2006 NYMF Festival Announces 'Next Link' Selections

By: May. 22, 2006
The New York Musical Theatre Festival is pleased to announce the 18 new musicals selected for this year's Next Link Project, to be presented as part of the third-annual New York Musical Theatre Festival, September 10 through October 1, 2006. The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) is a three-week celebration highlighting the next generation of musicals and the vibrant community of writers and artists working in musical theater today.

"It's going to be an electrifying third season for NYMF" said Isaac Robert Hurwitz, NYMF Executive Producer. "We've got an excitingly diverse group of terrific new musicals on tap, chosen from more than 300 submissions."

The following 2006 Next Link Project selections were announced on Sunday, May 21 at Unleashing the Next Link, a special kick-off event at New World Stages in Manhattan:

* * *

"Desperate Measures"
A Western musical loosely based on Measure for Measure.
Music by David Friedman, Book and Lyrics by Peter Kellogg

Johnny Blood, a hotheaded young cowboy, is sentenced to hang for killing a man in a bar fight. When his sister Susanna, a novice nun in a nearby Franciscan mission, pleads for his life, the Governor offers to pardon Johnny – if Susanna will sleep with him. What to do? The sheriff suggests Susanna say yes and then, under cover of darkness, switch places with one of the saloon girls. What happens next makes for a desperate mix of comedy, suspense and romance.

* * *

A modern day Don Quixote, based on a true story.
Music by Marc Bosserman and Tom Valdez, Book and Lyrics by Janet Cole Valdez

Duncan, obsessed by comic books and superheroes, witnesses a murder by his step-dad. Running for his life, he makes a painful discovery: no one is coming to the rescue. After putting on the ring of the father he never knew, he dubs himself "Emerald Man," vowing to right the world's wrongs. With step-dad hot on his trail, Duncan makes us ask "Who's Really Crazy?"

* * *

A new musical about a guy with a dream, a chair and 400 helium-filled balloons.
Music and Lyrics by Robert Lindsey-Nassif, Book by Peter Ullian

Jerry Gorman is a guy from Passaic, New Jersey with 400 helium-filled balloons, a Wal-mart lawnchair and a dream. Though it seems totally impossible, Jerry longs to fly, despite being dyslexic and terminally average. His does battle with the FAA, the CIA and Wal-mart as he fights to fulfill his Jerriosity and join the Greats of Aviation in the sky!

* * *

The beach party gang go-go-goes flower power!
Music by Michael Shaieb and Brent Lord, Book and Lyrics by John Wimbs Jr.

GO-GO BEACH is a new musical fable told in the style of the '60s beach party movies. It's a coming-of-age story about a surfer who gets into trouble with his girlfriend when he falls for a runaway teen pop star, and his relationship with a flower child who helps him find the true meaning of love. GO-GO BEACH features an original score inspired by the surf sound, girl groups, go-go music - and a little flower power as well.

* * *

A musical about six strangers, their therapist and a group therapy session.
Music, Lyrics & Book by Conor Mitchell

HAVE A NICE LIFE is a musical about group therapy. Six strangers and their therapist come together one night and divulge the funniest, scariest, darkest and most embarrassing personal confessions to each other. They learn that to be honest with others, they have to be honest with themselves. This new musical explores the barriers we put up and the consequences when they come down.

* * *

An all-girl '40s big band strives to make it to the top.
Music, Lyrics and Book by Barbara Schottenfeld

It is 1945 and the men are serving overseas. Who is going to keep Americans dancing back home? The Honeytones, the Chicagoan all-girl swing band! Passionate about their music, these beautiful "Rosie-the-Riveters with Rhythm" are willing to risk everything in order to play. Hot and Sweet interweaves the moving stories of these pioneering musicians--their dreams, their loves, their struggles, and their bittersweet triumphs. A hot and exhilarating jazz-based score, played by the onstage women themselves, brings to life this uplifting celebration of human potential.

* * *

A classic Chinese legend is reincarnated as a multi-cultural theatrical experience.
Music by Richard Oberacker, Book and Lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker

Elements of Peking Opera, Kabuki, Modern Dance and Martial Arts combine to bring a two-thousand-year-old Chinese literary masterpiece to life. Chronicling a scholar's messianic quest across the Asian continent in search of the salvation of mankind, gods and monsters do battle in a work both intimate and epic. Asian, Arabic, African and rock musical influences sing a universal song of world peace.

* * *

King Dres rises to power in the Almighty Latin King/Queen Nation.
Music by Ian Williams, Book and Lyrics by Aaron Jafferis

Andres and Juan pledge themselves to the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation. As Kings, they get the power and respect they've always wanted, but at what cost? A hip hop/rock/Latin musical based on a true story…just not the true story you expect.

* * *

Everyone's favorite subject.
Music, Lyrics & Book by Shawn Northri

Multiple stories unfold in the cafetorium of Benjamin Franklin Middle School as the students experience their first crushes and first kisses; as a best friend becomes jealous of a girlfriend; and an eighth grade formal dance becomes a riot when the self-anointed popular girl fails to be elected Queen of the dance.

* * *

A child-friendly Oedipus Rex goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Music by Robert J. Saferstein, Book and Lyrics by Kimberly Patterson and Gil Varod

Hey kids! Join your pal Oedipus – a little boy a lot like YOU! – as he takes an exciting journey across ancient Greece to become king! You'll learn all about blind people, family love, and communicable diseases! Sing along to favorite songs like "What's It Like When Ya Get the Plague?" and "A Little Complex"! (Warning: Explicit Content, Parental Guidance Suggested.

* * *

Music and Lyrics by Scott Alan, Book by Tara Smith

Upon returning to her childhood home following the passing of her mother, Katherine Mathews finds herself clinging to the memories of her past; re-examining conversations she's had with her mother at the ages of 17, 26, and 35. In a soaring musical full of unexpected recollections, Katherine pieces together the patterns of a life filled with promise and compromise, third strikes and second chances, and always, a mother's unconditional love.

* * *

Jack the Ripper meets the Pied Piper, with a haunting Celtic score.
Music, Lyrics & Book by Marcus Hummon

Set in the poverty of 19th century Boston, The Piper is the story of three people trying to form a family: an ex-prostitute, her murder and a border under suspicion of murder. Weaving a tapestry of hope and desperation, unfulfilled longing and terrible retribution, this Celtic musical explores the power of storytelling and offers a chilling gesture of poetic justice.

* * *

"Prozak and the Platypus"
An old fashioned girl-meets-platypus story.
Music by Jill Sobule, Book and Lyrics by Elise Thoron

Rock club and science lab are rival testing grounds in which an angry teenager and her scientist father explore avenues into human consciousness and the question of their family's survival. Rooted in Australian aboriginal mythology of dreamtime and neurological research on the brain, the play has a platypus who dreams become the link between father and daughter. And his brain becomes the epicenter of scientific and mythological exploration.

* *

Music by Chuck Larkin, Book and Lyrics by Cheryl Coons

A mysterious disappearance of real-life honeymooners presented from two points of view, RIVER'S END is based on the real-life disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde, who vanished on their daredevil honeymoon to Grand Canyon in 1928. The musical weaves together two completely different versions of their journey, with two pairs of actors playing the Hydes, and two surprising theories of what might have happened to them.

* * *

A chamber opera based on the true story of a young girl's tragic murder.
Story and Libretto by David Simpatico, Music by Will Todd

THE SCREAMS OF KITTY GENOVESE was developed at Opera Lab in Kent, England, in 1998 and subsequently workshopped at the 1999 and 2000 Eugene O'Neill National Music Theatre Conferences. The first full version was workshopped at The ENO Works (the developmental studio for the English National Opera) in 2000 and 2001. The musical also appeared at the National Alliance for Music Theatre's Festival of New Musicals and the Boston Conservatory of Music in 2001.

* * *

A ruined drycleaner seeks revenge on Mayor Bloomberg for his smoking ban.
Book, Music and Lyrics by David Cornue, Sam Holtzapple, Warren Loy and Chris Todd

SMOKING BLOOMBERG is a musical satire about a Korean dry-cleaner's quest for revenge against Mayor Bloomberg and the smoking ban that has ruined her business. However, the issues run much deeper than local politics and the current mayoral administration. Full of edgy, contemporary humor, this show is a biting, irreverent lampoon of American democracy and the individual's place within it.

* * *

Three people, one relationship. Even the simplest things can get complicated.
Music & Lyrics by Grant Olding, Book by Grant Olding with Toby Davies

THREE SIDES tells the simple story of three people sharing one relationship. After a depressing new year in London, a chance meeting leads to Carrie getting involved with both Ant and Brian. But when she can't decide which to ditch and the men fall desperately in love with her, even the simplest things start to get complicated.

* * *

Music, Lyrics & Book by Marcus Hummon

Born in the Indian territories before the massacre at Wounded Knee, Jim Thorpe's life spans the tragedy of America's inability to come to grips with the inclusion of its native population. WARRIOR is the story of an America that is gone; of the last of a generation of Native Americans born beyond the emasculation of the full-blown reservation system.

* * *

Now in its third year, NYMF exists to provide a launching pad for emerging musical theatre writers, composers, lyricists and performers, and to bring a new generation of work to new and diverse audiences. Each year, 18 of the festival's selections are chosen by a jury of theater luminaries from open submissions to the Festival's Next Link Project. This year's seven-member jury includes seven-time Joseph Jefferson Award winner Gary Griffin, Tony winner David Henry Hwang, three-time Tony winner Thomas Meehan, Pulitzer Prize winner and two-time Tony winner Marsha Norman, Drama Desk nominee Anthony Rapp, Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad and Tony-winning producer Michael Rego.

By creating an lower-risk infrastructure based around an economy of scale, NYMF is able to provide artists with professional and creative resources they would not be able to afford or access – including professionally equipped Off-Broadway theaters, full technical and design support, marketing opportunities and press exposure, industry introductions and more – enabling new musicals to break through the "glass ceiling" between the developmental process and full production.

Sold-out festival runs and strong reviews have led to commercial options for many past NYMF shows, and off-Broadway productions of Altar Boyz, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Captain Louie and most recently [title of show] and Shout!.

Kevin McCollum, producer of The Drowsy Chaperone, Avenue Q and Rent, hailed the New York Musical Theatre Festival as "a wonderful booster rocket to musical theatre lovers everywhere. With the greatest concentration of creative theater professionals in the world, New York has been in desperate need of an organization that brings emerging musical theatre artists to audiences. In the theatre the audience doesn't lie, and when a musical works everyone present feels it. When it doesn't, it's best for the artists to get that information directly from an audience, and in real time."

In addition to The Next Link Project, the 2005 Festival included almost twenty additional productions invited from around the world; a series of panels and seminars featuring industry leaders; numerous readings, concerts and cabaret performances; as well as an array of umbrella events co-presented with other musical theater organizations around the city.


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