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NYMF Announces 'Next Broadway Sensation' Semi-Finalists; De Jesus to Host Finals

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The New York Musical Theatre Festival announces the six Next Broadway Sensation semi-finalists for their third annual contest, formerly known as Broadway Idol. Moving on to round two will be Frances Bordlee, Shawna M. Hamic, Mike Harrison, Omar Lopez-Cepero, Jennifer Sánchez, Nesha Ward, and JamaAl Wilson.

This week’s host for the competition, which will take place on Friday September 26th, will be Robin de Jesus (Tony Award nominee for In the Heights) and sitting in the judge’s seats this week will be Donna Lynne Champlin (Sweeney Todd and currently appearing in NYMF’s Love Jerry), Merle Dandridge (Tarzan and, currently, starring as the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot), and Tom Kitt (composer of High Fidelity and Next to Normal, which appeared in NYMF ’05 as Feeling Electric; currently musical director for 13).

This week’s theme is “It’s Not a Revival, It’s a Revolution” and will feature songs from some of the most exciting contemporary musical theater writers: Michael Arden, Joe Iconis, Kait Kerrigan & Brian Lowdermilk, Chris Miller & Nathan Tysen, Joel B. New, Gordon Leary & Ryan Scott Oliver, and Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. This week’s competition, Friday, September 26th, will take place at The Zipper Tavern at 11pm, with doors opening at 10pm for a special NYMF Happy Hour. The grand finale will take place on Friday, October 3rd at the Zipper Theater at 11pm.

NYMF’s Next Broadway Sensation will be musical directed by Christopher D. Littlefield and directed by David F. Chapman.

The competition is sponsored by TheaterMania.com, who is providing coverage of the contest with video clips on their website throughout the competition, and who will webcast the finals live on October 3rd.

This talent competition, now in its third year, seeks to find the newest musical theatre star with the help of special celebrity judges and audience voting. Open auditions were held on Friday, September 12th and opened to singers 18 and over who have tons of Broadway flair but no Broadway credits. Last year's winner, George Psomas beat out nine other contestants in this three-week event to win his very own cabaret concert and the title of Broadway Idol 2007. He has since gone on to make his Broadway debut in South Pacific.

The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) celebrates its fifth year with 24 full productions, a dance series, a developmental series, concerts and special events. Since its inception in 2004, this three-week annual festival has premiered more than 130 new musicals – many of which have gone on to award-winning productions in New York, in regional theaters and on tour in 38 states, and nine countries worldwide. NYMF 2004 hit Altar Boyz has played well over 1,000 performances Off-Broadway and spawned two National Tours; fellow NYMF alum [title of show] recently opened to rave reviews at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway; Nerds is coming to Broadway this Spring; and Off-Broadway audiences will soon see My Vaudeville Man. This year’s Festival will begin September 15th and continue through October 5th.

Hailed as "the Sundance of Musical Theatre," NYMF exists to revitalize one of America’s greatest art forms by discovering, supporting and promoting new musical theater artists, producers, and projects, and by introducing a diverse audience to the vibrancy of contemporary musical theater.  Widely regarded as the essential source for new material and talent discovery, NYMF is the flagship program of The National Music Theater Network, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, and is presented in association with BroadwayWorld.com, Production Resource Group and TheaterMania.com, and is supported by amNewYork, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, BroadwayBox.com, BroadwayInsider.com, Frank & Camille's Fine Pianos, HX Magazine, Jossip.com, King Displays, Queerty.com, Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, Metromix.com, The New York Blade, Next Magazine, Panasonic Astrovision, Tekserve, TheMENEvent, VOGA Italia, and The Zipper Factory. NYMF is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

Tickets for all NYMF productions are on sale now and can be purchased at www.nymf.org or by calling 212-352-3101.

Photo Credit Peter James Zielinski


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