NAMT Announces 24th Annual Festival of New Musicals, 10/11-12
The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) announced today the eight musicals selected to be part of the 24th Annual Festival of New Musicals at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street).
This year’s NAMT Festival of New Musicals will present works by 17 writers, including a Tony Award winner (Sheinkin); an Obie, Ed Kleban and two-time Rodgers Award winner (Childs); ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award winners (Milburn and Vigoda) and Jonathan Larson Grant recipients (Alter, Collins, Davis, Mizer and Moore, plus two-time winners Childs, Milburn and Vigoda). Alter, Childs, Milburn, Mizer, Moore, Sheinkin and Vigoda are alumni writers from past NAMT Festivals.
The annual Festival of New Musicals 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 writing teams. For the ninth consecutive year, NAMT’s Festival of New Musicals will be presented at the premiere Off Broadway facility New World Stages, located at 340 West 50th Street. A limited number of free seats will be available to the public on a standby basis. Registration for Industry members is free and now open at www.namt.org.
Over 150 musicals were submitted earlier this year by theatres, producers and agents from around the world to the 14-member Festival Selection Committee, comprised of leaders from across the NAMT membership. The Committee uses a blind review process to select eight new musicals that are not only exciting and thought-provoking, but also represent the future of Musical Theatre. The Committee is co-chaired by Heather Schmucker from The American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University (IL) and Kevin Moriarty from Dallas Theater Center (TX). Committee members include: Pamela Adams, formerly of Trinity Repertory Company (RI); Joe Barros, New York Theatre Barn (NY); Elise Dewsberry, Academy for New Musical Theatre (CA); Mara Isaacs, McCarter Theatre Center (NJ); Eric Louie, The Old Globe (CA); Søren Møller, The Danish Academy of Musical Theatre (DK); Kent Nicholson, Playwrights Horizons (NY); Steven Peterson, Maine State Music Theatre (ME); Peter Rothstein, Theater Latté Da (MN); Tara Smith, Playing Pretend (NY); and chairs emeriti Donna Lynn Hilton from Goodspeed Musicals (CT) and Steve Stettler from Weston Playhouse Theatre Company (VT).
The 24th Annual Festival of New Musicals is overseen by NAMT New Works Director and Festival Producing Director Branden Huldeen and General Manager Lisa Dozier.
Among the most well-known Festival highlights are Tony Award winners The Drowsy Chaperone and Thoroughly Modern Millie; Off Broadway shows such as See Rock City & Other Destinations, Vanities-a new musical, Ordinary Days, I Love You Because, Ruthless, Songs for A New World, Striking 12, Summer of ’42; and regional successes Ace, Children Of Eden, Jane Austen’s Emma, Harold and Maude, Honk!, Meet John Doe and Tinyard Hill, among others. In the past 24 years, NAMT has introduced over 200 shows and 400 writers to the industry, and almost 75% of these shows have found subsequent productions, tours, licensing agreements and/or cast albums as a direct result of the Festival.
The 24th ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS (including credits, quote from Festival Committee, synopsis, development history and author bios):
a post-apocalyptic fairy tale in F minor
Book by Jason Schafer
Music by Arthur Lafrentz Bacon
Lyrics by Harris Doran
“The committee loved Bleeding Love's boldly theatrical setting, colorful characters and eclectic score. A truly exciting piece, Bleeding Love manages to be compelling in its storytelling, while also being utterly unique in its plot and tone.”
It’s always cold and nothing ever grows. A cloistered teen cellist must find a real live rose in order to thaw the frozen heart of the rebel punk next door. An eclectic score ranging from Broadway to classical to rock beats within this wickedly demented, post-apocalyptic fairy tale for grownups.
This will be the premiere of Bleeding Love, which was a finalist for the 2012 Richard Rodgers Award.
Arthur Lafrentz Bacon composed the music for the rock/R&B musical Salvage (O’Neill NMTC finalist), Billy Sleepyhead (Center Stage) and Phenomenon, which was recently optioned for a Broadway production. He co-wrote “Stay Forever” for Joey Lawrence (Top 20 hit) and “Falling Away” for Marion Raven (#1 European Billboards), and was songwriter, arranger and keyboardist for Freddy and the Dials (Virgin Records), Kelli Price and Shane. Arthur formed the band The Erratics (Touchwood/Zero Hour Records) and was a member of “Groovy Little Band” on The Caroline Rhea Show. He has written music for over 100 national television and radio commercial spots and won two Clio Awards.
Harris Doran wrote book and lyrics for Salvage (O’Neill NMTC finalist), dTension, Oliver Button, as well as the play Beautiful. He’s written for recording artists Marion Raven (Top 10 European single), A Band Called Freddy and Shane. He was in the BMI Workshop and is a member of ASCAP. As an actor Harris' credits include: It Must Be Him, Reading Under The Influence, Hair, Love Jerry (NYMF Best Actor Award) and many regional productions. Film & TV: "The Black Donnellys," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Any Day Now," 2+1, and the upcoming features Junction and My Best Day (Sundance 2012). www.harrisdoran.com
Jason Schafer wrote the acclaimed indie hit Trick (Fine Line Features), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition to being a staff writer and co-producer for Showtime’s GLAAD Media Award-winning Queer as Folk, Jason has written for Warner Bros., Paramount, ABC and Fox Television. Upcoming projects include the film Princess and a screenplay for director Carl Byrd. Works for the stage: I Google Myself (Theatre Askew) and Notes on the Land of Earthquake & Fire (FringeNYC Playwrighting Award). He holds a BA in Music Composition from UCLA and an MFA from NYU’s Department of Dramatic Writing.
Book, Music & Lyrics by Justin Levine
“The combination of 17th-century British politics, contemporary design and modern music makes Bonfire Night a bold new musical, mixing complicated ideas about terrorism with very funny character-driven comedy.”
In modern history’s first attempted suicide bombing, a rousing band of 17th-century English patriots, led by the radical Guy Fawkes, plot to bring their tyrannical monarch down with a bang! Inspired by the 1605 Gunpowder Treason Plot, Bonfire Night is the story of thirteen Catholic radicals who conspire to blow up Parliament on Opening Day in an effort to kill King James and every member of the British government in attendance.
Bonfire Night was presented in 2007 at The Robert Moss Theater at the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at New York University and had a concert reading in 2010 at New York Stage and Film at Vassar University.
Justin Levine works as a writer, composer and performer in and around NYC. Writing credits include: Bonfire Night (Book, Music & Lyrics), Tell Me Tomorrow (Music & Lyrics), Jump Jim Crow (Music & Lyrics), Naked Radio (Music) and Pepper and Sam: Death by Vaudeville (Co-Creator). Musical direction: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Broadway and the Public), Missed Connections (Ars Nova), Here Lies Love (MASS MoCa, Public Theater), Murder Ballad (MTC), Robber Bridegroom (Roundabout), Love’s Labors Lost (Public), Mo(or)town (Choreographer: Doug Elkins), Like Water For Chocolate (Sundance). www.justinlevineonline.com
The Circus in Winter
Music & Lyrics by Ben Clark, Book by Beth Turcotte
Inspired by the book by Cathy Day
“The Circus in Winter will introduce NAMT members and industry professionals to Ben Clark, a talented young writer and a new voice who has created a nuanced, moving and appealing score. Early in its development, The Circus in Winter tells a highly theatrical story with innovative production opportunities that captivated the committee.”
Meeting an elephant can change a man’s life. The Circus in Winter is a new musical based on the novel by Cathy Day, where legend and lore collide under the big top filled with disheveled hustlers, death-defying acrobats and a dreamer named Wallace Porter searching for redemption and grace.
The Circus in Winter is the culmination of a three-year immersive learning journey that started at the Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry at Ball State University. Fourteen students under the guidance of Beth Turcotte, Professor of Theatre, spent an entire semester writing and composing this musical inspired by the novel by Cathy Day. It premiered as a concert reading in May of 2010, with subsequent performances at the International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru, Indiana and Drury Lane Theatre, Chicago. In the fall of 2011, it was fully produced at BSU and selected for the American College Theatre Festival. In the spring of 2012, The Circus in Winter won eleven awards at the ACTF/Kennedy Center Awards including Outstanding New Work.
Ben Clark hails from Floyds Knobs, IN. Ben has been writing music since age 14 and The Circus in Winter marks his full-length musical debut. Ben is a recent graduate of Ball State University (’11) with a degree in Musical Theatre Performance. He currently lives and works in Chicago as a recording artist/composer.
Beth Turcotte is a Professor of Theatre at Ball State University and received her MFA from Southern Methodist University. During her tenure at Ball State University, Beth directed three productions (Company, Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar) for the American College Theatre Festival. This past January, The Circus in Winter was selected to participate in and honored by The American College Theatre Festival/The Kennedy Center with 11 awards including Outstanding New Work and Director of a New Work. Internationally, Beth has directed and taught throughout China, Korea and Japan.
Funked Up Fairy Tales
Book, Music & Lyrics by Kirsten Childs
“The committee loved the humor, energy and contemporary score of Funked Up Fairy Tales, which will appeal to children and adults of all ages with its good spirit and hip sense of humor.”
Funked Up Fairy Tales—a collection of delightfully twisted urban fairy tales for sophisticated children and grown-up kids—welcomes you to the world of Titania, Faireetheeya and Magikwanda, teenage fairies with attitude. They wag their heads and suck their teeth as they turn things upside down to pass their Fairyland Academy exam. Will they pull through with flying colors and earn their happy ending crowns?
Funked Up Fairy Tales had a workshop production at Barrington Stage Co. (August 2007), a staged reading at The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at White Oak (December 2007) and a staged reading at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Ernst C. Stiefel 7@7 Reading Series (2009).
Kirsten Childs wrote The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (NAMT Fest ’98) which premiered at Playwrights Horizons, earning her Obie, Kleban, Audelco, Richard Rodgers and Gilman Gonzalez-Falla Awards; Rockefeller and Jonathan Larson Grants; Lucille Lortel, NAACP & Drama Desk nominations. She is currently writing lyrics for Fly with Rajiv Joseph and Bill Sherman to be presented this season at Dallas Theater Center. Recently, she created Disney’s Wishes and Disney’s Believe for Disney Theatricals and Miracle Brothers at the Vineyard Theatre (NEA; Larson Grants; Meet The Composer and Kitty Carlisle Hart Musical Theatre Awards; Sundance Ucross). Additional works include: American Songbook series at Lincoln Center, “The New Electric Company” (songwriter), House of Flowers (adaptation) for City Center Encores!, Wasted at George Street Playhouse, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie at Theatreworks/USA, Guggenheim Museum Works & Process compositions with poets Paul Muldoon and Dana Gioia, Doris to Darlene at Playwrights Horizons and book and lyrics for The Princess and The Black Eyed Pea at San Diego Rep. She is also working on a commission for Playwrights Horizons with Lynn Nottage and Steve Cosson.
Nobody Loves You
Book & Lyrics by Itamar Moses, Music by Gaby Alter
“The witty banter, accessible score and sweetly ironic romantic plot of Nobody Loves You charmed all of us on the committee with its wry take on the realities of reality television. It's polished and ready to be shared with an even broader audience.”
Filled with tuneful pop songs, Nobody Loves You takes audiences on a hilarious behind-the-scenes ride through reality television and into real life. When Jeff, a philosophy grad student, joins a dating show to win back his ex, he breaks all the rules and tries to blow the game wide open…until he meets Jenny. In a world where every kiss is staged for the cameras, can two people find a real connection?
Nobody Loves You is the recipient of a 2011 NAMT National Fund for New Musicals Project Development grant and recently finished its world premiere production at The Old Globe, where it also received three developmental readings since 2010. It also had staged readings at Goodspeed Musicals’ Festival of New Artists in 2011 and the Cape Cod Theatre Project in 2008. It was part of Rhinebeck Writers Retreat in 2011.
Gaby Alter’s musicals include Band Geeks! (Goodspeed Musicals 2010, NAMT Fest ’09, now licensed by MTI), 29 (NYU Steinhardt) and Young Zombie in Love (FringeNYC). Other credits include music for PBS, MTV, the theme for NPR’s Backstory with the American History Guys and the films Nerdcore Rising (South by Southwest Film Festival) and The Muslims Are Coming by director Negin Farsad. He is the recipient of a Jonathan Larson Grant, awards from the San Francisco Theater Critics' Circle and the New York Fringe Festival, and a MAC nomination.
Itamar Moses is the author of the full-length plays Outrage, Bach at Leipzig, Celebrity Row, The Four of Us, Yellowjackets, Back Back Back and Completeness, the collection of short plays Love/Stories (or But You Will Get Used To It) and the musical Fortress of Solitude (with Michael Friedman). His work has appeared Off Broadway and at regional theaters across the country, and is published by Faber & Faber and Samuel French. Itamar has taught playwriting at both Yale and NYU. On television, he has written for both TNT’s Men of a Certain Age and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
“The committee loved the accessible but surprising plot and the engaging, sophisticated score of Sleeping Beauty Wakes. The committee is excited to introduce this fresh and broadly appealing work to the industry.”
A young beauty is brought to a sleep disorder clinic, and soon all the patients find themselves sharing a fairy-tale dream. With beguiling characters, hypnotic lyrics and a rocking score, Beauty delves into the magical space between dreaming and waking.
Sleeping Beauty Wakes premiered at Center Theatre Group/Deaf West in 2007 (winning Best World Premiere Musical and Best Musical Direction at the LA Ovation Awards), followed by a co-production between McCarter Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse in 2011.
Brendan Milburn writes musicals (mostly with Valerie Vigoda), produces records, plays in a band called GrooveLily and is a mostly stay-at-home dad to a terrific kid named Mose. Off Broadway: Striking 12 (NAMT Fest ’04). Regional: Sleeping Beauty Wakes, Toy Story: the musical, Long Story Short, Tina Landau’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Wheelhouse, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, Watt?!? (NAMT Fest ’11 with David Javerbaum), The Behavior of Broadus (with The Burglars of Hamm). Songs in 4 films & 1 TV special about Tinker Bell (Disney). Jonathan Larson Grant (2006 and 2008), ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award (2009). www.GrooveLily.com
Rachel Sheinkin: As book writer and sometimes lyricist, she has been part of the creative teams of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Striking 12 (with Milburn/Vigoda, NAMT Fest ’04), Little House on the Prairie, Serenade and Blood Drive. She received Tony and Drama Desk Awards for the book of Spelling Bee. Rachel is interested in independent-minded musicals and loves the form when it is adventurous, inventive and nourished rather than limited by convention. She teaches on the part-time faculties of Yale School of Drama and NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
Valerie Vigoda has toured the world as an electric violinist/vocalist with Cyndi Lauper, Joe Jackson and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. An honors graduate of Princeton and former army lieutenant, she founded the band GrooveLily and toured relentlessly on the indie circuit. Now she spends less time driving and more time creating projects with her collaborators: Striking 12 (NAMT Fest ’04), Wheelhouse, Toy Story: The Musical, Long Story Short, Tina Landau’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me and many songs for Disney. With husband/longtime collaborator Brendan Milburn, Val’s proudest production is seven-year-old son Mose. valerievigoda.com and GrooveLily.com
Based on the documentary film, SOUTHERN COMFORT
Directed, produced and edited by Kate Davis
“The down-home score and empathetic characters of Southern Comfort impressed the committee as a work that advances the art form of the musical. The musical's cast of transgendered characters are portrayed with sensitivity, warm humor and deep emotion.”
Based on the Sundance Award-winning documentary, this heartwarming musical about a group of transgender friends living in rural Georgia is, at its core, a love story between their patriarch, Robert Eads, and new comer Lola Cola. Through a folk and bluegrass-inspired score, the musical chronicles a year in the lives of this unique American family as they courageously defy the odds by simply remaining on the land to which they were born, reminding us that home is where we find comfort in our skin.
Southern Comfort was a recipient of a 2010 NAMT National Fund for New Musicals Writers ResidenCy Grant for a reading at Playwrights Horizons and a 2011 Project Development Grant for a workshop production at CAP21. From 2010 to 2011, the show had three closed-room readings at CAP21 leading up to the workshop production, which garnered them critic picks from The New York Times, TimeOut NY and the Advocate, and a GLAAD Award for Best Off-Off Broadway Production in 2012. The writers also received a Jonathan Larson Grant in 2012 for Southern Comfort.
Dan Collins’s other works with Julianne Wick Davis include: Wood (NYMF, starring Tony Award winner Cady Huffman), Our Lady of the Viaduct and Time to Kill (The York Theatre Company), and When We Met (co-conceived with performers Sally Wilfert and Michael Winther) which was selected for development at The O’Neill in summer 2012. Other recent projects include book for Our Country with composer/lyricist Tony Asaro (produced at NYMF and Planet Connections Theatre Festivity where it was honored with awards for Best Book and Best Musical) and lyrics for Professor Von Awesome’s Traveling Caravan of Cautionary Warnings and Johnny 15, both with composer Nick Sula and The Serious Theater Collective. Dan's work has been published in Plays and Playwrights 2010 (NYTE Small Press) and he was selected along with Julianne Wick Davis as a 2011-2012 Dramatist Guild Fellow. Dan holds an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and a BFA in Playwriting from The Theater School of DePaul University.
Julianne Wick Davis received the 2012 Jonathan Larson Grant with Dan Collins for their work on Southern Comfort. She wrote music and lyrics for When We Met with Dan Collins (book), in collaboration with Sally Wilfert and Michael Winther, which was part of The O’Neill’s 2012 conference and also received readings at the Tri-Arts Sharon Playhouse, Williams College Summer Theatre Lab and Two River Theater. Wood (music) with Dan Collins (book & lyrics) was part of NYMF 2008. Other work with Dan Collins includes Our Lady of the Viaduct and Time To Kill, commissioned for York Theatre's 4@15 series. She was also commissioned to write An Orchestra Imagined (music) with Sophia Chapadjiev (book & lyrics) for York Theatre’s 4@15, which received a production at NYU Steinhardt. Her musical She Would Never Leave (lyrics) with Will Aronson (music) and Rachel Jett (book) received developmental readings at Adelphi University. Her work has been featured in the Broadway’s Future @ Lincoln Center, New Voices Concert, “Songs by Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You Don’t Know But Should” at Barrington Stage Co., Joe's Pub and Merkin Hall. She is a recent graduate from NYU's Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and a proud ASCAP member, and was named a Dramatist Guild Fellow for 2011-2012.
“We were moved by the sophisticated score and interlocking modern-day and historical stories of Triangle, which melds two love stories across time. With an entirely new take on its modern-day story from previous drafts, the writers are continuing to craft the plot and structure in ways that impressed the committee.”
In an original mystery/romance set against the backdrop of an infamous New York tragedy, two couples from different eras—in 1911 a Jewish seamstress and her Italian foreman, in 2011 a graduate student and a free-spirited stranger—discover what it means to risk everything you believe for love.
Triangle was originally commissioned by the 2005 Williamstown Theatre Festival (Artistic Director Roger Rees) as part of their LeapFROG new works project and further developed at The O’Neill’s 2006 National Music Theater Conference (directed by Robert Longbottom). Following a hiatus to pursue other projects, the authors returned to the piece in 2010 with a series of readings at CAP21 in New York and a fall 2011 workshop at Northwestern University’s American Musical Theatre Project. Triangle will be seen this August at the New Works Festival at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto (directed by Meredith McDonough).
Curtis Moore recently returned from conducting and performing in Sam Mendes’ production of Richard III starring Kevin Spacey. With lyricist Thomas Mizer, he was awarded a Jonathan Larson Grant in 2009; together they wrote The Legend of Stagecoach Mary (NAMT Fest ’08) and The Bus To Buenos Aires (EST). His new musical Venice (with Matt Sax and Eric Rosen) will be produced next spring at The Public Theater in New York, where he recently composed the score for Timon of Athens. He wrote and performed songs in the Todd Solondz? film Palindromes and composed the score for Clear Blue Tuesday.
Thomas Mizer has written lyrics and collaborated on the book for musicals including The Legend of Stagecoach Mary (NAMT Fest ’08), The House of the Seven Gables (ASCAP Workshop) and The Bus to Buenos Aires (EST). An honors graduate of Northwestern University, he received a 2009 Jonathan Larson Grant and has twice been an artist in residence at the National Music Theater Conference. In addition to his theater work, he is a copywriter at Comedy Central, edits The Broadway Blog and writes features for national travel magazines. www.thomasmizer.com
About the National Alliance for Musical Theatre:
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, and to provide a forum for musical theatre professionals to share resources and exchange information. 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 200 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 400 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 the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. For more information about NAMT, please visit www.namt.org.
NAMT thanks the following foundations, government agencies and organizations for their ongoing support of our programs: The Alhadeff Family Charitable Foundation, The Ann Palmer Foundation, A.R.T./New York, ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund, BMI Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund, The Dramatists Guild Fund, Friars Foundation, Frederick Loewe Foundation, Edward & Thea Lawton Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, Stacey Mindich Productions and The Shubert Foundation.