The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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August 2, 2013

MSU grad hopes to continue momentum after off-Broadway production

MSU grad hopes to continue momentum after off-Broadway production

Getting his musical to New York was tough.

Getting it back home to Minnesota might prove even tougher.

With a well-reviewed string of five off-Broadway performances wrapping up last week as part of the New York City Musical Theatre Festival, Minnesota State University alum and amateur playwright Phil Darg is now hoping to find a way to produce “Sasquatch! The Musical” in his native state.

“We’re hoping to get it back to Minnesota,” he said. “That’s always been in the back of our minds.”

Darg was notified earlier this year that his musical was one of 10 selected by NYMF's panel of nine judges — all but one of whom has won or been nominated for a Grammy, Tony or OBIE award.

Each of the 200 submissions was judged blindly with the final 10 earning a chance to participate in the festival's Next Link program. The mission of the program is to “empower emerging musical theatre writing teams ... by providing the training and relationships needed to help them move their musicals from readings to fully-realized productions and to advance their careers by maximizing the exposure they receive in the Festival.”

Each playwright is given the chance to attend a weekend symposium that includes seminars led by industry professionals on fundraising, marketing, industry outreach and self-producing. Participants are also introduced to potential collaborators, supporters and producers, and receive dramaturgical support from professional literary managers and dramaturgs.

Finally, each Next Link show receives financial support in the form of a $5,000 subsidy toward its production.

Darg's string of shows wrapped up July 14 at the Pearl Theatre Company Performance Space, a 160-seat facility on the famous West 42nd Street thoroughfare. Though his production didn't receive any festival awards, it was generally well-received by critics. One off-Broadway blogger said it was one of NYC's five shows to see in July.

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