Six finalists have been announced for Leicester Square Theatre's The New Musical Project, which aims to find, nurture and develop new musical theatre writing talent and produce it.
West End musical theatre star Sally Ann Triplett
(Donna in Mamma Mia!, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Roxie Hart in Chicago, Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls), is joining the assessor panels alongside award winning British composers,George Stiles
and Anthony Drewe
(Honk! produced over 4,000 times and winner of the 2000 Olivier Award Best Musical, Mary Poppins, which won a clutch of awards in the West End and on Broadway, Betty Blue Eyes and The Wind in the Willows, co-written with Julian Fellows, which is due in the West End in 2015).
The New Musical Project invited would-be Sondheims or Lloyd Webbers to submit new, unpublished or never previously performed one-act musicals. Now, through a process of mentoring and rehearsal and rehearsed readings one will be chosen to take on as a fully staged production in the 60-seat Lounge theatre at Leicester Square Theatre.
At each reading an industry panel will provide feedback on the piece - and this will be used to determine which of the six shortlisted finalists is eventually taken to full production.The theatre will provide the cast, a director and a musical director for the rehearsed readings. At the reading, 30 minutes of each show will be performed before a Q & A with the industry panel and audience.
The dates of the rehearsed readings are Sundays 26 January, 2, 9, 16 & 23 February and 2 March.
The six finalists are:
The Next Big Thing - book, lyrics and music by David Kent
After a series of rejected formulaic novels, aspiring author Helena finally creates a heroine who has a will of her own. Liberty literally comes alive, transforming Helena's life by bringing magical success. Things get out of hand after a
disastrous date, and Helena is shocked to discover that her love-rival has been murdered, seemingly thanks to Liberty.
Grace Notes - book & lyrics by RoBert Gould music & lyrics by Christopher J Orton
A musical love story that begins during the racial tension of late 60s America and ends in the early 80s. Sam is a white songwriter who finds it hard to place love before his inner need to succeed and Grace is a highly talented black singer, whose "weakness" is her unwavering love for Sam. They meet, fall in love and break up three times!
Take a house party. Add a pinch of awkwardness, a dollop of social faux pas, and a light sprinkling of self-reflection. Then turn it into a musical. Throw a cast of six into the mix and watch them flex their vocal cords and multi-role theirway through the evening's proceedings. From alcohol fuelled tête-à-têtes to over-zealous dance moves, Part A is a comical and honest depiction of young people living in today's world.
Reception - book, lyrics and music Tom Read Wilson and Gary Albert Hughes
The year is 1967. Homosexuality has just been decriminalised. Reception takes place in a beautiful but dilapidated old British Music Hall, almost all of which had ceased to function by this time. It's now being used for functions with music performed by the resident pianist, Ralph. Ralph was once this Music Hall's brightest stars. Today's function is the
wedding reception of George and Annie. On the surface, they are a perfect couple but George has a secret. Returning to the Music Hall George frequented as a soldier on leave has more to it than mere nostalgia. George is gay. Annie knows and as his soulmate exhibits the greatest altruism in marrying him to protect him from an oppressive, fiercely conservative family. But neither of them been confronted with the reality of one of George's affairs, let alone the real love of George's life, until Ralph plays his first note.
Pierced - Tamar Broadbent
Pierced is a comic but touching portrayal of youth today, with all its idealism, ambition and awkward comedy. It follows the stories of five teenagers in the summer after finishing school, as they cope with obsessive crushes, divorcing parents, dreams of winning the Waz Factor and the thrall of advanced Facebook stalking. Pierced channels the voice of youth today: it is an insightful reflection of the social life and identity of a generation.
A musical dramatisation of the letter Oscar Wilde
wrote to his long-term lover Lord AlFred Douglas
(Bosie) from his prison cell in Reading Jail. De Profundis, which roughly translates as 'the depths of the soul', is a deeply confessional letter, which has a very clear emotional, philosophical and rational arc. In the letter, he discusses the value of sorrow in relation to the value of love; he demonstrates a huge capacity for forgiveness and articulates beautifully the need for love in times of crisis. We witness Wilde's distorted perception of time, his imaginary encounters with Bosie and his cathartic journey of creativity as he recreates the past in order to find ways of articulating his feelings in the present