Show Selection Comm
A guide to running MTG show selection
Welkin Pope '00,G
Nori Pritchard '06
original October 2002, with edits July
2003, December 2004, and May 2005
The filing cabinets in the back of the office contain an archived
collection of scripts, scores, and CDs of a variety of musicals. If
people are interested in checking them out, keep tabs on who has
what and make sure they get back where they belong when people are
done with them. If we have access to new scripts, scores, or CDs,
make copies of them for our library and maintain the index tracking
what type of material we have for each show.
We now have a CopyTech account, which you should have signatory
power on. So copy to your heart's content and the treasurer gets
Set a date with the board and reserve a location (the MTG office
will usually suffice, but just in case, it's good to have a larger
space available). When scheduling, be sure to allow about four
weeks between Round One and Guild Day (Round Two) to allow for
perusal materials to arrive.
Spam the membership with date and location of Show Selection: Round
One. Remind people that the best way to get MTG to do the show they
want to do is put it up for consideration. Also mention this as way
of weeding out the shows they don't
want to do. Spam about
two weeks before, one week before, and the Friday before (it's
usually on Saturday or Sunday). You can ask the PubDir to spam for
you, but it's just to mtg-members, so if you do it yourself, I'm
sure no one will complain.
Put a sign up sheet on the door of the MTG office (be sure to
mention this in the spam). List name, show, and if you are
selecting more than one show (Spring & Summer or Fall &
IAP) be sure to have a column for term.
Bring the sign up sheet from the office door (you will keep this as
a running list) and about half a dozen show catalogs (Tams, MTI,
etc.) from the office.
Do one term at a time. Announce the shows currently proposed for
that term. Ask for further nominations from the attendees. If only
a few are suggested, encourage folks to peruse the show catalogs
for ideas. When suggestions seem to wind down, close nominations.
Go down the list and discuss each show. Whoever suggested the show
should give a brief overview of what they know about it, why MTG
should do it, the ups and downs of performing this show. Encourage
people to ask questions. Things that are good to cover are cast
size, number of major roles, gender breakdown, major dance or tech
requirements, and how recently (if ever) has MTG performed it in
After all the shows for one term have been discussed, you must
narrow it down to a reasonable number of shows to move on to Round
Two (usually 4-5). Go down the line and have an open vote for each
show. Hands work just fine; up for the show to move on, down if no.
The top voted 4-5 shows move on to Round Two. Use your judgement
based on the voting when deciding how many shows will move on. If
there is a huge gap of votes between #4 and #5, just cut it down to
four shows. If there are only 4-5 shows up to begin with, vote
anyway. Cut anything that gets a seriously low number of votes.
This is a good way to weed out crazy, out of nowhere suggestions.
Repeat the process for each term you are deciding. Be sure to
remind nominators that they are responsible for presenting or
finding someone to present the show at Round Two. Each show should
have a sponsor's name attached to it.
When the finalists have been decided, spam the membership with the
Round Two nominees for each term and the date and location of Guild
Day/Round Two of show selection. Announce each show and who is
sponsoring each show (so people can contact the sponsors of the
shows they want to help with).
To save yourself some potential pain and agony, figure out who owns
the rights to each show and call the company to see if it will be
available during the proposed season. Sometimes the answer is that
it is on a ``restricted list,'' meaning they are granting licenses
on a per-application basis. But at least this way you will find out
if there is no chance in hell of us getting a show before
it gets selected in Round II.
Check the MTG Show Library and the excel file and see which shows
we have material for. Email all the sponsors, tell them what we
have, and ask them if they want anything else. Demand a response
right away, because some companies require checks sent to them
first before they will ship anything. Getting a check from MIT,
mailing it, and getting something sent back can take several weeks,
so you need to know what they want immediately. If we have a script
and piano score for the show, let them check it out long enough to
make copies. For shows we don't have copies of, first check the
Lewis Music Library, then contact the companies with rights to each
show and order perusal material.
The website is www.mtishows.com
. There is an online order
form for shows, however, it may take them a week to even process
their web orders. Better to call them (212-541-4684) and tell them
what you want. We have an account with them under MIT Musical
Theatre Guild (#0044254). They bill you the price it costs to ship
the material (in 2003, this is 10$ a script) and the bill goes to
the treasurer. You should let her/him know how much the bill should
be. Scripts/scores are shipped by UPS, usually; and MTI will send
an email to the board with a tracking number when the material is
shipped. That way, when your package ends up in CAC (which it
always does) and they deny they have it (which happens sometimes)
you can call up UPS and find out who signed for your box.
The website is www.tams-witmark.com
. These guys are
annoying to deal with, and they won't ship directly to students.
Talk to the treasurer to get information on how to get a shipment
The website is samuelfrench.com
. They want a 75$ deposit
check before they will ship anything. This first means printing out
something from the website confirming the 75$ charge for persusal
material, filling out all the paperwork - ask the treasurer for
help - and schlepping over to the student center to get the check.
MIT takes several days to process checks, so do this quickly. Then
send the check to Samuel French, and they should send the material
to you via UPS and directly to the MTG office (except it will end
up at CAC. See the MTI section).
The website is www.dramatists.com
. They require a $50
deposit check for persusal material. See how to get one under
The rights to Rodgers and Hammerstein shows as well as most Andrew
Lloyd Webber shows are owned by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Music
Library ( http://www.rnh.com/theatre/index.html
). Ask the
treasurer for details about contacting them, and if you get
anything useful, update this guide.
The delivery address for MTG is ``MIT Musical Theatre Guild; 84
Massachusetts Avenue, W20-453; Cambridge, MA, 02139.'' Notify the
sponsors when their show's material arrives.
If we ordered perusal material, it's because we didn't already have
a copy of the material. Make a full Xerox of each set of material
we order for our own library, so that the next time the show comes
up for selection, we don't have to order material from the company.
This can also be done after Round Two if sponsors are using the
material, but try to do it before sending the material back.
Again, you can get the PubDir to help with this or do it yourself.
A week before and the Friday before Guild Day are good reminders.
Inspire people to participate in deciding what show we do next!
You'll need a lot of scrap paper for voting, both for show
selection and office elections. Leftover show tickets serve quite
well. There are boxes of them on the tables in the back of the
office. It's a good idea to use a different show's tickets for each
round of voting to keep them differentiated. You'll also want to
bring extra writing implements.
Round Two is almost always on Guild Day. You run the show. If SSR2
is the first order of business, welcome the attendees and recount
for them what shows are up for selection for each term. Have the
secretary or a volunteer list the shows on the board (be sure the
room you get has a chalk or dry erase board) and take casting notes
next to the show. Introduce each sponsor for their show
People always want to know more than the sponsor tells, or to
express their own thoughts on the show. Allow brief Q&A period
after each presentation, but don't let it go too long. After all
the shows for one term have been presented, open the floor to
discussion for the term's nominees.
You don't have to be extremely strict, but presentations should be
kept under or around ten minutes and questions afterwards kept
under five minutes. The term discussion should go as long as it
needs to, without being extreme. Have the secretary keep a queue of
speakers if necessary. If it starts to drag out (15 minutes or so)
cut off the queue, finish those on the list and end it.
If there are more than three shows up for one term, it's usually a
good idea to have two rounds of voting. First have people vote for
their two favorites. They don't HAVE to vote for two, but they are
allowed to. Tally the votes. Getting it down to two or three is the
idea. Again use your judgement in eliminating shows. If there only
two shows get most the votes while the other three shows get a
couple each, just knock it down to two shows. Announce how many
votes each show got (on the board is good) when eliminating.
Have a second round of voting, instructing people to only vote for
one show this time. If a show gets the majority (half plus one),
then it wins. If you have 3 shows left and the vote is such that
none get the majority, eliminate the lowest and have a third round
of voting for the winner. Announce the vote totals when done
tallying, and declare a winner. The runner-up is declared our
``back-up show'' for that term, should we, for some reason, be
unable to do the winning show.
If there is another term to decide shows for that day, repeat this
process for those shows.
Once again, spam the membership announcing the shows selected for
production and back-up for each term. Again, you can do this
yourself or have the PubDir do it.
If any of the sponsors are still in possession of perusal material
or checked out MTG Library material, get it back (ideally you want
to do this at Guild Day so you don't have to track them down
later). If you have not already done so, make copies of the perusal
material we ordered and add it to the MTG Show Library. Add the
shows you copied to the show index in front of the A's in the first
Gather the perusal material from each company together in a single
box (per company) and get it shipped back to them. UPS Ground works
best. Do NOT use the postal service. Keep your receipts and give
them to the Treasurer for reimbursement.
If you learn or discover anything during the process that isn't in
this guide that you wish had been or you think would be beneficial
to the next SSComm, add it! Contact the MTG webmaster and/or the
previous SSComm to get this guide updated.
A compilation of information, including plot synopses, cast
breakdowns, etc. for many shows.
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