SOUND BITES is an Annual 10-Minute Musical Festival, which showcases eight 10-minute musicals, all in one evening. Any 10-minute piece that can be performed, has beginning, middle, and end story arch, and includes music qualifies! Now in its seventh year, SOUND BITES offers an opportunity for talented musical theatre writers, composers, and lyricists to showcase their work in front of audiences and industry professionals. We at Theatre Now strive to provide an experience that fosters community, service, growth, innovation, and diversity among the writing teams and musical selections.  Through an open submission process, Theatre Now selects eight finalists for presentation in New York City each spring. It has become an annual event and continues not only to grow larger each year but past selections have gone on to be part of New York Musical Festival Next Link Project, City Theatre’s Short Play Festival in Miami, FL, and The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival.


When's the deadline to submit and is there a fee to submit?

Deadline is on January 6th, 2020, and there are no fees to submit! Click here for submission guidelines.


Who Chooses the Musicals?

A group of industry 12 professional adjudicators that includes producers, literary managers, directors, professional performers, and writers from previous SOUND BITES guided by our Theatre Now staff members.


When & Where is SOUND BITES?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 7pm at Merkin Hall At Kaufman Music Center in New York City.


What's the time commitment?  

From the First meeting on January 26 through the last meeting on April 26. Click here for more info.


Do I need to live in the NYC area to participate?

No, however if chosen, as writer, you would need someone to represent you and attend all required meetings if you do not live in the area.


How much does it cost?

As Theatre Now is an artist service organization, and as the Producer of SOUND BITES, we cover the majority of your expenses and costs. We're the only short musical theatre festival that offer artists honorariums and rehearsal reimbursements for each piece. That said, there are some out-of-pocket costs depending on your show's requirements (cast & creative team size, number of rehearsals, size of rehearsal space, etc.) and personal choice. Most of these costs relate to specific set-dressing, props and costumes for your show and additional personnel such as musicians.

Submissions require a letter of recommendation. What should that include?

Your letter should be written by a theatre professional who can talk about the piece itself or you as a theatre artist.


Ready to submit your show?

Submissions will open in September 2020 for SOUND BITES 8.0.


Have more questions? Please email us at soundbites@tnny.org


NYC's Only Festival of 10-minute Musicals

Submissions are closed for SOUND BITES 7.0.

They will open again for

SOUND BITES 8.0 (2021) in Sept. 2020.


Submission Info




Theatre Now defines a 10-minute musical as any piece that can be performed, has a beginning, middle, and end story arch, and includes music. Having produced 60 pieces, we want musicals that are diverse, current, test the musical form and communicate a well-crafted story in ten minutes. We accept musicals across all styles and genres, as well as consider foreign language and/or bilingual scripts. 

Please review the following criteria thoroughly before sending your submission:


  • Ten-minute musicals will be accepted from September 1st 2019 - January 6th, 2020.

  • Submissions won’t be considered before or after the deadline.

  • Musical theatre writers can only submit up to two scripts.

  • The story must have a beginning, middle, and end.

  • We also accept submissions for works in foreign languages or that are bilingual. Although the application process is still in English, the work itself may be submitted and, if selected, performed in any other language.  

  • Each piece must include music.

  • Scripts can only utilize up to ten actors. (Actors may play more than one character.)

  • We won't accept physical scripts, all submission must be submitted via this website. 

  • Each musical must be no more than ten minutes long. If you submit material longer than ten minutes, be prepared to cut material if accepted into the festival.  

  • Longer one-acts or full-length musicals will not be considered.

  • A musical may be a previously produced work with a production history.

  • Though we have no formal script formatting guidelines, all scripts must be easy to read.

  • The volume of submissions prevents us from providing feedback on all submissions.

  • If your piece is visual (ie. Choreography heavy), please include video footage. 


All writers will be contacted via email the week of January 13, 2020 on the status of their submission and receive one of three emails:


  • EIGHT musicals will receive an acceptance email into the festival and will be provided additional information to confirm their involvement. 

  • FOUR musicals will receive a WAIT LIST email. These selections will be mentioned in the festival program as runner ups. In the event an accepted musical declines their participation, a selected wait listed musical will be notified to serve as a replacement.

  • The remaining musicals will receive a "not selected" email and are encouraged to submit again next year.


*All criteria is subject to change and without notice.*


If your musical piece is selected for the festival

below is the timeline each writing team would be asked to follow:

(Dates for SOUND BITES 7.0)


Sunday, January 26th, 2020 / 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM, First Meeting

Location: ART New York, 520 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018 - 3rd Floor, Studio A


February through March 12th, 2020, Finding Your Creative Team:

All Creative Teams for each musical must be submitted for review on the Participant’s Hub by Thursday March 12th.


Sunday, March 15th, 2020 / 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Second Meeting & Walk-Thru

Location: 129 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023, Merkin Hall At Kaufman Music Center


Sunday, March 15th through Friday, March 27th, 2020, Casting Period

All casting or each musical must be submitted for final approval on the Participant’s Hub by Friday March 27th.


Thursday, April 2nd through Friday, April 17th, 2020, Rehearsal Period

Location: Various Locations


Saturday, April 11th, 2020 / 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM, Production Meeting

Location: ART New York, 520 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018 - 3rd Floor, Studio A


Saturday, April 18th, 2020 / 11:10 AM – 6:30 PM, Festival Work-Thru

Location: ART New York, 520 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018 - 3rd Floor, Studio B


Tuesday, April 21st, 2020, Work-Light Dress Rehearsal – 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Location: 129 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023, Merkin Hall At Kaufman Music Center


Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020, TECH / ALL DAY – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Location: 129 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023, Merkin Hall At Kaufman Music Center


Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020 / 7:00 PM, SOUND BITES 7.0 - PERFORMANCE

129 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023, Merkin Hall At Kaufman Music Center


Post-Show Writers Meeting

Saturday, April 25th, 2020 / 12:30 PM – 5:30 PM (Hour Time Slots) (Five Teams)

Sunday, April 26th, 2020 / 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM (Hour Time Slots) (Other three Teams)

Location: Theatre Now Office - ART New York, 520 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018 - Suite 305​


Each musical is to be staged & performed off-book. “Production elements” should be kept at a minimum, as the songs and material should be the focus. 


Set and Props

Below is a list of items that either Theatre Now New York or Merkin Hall will be able to provide. If you need additional items, that’s up to your team, but please keep these items to a minimum. The producers reserve the right to cut an item if they feel it either isn’t necessary and/or prolongs a transition. 

  • Boxes: TNNY will provide six black boxes (2 small, 2 medium, 2 large). 18", 21", & 24" square inches. 


  • Chairs: Up to eight (8) black cushioned chairs.


  • Stools: Up to Four (4) plain wooden stools at regular stool height, and 1 shorter stool at chair height. 


  • Tables: 

    • One (1) grey folding table, 2' x 4'.

    • Three (3) black triangular laptop tables of adjustable height (max 30"). 

    • One (1) end table. 



The general washes (red, blue, and general white) will have the capability to be isolated in areas. There are also FOUR Specials to use on the stage.



Each writing team is responsible for coordinating their costumes. They may delegate this to their actors or members of their creative team. 


Sound Cues

Writers/Directors are responsible for providing their own sound cues.




Writers are responsible for finding their Creative Team & Actors. As SOUND BITES is a festival for the betterment of writers and their work, unless a writer wrote their piece as a vehicle exclusively for themselves, we do not recommend a writer to perform or direct their own piece. We feel it’s important that the script be able to stand on its own, as they benefit participating solely as writers.


  • Director: We have a number of directors we know who have contacted us who are interested in directing pieces in the festival. We would probably be able to match a writing team up with someone if need be.


  • Music Director: A composer can/may choose to act as their show’s own Music Director or we can help you find one if needed. However, many of the composers choose to music direct their own pieces.


  • Actors: Actors can be Union, Non-Union, or a combination of both. We can help with casting through our files. Most actors, even some highly accomplished with Broadway credits, will usually be willing to work on a new piece. However, you will need to work around their schedules. (TEN ACTORS MAX)


  • Choreographer: This position is not required and is at your discretion if you choose to work with one.


  • Musicians: Each creative team is responsible for providing their own musicians at their discretion pending their show’s needs. (FOUR MUSICIANS MAX) 


  • Stage Manager: For the first time in the festival, each musical will be provided a stage manager. A total of four stage managers will be provided by the producers for all shows. Each stage manager will be assigned two shows each, and work as crew or backstage during the performance.


Theatre Now New York can help you find artists to fill these roles, if necessary. We can put an ad in Playbill, Backstage, and/or Breakdown Services. We will provide you with the headshots & resumes we receive and we may suggest artists we know and/or have worked with previously.






Theatre Now bridges the gap between early readings and fully-produced theatrical runs by offering staged and performed developmental productions to pieces that are ready to live on their feet. We strive for continuity and growth in our production process by collaborating with artists. Below is how we do that.

We provide one of the largest venues available through a New York City theatre festival. At 449 seats, Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center is the perfect Off-Broadway venue to showcase your work.


Rehearsal Reimbursements

From the grant funding Theatre Now receives, free or partial reimbursement will be provided for rehearsal space for each musical.


Artist Honorariums

More than 50% of writer's expenses participating in a festival are towards payment of their artists. Therefore, we strive to give honorariums to each individual Actor, Director, Choreographer, and Musical Director in every musical. 


Work through Rehearsal with Producers

The weekend before the festival, individual work through rehearsals will be held with the SOUND BITES producers to privately present their pieces and receive creative feedback.


Dress Rehearsal

Community is important to us, therefore we have a final open dress rehearsal for all SOUND BITES participants to attend and watch each other's pieces. This also gives actors the opportunity to run their show in front of an audience before the performance. 


Post-Show Wrap-up

Growth is a core value of ours. After the festival is over, we meet with each writing team to reflect on the process in an effort to improve the festival each year and learning about the other projects writers may be working on post SOUND BITES.


Musical Highlight Reel

We understand the importance of documentation of your work. We provide a 1-2 minute highlight reel of each 10-min musical to all participants to use to share their work.


Individual Show Logos

Each musical will have a show logo specially designed just for them by our graphic designer!  Writers also have the option to purchase the future rights for their logo for other uses. 


Our Industry Sponsors

We love our sponsors! Our sponsors include Disney Theatrical Productions, Music Theatre International, NYC Cultural Affairs, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts.




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