NYMF Reveals Starry 2014 Next Link Project Grand Jury - Hunter Foster, Amanda Green, Tony Sheldon, Michael Cerveris & More!

By: Oct. 16, 2013

The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) has chosen Abrams Artists Agent Beth Blickers, OBIE and Drama Desk Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-nominated actor Hunter Foster, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-nominated composer and lyricist Amanda Green, Tony Award-nominated director Thomas Kail, Associate Producer of The Old Globe Eric Louie, Outer Critics Circle-nominated director and choreographer Josh Prince, Tony Award and Drama Desk nominated actor and writer Tony Sheldon, Tony Award-nominated and Grammy-winning composer Lucy Simon, and two-time Tony Award-winning actor Michael Cerveris to serve as the Grand Jury of this year's Next Link project.

NYMF has also extended the submission deadline for the Next Link Project to midnight Monday, November 11th. For more Next Link Project info and submission guidelines, visit www.nymf.org. Past Next Link Productions at the New York Musical Theatre Festival have included: Fat Camp, Yank!, Flight of the Lawn Chair Man, Frog Kiss, and F*cking Hipsters!

The Next Link Project is NYMF's primary writer service program. It empowers emerging musical theatre writing teams by providing entrepreneurial training, career networking opportunities, dramaturgical support, and other services, culminating in a subsidized production in the Festival. In 2014, NYMF will accept 10 shows into the Next Link Project.

Next Link Project participants receive the following benefits:

- A subsidized production slot at NYMF 2014 (including savings in production fees, and discounted technical and marketing support)
- Dramaturgical support
- Seminars and workshops geared toward helping them successfully prepare, present, and promote their NYMF production
- Access to exclusive industry networking events

Authors submitting to The Next Link Project need to provide a demo recording of at least 75% of their songs, a 2 page synopsis of the show, a 15-page script sample (15 consecutive pages, including lyrics for at least one songs), and a complete script. You may submit your show if you are a writer with or without representation, as long as the show has not received a professional New York production. Scripts should be ready for developmental production and the widespread exposure that NYMF provides. All entries undergo double-blind evaluations by several members of NYMF's reading team, with finalists referred to a Grand Jury of leading theater artists and producers. To submit your show, visit: http://nymf.org/submitashow.

Erica Lustig has been chosen as the winner of The 8th aAnnual NYMF's Next Broadway Sensation (NNBS). The competition, which took place at place at New World Stages (340 W. 50th Street), began on September 27th and gave nearly 200 singers the chance to be crowned this year's champion.

Lustig (a Syracuse University alum) and runner-up Jacob Watson, competed alongside finalists Angela Jeffries, Celeste Rose, Noah Zachary, Ben Holtzman, Brook Wood, and Stewart Alden. The finalists were chosen from a mix of audience votes, online voting at BroadwayWorld.com, and a panel of industry judges that included composer Ryan Scott Oliver (35MM), casting director Michael Cassara, producer/general manager Jamie Cesa, and ASCAP's Director of Musical Theatre Michael Kerker.

Judges at the grand finale included casting director Daryl Eisenberg, Tony Award winning producer Tom Smedes and Tony Award winning actress Beth Leavel, with resident Musical Director for the series Ryan Cantwell at the keys.

Produced by NYMF in association with BroadwayWorld.com and New World Stages, with support from the ASCAP Foundation's Irving Caesar Trust, this annual talent competition seeks to find the newest musical theatre star. Lustig will receive a special solo concert at 54 Below, co-presented by NYMF and Grammy Award-winning producer Sh-K-Boom Records, as well as a photographic package courtesy of Seth Walters Photo and Video.

A native of Miami Florida and graduate of Syracuse University, NYMF's Next Broadway Sensation 2013 winner Erica Lustig was most recently seen touring Internationally with Hair the musical. Off-Broadway credits include Circe in Odyssey and Jingle Girl in National Pastime. Other favorite credits include Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Connie in Come Blow Your Horn and Columbia in Rocky Horror Picture Show.When not performing in musicals Erica works in the piano bar scene in New York City. For more information please visit www.EricaSings.com

NYMF's Next Broadway Sensation 2013 runner-up Jacob Keith Watson is a native of Wynne, Arkansas and a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University. In recent years, Jacob Keith has performed roles in numerous mediums and genres. Some of his Favorite credits include favorite roles include Feste in Twelfth Night, Horton in Seussical the Musical, Frederic in Pirates of Penzance, Naphtali/Calypso Soloist in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Scranton Slim/M.C. in Guys and Dolls, Iago (U/S) in Othello, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Corin in As You Like It, Trevor Graydon in Thoroughly Modern Millieand , Sir Harry in Once Upon a Mattress, Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni,Beppe in Pagliacci, Matteo Borsa (Duke Cover) inRigoletto. Recent awards includeaccolades include Second Place in the prestigious international Lotte Lenya Competition with the Kurt Weill Foundation and, First Place in the first ever NATS National Musical Theatre Competition. , and Best Stage Presence/Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In February of 2013, Jacob Keith made his European debut with the Kurt Weill Festival performing in a Broadway concert titled New York, New York conducted by Maestro James Holmes of London. For more information, visit www.jacobkeithwatson.com.

NYMF is the flagship program of The National Music Theater Network, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, and 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. Now celebrating its tenth year, The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) exists to revitalize musical theatre culture by discovering and promoting new musical theatre artists, producers and projects; nurturing a vibrant and innovative artistic community; and connecting one of America's greatest art forms with a diverse, contemporary audience.

For more information, visit www.nymf.org.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride