Megan Lawrence, Ryan Duncan Join Festival of New Musicals, 10/27-28

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The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) announced today complete casting for the eight new musicals selected to be part of the 23rd Annual Festival of New Musicals on Thursday, October 27 and Friday, October 28 at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street).

Demi Fragale completes the cast of Bernice Bobs Her Hair, based on the classic short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, with book by Julia Jordan, music by Adam Gwon, with lyrics by Julia Jordan and Adam Gwon. The cast features Kate Wetherhead (Submissions Only, Legally Blonde), Brynn O'Malley (Sunday in the Park with George/Wicked), Will Reynolds (The Old Globe's Emma), Courtney Stokes, Derrick Trumbly, Steven Booth (Glory Days), Josh Breckenridge (The Scottsboro Boys), Olli Haaskivi (Fringe NYC '11 The Bardy Bunch), Olivia Oguma (Mamma Mia!), and Casey Tuma (Annie). Joe Calarco directs and Andy Einhorn is music director.

John Treacy Egan (Sister Act) and Ryan Duncan (Shrek) complete the cast of WATT?!? that features Tony Award nominee Liz Callaway (Baby), Ken Marks (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), Trent Armand Kendall (Bat Boy), Emily Rossell, and Pearl Sun (National Tour Next to Normal). Steve Cosson, the founding Artistic Director of The Civilians directs WATT?!? with Zachary Deitz as Music Director. Featuring book and lyrics by David Javerbaum and music by Brendan Millburn, Watt?!? is a balls-out rock musical telling the heroic true story of James Watt, Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, who opened millions of acres of federal land for exploitation, banned The Beach Boys from July 4th festivities, and was ultimately fired for referring to a five-person panel as "a black, two Jews, a woman and a cripple."

Megan Lawrence (HAIR/The Pajama Game) completes the cast of notes to MariAnne, an original pop/rock musical that explores the consequences of leaving someone you love, and features book, music and lyrics by David Rossmer & Dan Lipton. Jeremy Dobrish directs and Chris Fenwick is music director. The cast features Stephen Bogardus (White Christmas), Santino Fontana (Sons of the Prophet), Rachel Stern (Shrek), Will Erat (Catch Me If You Can), and Vasthy Mompoint (Mary Poppins), Haley Bond (Saint Ex), Charlie Brady (Saint Ex/The Burnt Part Boys/South Pacific) and Ken Triwush (TV's The Good Wife) in.

Gwen Hollander (Little Women National Tour) joins Kerry Butler (Catch Me If You Can/Xanadu), Erin Davie (A Little Night Music), William Ryall (Anything Goes), Chris Hoch (La Cage aux Folles), Eliseo Roman (In The Heights), Kate Shindle (Wonderland/Legally Blonde), and Alex Brightman (Glory Days/Wicked) in The Dogs of Pripyat. Peter Flynn directs with music direction by Brad Haak. Based on the play by Leah Napolin, The Dogs of Pripyat is based on the true story of the dogs left behind in Pripyat after the Chernobyl meltdown in Russia in 1986, and has music by Aron Accurso, lyrics by Jill Abramovitz and book by Jill Abramovitz and Leah Napolin.

Heath Calvert (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson), Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot/Passing Strange), Carrie Cimma (Drama Desk nominee for Lizzie Borden), Jeremy Morse (Drama Desk nominee for Bloodsong of Love), Lance Rubin and Jason ‘SweetTooth' Williams are featured in the Drama Desk-nominated Bloodsong of Love, Joe Iconis's rock ‘n' roll musical theater interpretation of the Spaghetti Western film genre directed by John Simpkins with music direction by Brian Usifer.

Kate Shindle (Wonderland/Legally Blonde), Chris Hoch (La Cage Aux Folles), Rozi Baker (Shrek), and River Alexander (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson) are featured in Dani Girl, the inspiring and humorous story of a young girl's battle with a life-threatening disease, with music by Michael Kooman and book and lyrics by Christopher Dimond, to be directed by Scott Schwartz with music direction by Vadim Feichtner.

Kyle Dean Massey (Lucky Guy), Joanna Glushak (National Tour Spring Awakening), Ken Cavett (SCKBSTD), and Spencer Moses (Boardwalk Empire) join the already announced Anika Larsen (Xanadu) in Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge with music and lyrics by Peter Mills, and book by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel. Dan Sharkey (The Fantasticks) returns to the role of J.M., along with musician/actors from the original production - Matthew Dure, Michael Rosengarten, Dennis Michael Keefe, and Melody Berger. Based on J.M. Synge's classic Irish comedy The Playboy of the Western World, Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge is transplanted to 1930s Appalachia and set to a bluegrass-flavored score. Gordon Greenberg directs and Eli Zoller is music director.

Stephanie Umoh (Ragtime), Phoebe Strole (Spring Awakening), Emma Hunton (Spring Awakening), Emily Walton (August: Osage County), Robi Hager (Spring Awakening), Krystina Alabado (American Idiot), and Ally Bonino are featured in Pregnancy Pact, a pop-rock musical inspired by the 2008 TIME Magazine article about a group of teens who made a pact to become single mothers together. The show is written by Gordon Leary (book and lyrics), and Julia Meinwald (music). Drama Desk winner Mark Brokaw (director of the off-Broadway hit The Lyons) directs. Rich Silverstein is music director.

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) Songwriters Showcase as part of the 23rd Annual Festival of New Musicals will take place Friday, October 28 from 1:30-2:30pm at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street). Broadway composer and NAMT alum Andrew Lippa hosts.

This year's Showcase will highlight shows that have received development support through NAMT's National Fund for New Musicals, now in its third year. The Showcase will feature songs sung by the creators from the new musicals Blood Magic by Ian Williams and Aaron Jafferis; February House by Gabriel Kahane and Seth Bockley; Love Kills by Kyle Jarrow; Next Thing You Know by Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham; Post Office by Melissa James Gibson and Michael Friedman; Saint Ex by Jenny Geiring and Sean Barry; and Snow by Sean Hartley. Grants were awarded to NAMT members The Old Globe, The Public Theater, Lark Play Development, CAP21, Center Theatre Group, The Weston Playhouse Theatre Co., and The Spirit of Broadway Theatre, respectively, for their work on the musicals being presented this year.

The musical theatre festival attracts theatre producers from around the world for this industry-only event to discover eight new musicals presented in 45-minute staged readings over two days. All production costs are underwritten by NAMT, with no cost to the songwriting teams. Since 1989, the Festival has presented over 250 musicals and 475 writers, and almost 75% of these shows have found subsequent productions, tours, licensing agreements, and/or cast albums as a direct result of the Festival.

For the eighth consecutive year NAMT's Festival of New Musicals will be presented at the premiere Off-Broadway facility New World Stages, located west of the Theatre District at 340 West 50th Street. A limited number of tickets will be made available to the public for free on a standby basis. Registration for Industry members is free and now open at www.namt.org/festival.

The 23rd annual Festival of New Musicals is overseen by NAMT's New Work Director and Festival Producing Director Branden Huldeen and General Manager Lisa Dozier. Betsy King Militello is the Executive Director of NAMT.

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, founded in 1985, is a national service organization dedicated exclusively to musical theatre. Our mission is to advance musical theatre by nurturing the creation, development, production, and presentation of new musicals. Our 150 members, located throughout 34 states and abroad, are some of the leading producers of musical theatre in the world, and include theatres, presenting organizations, higher education programs and individual producers. Among the over 250 musicals launched by NAMT's annual Festival of New Musicals are Thoroughly Modern Millie, Children of Eden, Honk!, The Drowsy Chaperone, Songs for a New World, I Love You Because, Striking 12, Vanities and many others, representing over 475 writers.

The FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS is funded entirely by contributions to the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, a not-for-profit organization, and is supported in part by a generous award from the National Endowment for the Arts and by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties. For more information about NAMT, please visit www.namt.org.

NAMT is very grateful to the following organizations whose contributions support our mission to nurture the creation, development, and production of new musicals: The Ann Palmer Foundation, ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund, BMI Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund, The Dramatists Guild Fund, Friars Foundation, Music Theatre International, Stacey Mindich Productions, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation.

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