2013 Stages New Musical Theatre Festival Kicks Off Today
The future of new musical theatre is upon us! The New Musicals Initiative previously announced the finalists for the New Voices Project. These young musical theatre writers will have their material showcased as part of the prestigious 17th annual Stages New Musical Theatre Festival held in Los Angeles between today, August 23-25, 2013 at the Academy for New Musical Theatre (5628 Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood).
After carefully reviewing many promising submissions from 18-25 year old writers from all across the country, the New Voices Project has selected five young writers to be showcased: Amar Benkhoukha, Nick Jester, Paul Pecorella, Christopher Byron Pratt, and Noah Reece.
Their work will be reviewed by a distinguished panel of musical theatre professionals including Michael Jung, Vice President of Theatrical Development for Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, and members of the staff of the Academy for New Musical Theatre (Elise Dewsberry, Artistic Director; Scott Guy, Lyric Lab Instructor; and Ross Kalling, Director of Music Curriculum).
Christopher Byron Pratt is a senior at Webster Conservatory in St. Louis. This year he released, "Brand New Skin," an album of his original works completely produced by undergraduate students. Chris is currently composing music for an original production of "Alice in Wonderland" premiering at Webster Conservatory this fall.
Noah Reece grew up in various states in the Midwest as the son of a music director. He is about to enter his junior year as a directing major at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. While Noah has taken piano lessons from a young age, played the oboe for many years, and has always sung, he is largely self-taught in the area of composition. He hopes to continue creating his own musical and otherwise dramatic works through the rest of his training and on into his professional career in addition to pursuing acting.
Paul Pecorella is a composer originally from Romania, currently attending Long Island University (LIU) and pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre. Paul writes with his co-bookwriter/lyricist Amar Benkhouka.
Nick Jester is a Lincoln, Nebraska native currently pursuing a degree in contemporary music from Columbia College Chicago with a minor in acting. He has written and produced three full-length productions: a musical comedy entitled "Chiropractical", the musical revue "A Life in the City" and most recently the music and sketch comedy revue "O Street, Where Art Thou?"
When asked about the future of musical theatre, writer Nick Jester said: "Personally, I think musical theatre is a great place to foster the marriage of music and comedy and I hope to see more quality pieces in that idiom in the future."
"I have faith in the creativity and originality of artists today," says Noah Reece. "I adore a catchy tune, but above all I would hope that utilizing music to tap into the truth of human life and behavior would remain at the heart of what we do."
Writer Christopher Byron Pratt had this to say: "I think that the great musicals of today are the ones that look to the future. The characters see and realize the potential in themselves, and strive to achieve their goals. I think that is true of the massive generation of young musical theatre writers in the world today. We know what a magnificent thing a musical can be, and we will sit in our basements with our untuned pianos until the next great American musical is written."
The New Voices Project will take place on August 24th at 8:30pm at the Academy for New Musical Theatre (5628 Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood). The work of the New Voices Project writers will be showcased by local Los Angeles musical theatre performers Will Collyer, Jordan Kai Burnett, Randy Guiaya, Tara Hunnewell, and Christina Valo, with Bryan Blaskie at the piano.
In an exciting display of technology, the event will be live-streamcast so that anyone with a computer will be able to tune in from anywhere in the world. (For details on finding the streamcast, check on the reservation page.)
The New Musicals Initiative is the professional division of the Academy for New Musical Theatre. ANMT is a Los Angeles based developmental company offering workshops, seminars and online courses designed to help artists develop and produce new Musical Theatre Works. NMI is delighted to be able to showcase new voices of the future of musical theatre.
For information on the Stages New Musical Theatre Festival, visit www.anmt.org.