Since its founding in 2014, Musical Theatre Factory, Inc. has been an inclusive community wholly dedicated to the developmental process of innovative new musicals by early-career artists.
Musical Theatre Factory began in the back of a porn studio when Founding Artistic Director Shakina Nayfack was gifted 18 months of a lease. She opened the doors to any volunteer willing to put in sweat equity to build the space with her, thus providing all access entry into participating at MTF.
This ethic of all-access and serving emerging musical theatre writers is evident in the formation of MTF’s signature programming of the Assembly Line™: a suite of development opportunities that offers artists a comprehensive framework. Formed together with Beehive Dramaturgy and based on the understanding of the intricacies of musicals, every step of the Assembly Line provides valuable sharing opportunities of early work in rigorous and supportive spaces — whether it be performing a song in our Factory Salons, sharing sections of work at a Roundtable, putting up 15 minutes in a 4×15™; or experiencing the full musical in a Lab or Concert.
Our commitment to emerging artists has increased with the MTF Makers™ program, where we commit substantial resources over 18 months so that they can plan deliberately. As we have grown our operating budget and transitioned from an all-volunteer staff to a more sustainable and equitable model, we are also growing our capacity to support early-career artists more holistically with progressive financial compensation, dedicated dramaturgs, and rejuvenating retreats.
We have been successful in creating a pipeline for creators to make bold new musical theatre, centering the development process, and amplifying the voices of artists of color in the artistic realm. Having served artists at all stages as they develop their work, we connect and advocate for them with the people, organizations, and resources for their next steps.
The resources and support MTF provided us were equivalent to a hundred thousand dollar commercial developmental step, without the make-or-break expectations, freeing us and resulting in a stronger show.Nikko Benson, founding Writer’s Group member
As we enter our 9th year, MTF has been part of the development lifecycle for 130+ new works and served over 900 writers, actors, directors, musicians, and multidisciplinary artists. Our artists are leading the charge of radical transformation in every way. Our artists envision and manifest the future of the field.
- Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop, which was originally developed at MTF, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the 2022 Tony Award for Best New Musical.
- Founding member Joe Iconis opened Be More Chill on Broadway with performers he met at MTF.
- Nikko Benson premiered Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat at the Adirondack Theatre Festival 2017.
- Jillian Walker’s Developmental Lab of SKiNFoLK: An American Show garnered producers to support the production and premiered at the Bushwick Starr in March 2020. Further producing organizations (Rattlestick and Ars Nova) have already offered opportunities.