conference, we’re thrilled to announce that Bobby Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon), Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Winnie the Pooh, In Transit) and Terrence McNally (Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!) will be joining us for a variety of conversations and panels.

One-on-One with Business Affairs

Conference participants will be able to sign up for one-on-one 15-minute sessions with our sensational Business Affairs representatives to discuss any relevant business issues. Ralph Sevush (Executive Director of Business Affairs), David Faux (Associate Executive Director of Business Affairs) and Deborah Murad (Director of Business Affairs) will all be present. Signing up for these appointments will happen on-site beginning the first day of the conference (August 22).

Meet and Greet with the Chicago League of Theatres

As mentioned earlier, a meet and greet with prominent members of Chicago’s small, medium and large-sized theatres will be held during the conference. It’s an excellent opportunity for dramatists to learn more about this richly diverse theatre community. An email to all registered conference participants will be sent before or on June 1 that details how to enroll for a limited number of available tickets to the event.



On this first day of April, we have exciting news to share! If you’d like to register for both the national conference and the hotel, our conference planners (Complete Conference Coordinators, Inc.) have everything set up for you to register now simply by clicking here or by following this link: http://www.certain.com/system/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x1445521f3ba

Early bird registration saves you money. From April 1 – May 15, members may register for the conference for $300. On May 16, that price goes up to $375. And with late registration (after July 19), the price goes to $400.

For non-members, early bird registration is $400. For students in a university or college program, the cost of the conference is $175, BUT, $50 will be refunded on that amount if the student works four hours on-site at the conference.


We’ll have an exciting number of panels and workshops that should satisfy everyone’s interests, both member-generated and those conducted by members of our Council. Signed up to be with us in Chicago at this date are:

Rebecca Gilman
Lisa Kron
Terrence McNally
Marsha Norman
John Weidman
Stephen Schwartz
Jeffrey Sweet
Theresa Rebeck
George C. Wolfe
Charlayne Woodard

And many more to come . . .

The League of Chicago Theatres and the Dramatists Guild of America will invite members of the Dramatists Guild conference to join Chicago area theatres for a Meet and Greet during our second national conference.  The event is designed so that playwrights, composers, lyricists and librettists from across the country can have an opportunity to speak with the artistic and literary staff of Chicago area theatres about their mission, the kind of new work they are interested in, what kind of submissions they take, etc.  The format will be a “fair” type, with each theatre having a table on which they can display materials.  Dramatists will have the opportunity to talk directly to the representatives of these theatres about their work, but should not bring their scripts, CDs or DVDs. This is modeled after a similar event successfully held twice before for local Chicago members.

The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of 200 Chicago area theaters that supports, promotes and advocates for Chicago theatre locally, nationally and internationally.  This event will be co-hosted by Ben Thiem (Director of Member Services for the League of Chicago Theatres) and Douglas Post (Chicago Regional Rep for the Dramatists Guild).

Signing up for the event will happen simultaneously with registering for the conference (beginning April 1). Participants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Update: Member-Generated Workshops and Panels

During our second national conference, we’ll have four tracks of programming running simultaneously. One track will be devoted to business and legal affairs for dramatists, two tracks -- focused on playwriting and musical theatre writing – will highlight many of our Council members attending the conference, and one track will be devoted completely to member-generated workshops and panels.

Last year, member-generated programming covered alternative forms of dramatic writing, dramatists on the web, theatre for young audiences, adaptations of myths as primary source material, dramatists who teach and the Fulbright Award. With almost three full days of scheduling, we’re hoping participating members will offer a wide variety of programming that interests everyone.

On Monday, March 18th, we’ll begin offering proposal forms to members who would like to offer programming. Those forms will have to be completed by April 1. Here’s what you need to know:


Unfortunately, because this is only our second outing in the national conference arena, we can’t offer financial assistance to those participating in the programming. We can, though, promote your programming pre-conference and on-site.

If you have any questions regarding any of what you’ve read above, contact rtec@dramatistsguild.com and we’ll respond as quickly as possible.



Good afternoon, all. Today we begin a regular series of e-blasts about programming, member-generated workshops, keynote speakers, theatre discounts and the like for our second national conference in Chicago. When you see the banner above, the content below will relate to the conference in some form or fashion.

We're pleased to announce partnerships with two of Chicago's venerable theatre institutions. Here's a little information about each of them:

In the Room

The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres which leverage its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago's theatre industry locally, nationally, and internationally. Chicago theatre is a leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theaters throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theaters to the most renowned resident theaters in the country, including five which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago's theatres serve five million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Visit ChicagoPlays.com for more information.

In the Room

Chicago Dramatists is a professional not-for-profit theatre company dedicated to the development and advancement of playwrights and new plays. Founded in 1979, its mission is to discover, nurture and promote the plays and playwrights that will contribute to the national theatre repertory and enrich the lives of future audiences. Through unparalleled, year-round programming, Chicago Dramatists provides a supportive, professional environment that fosters diversity, collaboration, the freedom to fail, the ambition to succeed, and the pursuit of excellence. Both a playwrights' workshop and a full producing theatre, Chicago Dramatists played a major role in transforming Chicago from a city nearly barren of original work in the 1970s to a national center for new play production and new play development. Rebecca Gilman, Sarah Ruhl, Lydia R. Diamond, Keith Huff, Rick Cleveland, Tina Fey, Brett Neveu, Tanya Saracho, and hundreds of others have made this their creative home. Playwrights and plays developed here are featured throughout Chicago, the U.S, and around the world, typically receiving over 500 awards, readings, commissions, and productions each year.



CHICAGO! Here we come!

Having Our Say: Our History, Our Future
The Second National Conference of the Dramatists Guild of America
August 22- 25, 2013
Chicago’s Hilton Hotel