BROADWAY RECALL: New York Musical Theatre Festival Originals

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Welcome to BROADWAY RECALL, a bi-monthly column where BroadwayWorld.com's Chief Theatre Critic, Michael Dale, delves into the archives and explores the stories behind the well-known and the not so well-known videos and photographs of Broadway's past. Look for BROADWAY RECALL every other Saturday.

In this age of jukebox musical and movie adaptations, people keep asking if anyone writes original musicals anymore.  But some of the biggest success stories to come out of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, celebrating its 9th year in 2012, have been original musicals like Yank!, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Gutenberg! The Musical, Rooms and three others you may have heard of…

Altar Boyz, the good natured spoof about a Christian boy band, was the first NYMF show to make a significant mark in New York.  The first big hit for the Off-Broadway complex, Dodger Stages (now New World Stages), its five year run helped establish the center as an attractive Broadway area alternative for smaller productions.

[title of show], the musical that documented its own creation, was the first NYMF musical to make it to Broadway.  Far from being a direct route, the show’s future was uncertain after its brief Off-Broadway run at the Vineyard, but savvy use of the Internet, especially in creating a YouTube series called The [title of show] Show, helped sustain a fan base.  While its Broadway run was brief, it still holds a passionate cult following in the theatre community.

With three Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and a two year Broadway run, Next To Normal is certainly NYMF’s greatest success story to date.  There were significant changes since the show made its debut in 2005 as Feeling Electric.  Here’s NYMF cast member Anthony Rapp singing what was then the title song.

 

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Michael Dale After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become BroadwayWorld.com's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Citi Field pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.


 
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