LiveRead@SDA | New Musical Submission

Photo by Michael Reuter/Capture Imaging


2017-2018 Application

LiveRead@SDA is a developmental reading series produced by the USC School of Dramatic Arts and was launched to cultivate and provide critical support for the creation of innovative and contemporary new works for the American theatre.

Professional artists are invited to weeklong workshop residencies on the USC campus, where they can take bold steps towards refining their work with an incredibly diverse talent pool. The School of Dramatic Arts provides the necessary resources and staff to produce a concert-style reading in one of our campus theatre venues with professional photography and video of the performance.

LiveRead@SDA affords students an invaluable opportunity to work with industry leaders—producers, directors, playwrights, lyricists, composers and choreographers—while gaining insights and practical experience in what it means to intensively workshop new musicals headed toward commercial production.

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What LiveRead@SDA Provides

Shows selected for the development series receive a week-long residence that culminates in concert-style reading that includes:

  • Two full performances in one of our on-campus theatre venues
  • A university casting process for auditions and callbacks with accompanist
  • Stage Management (SM and ASM) that work according to AEA guidelines
  • Sound Designer, complete sound package (concert setup)
  • Lighting Designer, lighting package as dictated for the venue
  • 20 hours of rehearsal (includes tech)
  • Professional photographer for one performance
  • Professional videographer for one performance
  • House management according to venue
  • University PR and dramaturgical feedback survey follow-up
  • Printed event programs
  • Economy round trip airfare for up to two of the project collaborators, if not residents of California
  • Additionally, we will contract a director, music director and up to three professional musicians if requested or provide a stipend for those creative teams wishing to source their own LA-based talent


Project Selection & Guidelines

We are currently selecting one or two new musical projects per academic calendar that illuminate a forward-thinking landscape of contemporary musical theatre with narratives from creative teams who authentically demonstrate diversity in their work. We actively support both emerging and established artists and musical projects that are not traditionally defined in the world of commercially produced theatre.

We are particularly interested in projects that reflect the cultural landscape of Los Angeles and/or character breakdowns that are comprised of roles that can be realistically played by college students.

How To Apply

Complete the online application and upload your materials electronically. The submission fee is $40. All submissions for our 2017-2018 academic year must be received by September 1st, 2017. You must be 18 years of age and have the right to work within the United States.

The musical must be complete with a full script and 75% of the score complete at the time of submission. The project must not have had a professional production or be currently scheduled to have a professional production in 2017, but may have received prior workshops or readings.

Adapted works that are not in the public domain must provide written documentation and permissions for full underlying rights clearance of pre-existing material used.

Writers-in-residence must be available for all rehearsals and performances.


What We Need From You

  • Contact Information for all creative collaborators. This includes name, address, phone, email, personal website, and social media links.
  • Video Introduction (1 minute or less) that will not be assessed for production value (camera technique, editing, lighting, etc.) and may include one or more of the show’s creators. You can use your phone or computer camera, and include anything you feel is interesting or relevant. Video clips should be a single location setup with minimal digital manipulation.
  • Creative Team bios and pictures. Please keep the bios under 500 words.
  • Complete Script (PDF) using professional script guidelines for a musicals or film.
  • Demo recordings for 8 or more songs (MP3) numbered in script running order.
  • Two-Three Page Show Synopsis that includes song titles inserted in show order. Visit Music Theater International for industry standard examples on role descriptions, show synopsis, logline and more:
  • Character Breakdown with vocal requirements and age range for all roles. Please submit breakdowns constructed in the spirit of diversity and inclusion. Focus should aspire to character traits and emotional essence without regard to race, gender, sexuality or physical attributes unless imperative to your story.
  • Artistic Statement that communicates to us what drives your artistic vision and the genesis of the project.
  • Full Underlying Rights Clearance for adaptation or inclusion of any material by other authors that is not in the public domain (movies, books, characters, songs, etc.)
  • Development GoalsIf selected, what are your primary development goals for your project at this step in it’s development journey? Please keep this to no more than 300 words.
  • (OPTIONAL) Performance Clips, Demo Reel, Media. Any other media that gives additional insight into the show or its creators may be uploaded including archival footage, YouTube content, press/editorial, etc.