Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals

The 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals, presented by the National Alliance For Musical Theatre (NAMT), kicked off with THE 46TH MINUTE, a concert hosted by Lindsay Mendez and featuring performances by Heidi Blickenstaff, Doreen Montalvo, Mamie Parris, Bryce Ryness, and more. Musical presentations started October 23 at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street) and included Beautiful Poison, Cubamor, Great Wall, How To Break, Mary Marie, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes, String and Stu For Silverton. The Festival concluded on October 24, 2014. Scroll down for photos!

Beautiful Poison featured Corey Mach (Godspell), Laura Griffith (South Pacific), Allen Fitzpatrick (Memphis), Chelsea Packard (Hands On A Hardbody), Terence Archie (Rocky), Natalie Venetia Belcon (Avenue Q), Sarah Rose Davis (The Reckoning of Kit), Michelle Duffy (Heathers), Michael Lanning (Bonnie & Clyde), Brandon O'Neill (Aladdin), and Jesse Nager (Motown). Beautiful Poison is directed by David Armstrong (Executive Producer and Artistic Director, The 5th Avenue Theatre), with Ian Eisendrath (A Christmas Story, Madison Square Garden) serving as musical director. Beautiful Poison features music by Brendan Milburn, lyrics by Valerie Vigoda, and a book by Duane Poole.

Cubamor featured Adesola Osakalumi (Fela!) and Eugene Barry-Hill (Kinky Boots), Janet Dacal (Wonderland), Doreen Montalvo (In The Heights), Javier Munoz (In The Heights), and Amirah Vann (Trouble In Mind). Cubamor will be directed by Kent Nicholson (9 Circles, Marin Theatre Company), with Jerome Korman (Music Director, National Dance Institute) serving as musical director. Cubamor features a book and lyrics by James D. Sasser and music and lyrics by Charles Vincent Burwell.

Great Wall featured Hansel Tan (Unlock'd), Josh Dela Cruz (Aladdin), Moses Villarama (Warrior Class), Jaygee Macapugay (Here Lies Love), Jared Joseph (Holler If Ya Hear Me), Jimmy Kieffer (Peter and the Starcatcher), Cindy Cheung (The Civilians' The Great Immensity), Carrie Cimma (Lizzie Borden), Danielle Herbert (After Midnight), and Francis Jue (Kung Fu). Great Wall was directed by Sarna Lapine and Tony Award winner Christopher Gattelli (Broadway's Newsies, South Pacific), with Marco Paguia (Peter and the Starcatcher) serving as musical director. Great Wall features music and lyrics by Kevin So, a book by Kevin Merritt, and creative consulting by David Henry Hwang.

How To Break featured Kacie Sheik (HAIR), Vladimir Versailles (Through The Yellow Hour), Jon Rua (Hands On A Hardbody), Chris "Shockwave" Sullivan (Freestyle Love Supreme), and Amber Reauchean Williams. How To Break is directed by Tamilla Woodard (La Ruta, The Working Theatre) with a book by Aaron Jafferis, lyrics by Aaron Jafferis and Rebecca Hart, and music by Rebecca Hart and Yako 440. The musical director is Jon Spurney (Passing Strange).

Mary Marie featured Ruth Gottschall (Mary Poppins) and Mamie Parris (Ragtime), Kevin Earley (A Tale Of Two Cities), Colin Hanlon (Rags), and Emerson Steele (Violet). Mary Marie is directed by Daniella Topol (When January Feels Like Summer, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Women's Project Theater) with Nathan Dame (Fly By Night) serving as musical director. Mary Marie features a book and lyrics by Chana Wise and music by Carl Johnson.

The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes featured Jenni Barber (The Nance), Lesli Margherita (Matilda), Mitchell Jarvis (Rock of Ages), Joel Perez (In The Heights), Andi Alhadeff (Jasper In Deadland), Courtney Balan (Finding Neverland), Todd Buonopane (R+H Cinderella), Natalie Charle Ellis (Les Miserables), Josh Grisetti (Red Eye Of Love), and Sergi Robles (Cardboard Castles). The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes is directed by Tony Award nominee Lonny Price (Broadway's Lady Day At Emerson's Bar and Grill, 110 In The Shade). Andy Einhorn (Broadway's Bullets Over Broadway, R+H Cinderella) served as musical director. The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes has a book and lyrics by Christopher Dimond and music by Michael Kooman.

String featured Margo Seibert (Rocky), Adam Overett (Murder For Two), Heidi Blickenstaff ([title of show]), Mallory Hawks (The White City), Kenita Miller (Merrily We Roll Along), Orville Mendoza (Found), Geoff Packard (Matilda), Q Smith (Barcelona), Katie Thompson (Giant), and Eugenio Vargas (The Wild Party). String is directed by Marc Bruni (Broadway's Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) with Matt Castle (Found, Atlantic Theatre Company) as musical director. String features music and lyrics by Adam Gwon and a book by Sarah Hammond.

Stu For Silverton featured Lewis Cleale (The Book of Mormon), Melanie Vaughan (Parade), Celisse Henderson (Godspell), Nick Wyman (Catch Me If You Can), Annaleigh Ashford (You Can't Take It With You), Kevin Kern (The Bridges of Madison County), Russell Arden Koplin (James Joyce's The Dead), Jeigh Madjus (Prison Dancer), Mary Testa (Xanadu), and Don Darryl Rivera (Aladdin). Stu For Silverton is directed by Andrew Russell (Artistic Director, Intiman Theatre) with Meg Zervoulis (Rated P...For Parenthood) as musical director. Stu For Silverton has a book by Peter Duchan, music and lyrics by Breedlove, and is based on the story of Stu Rasmussen and the town of Silverton, Oregon.

In addition to the eight new musicals being presented at the Festival, there were also numerous concerts and events, including The 46th Minute, directed by Victoria Bussert. The concert featured songs cut from each selected show's 45-minute presentations at the Festival and be hosted by Lindsay Mendez (Godspell, Wicked). Performing songs from the writers behind the 26th Festival of New Musicals were Heidi Blickenstaff ([title of show]), Kevin Earley (A Tale of Two Cities), Rebecca Hart (The Civilians' The Great Immensity), Aaron Jafferis (How to Break), Doreen Montalvo (Giant), Mamie Parris (Ragtime), Bryce Ryness (First Date), Kevin So (Great Wall), Emerson Steele (Violet), Yako 440 (How to Break), Corey Mach (Godspell), Kenita Miller (Merrily We Roll Along), Chelsea Packard (Hands on a Hardbody), and Lewis Cleale (The Book of Mormon), and more.

The 2014 Songwriters Showcase, directed by Branden Huldeen and hosted by Kate Shindle (Legally Blonde), highlighted four exciting new musicals at varying stages of development and feature performances from Tony Award Winner Nikki James (The Book of Mormon), Daniel Breaker (Shrek), Derek Klena (Wicked), Marc delaCruz (If/Then), Katrina Lenk (Once), Liz McCartney (Annie), Hansel Tan (Unlock'd), Courtney Wolfson (Kinky Boots), EJ Zimmerman (Avenue Q), Corey Mach (Godspell), Jeremy Morse (Bloodsong of Love), Emily Walton (The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World), Jackie Burns (Wicked), and Shannon O'Boyle (Once). Each writing team presented two new songs and talk a bit about the project. The lineup for the 2014 Songwriters Showcase included COSTS OF LIVING by Timothy Huang; OCTOBER SKY by Michael Mahler and Aaron Thielen; ISLAND SONG by Sam Carner, Derek Gregor, and Marlo Hunter; STORYVILLE by Lisa de Spain, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and Julia Jordan.

The Songwriters Sessions were presented at New World Stages from October 23rd through the 24th. Directed by Brandon Ivie and featuring four different songwriting teams, The Songwriters Sessions featured performances by Daniel Berryman (Rent), Brian Gallagher (Jekyll & Hyde), Molly Hager (Heathers the Musical), Katie Thompson (Giant), Mykal Kilgore (Motown), Ashley Blanchet (Beautiful - The Carole King Musical), Anastasia McClesky (Violet), Sarah Beth Pfeifer (The Lightning Thief), Ashley Moniz (Sister Act), and more. The songwriting talent, who will be presenting new material from various projects, includes Michelle Elliott and Danny Larsen, Rob Rokicki, Will Aronson, Douglas Lyons and Ethan Pakchar.

Photo Credit: Ric Kallaher for NAMThigh res photos

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Lindsay Mendez hosting THE 46th MINUTE concert

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Kate Shindle sings a song from NAMT Fest 2011 show DANI GIRL by Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Aaron Jafferis, Rebecca Hart and Yako 440 performing a song they wrote for their show HOW TO BREAK

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Doreen Montalvo sings a song from CUBAMOR with Jerome Korman at the Piano

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Valerie Vigoda, Bryce Ryness and Brendan Milburn perform a song from NAMT Fest 2012 show SLEEPING BEAUTY WAKES

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Natalie Venetia Belcon (with Brandon O'Neill in the background) in BEAUTIFUL POISON

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Dorren Montalvo (with Janet Dacal and Javier Munoz in the background) in CUBAMOR

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Josh Dela Cruz, Hansel Tan, Cindy Cheung and Francis Jue in GREAT WALL

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Amber Reauchean Williams, Jon Rua and Vladimir Versailles in HOW TO BREAK

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Mamie Parris and Colin Hanlon in MARY MARIE

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Mamie Parris, Emerson Steele and Kevin Earley in MARY MARIE

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Josh Grisetti (center) with Joel Perez, Sergi Robles and Natalie Charle Ellis in THE NOTEWORTHY LIFE OF HOWARD BARNES

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Joel Perez, Todd Buonopane, Sergi Robles, Andi Alhadeff, Josh Grisetti, Jenni Barber, Lesli Margherita, Courtney Balan and Mitchell Jarvis in THE NOTEWORTHY LIFE OF HOWARD BARNES

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Heidi Blickenstaff and Geoff Packard in STRING

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Nick Wyman, Jeigh Madjus, Celisse Henderson, Annaleigh Ashford and Lewis Cleale in STU FOR SILVERTON

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Molly Hager and Katie Thompson perform in a Songwriter Session featuring the work of Michelle Elliott and Danny Larsen

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Katrina Lenk, Courtney Wolfson, Nikki James and Daniel Breaker perform a song from STORYVILLE by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Lisa DeSpain and Julia Jordan at the SONGWRITERS SHOWCASE

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Abbie Mueller, Emily Walton, Shannon O’Bolye, Derek Klena, Jeremy Morse and Corey Mach sing from OCTOBER SKY by Michael Mahler and Aaron Thielen in the SONGWRITERS SHOWCASE

Photo Flash: Lindsay Mendez and More in NAMT's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals
This year’s NAMT Festival writers. (standing l-r) Charles Vincent Burwell, James D. Sasser, Michael Kooman, Kevin So, Christopher Dimond, Kevin Merritt, Carl Johnson, Chana Wise, Aaron Jafferis, Peter Duchan, Duane Poole. (seated l-r) Sarah Hammond, Adam Gwon, Valerie Vigoda, Rebecca Hart (down front) Brendan Milburn




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