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New York Musical Theatre Festival Announces Contestants for the 'Next Broadway Sensation'

Preliminary auditions were held over the weekend and out of hundreds of auditions, NYMF has selected the 10 finalists that will compete to be the "Next Broadway Sensation." Belting this year at New World Stages will be: Nathan Brisby, Catherine Brookman, Starr J. Busby, Lisa Marie Gargione, Nkrumah Gatling, Lyle Colby Mackston, Zak Resnick, Angelo Rios, Louise Stewart and Cassie Wooley

As previously announced, New York Musical Theatre Festival's "Next Broadway Sensation," formerly known as "Broadway Idol," returns for its fourth year. Produced by NYMF and sponsored by TheaterMania and DFD TV in association with New World Stages and The Network, this talent competition seeks to find the newest musical theatre star. The winner will receive a special solo concert, co-presented by NYMF and Sh-K-Boom Records, as well as a featured track on an upcoming Stage Stars accompaniment album.

Diana DeGarmo, "American Idol" (Season 3) runner-up, now in The Toxic Avenger at New World Stages, will serve as host for the competition's first round on September 13; celebrity hosts for the semifinals on September 20 and the Broadway Sensation October 4 finale will be announced shortly. Confirmed judges include Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening, Taking Woodstock), Bailey Hanks and Orfeh (Legally Blonde), composer/lyricist Paul Scott Goodman (Rooms), Donna Lynne Champlin and Alexander Gemignani (Sweeney Todd), Kacie Sheik and Allison Case (Hair), and record producer Noah Corman of Sh-k-boom Records. This year's competition features Christopher D. Littlefield as musical director with NYMF Senior Associate Producer Eric Louie as director.

Last year's winner, Shawna Hamic beat out nine other contestants in this 3-week event for the title of NYMF's ‘Next Broadway Sensation 2008.' Details of her upcoming prize concert will be announced shortly. In previous years the competition has featured the talents of Jennifer Sanchez (West Side Story), George Psomas (South Pacific), Alysha Umphress (the upcoming American Idiot, Make Me a Song), Jeff McClean (Legally Blonde National Tour), and DeMond Nason (Walmartopia) amongst many others. Two of this year's contestants have already been cast in NYMF productions - Lyle Mackston will be appearing in Academy while Zak Resnick will have a leading role in The Cure.

This year's competition will be held at New World Stages on September 13th, 20th and October 4th at 9:30pm and will also feature preview performances for the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival. For more information, visit:
NYMF is the flagship program of National Music Theater Network, Inc., a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. NYMF 2009 is presented in association with, Production Resource Group and, and is supported by Back Stage, Barnes & Noble Booksellers,,, Broadway.TV, Clear Channel Spectacolor, DFD-TV, Frank & Camille's Fine Pianos, King Displays, Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, New World Stages, NASDAQ OMX, Next Magazine, PMD Promotions,, Reuters, Sweet Caroline's, Tekserve,, The Tank, and Times Square Squared. Major supporters include The ASCAP Foundation, BMI Foundation, Inc., The Broadway League, The BWF Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation with the support and encouragement of Jamie Mayer, The Charlie & Jane Fink Charitable Fund, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and The Theater League. NYMF is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. NYMF's programs are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

Tickets to individual festival events are now on sale. NYMF Memberships, which combine charitable contributions with valuable, flexible ticket packages and perks like early seating, are also available for purchase at (212) 352-3101 or

NYMF's Next Broadway Sensation
The search is on for Broadway's next undiscovered star! The contest, now in its fourth year, exposes the bravest of performers to an audience of fans and musical theatre legends alike. As singers compete to win their very own solo concert, you make the vote that will decide their fate. It's a thrilling event not to be missed.
WHERE: New World Stages, 340 W. 50th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues)
WHEN: Sept 13, Sept 20, and Oct 4; doors open at 9pm, show begins at 9:30pm


Nathan Brisby was born in Fort Worth, TX, and currently lives in Astoria, NY. Recent NYC credits include two IT Award nominated-shows: The Who's Tommy (Uncle Ernie) and Ragtime (JP Morgan). Additional recent NYC credits include Songs for a New World (Man #2), Side Show (Boss), Love and Israel (Aron/Benjamin), and Lbs. the Musical (Cookie). Nathan is also a published poet and playwright. His newest play is based on Pulitzer Prize-winner, Robert Olen Butler's novel and will receive performances in 2010 in Los Angeles and New York.

CATHERINE BROOKMAN recently graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Voice Performance, Integrated Arts, and a certificate in Music Theatre. Originally from Baltimore, she is grateful to have had the opportunity to work on various musicals, new works, plays, devised theatre, oratorio, concerts, and an opera. Highlights of this past year include a Master Class with Barbara Cook and Peter Pan directed by Amanda Dehnert. She recently began songwriting and is honeymooning with New York City.

STARR J. BUSBY is a recent Northwestern University graduate who hails from Houston, TX. Before leaving Chicago, she performed in her favorite show Caroline, or Change at Chicago's Court Theatre. Since being in New York, Starr has performed in Remember the Time: A Tribute to Michael Jackson at Ars Nova and a reading of The Harlem Ladies Knittin' and Bitchin' Society.

LISA MARIE GARGIONE hails from a small town in South Jersey called Galloway Township. Although she grew up with five older brothers, her role as a tomboy was dramatically upstaged when she discovered her love for musical theatre in the 4th grade. But she still hasn't lost her burning desire to play Jean Valjean. Favorite roles include Maria in West Side Story, Anne in A Little Night Music, and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance. She is a fiery Sagittarius.

NKRUMAH GATLING is a native of Houston, TX and attended Sam Houston State University where he received his B.F.A. In Musical Theater. Nkrumah has had the privilege of working in many regional Theater Productions (Dreamgirls, A Wonderful Life, Baby), cruise ships, and had a opportunity to sing for former President Bush Sr. He is also an alumni of the Broadway Theater Project. Nkrumah is excited to be a part of the competition and would like to thank his family and friends!

LYLE COLBY MACKSTON is from Island Park, NY. Theater Credits include: Peter in Darling, Bruce in The Smoking Gun, Alan Swann in My Favorite Year and the reading of Spiderman: The Musical. Recent Film and Television Credits include "Michael & Michael Have Issues," "The Naked Brothers Band," "The Guiding Light," "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and numerous commercials.

Zak Resnick just graduated from Carnegie Mellon University where he earned his BFA in Acting & Musical Theatre. He just arrived to NYC after playing Jimmy Smith in Thoroughly Modern Millie back in his hometown of Richmond, VA. Look for Zak in this year's NYMF musical The Cure.

ANGELO RIOS is a native Rochester, NY. He studied at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC. National Tours/ Regional credits include: If This Hat Could Talk, Little Shop of Horrors, Dreamgirls, Miss Saigon, AIDA, Godspell, Grease, and in workshops for Radio City Music Hall. Angelo has also been seen as a Lead Vocalist for Holland America Cruiselines. He is a proud member of The USO Liberty Bells, a song and dance troupe for the Armed Forces and veterans.

LOUISE STEWART was born in Glasgow, Scotland and graduated from The Dance High School of Scotland. Since matriculating from the hallowEd Halls of AMDA, Louise has been very fortunate with roles including Yitzhak in Hedwig, a track of woodland Creatures in A Year with Frog and Toad, and a summer festival of Fractured Fairy Tales for children. Singing brings her joy, and living in New York makes her happy in the knowledge her dream of being on Broadway is within arms reach. Cheers to all at NYMF and my friends at home and in the U.S.

CASSIE WOOLEY began her career in Chicago playing wonderful women like Thea in Fiorello!, Sally in Cabaret, and Mary in Merrily We Roll Along (Jeff Award) among many others. She grew up in Sioux City, IA where her parents own Lamb Productions Theatre (it was a very cool childhood) and received her BFA from The Theatre School at Depaul.


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