Village Theatre's Festival Of New Musicals Rings In 8th Year

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Village Theatre's highly anticipated annual Festival of New Musicals returns for an eighth year, featuring staged readings of six new musicals— Chasing Nicolette, Killala Bay, Dennis The Menace, The Alchemists, The Gypsy King, and The Yellow Wood. These are fully sung presentations, performed with script-in-hand, of six brand new musicals. There will also be five parties throughout the weekend where Village Originals Members can meet the authors, the actors, and the Theatre staff, while enjoying delicious refreshments, and talkback question and answer sessions.

The Festival always brings a fresh assortment of new musicals to Village Theatre's First Stage, and this year is no exception. See a complete list of this year's musical line-up:

Chasing Nicolette: Writers Peter Kellogg and David Friedman, the team that brought Desperate Measures (Village Originals Festival of New Musicals in 2005) and Stunt Girl (Village Originals Festival of New Musicals in 2005, Workshop in 2006, and Mainstage coming up in 2009), return to Village Originals to share their new musical Chasing Nicolette, a musical based on the French romance, Aucassin and Nicolette.

Killala Bay: Coming from the United Kingdom to join Village Originals for the first time are Chris Burgess (book and lyrics for Tales My Lover Told Me; book, music, and lyrics for the revue Boys in the Buff [Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh] - nominated for four Edinburgh Festival awards) and Denise Wright (composer Jason & the Argonauts [with Peter Anthony and Dave Hudson]), writers of the touching new Irish musical Killala Bay. This musical will be presented as a reading this month at Theatre Building Chicago with which Village Originals has shared developmental projects such as Fairystories and Once Upon A Time In New Jersey.

Dennis The Menace: The boy you've known for years as a comic character makes a musical debut in Dennis The Menace. This new musical features a book by Ernie Chambers (Executive Producer for both Warner Bros. feature films of Dennis The Menace), who is joined by most of the creative team behind the stage—and subsequent film—musical Reefer Madness. Lyrics by Emmy-award winner Kevin Murphy (Desperate Housewives and the upcoming television series Valentine), with music by David Manning (part of creative team for upcoming Broadway production, Breakup Notebook) and Nathan Wang (currently preparing a new composition for an Olympic performance). Director Andy Fickman is an award-winning director for both film and stage, whose credits include Dreamworks' She's the Man and the recent smash hit, Disney's The Game Plan.

The Alchemists: This story was created by Cara Reichel and Peter Mills, with book, music, and lyrics by Peter Mills, lyricist of the hit Village Originals production Iron Curtain (Village Originals Festival of New Musicals in 2007, Workshop in 2008) and author of Taxi Cabaret (Village Originals Festival of New Musicals in 2003). Both Mills and Reichel are founding members of the Prospect Theater Company in New York. Mills received the 2007 Fred Ebb Award, two 2005 Drama Desk Award nominations for The Pursuit Of Persephone (Best Music and Best Orchestrations), the 2003 Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award from the ASCAP Foundation, and received a 2002 grant from the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation.

The Gypsy King: Showing off his latest work is three-time Emmy-award winner for writing and composing in television, Randy Rogel, the author of the new musical The Gypsy King. Rogel is the recipient of a rare and prestigious Peabody Award and has worked with Warner Bros. Studio writing for BATMAN, and at Walt Disney Studios where he wrote scripts and songs for Tarzan, Peter Pan: Return to Neverland, Cinderella II, Cinderella III, 101 Dalmatians 2, and more.

The Yellow Wood: Winners of the 2006 Richard Rodgers Development Award and the Daryl Roth Award for The Yellow Wood, are writers Danny Larsen and Michelle Elliott. The Yellow Wood is their first collaboration together and has been presented as part of the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival and will be presented in the National Alliance of Musical Theatre Festival in October 2008.

The Festival of New Musicals also offers Village Originals Members a first look at potential upcoming Village Theatre Mainstage shows. Past Festivals have included shows that go on to be seen on Village Theatre's Mainstage such as Million Dollar Quartet, Little Women, Girl of My Dreams, The Wedding Banquet,  Once Upon a Time in New Jersey, as well as the upcoming 2008-2009 Season's Saint Heaven and Stunt Girl. Village Originals has supported shows such as Next to Normal (formerly Feeling Electric) and The Ark that have each gone on to New York productions after getting a great start at Village Theatre's Festival of New Musicals.

Admission to the Eighth Annual Festival of New Musicals is an exclusive Village Originals Member benefit. Only Village Originals Members and Industry Professionals will be admitted. Anyone can become a Village Originals Member by calling Village Theatre's Box Office at (425) 392-2202. All memberships are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. For more information on becoming a Village Originals Member, visit the website at: http://www.villagetheatre.org/villageoriginals_memberships.shtml.

For more information about the Eighth Annual Festival of New Musicals, please contact Michelle Sanders, Public Relations Manager at (425) 392-1942 x124 or at msanders@villagetheatre.org.

About Village Originals

Village Theatre's nationally-recognized Village Originals program is dedicated to every aspect of new musical development: workshops, readings, and full productions. To date, over 80 new musicals have been developed, many of which have gone on to stages throughout the world, including Million Dollar Quartet, Once Upon A Time in New Jersey, The Ark (opened off-Broadway November 2005), After the Fair, Play It By Heart, Making Tracks, The Wedding Banquet, and Eleanor. Village Theatre is highly respected on a national level for its significant contribution to the world of musical theatre--only a handful of theatre companies throughout the country commission and develop new musicals.

Workshops are the next step after a reading in the development of a new musical. There are no costumes, set or props, and include minimal lights and music. Workshops are for shows ready to move beyond readings, giving them the opportunity to further develop and gain more in-depth audience feedback before becoming a staged production.

About Village Theatre

Based in Issaquah, WA, with operations in Everett, Village Theatre is a leading producer of musical theatre in the Pacific Northwest. Producing entertaining quality productions for the entire family since 1979, Village Theatre has grown into one of the region's best-attended Equity theatres, with over 18,000 subscribers and 170,000 projected total attendance each season. Through its Village Originals program, Village Theatre is nationally recognized for its contribution to the development of new musicals, having launched over 80 new works to date. Village Theatre also takes pride in nurturing tomorrow's audiences through its youth education programs, Pied Piper and KIDSTAGE, serving over 53,000 young people, families, and schools annually.

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