Q.  What is SOUND BITES?

SOUND BITES is a musical theatre festival which showcases ten 10-minute musicals or musical excerpts in one evening.  Do you have a 10-minute musical or 10-minute musical excerpt of a full-scale musical?  Any 10-minute piece that can be performed and includes music qualifies! The Annual Sound Bites Festival of little musicals is perfect for you. Sound Bites offers a unique opportunity for talented writers, composers, and lyricists to showcase their work in front of audiences and industry professionals. Through an open submission process, Theatre Now New York will select the ten best 10-minute musicals or musical excerpts which will then be presented in New York City.  Each musical will compete for Festival Awards and for possible inclusion in future new works development programming with Theatre Now New York.  Sound Bites gives an exhilarating opportunity for artists of all theatrical disciplines at any point in their careers in getting their work seen and possibly developed further or even produced.

Q.  Who is presenting SOUND BITES?

The Annual SOUND BITES 10-minute Musical Theatre Festival is presented by Theatre Now New York, a theatre company that develops and produces new plays and musicals.  For more information on Theatre Now New York go to www.TNNY.org.

Q.  When will I be able to submit my musical?

Submissions for the SOUND BITES 5.0 Festival will be accepted beginning on September 1, 2017. 

Q.  Where and when was SOUND BITES 4.0 presented?

SOUND BITES 4.0 Festival was presented on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2017, at The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center, NYC at 7:00 pm.

Q.  Where and when will SOUND BITES 5.0 be presented?

SOUND BITES 5.0 Festival will be presented on a Monday in the Spring of 2018 at 7:00 pm. We are currently looking at Monday, May 28, 2018, based on venue selection and availability, to be announced.

Q.  Do you charge a submission fee? Are there any other fees or expenses to participate?

Due to increased funding, this year we have eliminated the submission fee and additionally will provide up to 20 hours of rehearsal space, 2 weeks prior to the performance date. In the past, we have charged a submission fee but we have discontinued charging any fees to submit. There are also no fees for those shows selected but you will have expenses.  Each year as the festival grows and we are able to increase our income through ticket sales, donors and grants we are able to cover more of the expenses of producing the festival, thereby decreasing expenses borne by the writers selected. 

Q.  What costs can I expect I will need to incur?

The cost all depends on what your piece requires, the resources that are available to you, and who you want or need to pay.

For example, if you (or someone on your team) volunteers as the music director and the actors are able to wear clothes from their own wardrobe, then your costs could be low, at the very least subway reimbursement and the cost of script & music copies.

On the other hand, if you need to pay a music director or others, require period costumes and intricate props your costs would be much higher.

If your piece is accepted into the festival you will be responsible for all basic production needs including script & music copying, and any costumes, props, etc. as well as any fees you choose to pay to any of the performers or others involved in your piece. Most festival participants are able to keep costs down by keeping costumes and props to a minimum. Many also able to borrow any production elements needed. Almost all participants (directors, music directors, actors, musicians etc.) volunteer their services and understand that this is a valuable process in the development of new musicals. 

I'm sorry we’re not able to give you actual figures but as you can see the costs can vary greatly. We will, however, do what we can to help you through the process, making it as cost effective as possible while at the same time creating a successful presentation. We don't expect, nor do we feel it is necessary, to have overly elaborate presentations and that a more 'bare bones' presentation will focus more on the work itself. We do expect the pieces to be staged and off-book, much above the level of a reading.  

Q.  What does Theatre Now New York provide?

AS mentioned above this year we will provide up to 20 hours of rehearsal space 2 weeks prior to the performance day. We also run and provide for a rehearsal run-thru of all the shows prior to moving into the theatre. We provide the theater on the day of the performance and for tech that day along with a running crew of interns led by our stage manager. We also provide lights and a lighting designer to give each piece as much as can be accomplished in a one-day tech with a small rep plot. We provide basic stage-furniture such as an assortment of black box cubes and simple chairs. We also publicize the event and invite high-level industry personnel that includes New York producers and regional theatre artistic directors and literary managers.  We are very proud of the level of professionals we are able to attract who are interested in the work we do and participate with us on many levels throughout the year including Sound Bites.

Q.  Is there a charge for tickets?  Where does the money go?

Full price and discounted tickets to SOUND BITES range from $15 to $50. Sound Bites is produced as a benefit and clearance for all union members is through Theatre Authority, Inc.  SOUND BITES participants are not required to purchase tickets nor are they required to guarantee a minimum number of ticket sales, although we do hope each participant will do whatever they can to help spread the word. The money raised through ticket sales and sponsorships go to pay for the theater, insurance, our promotion costs and all the other Sound Bites expenses we cover. All additional income goes directly to support our programs throughout the year that creates and develops new plays and musicals such as our reading series, workshops and future productions of new works. Each year as SOUND BITES grows we are able to cover more expenses than the year before. It is our goal that we eventually cover all expenses incurred so that the writers' expenses are 100% covered.

Q.  Are comps available?

Each participating SOUND BITES writer (book writer, composer, lyricist), director & choreographer will receive one comp ticket for SOUND BITES. Additional top price tickets will be on sale and can be ordered before they go on sale to the public. Bona-fide industry professionals (producers, directors, literary agents etc.) will receive complimentary tickets based on availability at the time of the reservation. Please understand that we have a very limited number of seats and that this is a benefit that helps develop new works.

Q.  Can I submit more than one piece?

Yes. But each 10-minute musical submitted must be submitted separately.

Q.   I am interested in submitting a piece for the Sound Bites competition but before I do I was wondering what sort of instrumentation to arrange for. If these are musicals, what do you expect in terms of the musicians? Is it just whatever I can fit on a stage?

We provide an electric keyboard that will be placed on-stage. Our stage manager will let you know exactly where it will be placed. In addition, many of the participants have added drums, guitars, violins, bass instruments and other musicians and instruments. It really is up to you, but do understand it will reduce your playing area. All instruments will need to be provided by you but if the same instruments are used in multiple pieces (such as drums) sharing is not only possible but encouraged.

Q.  What is provided in terms of sound?

We provide an amp for the electric keyboard. Everything else is performed acoustically unless you bring in your own additional amps and equipment.

Q.  Where is SOUND BITES performed?

SOUND BITES 4.0, this past year, was performed at the 300 seat Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center. We likely will return to the Signature Theatre space or choose another venue in NYC that is comparable.

Q.  How do I know if my application was received?

You should receive a confirmation email. If you checked your spam folder and still are unable to locate your confirmation, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  If your application is incomplete or we require anything additional we will contact you, usually by email so make sure we have a valid email address.

Q.  I have read about your SOUND BITES project with great interest and would like to submit a project. Prior to doing so, I am hoping you might be able to give me more information about the performance date. My ability to submit depends on when the project will happen and if my work were to be selected, I do not want to discover that the performers and I cannot make the schedule.

We currently have the SOUND BITES 5.0 date tentatively scheduled for Memorial Day, Monday, May 28th, 2018, based on venue availability, which we may not have secured until early 2018.  For more information on dates look on the Timeline 5.0 page.

Q.  What format and what form do you expect with regards to the actually submitted materials?

The libretto (script) of the entire 10-minute piece or the exact 10-minute excerpt if from a larger piece is best if submitted as a PDF but we will also accept Word documents.

The music should be submitted as an MP3 or MP4 and each song can be submitted separately or as one piece with ‘tracks’. The musical submissions can be as simple as the composer singing at the piano or fully produced in a studio or taped from a live performance. We understand and take all of that into consideration so it may be useful to let us know how and where the music was recorded.

In addition to the above, you may OPTIONALLY include YouTube videos or any other supporting materials that may or may not be looked at by the adjudicators.

Q.  Who are the adjudicators that choose the pieces to be presented?

A group of 12 hand-picked adjudicators is assembled and they include industry professionals made up of producers, literary managers, directors, TNNY staff members, performers and a few of the writers from previous SOUND BITES. Each adjudicator receives all the submission materials and is asked to rate each one from 1-10 through a series of 10 questions which we tabulate. They also have the opportunity to comment in free-form about the piece, as well. After all of the adjudicators have submitted their scores and comments, those who are available, meet and each piece is discussed as a group. We then narrow it down to 15 finalists and eventually choose the top 10 to be invited to participate. The remaining 5 are the runner-ups.

Q.  Regarding the SOUND BITES 10-Minute Festival - are you looking for 10 sequential minutes from a larger work or can the arc of the story be condensed into a 10-minute presentation through narration, etc...?

We want each 10-minute piece to stand on its own. It can be written as a 10-minute musical, be an excerpt of full-length musicals or be something that you pieced together for Sound Bites. Anything is possible as long as it is 10 minutes in length and stands on its own as a full piece.

Q.  My piece isn’t really a musical in the traditional sense, it’s more like performance art or dance…does it qualify for submission?

The only requirement for submission is that it is a piece that can be performed live, is 10 minutes in length and contains music. We’re looking to include the widest variety of material from traditional to ground breaking.

Q.  Almost ready to go with my script and MP3.  Wondered if I should attach the piano and vocals score?

You may submit anything additional as optional material. Optional supporting materials are not required and may or may not be looked at by the adjudicators.

Q.  Do you help with direction if my work is selected as a finalist?  Or with casting?

We have a number of directors we know who have contacted us who are interested in directing pieces in the festival, most of them at no cost except for reimbursement of expenses and we would probably be able to match you up with someone. We can also help with finding a music director if needed but that would most likely come at a cost of any way from $30 to $60 per hour for rehearsals. However, many of the composers choose to music direct their own piece. We can help with casting through our files and most actors (even some highly accomplished with Broadway credits) will usually be willing to work on a new piece and only require subway reimbursement and snacks at rehearsals, although you will need to work around their schedules. We are also more than happy to place casting notices for you. Our goal is to work with you in any way we can to make your piece as successful as possible.

Q.  Can I use performers in my piece who are members of Actors Equity (AEA)?

Yes. SOUND BITES is presented as a benefit with the proceeds going to help support our programs that create and develop new plays and musicals, and as such, all union performers are cleared through Theatre Authority, Inc.

Q.  How?

For Guidelines Click Here.

To Submit Click Here.