How do we transplant a musical from New York to London?
August 24, 2006 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Theatrical types: could you supply advice on transplanting a small musical from New York to London? Any perspective welcome, particularly suggested theatres and people who "run the scene."

(I'm asking this for a friend, but it's something I personally will do all I can to see happen.)

The musical had good write-ups (including an NYT mention) and audiences in New York. It's quite political, and borders on rock opera.

How would they repeat this success in London?

Where should they consider staging it? Do you know any cool theatres that are receptive to left-field material?

What websites/organizations/companies dominate the scene?

Is there anyone in particular who would be interested in promoting etc?

Rest assured every bit of help is hugely appreciated.
posted by godawful to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
A few questions: What's the purpose of moving it to London? What's the performance history so far- off-Broadway, off-off-Broadway, NYC Fringe (my guess, based on timing)? Usually a show gets a commercial run in NYC before people even think of moving it to London. Do you have backers/investors interested in moving it to London? You say it's "quite political"- is it something only Americans are gonna get? Political stuff doesn't always translate across the ocean.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:01 AM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've never transferred a show overseas, but are you intending you use the original cast -- or to recast in in the UK? The latter would be much easier. You start running into Union issues if you use American actors in a UK production.
posted by grumblebee at 11:11 AM on August 24, 2006

Response by poster: Umm, I don't have immediate answers to all these questions, but I'll do my best and ask the author soon.

Performance history: NYC Fringe.

It's political comedy, and it should translate ok, in my British opinion.

The show would be mostly recast.
posted by godawful at 11:24 AM on August 24, 2006

I got an error message when trying to e-mail you?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:38 PM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

I would say contact the NYC "Fringe" (I have issues with thier use of that term) office, they should have contacts with other festivals. A backdoor to London could be Edinburgh.
posted by fantastic at 12:41 PM on August 24, 2006

Best answer: There are a couple ways to approach this.

1. Arrange a backers' audition independent of any fringe framework soon after the current NYC run ends. Really soon, in fact -- try to carry the momentum through. With an unknown company, it may be hard to get backers (i.e. producers and arts management companies) to attend; persistence is the key.

2. Hit up a couple of arts management companies in the UK -- the smaller ones that tend to handle fringe shows, like SCAMP. Send them material, be persistent.

3. In the same vein, hit up some of the off-kilter spaces in London directly, like the Bush Theatre and the Menier Chocolate Factory. They might not have a place for you, but you might get some advice. Good people all around.

4. Really, one of the only ways for a small show to get a backed transfer to London is to have a good run at the Edinburgh Fringe. With good planning and the correct allocation of resources, it can be done inexpensively (believe it or not).

5. If you want to self-finance a run, that's easy; just rent some mercenary venue for a little while. Can be monumentally expensive.

I know a lot more about producing in NYC and Edinburgh than I do about London, but if you or your friend email me, I can put you in touch with some people who know stuff. Hope this is of some help.
posted by milquetoast at 1:15 PM on August 24, 2006

By the way, fantastic, no need to put Fringe in quotes -- FringeNYC is very Fringey, regardless of CAFF pedantry. By CAFF standards, Edinburgh doesn't even qualify as a Fringe, and it's the Fringiest. Of course, this may have nothing to do with your objection at all, in which case I apologize.
posted by milquetoast at 1:20 PM on August 24, 2006

Response by poster: Many thanks for all your help.

I don't know what's up with my email. You tried the one in my profile, yes?
posted by godawful at 6:32 AM on August 25, 2006

Yup, just tried again, and got the following error (edited out your address):

The original message was received at 2006-08-29 17:08:03 -0400
from postoffice.local []

----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----

-----Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to postoffice.local.:
>>> RCPT To:
< 550 5.1.1 unknown or illegal alias: e-mailbr> 550 ... User unknown

Final-Recipient: RFC822; E-MAIL
Action: failed
Status: 5.1.1
Remote-MTA: DNS; postoffice.local
Diagnostic-Code: SMTP;550 5.1.1 unknown or illegal alias: E-MAIL
Last-Attempt-Date: 2006-08-29 17:08:03 -0400

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:24 PM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

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