Global artist group LoNyLA hones work via webcasts

Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:05pm EDT
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By Richard Chang

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The long struggle to get a show from script to stage or screen may be getting a lot shorter -- via the Web.

Screenplays and plays that for years have "made the rounds" of Hollywood, Broadway or London's West End without being turned into a film or play can finally get on their foot inside producers' doors via staged readings webcast by a global artists' network named LoNyLA, after its initial hub cities of London, New York and Los Angeles.

The group invites financiers, moviemakers, film agents and others to view the staged readings, which often feature top actors and are helmed by A-list directors.

"It definitely speeds up exposure of talent to the industry in Internet time," said J. Dakota Powell, a former entertainment executive who founded LoNyLa.

"What we're trying to do is bridge the geographical industry divide," said Powell, a playwright and award-winning screenwriter. "The whole idea is to expose writers to different processes and different development cultures."

The start-up, which has already brought together about 200 artists in just a few months, has financial support from legendary currency trader Bill Lipschutz, Powell's former boss at Wall Street firm Salomon Brothers, and her uncle Lawrence Huntington, retired chief executive of Fiduciary Trust Co.

Members include stars such as Michael Steger of "90210," Jonathan Wrather of the BBC series "Casualty" and Eurasian actor Rhydian Vaughan, who is known as Feng Xiao-Yue in Asia.

Directors include Tony Award nominee Wilson Milam and John David Coles, who has directed such movies as "Signs of Life" and "Rising Son" as well as TV series "Sex and the City," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Law & Order."   Continued...