SPARK – Igniting the Future of Small Musicals
Located in Pittsburgh, the SPARK festival will celebrate and nurture new small musicals by offering writers the time and tools necessary to develop their shows in a focused and supportive environment. Pittsburgh CLO’s commitment to artists is one of the chief tenets of SPARK. Writing teams will be invited to Pittsburgh for the opportunity to develop their musicals, each chosen through a curated, highly-selective open submissions process. Writers will participate in residencies ranging from two days to three weeks, during which they will collaborate with local and national theater artists to rehearse, revise and receive audience feedback on their work.

SPARK will include presentations at all stages of development, including “readings,” comprised of actors standing at music stands with piano accompaniment; “staged readings,” script-in-hand readings with piano accompaniment and some movement/choreography; and “workshop productions” – fully staged with piano accompaniment and minimal props/costumes, as well as the world premiere of UP AND AWAY. A full line-up of shows, artists and special programming will be announced soon.

In addition to showcasing these new works for peers, producers and the general public, SPARK will invite audiences to engage in interactive discussions and educational initiatives with artists whose shows are under development. These opportunities will include moderated Post-Show Discussions, a New Musicals Boot Camp, Master Classes led by invited guests and social events such as a Songwriters’ Cabaret Night, a Musical Theater Improvisation Night and more.

SPARK’s presentations, special events and education programs will be held at rehearsal rooms, transformed storefronts and local theaters across the Pittsburgh Cultural District.

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT), of which Pittsburgh CLO is a founding member, will be holding its annual spring conference in Pittsburgh during the festival. Performing arts leaders from across the country will travel to Pittsburgh to discuss the future of musical theater, after which they will be invited to stay through the weekend for the SPARK Industry Weekend. In addition to experiencing SPARK readings and workshops, the Industry Weekend will connect writers with potential producers, forging new collaborations and assisting Pittsburgh CLO in developing future producing partnerships. For more information on NAMT, visit

Pittsburgh CLO gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following SPARK donors through the Next Generation Campaign, including: Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, Dan and Debby Booker, EQT Foundation, Joe and Kathy Guyaux, Pittsburgh CLO Guild, Eden Hall Foundation, Sandy and Bill Lambert, MSA Charitable Foundation, Ron and Patricia Violi, Bob and Janet McCartney, Mark and Diane Minnaugh, The Benter Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Blenko, Jr., Michael J. Brunner, Tony and Linda Bucci, Stephen and Helen Hanna Casey, George and Ada Davidson, Kim and Curt Fleming, Peoples Natural Gas, Dominic and Charlene Petrelli, Eric Schaffer and Michele Gray-Schaffer.

As a part of its commitment to fostering new musical development in Pittsburgh and the advancement of Pittsburgh’s artistic scene as a whole, Pittsburgh CLO is partnering with multiple arts and education organizations in connection with SPARK. Pittsburgh CLO and City Theatre Company have partnered on a SPARK writer’s residency; and a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama will allow students in the Music Theater program and Production Technology and Management program to participate in SPARK as cast members and production assistants. Additional partnerships include Late Night events hosted by the Musical Theatre Artists of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh performer Brian Edward and babyGRAND, a Pittsburgh-based musical theater improvisation troupe.

SPARK passes are now available. Reserve yours today!