Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thinking About a Future in Design?

This year, NTSA will be hosting Design Launch -- a series of workshops providing high school students with training and guidance from professional Broadway and off-Broadway designers. Our first workshop will be on Saturday, November 29 from 1-5 PM at A.R.T./New York's South Oxford Space (138 South Oxford Street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn).

At this month's Design Launch workshop, you'll watch a reading of The End of Side A, a new drama by Kendall Kaminsky (University of Houston '14), before engaging in a roundtable discussion with Patrick Rizzotti whose work has been seen on stages at Signature Theatre, HERE Arts Center, Prospect Theatre Company, Target Margin, and Florida Repertory Theatre. (Contemporary musical theater aficionados might know him as the mastermind behind the set for Ryan Scott Oliver's Jasper in Deadland last season.) We'll close out the session with an exercise created to kickstart your theatrical design portfolio. EdTA Thespians: this session will set you up for success if you plan on presenting an Individual Event in Design this year. You can register for the event using the form below. Space is limited to fifteen students so register today!

(HINT: If you've ever wanted to work as a designer with NTSA, this is a great chance for us to meet you and get to know your artistic work. We're currently on the lookout for student designers for our winter 2015 touring production and our summer 2015 mainstage production.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014



The National Theatre for Student Artists (NTSA) is currently accepting play and musical scripts for our 2014-2015 Season. If you've ever wanted to see your work performed in a major off-Broadway theater, send us your script!


Open to all high school and college students currently enrolled in the 2014-2015 academic school year. Limited to two plays per playwright. (If you are submitting two scripts, please submit each script separately.)

We are seeking new plays that are relevant to young adults of the current generation. We are particularly interested in plays that tackle issues related to American identity, society, and culture in creative and dynamic ways. More than strict adherence to these suggested themes, we prioritize the potential for active staging of well-developed and complex characters in original comedic and dramatic situations.

Your play can be published but must not have been previously professionally produced. We are accepting all plays in electronic format only. Plays submitted after the application date may not be considered.

Winner must be available to attend rehearsals during the 2015 summer for their fully produced off-Broadway premiere. NTSA will provide transportation and housing.


Long One-Acts or Full-Length plays. Typed in standard stage play format. Submit as PDF documents only.

Include one page with your name, address, phone number, email address, and a 100-word personal bio. Additionally include the name of a teacher reference and their contact information.

Include one page with your name, name of the play, character breakdown, and a 100-word synopsis of your play.



If you have any questions regarding the submission process, please contact: Benjamin Viertel (

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Come See Jimmy!

Jimmy!: A Musical Fable with Almost No Historical Basis premiered last Friday at the Irondale Center. Producing assistant Amiko Gonzalez talks about the challenging process of taking a new musical through tech week in this blog post. Jimmy! will be running through Saturday, August 16. Make sure to book your tickets today!

After these four grueling days of tech, Jimmy!: A Musical Fable with Almost No Historical Basis is now able to be seen by many. From decorating the stage to stopping and starting scenes to make things right, all of NTSA’s cast and crew worked tirelessly to ensure that Jimmy! is a smashing hit.

Monday’s load-in was full of hours and hours of heavy lifting that made everyone’s muscles grow a little more. Over the course of the day, our set was erected by our amazing set designers and technicians. As well as duvatine being placed on the windows (a scary and somewhat dangerous job -- ladders!). The costume designers worked inexhaustibly to get all the alterations for the costumes done. While elsewhere the actors tried on the costumes to get the perfect fit.

Then came cue-to-cue, a process that was as slow as molasses, but really helped perfect the play. In order to ensure that the lighting fixtures were up and running, this process needed to happen. As we continued to stop and start the play, changes sprung up to ensure that this production was amazing. All of that hard work finally paid off. In the end, these exhausting days have all been worth it to ensure that you, the viewers, get the best experience.

Don't miss out on this time-traveling, bunny-attacking, Molotov cocktail-tossing extravaganza! Buy your tickets for Jimmy! today!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Interview: Justin Fenniman

Bonus discount code! In celebration of the start of tech week, you can use the code timemosheen to get $20 general admission tickets. (That's almost 50% off!) Click here to get your $20 tickets today!

And now, an interview with Justin Fenniman, the technical director of Jimmy!.

By Kayleen Peña (Producing Assistant)

Justin Fenniman, NTSA's technical director, has been hard at work all season building our set. Before a weekly production meeting, I got his thoughts on the whole production process so far.

Why did you choose to be a part of the production this season?

The show sounded interesting from what I heard from Stephanie Malaspina, the stage manager, and also the two technical directors that did the show last year (Neil Stoelting and Ben Spinale). They said it was a very good learning experience for the technical director position, which is what I want to pursue in the future.

What's been your favorite part about tech directing for NTSA this season?

My favorite thing is that I kind of have all the responsibility on me. And it's all up to me to build the show. And I like all of the problem-solving with how we're going to build the show, and deciding what works and what doesn't work. I like the independence that comes with working with NTSA.

What's been difficult about tech directing for NTSA this season?

The lack of a build space is difficult. I've had to work in my backyard.

What are your thoughts on Jimmy! so far?

It seems like a very interesting and creative show. I feel like it has a lot of potential to be a very good show.

What advice would you give to future technical directors?

You need to have a lot of patience, and you need to be ready to work on your own. You also have to be okay with solving problems by yourself and not really having a lot of other people to ask questions. I would say that it's up to you to see if you're ready for that kind of responsibility.

Why should someone buy a ticket to Jimmy! right now? At this moment?

It's a show that I've never heard of before, and it's completely different from anything I've ever seen, but different is good. It's very unique. People will love it.

Celebratory tech week tickets? Yes, please! Remember to use the code timemosheen to get your $20 general admission tickets!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Interview: Jacob Houser

Want a discount on Jimmy! tickets? Get $5 off on General Admission tickets from now until Saturday with our Jimmy! trivia challenge. Just go to, click on Enter a Password or Discount Code, and answer this question: What was Jimmy Carter's Secret Service code name while President? Your answer (all in lower-case letters) is the discount code!

And now, an interview with Jacob Houser, the music director of Jimmy!.

By Kayleen Peña (Producing Assistant)

The amazing man behind the piano is Jacob Houser, NTSA’s music director. Every day at rehearsal, he’s working hard playing for and supporting the cast, always all smiles. I caught him during break recently to get his point of view on his work for Jimmy!.

Why did you choose to be the music director for Jimmy!?

JACOB: Victoria [NTSA’s executive director] was looking for a music director, and she had talked to a theater teacher at Beacon, who then got ahold of my roommate, because my roommate is a theater person and a music person. They sent Victoria my website and my résumé, and she contacted me from there. I came aboard a little bit late in the game, I would say around late May. Victoria interviewed me at a little coffee show, and from there it all clicked.

What’s your favorite part about directing music for Jimmy!?

JACOB: I think the style of music is so much fun, and the singers are absolutely incredible, and as music director you have to be able to adapt to a lot of styles in many different ways. I’ve done things from jazz to standard musical theatre and this is another very specific kind of music. It’s gospel and Southern and things like that, so it’s been fun adapting and learning this new style.

What musicians do you admire?

JACOB: That’s a hard one. Composer and musical theater wise, I really like Stephen Sondheim, of course, I also really like Tom Kitt. Music director wise, Carmel Dean is one of my idol music directors. Because I’m from Utah, I really like bluegrass music. You get me some banjo, mandolin, and I’ll probably like those artists.

What’s been a challenge in musical directing for Jimmy!?

JACOB: This whole thing has been a challenge, but a fun challenge. This is a new musical, and with the composers in the room, things change. As a music director, you have to be able to adapt to that. For instance, the other day, we were in rehearsal, and the directors decided that they wanted a dance break, so that made one of the songs different. I was sitting at the piano, and the composer comes and writes something completely new. I have to take notes, learn it, and play it throughout the whole rest of rehearsal. So it’s a challenge, because it tests my musical chops as well as the cast’s. But it’s fun and exciting to be able to move that quickly.

What advice would you give to future music directors working on something like this?

JACOB: Music directing takes so many different skills -- yes, you have to be a good musician, know how to play the piano, know how to do voice work, you also have to know how theater works and how a song fits into a show, but you also have to have great personal skills. You need to give notes to singers without offending them. You have to phrase your criticism so that it’s actually constructive and will help them learn, instead of just bashing them down and saying “You’re bad”. Really, you just have to learn as much as you can. That’s how you can do it.

Who do you think will be the best sexy dancing peanut?

JACOB: Oh, goodness. So we have to choose from Parade, Anna, Adam . . . well, yeah, I’m gonna go with Adam. Although it’s going to be very close.

Why should someone buy tickets for Jimmy! right now? At this very moment?

JACOB: Because the show is crazy, and it’s wild, and I think people are going to absolutely love it because of that. People are going to love it for the same reason they love The Book of Mormon and all those other weird, off-kilter, zany musicals. So people should buy tickets now because not only is the show great, but this company is absolutely wonderful. They give students the opportunity to have their first New York City credit. An organization like this that pays young people to do what they love deserves so much support. It also gives us our checks [laughs].

Experience the great music of Jimmy! Buy your tickets today!