NAMT Announces Selections for 23rd Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS

NAMT Announces Selections for 23rd Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) announced today the eight 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).

The Festival selections are:
Bernice Bobs Her Hair
Book by Julia Jordan, Music by Adam Gwon,
Lyrics by Julia Jordan and Adam Gwon
Bloodsong of Love
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Joe Iconis
Dani Girl
Music by Michael Kooman, Book & Lyrics by Christopher Dimond
The Dogs of Pripyat
Music by Aron Accurso, Lyrics by Jill Abramovitz, Book by Jill Abramovitz and Leah Napolin,
based on the play by Leah Napolin
Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge
Music & Lyrics by Peter Mills, Book by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel,
Adapted from J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World
notes to MariAnne
Book, Music and Lyrics by David Rossmer & Dan Lipton
Pregnancy Pact
Book & Lyrics by Gordon Leary, Music by Julia Meinwald
Watt?!?
Book & Lyrics by David Javerbaum, Music by Brendan Milburn

Over 160 musicals were submitted earlier this year by theatres, producers and agents from around the world to the 15-member Festival Selection Committee, composed of new works leaders from across the NAMT membership. The Committee uses a blind review process to select eight new musicals that are exciting, thought-provoking and represent the future of Musical Theatre.

This year's NAMT's Festival of New Musicals will present works by 16 award-winning writers, including four Ed Kleban Award winners (Gwon, Jordan, Iconis, Mills, and Javerbaum), three Jonathan Larson Award winners (Jordan, Kooman and Dimond), two Richard Rodgers Award winners (Mills and Leary), two Fred Ebb Award winners (Gwon and Mills), two BMI Harrington Award winners (Accurso and Abramovitz), and an 11-time Emmy Award winner (Javerbaum). Five writers are returning to this year's Festival: Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days, 2008), Julia Jordan (Sarah, Plain and Tall, 2003), Dan Lipton & David Rossmer (JOE!, 2000), and Peter Mills (Iron Curtain, 2009).

"I am thrilled by the eight shows our Festival Committee has selected," said NAMT Board President Marilynn Sheldon. "As the primary service organization for musical theatre, NAMT has recently rededicated its efforts in advancing the art form and leading the field. The distinctive voices featured in this year's Festival represent our commitment to great art. This line-up will not only benefit our members and the industry at large, it will welcome eight fresh and exciting works to the musical theatre canon."

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 470 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.

"We have an especially brave and exciting Festival this year," said Branden Huldeen, NAMT New Works Director and Festival Producing Director. "Following NAMT's recent commitment to providing leadership in the field, this group of shows will excite our members with the finest new musical work available, both pushing the art form forward and inspiring the field. From rock to bluegrass, tales of teen pregnancy to the importance of hair, guitar wielding outlaws to former Secretary of Interior James Watt, it is the most diverse and dynamic Festival we have produced."

The 23rd annual Festival of New Musicals is overseen by Mr. Huldeen and General Manager Lisa Dozier. 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.

Among the most well-known Festival highlights are the Tony Award winners The Drowsy Chaperone and Thoroughly Modern Millie; off-Broadway successes such as See Rock City & Other Destinations (The Transport Group), Vanities-A New Musical, Ordinary Days, I Love You Because, Songs for A New World, Striking 12, Summer of '42; and regional successes like Ace, Children Of Eden, Emma, Harold and Maude, Honk!, Meet John Doe and Tinyard Hill. 2010's Play it Cool will be presented at Off-Broadway's Acorn Theatre in September 2011. 2009's Iron Curtain was recently presented at the Village Theatre in Washington and will be presented Off-Broadway this fall by the Prospect Theatre Company; and It Shoulda Been You will receive two regional mountings - the first at NJ's George Street Playhouse this fall directed by Tony winner David Hyde Pierce and starring Tony winners Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris, followed by another production at the Village Theatre in Washington.

NAMT's 23rd ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS to be presented in October are:

Bernice Bobs Her Hair
Book by Julia Jordan, Music by Adam Gwon, Lyrics by Julia Jordan and Adam Gwon

Synopsis
Bernice Bobs Her Hair is based on the classic short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald as well as letters he wrote to his sister. It is a story of "the shifting, semi-cruel world of adolescence" set in a time of transformation for American women. Young men and women dance and flirt and engage in character assassination in the time honored pursuit of romance and status. The story is retold with an eye to the future which Fitzgerald anticipates but could not have predicted.
History
Bernice Bobs Her Hair has had readings at Primary Stages in NYC 2008, American University in DC 2009, the University of Nebraska in 2010 and The Irish Rep in NYC 2010.

Authors' Bios
Adam Gwon's musical Ordinary Days (NAMT Festival 2008) made its NYC premiere at Roundabout Theatre Company, and has since been seen in London's West End and across the U.S. His musicals The Boy Detective Fails (book: Joe Meno) and Cloudlands (book/co-lyrics: Octavio Solis) will premiere this season at Signature Theatre (Arlington, VA) and South Coast Repertory, respectively. Adam's honors include the Kleban, Ebb, and Loewe awards, the ASCAP Harold Adamson Award, and the MAC John Wallowitch Award, as well as commissions from Signature Theatre, South Coast Rep, Broadway Across America, and the EST/Sloan Project. Recordings: Ordinary Days (Ghostlight Records). Fellowships: MacDowell Colony, Dramatists Guild. Education: BFA, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Adam is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. www.adamgwon.com

Julia Jordan's musical books include Sarah Plain and Tall (NAMT Festival 2003) and The Mice, both written with Larry O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Upcoming musicals: Storyville and Murder Ballad. Plays include Smoking Lesson, Tatjana in Color, St. Scarlet, Boy, Dark Yellow, and Jones. Currently in development, the film Tell Me Something I Don't Know with Glen Luchford slated to direct. Kleban Award, Francesca Primus Prize, Lucille Lortel Playwriting Fellowship, Manhattan Theater Club Fellowship, Jonathan Larson Award, Heideman Award and LeComte Nouy Award. She is one of the founders of The Lilly Awards and sits on the Council of the Dramatists Guild.

*****
Bloodsong of Love
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Joe Iconis

Synopsis
Bloodsong of Love is a rock ‘n' roll musical theater interpretation of the Spaghetti Western film genre. It follows the story of a wandering guitarist known only as The Musician who is on a journey to reclaim his bride from the evil clutches of Lo Cocodrilo. The Musician navigates his way through a bizarre and hyper-stylized world of maimed prostitutes, one-eyed bartenders, shoot ‘em ups, midnight hallucinations, and lots and lots of blood.
History
Bloodsong of Love was commissioned by Ars Nova, and was produced there in the spring of 2010 for limited run. It was nominated for three Drama Desk Awards: Best Music, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Jeremy Morse).

Author's Bio
Joe Iconis has been nominated for two Drama Desk Awards, a Lucille Lortel Award, and is the proud recipient of an Ed Kleban Award and a Jonathan Larson Award. He is the author of Bloodsong of Love, The Black Suits, ReWrite, The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks and We The People. His concert act, The Rock and Roll Jamboree, frequently plays The Laurie Beechman Theater and Joe's Pub and the Original Cast Recording of Things To Ruin, Joe's theatrical rock concert, is available on Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records. Joe is greatly inspired by Robert Altman, Dolly Parton, The Rolling Stones, whiskey, The Muppets, and The Family of artists he frequently surrounds himself with. www.MrJoeIconis.com

*****
Dani Girl
Music by Michael Kooman
Book & Lyrics by Christopher Dimond

Synopsis
Dani Girl is the inspiring and humorous story of a young girl's battle with a life-threatening disease. Far from sitting back and accepting her condition, Dani transforms her struggle into a fantastical adventure. Together with her teddy bear, imaginary guardian angel, and movie-obsessed hospital roommate, she battles a personified Cancer across the realms of fantasy and reality as she attempts to get her beloved hair back. Told from a child's perspective, this provocative musical explores the universal themes of life in the face of death, hope in the face of despair, and the indomitable power of imagination.
History
Originally workshopped at Carnegie Mellon University, Dani Girl has since been developed at American Conservatory Theatre, the Kennedy Center, the ASCAP/Disney Workshop, Penn State University, Millikin University, and CAP-21. The show received its world premiere at Canada's Talk is Free Theatre, where it will be remounted for a Toronto run in early 2012. Additional productions have been seen in Australia, Great Britain, and Dallas. Dani Girl was the recipient of the 2008 KC/ACTF Musical Theatre Award.

Authors' Bios
Michael Kooman (music) and Christopher Dimond (book & lyrics) received a 2010 Jonathan Larson Grant. The duo's other works include Golden Gate (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Homemade (London's Ambassadors Theater), and the family-friendly Christmas musical Junior Claus. Michael and Chris were Dramatists Guild Fellows, received a fellowship at The O'Neill National Music Theater Conference, attended the Johnny Mercer Songwriting workshop, and are two-time finalists for the Fred Ebb Award. Between them, they have received the Burton Lane Award, the Harold Adamson Award, the KC/ACTF Musical Theatre Award, an Anna Sosenko Grant, and numerous ASCAPLUS Awards. They are currently working on an original musical commissioned by the Kennedy Center. Michael and Chris are proud graduates of Carnegie Mellon University, and are members of the Dramatists Guild, ASCAP, and the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. Their debut album, Out of Our Heads, which features an all-star lineup of Broadway performers, is now available on iTunes. koomandimond.com

*****
The Dogs of Pripyat
Music by Aron Accurso, Lyrics by Jill Abramovitz
Book by Jill Abramovitz and Leah Napolin, based on the play by Leah Napolin

Synopsis
USSR, 1986. As all humans are evacuated from Chernobyl, their pets are left behind to fend for themselves. This is the story of those animals. Boychik is a gentle mutt who pines for his masters' return. But when a corrupt Rottweiler takes control, Boychik learns how to hunt, kill and ultimately form a new kind of family. Based on true events, The Dogs of Pripyat asks what it means to be a family, a friend, and, ultimately, what it means to be a dog in our increasingly frightening post-Katrina, post-Fukushima world. It's a story about hope and survival when they seem least possible.

History
The Dogs of Pripyat began as a play by Leah Napolin. Jill and Aron began work on the musical adaptation in the BMI workshop, where Jill won a Jerry Harrington Award. Material from the show has been showcased at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Musical Mondays, and a master class led by Stephen Schwartz. The show was developed further in the Dramatists Guild Fellowship program led by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. The Dogs... won the Weston Playhouse New Musical Theatre Award, which included a concert at the Weston Playhouse and a demo produced by Kurt Deutch and Sh-K-Boom Records.

Authors' Bios
Aron Accurso Composer/Additional Lyricist: Strega Nona (commissioned by Weston. Six productions including The Atlantic Theatre and a National Tour by Maximum Entertainment.) Training: Dramatists Guild Fellow, BMI Workshop (Harrington Award). B'way: Sister Act (Assistant Conductor), Little Mermaid (Keyboard 1), Billy Elliot (Casting, Rehearsal Pianist). Regional: Calvin Berger at George Street (Incidental Music/Music Director). Workshops: Aladdin, Up Here, Newsies, Addams Family, Hello My Baby, Red Clay. TV: Live with Regis and Kelly, and Wendy Williams with American Idol Finalists. Education: BA in Music Composition with distinction from St. Olaf College.

Jill Abramovitz BMI Workshop (Harrington Award), Dramatists Guild Fellow, Weston Playhouse New Musical Award (The Dogs of Pripyat). Contributing lyricist on It Shoulda Been You, past NAMT selectee now headed for the George Street Playhouse and The Village Theatre. Currently adapting Martha Speaks for Theatreworks USA with composer/husband Brad Alexander, with whom she is also adapting the film Bread and Roses. Acting credits include 9 to 5 and Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me on Broadway, and many off-Broadway and regional credits including past NAMT shows See Rock City (Barrington Stage) and Band Geeks (Goodspeed.).

Leah Napolin made her Broadway playwrighting debut in 1975 with Yentl, produced by Cheryl Crawford and the Chelsea Theatre Center. In 2003, Yentl returned to New York for a successful run at the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater. In 1979, Ms. Napolin completed her second play Lost Island, about monks and nuns in the eleventh century, followed by Trash and Treasures (1981); Aristophanes' Retreat (1985); Split at the Root, a Novel in Three Acts (2010); and Twister (2011). She is a member of P.E.N. and the Dramatists Guild, and the winner of the John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award for The Dogs of Pripyat (2004).

*****
Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge
Music & Lyrics by Peter Mills
Book by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel
Adapted from J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World

Synopsis
A pitch-dark comedy with the kick of moonshine, Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge transplants J.M. Synge's classic The Playboy of the Western World to 1930s Appalachia. Bluegrass music and backwoods mayhem abound in this coming-of-age story about a slapdash murder, a whirlwind romance, and a most unlikely hero.
History
Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge was originally developed and produced by the Prospect Theater Company of New York City. A developmental reading of the first act was held at the Hudson Guild Theater in September 2008. Subsequently, a full production was mounted at 59E59 Theatres in May 2009.

Authors' Bios
Cara Reichel is a writer and director, and serves as the Producing Artistic Director of the NYC-based non-profit Prospect Theater Company. Over the past decade, she has co-created 11 new musicals with writer Peter Mills. Recent Prospect productions include: Once Upon a Time in New Jersey, Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge, Illyria, and Honor. She also directed Iron Curtain at the 2009 NAMT Festival of New Musicals and the O'Neill Theatre Center (2008), and Othello for Oberon Theatre Ensemble (2010). Education: Princeton University, and the MFA Program at Brooklyn College. Cara is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and the League of Professional Theatre Women. www.carareichel.com

Peter Mills received the 2010 Kleban Prize for Lyrics, the 2007 Fred Ebb Award, the 2003 Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, and a 2002 Jonathan Larson grant. Since 2000, Peter has written 11 new musicals. As composer/lyricist, his shows include The Pursuit Of Persephone (2006 Drama Desk nominations: Best Music, Best Orchestrations), Illyria, The Flood, and The Taxi Cabaret. Peter wrote lyrics for Iron Curtain (NAMT Festival 2009), with composer Stephen Weiner and bookwriter Susan DiLallo. He has an MFA in Musical Theater Writing from NYU. Peter is a founding member of Prospect Theater Company. www.pcmills.com

*****
notes to MariAnne
By David Rossmer & Dan Lipton

Synopsis
Sometimes we leave someone we love. At 12 years old, Johnny ran away from home, leaving behind his sister MariAnne -- a regret he can't shake. That was in 1952. Ten years later, the estranged pair are swept into a series of extraordinary events that will bring them to a pivotal reunion The set is sparse yet the story stretches from Brooklyn to Kansas. The cross-country journey rides a wave of American pop music, from early '60s rock to '30s saloon songs to contemporary beats and melody. A modern fairy tale, notes to MariAnne explores the consequences of leaving those we love and finding new hope in the most unexpected places.
History
notes to MariAnne was seen in concert at Joe's Pub and had several closed readings before 2007, when Jed Bernstein presented a 29-hour Equity reading at The Zipper Factory theater. In the summer of 2007, MariAnne was welcomed to the O'Neill Center's National Music Theatre Conference, where Rossmer & Lipton received the Holof Award for their lyrics. In the summer of 2008, the show was seen at New York Stage and Film's Martel Musicals series as part of the Powerhouse Theater season at Vassar.

Authors' Bios
Lipton & Rossmer are longtime collaborators who have created several original musicals, jointly writing all music, book and lyrics. Their musical comedy The Blonde Streak was commissioned by Broadway Across America and developed at the Orchard Project. Their form-bending musical satire JOE! (NAMT Festival 2000) was seen at the Kennedy Center's Theater Lab and Chicago's Equity Library Theatre. JOE! is currently in development as a 3-D movie musical. Rossmer & Lipton are currently working for Araca Group on adapting a bestselling memoir, with playwright Jessica Provenz. Their sketch comedy musical Rated P... for Parenthood, written with Sandy Rustin, premiered at SOPAC in NJ and is optioned for production off-Broadway. Other projects include: a Depression-era book musical with television writer Janis Hirsch, a futuristic concept musical with Kirsten Guenther, and a biographical show about B-movie king Roger Corman with Wayne Rawley. Lipton & Rossmer have written special material for singers including Kelli O'Hara ("Always" album, Lincoln Center, Town Hall) and Sutton Foster (Joe's Pub). And the duo co-created, with Steve Rosen and Sarah Saltzberg, the comedy improv variety show Don't Quit Your Night Job, which began at Joe's Pub and ran off-Broadway.

*****
Pregnancy Pact
Book & Lyrics by Gordon Leary
Music by Julia Meinwald

Synopsis
Pregnancy Pact is 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. 15-year-old Maddie is devoted to her three best friends and they are to her. So when Brynn gets pregnant, the friends all plan to have children, raising them together in a dream of a perfect life. Their pact grows as other girls find out and want in. The bubble finally bursts when their secret is revealed, leaving each of the girls to face the hard realities of love, responsibility and growing up.
History
Pregnancy Pact was originally developed in the Dramatists Guild Fellows program under the guidance of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. As the recipient of the Weston Playhouse's 2011 New Musical Award, selections were performed in Weston, VT and recorded with Kurt Deutsch of Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records. The score was showcased as part of Ars Nova's Uncharted Series in March 2011. Most recently, the show received a workshop in the 2011 Yale Institute for Music Theatre in New Haven, CT.

Authors' Bios
Gordon Leary is a bookwriter and lyricist from Chagrin Falls, Ohio. His musicals with Julia Meinwald include Disappeared (2009 Lincoln Center Directors Lab), and One-Man Show (2010 DanceNOW [NYC]). Other musicals include Cheer Wars (2009 Richard Rodgers Award), Across the River (2009 Daegu International Musical Festival) and Sled Ride (Auckland Art Gallery.) Gordon was a 2009-2010 Dramatists Guild Musical Theater Fellow. He holds a BA from Vassar College and an MFA. in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.

Julia Meinwald's one-act musical, Disappeared, also with Gordon Leary, was produced at Prospect Theatre Company and workshopped as part of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab. Her musical Jack Perry Is Alive (and Dating!) with Harrison Rivers and Daniella Shoshan is a 2011 NYMF Next Link selection. BA, Music, Yale University; MFA, NYU Tisch's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

*****
Watt?!?
Book & Lyrics by David Javerbaum
Music by Brendan Milburn

Synopsis
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."
History
Here is the production history of Watt?!?.
Much of Watt?!? was written during a one-week writers' retreat in 2007 at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA, under the guidance of Julianne Boyd. BSC then staged a reading of the show, under the direction of Jonathan Bernstein, in spring 2008.
Thank you for reading this production history of Watt?!?.

Author's Bio
David Javerbaum has won 11 Emmys for his work as head writer and executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He was a principal author of its best-sellers America (The Book) and Earth (The Book). He is also a Kleban Award-winning lyricist whose work includes 2008's Cry-Baby, for which he was Tony-nominated; eight original Christmas songs for the 2008 television special, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! for which he won a Grammy; and "Broadway: It's Not Just for Gays Anymore!", the opening number to the 2011 Tonys. He also collaborated with God on His upcoming memoir, The Last Testament.

*****

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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