New Guild Staff: Introducing Jessica Lit
The Dramatists Guild is delighted to introduce our new Director of Business Affairs, Jessica Lit.
Born and raised in Charlotte, NC, Jessica is a New York-based attorney with a passion for empowering artists of diverse backgrounds and disciplines to take control of their careers by educating them about their legal rights. She recently decided to channel that passion into launching a solo practice, The Lit Esquire PLLC, aimed at doing just that.
Jessica earned her J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2019 with a concentration in Intellectual Property. While at Cardozo, she facilitated student-led discussions sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, was an active member of the Moot Court Honor Society, and served as Problem Editor for the 2019 BMI Entertainment and Communications Law Moot Court Competition. Jessica was admitted to the New York State Bar Association in 2020 and currently resides in Woodstock, New York.
She is thrilled to join the Dramatists Guild as the Director of Business Affairs, a job she considers a dream come true!
At its April meeting, the Dramatists Guild Council welcomed newly elected Council member Adam Gwon and returning Council member David Henry Hwang, who was reelected to Council after a successful term as Chair of the American Theatre Wing.
Treasurer Christine Toy Johnson announced the creation of an AAPI Transportation Grants, which are a partnership between AAPAC (Asian American Performers Action Coalition) and the Indie Theater Fund. Due to the recent uptick in violence towards the AAPI community, both on public transportation and in general, the organizations are partnering to make microgrants available to AAPI artists working off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway.
Season Four of the DG’s first professional podcast, The Dramatists Guild Presents: TALKBACK, will begin production on its fourth season in April 2022. This year’s theme will be Inspiration and Craft. Guests will be members of the DG Council, including Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, Michael R. Jackson, and Rona Siddiqui. Season four is scheduled to premiere in October 2022 on Broadway Podcast Network.
The Best Practices Committee, in collaboration with the DG’s Business Affairs Department, will produce a set of four panels on compensation starting in April 2022. Topics to be covered are:
PRODUCTION 1: Commissions, advances, royalties from theatrical productions.
PRODUCTION 2: Subsidiary markets (AV, stock & amateur, foreign, publishing).
MUSIC: Grand rights; small rights; music services (orchestrator, arranger, and music director).
OTHER INCOME: Awards, grants, teaching/coaching, dramaturgy.
Each panel will be recorded and available on the Dramatists Guild website.
AAPI Transportation Grants
With the 360% rise in Anti-Asian violence in NYC, Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) theatre workers are at a higher risk of not getting home safely.
In response to this unabated surge in violence against the AAPI community, the Obie Award-winning advocacy group AAPAC (Asian American Performers Action Coalition) has announced a partnership with grant-making organizations IndieSpace and Indie Theater Fund to create a fund that will disburse grants to AAPI theatre artists for car service or taxi fare if they do not feel safe using public transportation to get to and from work.
The fund, which has received additional support from partners including the American Theatre Wing, The Actors Fund, and the Dramatists Guild Foundation, is launching with $35,000 and will disburse grants of $250—roughly the cost of ten car rides— to off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway theatre workers with the opportunity to re-apply based on fund availability.
If you’re an AAPI playwright, composer, lyricist, or librettist who is currently working Off-Broadway or Off-Off-Broadway, click here to apply for $250 micro grants.
Click here to help AAPI theatre workers get home safely.
The Dramatists Guild Steps in to Save Musical Theatre Collective
The Dramatists Guild has stepped in to help support the new musical theatre writing program, Musical Theatre Writers Collective, by offering them the use of the Mary Rodgers Room at the Dramatists Guild of America under the umbrella of its Dramatists Guild Institute program.
The Musical Theatre Writers Collective (MTWC) was founded last fall, in association with the Institute for American Musical Theatre, as a full-time, two-year certificate program. Offered at a low cost to students, MTWC provides every student in the program with the ability to learn their craft without accruing tremendous debt. At the heart of the program’s philosophy is the notion that all students, be they composers, lyricists, librettists, directors, or music directors, will study each other’s skillsets, thereby fostering a shared language and furthering the students’ understanding of both craft and industry.
The Dramatists Guild Institute, which also offers a certificate program in theatrical writing, shares a similar goal in wanting to create affordable opportunities for writers to hone their skills in a collaborative, rigorous educational environment.
“The Dramatists Guild and the Dramatists Guild Institute are glad to be able to support the young writers of this Musical Theatre Writing Collective, continuing our long commitment to advocating on behalf of writers and serving their needs whenever we can,” shared Emmanuel Wilson, Executive Director of Creative Affairs at the Dramatists Guild of America.
When MTWC lost its space at the Institute for American Musical Theatre one month before classes were set to resume for the spring semester, they were scrambling to find a new home.
“The Guild found us at our lowest point and gave everyone the material support we needed to move forward and the sense that there was a community that cared,” said MTWC Program Director and founder Sam Carner. “That spirit has galvanized our whole collective.” He went on to add, “Everyone has discovered new facets to their writing, taken bold risks with their writing, explored new aspects of the form, and found new anchors in the form to help them communicate their visions with clarity.”
By opening up the Mary Rodgers Room for the collective to use not only for its classes but for student rehearsals as well, the Dramatists Guild Institute has enabled MTWC to continue to provide “a really rich, rewarding, collaborative educational experience” that is affordable and accessible to young writers from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Additionally, the Musical Theatre Writing Collective has received a contribution from the Miranda Family Fund in support of the Collective during this transition.