Musical Theatre Developmental Program


Submissions Open: November 1 - December 15, 2021


Musical Cafe is pleased to announce that submissions will open November 1, 2021 for our Spring 2022 NEXT STAGES developmental program for original musicals created by San Francisco Bay Area writers and composers. If you’ve been working on a musical and want to get professional level developmental support, please consider submitting to Musical Cafe’s NEXT STAGES.


One musical will be chosen by our jury of directors, writers, composers and musical directors for two full readings (including your recorded music). Our plan is to have live, in person readings. We reserve the right to go back online if circumstances require. The readings, presented by professional actors, and follow up feedback discussion with the actors and invited guests will be led by a literary dramaturg and a musical dramaturg. The dramaturgs will share their notes with the creative team followed by a detailed private discussion of the work with them. The creative team will have approximately two months for rewrites before the second reading following the same sequence of events.


The submission window will be open from November 1, 2021 through December 15, 2021.  Notifications will be made by January 15, 2022. The exact schedule of the readings will be worked out with the participants. We know from past experience that there’s a wealth of creative talent in the Bay Area.  Write to rj@rjmusic.org Subject line: “Next Stages Submission” to request Submission Guidelines.

Richard Jennings

Musical Cafe Producer





Musical Cafe is a musical theatre development and education program for Northern California-based writers and composers.

From a juried submission process, our Next Stages program chooses musicals that will each have two full private readings with an excellent cast. At each reading, the creatives receive detailed feedback and support from our team of literary and musical dramaturgs. The creatives then have time for re-writes before the second round of readings roughly two months later.

Eligibility Requirements: At least one member of the creative [i.e. writing] team must be a resident of one of the following Northern California counties:  Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, or Yolo.


Some of the musicals we work with are chosen for a full length, concert style public showcase.


Our Musical Cafe Showcase Series present new works in progress. Presented in front of an audience consisting of theatre professionals and friends of musical theatre, four shows are chosen for twenty minute semi-staged showcase performances.


Musical Cafe also presents classes, workshop and seminars on the myriad aspects of creating musical theatre through out the year.



Are you a musical theatre composer or lyricist seeking a safe space to share your ongoing projects and build community? Musical Cafe hosts a monthly virtual song salon to honor the craft of creating new musicals!


The goal is to celebrate and support each other's work!  Feedback will only be given at the writer's request. Participants are asked to uplift each other’s work with applause and positivity.  


We are seeking new and original musical theatre songs, either from a show you are working on, or a stand alone / cabaret style piece you would like to showcase. Songs must be five minutes or less. 


The door is wide open, and we would love to see your work whether you are emerging, or are a seasoned professional.


If you would like to be included in the salon, please email us at:  mcsongsalon@gmail.com 


Musical Cafe is a program of Play Cafe, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help San Francisco Bay Area playwrights develop their work. The Musical Cafe team includes several production managers and a group of volunteers who sell concessions, usher, photograph, and make numerous other contributions of time and effort to ensure the success of each Showcase performance. Creatives and casts selected for a particular Showcase become an essential part of that team, and are encouraged to become part of our ongoing effort to make new, original, locally-sourced musical theatre in the Bay Area.


Many of the Bay Area's wonderful actors and singers have participated in Musical Cafe to date, and we are always looking for the newest, freshest actors and singers to audition for and perform with us.


Most importantly, our enthusiastic, energetic Musical Cafe audience members and behind-the-scene supporters have been and remain a key part of this program and whatever success we've achieved.


Photos by Marc Sternberger


Videos by John Quick


Photos by Colin Hussey