Past Articles

What's New on the Rialto

Past Articles

What's New on the Rialto

DEAR FERGUS Almost a Rialto by Fergus McGillicuddy

Before leaving for a couple of weeks to recuperate from the Tonys, our beloved V.J. requested that I fill in for him by writing this and next week's Rialto column. Rather than bore everyone to death with yet another rehash of "what the hell were they thinking?" about the Tonys, this week I've decided to answer, once and for all, two of the more frequently asked questions visitors to Talkin' Broadway - the ones who are apparently too terrified to register and ask on the All That Chat forum - e-mail me each week.

QUESTION: Everybody is always talking about being able to see videos of Broadway plays and musicals at some library with restricted access. What are they talking about and how can I see these tapes?

ANSWER: The Billy Rose Theatre Collection at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in New York city maintains a collection of videos of the original Broadway productions of hundreds, if not thousands, of plays and musicals. Details of what is available in the Billy Rose Theatre Collection, including the videos, is available at

The quick answer to your question is to phone the library at (212) 870-1641 and ask if a tape of the show you want to see is available for viewing. If it is, they will be happy to make an appointment for you to come in and see the tape. (They are willing to make appointments weeks and sometimes months ahead of time.) They will ask if you have a legitimate reason for wanting to view the tape.

QUESTION: I've just finished writing a musical (or play). How do I get a producer to read it?

ANSWER: The first thing you must do is establish your credibility and credentials as a legitimate playwright, composer, and or lyricist. The best way to do this, assuming you have a completed script or libretto, is to join the Dramatists Guild.

The Dramatists Guild of America is a highly respected professional association for playwrights, composers, and lyricists. The Guild works to advance the rights of its more than six thousand members. Membership is open to all dramatic writers, regardless of their production history.

Members of the Guild are invited to attend informative and insightful symposia held nationwide. Past symposia include: Interviews with Stephen Sondheim, Wendy Wasserstein, Marsha Norman, Terrence McNally, Arthur Miller, and Sheldon Harnick; Secrets of applying for playwriting grants; Panel discussions with emerging writers; The business side of writing for theatre.

Membership will entitle you to a number of Guild publications, including the bimonthly journal of the Dramatists Guild with articles on current issues in the theatre, interviews with well-known authors, and transcripts of Guild symposia. You will get the Newsletter, the supplement to The Dramatist available only to members, with articles from the Business Affairs department, timely information on submission and career development opportunities, and reminders of approaching deadlines. You will also get the Resource Directory of conferences and festivals, contests, producers, publishers, and theatres as well as agents, attorneys, colonies and residences, emergency funds, fellowships and grants, membership and service organizations, and workshops.

Any writer who has completed a dramatic script may become a member of the Dramatists Guild and receive a wide range of benefits, Business Affairs advice, and Contract review. Detailed information is available at

Personal note to V.J. Damnit, would you please get back here as fast as you can? These bloody Rialtos are harder to write than they look. And, what the hell is a "tidbit" and why do I need to end with them?

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