The average musical takes 8+ years or longer in development to the point of full production. Along the way, resource access is restricted to those with credentials, connections, and capital regardless of potential. The traditional process can be linear, rigid/periodic, and exploitative; ours takes a different shape.
The Assembly Line is an iterative framework that provides individualized, structured support for radically reimagining what musical theater can be. Inspired by agile methodology, we take concepts of continuous development and put them in a theatrical context making the process circular, flexible, and collaborative. Leading with Research & Dramaturgy™ to understand the core of the story, we empower artists to take risks on that next draft, test the progress, and unlock new discoveries that inform more research into the next iteration.
There is no one right way to create a musical. MTF’s Assembly Line aims to clarify how artists can take their initial impulses for musical creation and actualize them through a rigorous, holistic process that meets artists where they are.
A project can enter our Assembly Line at any point of its life cycle; from the seedling of an idea to a fully written draft. In the draft phase, MTF provides community feedback circles. Within the workshop phase, we provide the studio space, time, and resources to collaborate with artists and showcase portions of the work. Once a process has been propelled to a sense of readiness, MTF presents a platform to interrogate the work and identify areas of growth that will inform future iterations.
Some of our artists come in as writers with an idea for a script and MTF helped create the framework for them to actualize their ideas. Some come in as a composer with music demos, curious how a book could be built around them. Others come in with a piece ready for rehearsal and presentation. No matter what phase of creation you are in, there is a place for you here at the Factory.
MTF Roundtables welcome musical theatre artists at every phase of their development. These affinity- and accountability-focused monthly writer’s groups invite the broader musical theatre community to share works in progress in a supportive, collaborative environment. Roundtables serve as commitment-free drop-in spaces where artists can:
- Share work in development
- Bare witness to artists’ developmental process
- Receive and offer feedback crucial for developing new works
All Roundtables are facilitated by professionals in the field who are dismantling oppressive ideologies toward collective liberation. This is a great entry point into the broader MTF community, where you can also learn about other Assembly Line programs and opportunities.
The meeting hub of the MTF community, Factory Salons are themed events where musical theatre creators and general audiences alike can come together to experience new works and engage in critical discourse about the musical theatre industry and form. Here in this community-minded, supportive atmosphere, the MTF gathers seasonally. These evenings are hosted by MTF’s Artistic Director Brisa Areli Muñoz and a curated guest artist. They feature candid interview-style conversation and open-mic opportunities where artists across disciplines (designers, choreographers, directors, writers, composers, etc.) can sign up for a time-boxed slot to share their artist statement and or an excerpt of material they are working on with the wider MTF community and receive live feedback. Additionally, there is a mini-concert opportunity built into each evening where an MTF artist is selected to perform a short set intended to amplify the curated theme.
Salons provide a common space for the wide community to gather in co-conspiratorship around the ideas and themes of each event. These are also approachable non-traditional networking spaces where artists can come and meet your next collaborator. Regardless of how long an artist has been in the community, Salons are a fantastic way to strengthen and cultivate new connections with like-minded creators.
Aimed at honing in on a specific problem point or overarching dramaturgical question, 4×15 Rounds empower artists to excavate a section of their work and unlock new discoveries that can inform the piece as it develops.
Each round of 4×15 provides four teams of musical theatre makers four hours of rehearsal and a full team of actors and creative collaborators to workshop 15-minute sections of a new work that is then presented to a panel of industry professionals and a general audience of community members.
4x15s also provide an opportunity for audiences to get a window into the process of developing new musical theatre. In a forum space, artists, industry professionals, and members of the general public have the opportunity to see a work in progress, learn from the process of live feedback, and contribute to shaping the future of the musical theatre industry. Here both artists and art lovers can engage in critical discourse around the art and ideals of the generative artists we serve.
Developmental & Workshop Labs
Labs are spaces of invention. They are spaces to test theories and try out new or existing ideas as a way to unlock discoveries. This is a crucial step in the development of every artist’s journey, and the creative process in an MTF Lab is as unique as each artist served.
Developmental Labs are beta testing spaces that allow artists time to experiment with innovative new tools and technologies as a means of conceiving bold and daring new ways of exploring form and content; Workshop Labs are meant to serve artists whose works are ready to be put up for audiences to receive critical feedback crucial for development.
In partnership with dramaturgs and MTF artistic staff, these one- to two-week Labs allow artists access to a full team of creatives and actors to deepen their understanding of their new work in a way that enhances their overall impact. By providing resources in this playground space, artists are empowered with the tools to play, ultimately informing the next stage in the evolution of their new work.
In partnership with venues across NYC, MTF’s Concert Series provides a platform for artists and their new works to gather momentum by presenting their new music for audiences in a concert format. At venues such as Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, MTF supports creators by enlisting a full band and actors to showcase their new music. This provides artists the ability to connect to new audiences, develop a network of potential supporters, as well as provide the valuable media assets necessary to acquire additional funding to support future production opportunities.
Once a concert has premiered, artists re-engage in MTF’s Assembly Line for targeted support as they continue to refine their projects toward the next iteration.
MTF’s Concert Series has featured artists such as Michael R. Jackson, Diana Oh, Tidtaya Sinutoke and Isabella Dawis, The Lobbyists, Jillian Walker, Nia Witherspoon, storm thomas, and many others.