Robin DeJesus, Santino Fontana and More Set for NAMT Festival of New Musicals

Robin DeJesus, Santino Fontana and More Set for NAMT Festival of New MusicalsThe National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) has announced initial casting for the 24th Annual Festival of New Musicals on Thursday, October 11 and Friday, October 12 at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street).

Two-time Tony nominee Robin DeJesus (In the Heights and La Cage aux Folles), Sarah Stiles (Public's Into the Woods) and William Ryall (Chaplin) are cast in Bleeding Love, an original musical by Jason Schafer, Arthur LaFrentz Bacon and Harris Doran, a wickedly demented, post-apocalyptic fairy tale for grownups. Stephen Brackett directs.

Santino Fontana (Cinderella), Chris Hoch (Shrek) and Wade McCollum (Triassic Parq) are cast in Bonfire Night, Justin Levine's musical about the plot to blow up Parliament in 1605. Tony nominated Sam Buntrock (Sunday in the Park with George) will direct with Kimberly Grigsby (Spring Awakening) as music director.

Kate Rockwell (Bring It On!) joins the cast of The Circus in Winter, Ben Clark and Beth Turcotte's musical based on the Cathy Day novel where legend and lore collide under the big top. The ensemble will include Marie-France Arcilla (the revised Working), Emily Behny (Beauty and the Beast tour), Derrick Cobey (The Scottsboro Boys), Jonathan Jensen, Corey Mach (Godspell) and Jen Noble (Ghost). Victoria Bussert (Lizzie Borden and Factory Girls at NAMT) directs and Matt Webb will be the music director.

Demond Green (Sister Act), Kenita Miller (Xanadu), Alysha Umphress (American Idiot) and Emily Walton (The Shaggs) have been cast in Kirsten Childs's Funked Up Fairy Tales, a collection of delightfully twisted urban fairy tales for sophisticated children and grownup kids. Jerry Dixon (who starred in Childs' The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin) directs, with Steve Marzullo (Disaster) music director.

Adam Kantor (Rent), Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages), Nicole Lewis (Hair), Heath Calvert (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and NAMT's Bloodsong of Love) and Kelsey Kurz (The Merchant of Venice) are featured in Nobody Loves You, back in roles they created previously at The Old Globe Theatre. Joining them are Asmeret Ghebremichael (The Book of Mormon), Phoebe Strole (Spring Awakening) and Etai Ben Shlomo (Wicked). Mike Pettry joins the team as music director. Michelle Tattenbaum will direct Nobody Loves You, having directed the world premiere earlier this season at The Old Globe. Itamar Moses and Gaby Alter's musical is a behind-the-scenes look at a dating reality television show.

Emmy Award (TV's Smallville) and Academy Award nominee (Best Song for A Mighty Wind) nominee Annette O'Toole, Jeff McCarthy (Urinetown), Natalie Joy Johnson (Legally Blonde), Robin Skye (Parade), Allison Briner (Mamma Mia!), Lizzie Hagstedt (Sweeney Todd national tour), and Joel Waggoner return for the NAMT Festival from the CAP21 cast. Randy Redd (War Horse) and Andy Taylor (Once) will join the cast. Tom Caruso returns as director of Southern Comfort after directing the award-winning workshop at CAP21 last fall. Dan Collins and Julianne Wick Davis's musical is based on the Sundance award-winning documentary about transgender friends living in rural Georgia. Emily Otto is returning as music director.

Also announced for the 24th Annual Festival of New Musicals are:

Brendan Milburn, Rachel Sheinkin and Valerie Vigoda's Sleeping Beauty Wakes will be directed by Rebecca Taichman (Milk Like Sugar) with music direction by Brad Haak (Mary Poppins).

Triangle by Curtis Moore, Thomas Mizer and Joshua Sher will be directed by Meredith McDonough with James Sampliner as music director.

Additional staffing and casting will be announced shortly.

Held in New York City every fall over two days, the Festival presents 45-minute staged readings of eight new musicals before an industry-only audience with the experience and resources to move the work forward.

For the ninth 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. Registration for Industry members is free and now open at www.namt.org/festival. Open registration closes on September 30 and any registrations received after that date will be subject to a late registration fee. A limited number of tickets will be made available to the public for free on a standby basis.

The 24th Annual Festival of New Musicals is overseen by NAMT's New Work Director and Festival Producing Director Branden Huldeen and General Manager Lisa Dozier. Alan Filderman is Casting Director for the Festival. Betsy King Militello is the Executive Director of NAMT.

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