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NAMT Announces 25th Annual Festival of New Musicals, 10/17-18

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) announced on June 28 the nine musicals selected to be part of the 25th Annual Festival of New Musicals on Thursday, October 17 and Friday, October 18 at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street).

The 2012 Festival selections are: Analog and Vinyl by Paul Gordon; The Astonishing Return of...The Protagonists! by Kevin Del Aguila and Michael Shaieb; The Boy Who Danced on Air by Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne ; Come From Away by David Heinand Irene Sankoff; Eastland by Andre Pluess, Ben Sussman and Andrew White; My Heart is the Drum by Stacey Luftig, Phillip Palmer and Jennie Redling; The Sandman by Richard Oberdacker and Robert Taylor; The Single Girl's Guide by Gordon Greenberg and Tommy Newman; and The Three Little Pigs by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles.

NAMT is excited to welcome 19 writers to this year's Festival and to welcome back nine of these writers from previous NAMT Festivals: Anthony Drewe (Honk! - '99); Paul Gordon (Emma - '06); Gordon Greenberg (Band Geeks! - '09); Tommy Newman (Tinyard Hill - '07;Band Geeks! - '09); Richard Oberacker (In That Valley - '99; Ace - '05); Andre Pluess (Winesburg, Ohio - '04); George Stiles (Honk!and The Three Musketeers - '99); Ben Sussman (Winesburg, Ohio - '04); and Robert Taylor (Ace - '05).

This year's NAMT Festival of New Musicals will present works by 9 award-winning writers, including Olivier Award-winners (Stiles and Drewe), Ovation Award-winners (Gordon, Pluess and Sussman), Joseph Jefferson Award-winners (Pluess, Sussman and White), Tony Award nominees (Gordon, Drewe and Stiles), Outer Critics Circle Award-winners (Pluess, Sussman and Del Aguila), a Drama Desk Award-winner (Greenberg) and a Harrington Award-winner (Redling).

The annual Festival of New Musicals attracts theatre producers from around the world for this industry-only event to discover nine new musicals presented in 45-minute staged readings over two days. All production costs are underwritten by NAMT, at no cost to the writing teams. As a non-profit organization, NAMT funds the Festival entirely through donations, sponsorships and contributions.

For the tenth consecutive year, NAMT's Festival of New Musicals will be presented at the premiere Off Broadway facility New World Stages, located at 340 West 50th Street. A limited number of free seats will be available to the public on a standby basis. The public can also receive passes to the Festival through a donation to NAMT. Registration for Industry members is free and now open at

To celebrate 25 years of the NAMT Festival, there will be a special benefit concert "SHOW OFF!" on the evening of October 20. More details will be announced shortly.

The 25th Annual Festival of New Musicals is overseen by NAMT New Works Director and Festival Producing Director Branden Huldeen and General Manager Lisa Dozier.

In the past 25 years, NAMT has introduced over 210 shows and 400 writers to the industry, and over 75% of these shows have found subsequent productions, tours, licensing agreements and/or cast albums as a direct result of the Festival. Some the most well-known Festival highlights are Tony Award winners The Drowsy Chaperone and Thoroughly Modern Millie; Off Broadway shows such as Nobody Loves You (now playing at Second Stage Theatre), The Memory Show (seen this season at The Transport Group), See Rock City & Other Destinations,Vanities-a new musical, Ordinary Days, I Love You Because, Ruthless, Songs for A New World, Striking 12; and regional successes Ace, Children Of Eden, Jane Austen's Emma, Harold and Maude, Honk!, Meet John Doe and It Shoulda Been You, among many others.


Analog and Vinyl
Book, Music & Lyrics by Paul Gordon

Harrison is obsessed with LPs from the sixties and the superior quality of analog. Rodeo Girl, a quirky Silver Lake hipster, is obsessed with Harrison but he barely notices. With his vintage record store about to go under, Harrison and Rodeo Girl are visited by a mysterious customer who makes them a devilish offer they can't refuse.

Analog and Vinyl has had three readings. The first reading was in 2010 at Smash Studios. In 2011, the show was in the Ken Davenport Reading Series. Most recently Analog and Vinyl was part of the York Theatre Development Series.

Paul Gordon co-wrote the Broadway musical Jane Eyre, nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score. He won a 2009 Ovation award for his score to Daddy Long Legs and won the 2007 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for his book to the musicalEmma (NAMT Fest '06) which has played all across the country. Daddy Long Legs, written with John Caird, has had productions all over the world including London and Tokyo. Being Earnest, written with Jay Gruska, premiered at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley this April.Little Miss Scrooge, written with John Caird and Sam Caird, will premiere at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura this Christmas.

The Astonishing Return of...The Protagonists!
Book & Lyrics by Kevin Del Aguila, Music by Michael Shaieb
"The Astonishing Return of...The Protagonists! is big, action-packed and hilarious. The committee thoroughly enjoyed the heroic score and found themselves rooting for the good guys all the way to the end."

The Protagonists was once a mighty group of superheroes battling the forces of evil. Twenty years later, they find themselves battling the forces of thinning hair and menopause. But when an old nemesis re-emerges with a sinister plan, can the former superfriends pull it together to save the world again?
The Astonishing Return of...The Protagonists! received a private reading in January 2013.

Kevin Del Aguila is the book writer of the hit Off Broadway musical Altar Boyz (NY Outer Critics Circle Award, Lortel and Drama Desk nominations). Other works include his stage adaptations of the DreamWorks film Madagascar (Radio City Music Hall), Skippyjon Jones(Lortel nomination) and Click Clack Moo (Lortel and Drama Desk nominations). He received the Heideman Award for his play The Greekest of Tragedies (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and took top prize at the FringeNYC with his comedy 6 Story Building. Theatergoers may know him as "Smee" from the Broadway and Off Broadway companies of Peter and the Starcatcher.

Michael Shaeib Stage: Out of My Range (and Other Age-Related Performance Issues); Alexander's House (winner 2013 Washington Area Music Award: Best Classical Recording); Through a Glass, Darkly; Go-Go Beach (dir. John Simpkins, NYMF 2006). Film: Brief Reunion (dir. John Daschbach); Last Days of Left Eye (VH1 Rock Docs); Waking Dreams (starring Ben Shenkman). Choral: Kushner Trilogy, commissioned by Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus for the Guthrie Theater 2009 Tony Kushner Festival. Upcoming films: Decay(dir. Joseph Wartnerchaney, starring Rob Zabrecky, Jackie Hoffman, Lisa Howard); co-producing a documentary about NYC Youth Pride Chorus. MFA from NYU's Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

The Boy Who Danced on Air
Book & Lyrics by Charlie Sohne, Music by Tim Rosser

"The Boy Who Danced on Air transports audiences to contemporary Afghanistan to explore the opposing forces of tradition vs. freedom and violence vs. love. The committee responded to its powerful themes, contemporary score and vibrant love story. Despite its small cast, the piece engages with large themes and tells a freshly compelling story that hasn't been told on a musical stage before."

The Boy Who Danced on Air focuses on a tradition in Afghanistan called Bacha Bazi: wealthy men take in poorer boys and train them to dance. The boys perform at parties and are often sexually abused. This is the story of what happens when two of those boys fall in love.

The Boy Who Danced on Air was developed through the Lark Play Development Center's "Monthly Meeting of the Minds" and was given two Lark roundtables. Excerpts from the score have been heard at 54 Below, Ars Nova, Joe's Pub and NYTB at the D-Lounge, as well as in the BMI Workshop. The Boy Who Danced on Air was a finalist for the 2013 Rodgers Award.

Charlie Sohne With composer Tim Rosser: The Profit of Creation (Yale Institute for Music Theater, Johnny Mercer Songwriters Workshop) and Political Speeches (NYTB, Culture Project's IMPACT). Lyricist: Tina Girlstar (book - Anton Dudley, music - Brian Feinstein; NYSAF, Olympus Theatricals) and The Shadow Sparrow (book - Anton Dudley, music - Keith Gordon; The O'Neill NMTC). Concerts: 54 Below, Joe's Pub and Second Stage, among others. Song with David Gaines named Top 25 in the Directory of Contemporary Musical Theater. Advanced class of the BMI Workshop, Dramatists Guild.

Tim Rosser is a composer and music director. Credits: MD for BC/EFA's Broadway Backwards (2013) at the Palace Theatre; keyboards for The Addams Family on Broadway and Carrie; MD for Making Books Sing and The Water Coolers. Composing (book and lyrics by Charlie Sohne): The Profit of Creation (Yale Institute for Music Theater, Johnny Mercer Songwriters Workshop) and Political Speeches(Culture Project's IMPACT). Concerts: a sold-out show at 54 Below, Cutting Edge Composers IV at Joe's Pub and more. Alumnus of Oberlin Conservatory, advanced class of the BMI Workshop.

Come From Away
Book, Music & Lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein

"Come From Away is a story of humanity set against the backdrop of tragedy. The committee was drawn by the power of the story of a little town caught up in a major world event. A terrific regional score drives this highly original and exciting new work."

Come From Away tells the true story of when seven thousand people landed on the doorstep of Gander, Newfoundland... and the people of Gander "put the kettle on." A rocking musical about when 38 planes from around the world were diverted to a small, Canadian community on September 11, 2001 - doubling its population in an instant. While the world witnessed the worst acts of humankind, the stranded passengers had their faith in humanity restored by the spirited people who comforted those who had come from away.

In 2011, David Hein and Irene Sankoff received a Canada Council for the Arts grant to travel to Newfoundland for the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, where they met, interviewed, and were "screeched-in" with returning passengers, pilots and local townsfolk. With an additional grant from the Ontario Arts Council, they first workshopped Come From Away at the inaugural season of The Canadian Music Theatre Project (CMTP), presenting at Sheridan College and the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto. In January, 2013, they developed the show further at Goodspeed Musicals' Festival of New Artists and again in March at CMTP/Sheridan.

David Hein is an award-winning, Canadian singer/songwriter who has played festivals across North America and released four CD's. With Irene Sankoff, he co-wrote and starred in My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding (based on his mother's true story and the same-sex marriage movement) winning more awards than any other show at NYMF 2010, 3 SALT awards and a Bryden "Ones-to-Watch" award, among others. Proud ASCAP members, they were featured in the ASCAP LA musical theatre showcase last year. or Twitter @sankoffandhein

Irene Sankoff's first musical, My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding (co-written and performed with David Hein) won Outstanding New Musical and Best Book (NYMF '10) and was nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award. Their newest show, Mitzvah(about a family dealing with the pressures of having a son with autism as he prepares for his Bar Mitzvah) was workshopped at the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. Irene holds an Acting MFA (New School for Drama) and a Writing/Psychology degree (York University). or Twitter @sankoffandhein

Book & Lyrics by Andrew White
Music by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman

"Eastland is an emotionally powerful journey. The committee was captivated by the individual stories of the victims of a forgotten tragedy. The rich and heartbreaking score is a beautiful musical narrative that will haunt you for days after. "

Early morning, July 24, 1915: moored on the Chicago River, the S. S. Eastland overflows with passengers ready for their company picnic. The boat leans to port - and keeps leaning, until it tips completely over. By day's end, hundreds will perish, whole families will vanish and unexpected heroes will emerge.

Eastland was produced by the Lookingglass Theatre Company, where it opened in June 2012 and ran for 9 sold-out weeks. It was nominated for four Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Best Production of a Large Musical and Best New Work. The Chicago Sun-Times praised it as "a transcendent work of theater" ("Best of 2012"), Time Out Chicago called it "evocative and enthralling" and it was hailed as "remarkable...moving" by TIME Magazine.

Andrew White is a founding member of Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company, where he currently serves as Artistic Director. As a Lookingglass Ensemble Member and performer, he has participated in the workshop and development of more than 30 Lookingglass original adaptations and world premieres. He wrote and directed the company's 1989 production of Of One Blood, about the 1964 murders of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman in Mississippi. In 2004, he wrote and directed an adaptation of George Orwell's 1984, which received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Adaptation. Eastland is his first musical.

Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman Based in Chicago, Pluess and Sussman have been collaborating as sound designers/composers for over 15 years. Projects include productions for Lookingglass Theatre and Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman for whom they designed the Broadway/regional/international productions of Metamorphoses, as well as her adaptation of the Chinese folk-tale The White Snake. Additional Broadway credits include sound designs for I Am My Own Wife and 33 Variations (with director Moises Kaufman), as well as the score for the Lincoln Center Theater production of The Clean House. Their musical Winesburg, Ohio (recipient of both Joseph Jefferson and Barrymore awards for outstanding musical) was a selection for the NAMT Festival in 2004, and has been produced at Steppenwolf/About Face, the Arden Theatre and Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Currently, they are composing the scores for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Tempest, as well as designing sound for The Jungle Book for the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. They have received numerous awards for composition and sound design including eleven Joseph Jefferson Awards, an Ovation Award, a Barrymore Award, Lortel/Drama Desk Nominations and a Drama Critics Circle Award.

My Heart is the Drum
Concept & Music by Phillip Palmer
Original Story and Book by Jennie Redling
Lyrics by Stacey Luftig

"My Heart is the Drum won over the committee with its African-influenced score and its deeply emotional story of oppression and love. Dealing with difficult issues of sexual slavery, it also manages to provide hope and a richly beautiful score."

When Efua Kuti is pulled from school and forced to marry, she flees her village in Ghana to pursue her dream: an education. Guided by the spirit of her grandmother, she confronts life-threatening dangers-and discovers her own heart. A tale of modern Africa with driving rhythms and rich vocal harmonies, this big, coming-of-age musical celebrates the promise within us all.

This will be the first public presentation of My Heart Is the Drum. The idea for the show was born out of Phillip Palmer's trips to South Africa and Ghana in 2004-2005. Some of the book and songs were developed at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where Jennie Redling received the Jerry Harrington Award for Creative Excellence for her work on Drum. The authors produced a reading of Act I in 2010.

Stacey Luftig's lyrics were featured Off Broadway and on tour in That's Life (Outer Critics Circle nomination). She wrote book/lyrics for Understood Betsy (Jackie White Memorial National Children's Playwriting Award, National Children's Theatre Festival Award). Story of an Hour, her operetta, premiered with Portland Chamber Orchestra, and her play Jinxed, an O'Neill NPC Finalist, won first place and audience favorite at Dayton Playhouse FutureFest. Stacey has also written animated television episodes for Pinky Dinky Doo, produced by the Sesame Workshop. A five-time fellow of the VCCA, she is a member of the BMI Librettists Workshop, ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild.

Phillip Palmer Theatre: The Weatherman (Clear Space Productions, Network One-Act Festival). Studies: Eastman School of Music (B.M.), traditional drumming and choral music in Ghana and South Africa. Member: BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. Phillip is also a Foreign Service Officer with the Agency for International Development (USAID), where he implements programs to create economic opportunities in the world's poorest countries. He has lived and worked in Haiti and southern Africa.

Jennie Redling is a playwright and librettist. Off Broadway: Miscast (Soho Rep, EST, NY Fringe Festival), Among Women (Mint Theater),Gone Astray (EST), The Harvest (Mint Theater). Regional/Play readings/Awards: Gone Astray (Stanley Drama Award, Penguin Rep, Urban Stages, Hudson Stage Co.), Desperate Territory (The Barrow Group), Ride the Dark Cars (NJ Rep), A Rape in Glorious (Arlene R. and William P. Lewis Playwriting Award for Women, O'Neill NPC Finalist twice, Arts & Letters Prize for Drama Finalist). Member: Dramatists Guild, BMI Librettists Workshop.

The Sandman - a little nightmare musical
Music by Richard Oberacker
Book & Lyrics by Robert Taylor & Richard Oberacker
Based on the disturbed scribblings of E.T.A. Hoffmann

"The Sandman is a rarity in musical theater: a genuinely scary story. The committee loved the unique sound of the score, with its Kurt Weill influences and inventive orchestrations, as well as the complicated, macabre plot and characters. NAMT audiences will be riveted and gasping in fear, with a few laughs on the side."

Germany, 1838. What if Clara's nutcracker had been built by a clockmaker whose children were held hostage by the Sandman? What if the clockmaker's nanny had invited the Sandman in? What if the Sandman steals children's eyes at night? Too ghastly to contemplate. Who dares put such horrors in a musical?

The Sandman - a little nightmare musical was originally commissioned by The Signature Theatre (VA) and received its first Equity staged reading at the Carnegie Center for Visual and Performing Arts in October, 2012.

Richard Oberacker is currently the conductor of Cirque du Soleil's Ka in Las Vegas. His musicals as composer and co-author includeThe Gospel According to Fishman (Signature Theatre), Dracula (Cincinnati Conservatory), In That Valley (NAMT Fest '99), Journey to the West (NYMF), Ace (NAMT Fest '05, The Old Globe, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, Signature Theatre) andThe Parenting Project (Cincinnati Fringe Festival, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati). Theater scores include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Peter Pan and The Trojan Women, as well as new works for the Nevada Ballet Theatre.

Robert Taylor is a graduate of Holland's Royal Conservatory, Union College, the University of Bonn and Princeton. He has taught foreign languages and musical ornithology in New York, English and music in China, served as music critic for the Albany Times Union, founded and directed several non-profits, worked as a freelance musician and writer in Manhattan and a translator in Europe and Asia. As lyricist and co-author, his musicals include Ace (NAMT Fest '05, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Old Globe, Signature Theatre), Journey to the West (NYMF) and The Parenting Project (Cincinnati Fringe Festival, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati).

The Single Girl's Guide
Book by Gordon Greenberg, Music & Lyrics by Tommy Newman

"The Single Girl's Guide is funny, sexy and romantic. The committee enjoyed its bright humor and catchy score. The combination of its 1960s time period and its contemporary wit make this a delightful show that will appeal to a broad audience."

Jane Austen meets Helen Gurley Brown in the stylish world of 1964 Manhattan. Filled with the buoyant sounds and bright spirit of the mid-1960s, The Single Girl's Guide is a fizzy riff on Emma and Sex and The Single Girl that echoes the questions we continue to ask about marriage, sex and being single.

The Single Girl's Guide was developed through two writers' residencies at Goodspeed Musicals (supported by a Writers ResidenCy Grant from NAMT's National Fund for New Musicals), readings at Ars Nova, Goodspeed and the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, a developmental production at Capital Repertory Theatre and a workshop (fall 2013) at Dallas Theater Center. The show was awarded a developmental grant by the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust and The 2012 ASCAP Foundation Cole Porter Award.

Gordon Greenberg Directing/Writing includes: Working (Drama Desk Award, 59 E 59, Old Globe, Broadway in Chicago, Asolo),Jacques Brel... (Zipper Theatre, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Award nominations), Band Geeks! (co-writer, Goodspeed, Human Race Theatre Co., NAMT Fest '09), Pirates! (Huntington, Paper Mill, Goodspeed, MUNY), The Baker's Wife (Goodspeed, Paper Mill), Disney's Believe (Disney Creative Entertainment), Happy Days (First National Tour). Current projects include: Scramble Band!(co-writer, Disney Channel), Rags (Roundabout), Guys & Dolls (Chichester Theatre Festival UK 2014), Johnny Baseball (Williamstown) and developing new musicals for Universal Pictures and the pop group Fun. Education: Stanford University, NYU Film School, Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

Tommy Newman Band Geeks! (Goodspeed Musicals, Human Race Theatre Co., NAMT Fest '09), Tinyard Hill (Theatreworks Silicon Valley, Red Mountain Theatre, Human Race Theatre, Goodspeed, NAMT Fest '07). Off Broadway: We the People: America Rocks (Theatreworks, USA, Lortel Nomination 2010), The Yellow Brick Road (TheatreworksUSA) and 29 (NYU with Gaby Alter). In development: The Teacher from the Black Lagoon and Other Stories (TheatreworksUSA), The Odyssey Suite, ELEkTRA, The House of the Rising Sun. Tommy teaches in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Troy University. BS in Music Education, Theatre and Business, Troy University. MFA, Musical Theatre Writing, NYU Tisch.

The Three Little Pigs
Book & Lyrics by Anthony Drewe, Music by George Stiles

"The Three Little Pigs gives the classic fairy tale a new and modern sensibility that will leave NAMT audiences grinning from ear to ear. The committee was tickled pink by the thoroughly original, upbeat score and were captivated by the endlessly entertaining bovine brothers. A sure-fire family hit!"

Take three little superstar Piglets, their devoted single-parent Mom, a misunderstood Big Bad Wolf and the award-winning tuneful wit of Stiles and Drewe and you've got the perfect "Great Big Little Broadway Show" for audiences of three years old and up. This very curly musical tail will huff, puff and blow you away!

The Three Little Pigs was commissioned by the Singapore Repertory Theatre, specifically for their Little Company and forms the first in a "trilogy of trios" (along with Goldilocks and The Three Bears and The Three Billy Goats Gruff). It premiered for 70 sell-out performances at the DBS Arts Centre in Singapore in March 2012 (in English), and returned for a further four-week run at the same venue in July 2013 (in Mandarin). The show has also played at The Greenwich Theatre, London and will open at Emerald City Theatre, Chicago in January 2014.

Anthony Drewe With composer George Stiles, Anthony has written book and lyrics for the multi award-winning Honk! (NAMT Fest '99),Just So, Soho Cinders and Goldilocks and The Three Bears as well as writing lyrics for Betty Blue Eyes, Peter Pan - A Musical Adventure and the new songs for the international smash hit Mary Poppins. He is currently working on the lyrics for three new shows:Soapdish, The Wind in the Willows and Travels With My Aunt. His other musicals are: The Card (with composer Tony Hatch) and A Twist of Fate (with composer Dick Lee).

George Stiles New songs, dance and vocal arrangements for the world-wide smash-hit Mary Poppins. Also with Anthony Drewe: Betty Blue Eyes, Soho Cinders, Peter Pan - A Musical Adventure, Just So, Goldilocks and the The Three Bears and the Olivier Award-winning Honk! (NAMT Fest '99) which has been seen by more than 6 million people in over 8,000 productions around the world in more than 20 languages. They are currently writing Soapdish for Broadway, Wind in the Willows with Julian Fellowes for the West End andTravels With My Aunt. Other work includes: The Three Musketeers (NAMT Fest '99), Sam Mendes' Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya.

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