iLLA! A HIP HOP MUSICAL Wins NYMF Developmental Reading Series; Picked for 2016 Next Link Project

By: Jan. 12, 2016
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

iLLA! A Hip Hop Musical won the 2015 Award for Excellence for the NYMF Developmental Reading Series. Even more recently, iLLA was announced as the first 2016 Next Link Project for NYMF 2016.

The Next Link Project is NYMF's primary writer service program, through which ten shows receive subsidized production slots in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. These shows attend a weekend-long training session that includes networking, fundraising, and marketing guidance. Each show also has access to a professional New York dramaturg to help writers hone in on their shows.

Ronvé O'Daniel -- the show's lyricist and librettist -- created a special music announcement to spread the news, which is available here.

iLLA! is a fresh, inventive production -- with music by Jevares C. Myrick and book and lyrics by Ronvé O'Daniel ---as they take hip hop to the next level by merging the musical styles of hip hop, R&B, gospel and more.

iLLA!: adjective, slang - Exceedingly ill. Greater than. More superior.

"His rhymes are ill, but mine are illa!"

iLLA! follows Robert, a classically trained dancer, who dreams of becoming a famous rap star. After suffering a humiliating defeat at a leading open mic competition Robert struggles to redeem himself in the eyes of his peers. He falls hard for a girl named Stacy but his family's prejudices threaten to tear them apart. Can Robert overcome his fears and troubled home life to achieve his Hip Hop dreams? It's a journey of Swagger, Struggle and Self-love that we all must travel. Do you have what it takes to be iLLA?

For more about the show, visit, or follow on Twitter: @illathemusical, Instagram: @illathemusical and Facebook:

Ronvé O'Daniel (Book & Lyrics) received his BFA in Musical Theatre from Wright State University. In the fall of 2011, he released his debut solo hip-hop album entitled, He Speaks So Well in the fall of 2011. He Speaks So Well created a tremendous buzz throughout the industry, including a spot on Billy Danze's (from legendary hip hop group M.O.P.) mixtape series R.U.N (Rap's United Nations) as well as DJ Green Lantern's Overtime Grind Mixtape Vol 2. Ronvé has also been featured in XXL Magazine as well as As a professional actor, Ronvé was featured in productions including Altar Boyz, Seussical the Musical, and Amen Corner. Currently, Ronvé is continuing to work as a recording artist, lyricist, playwright, and producer. His singles "Classy" and "Star Power" are available on iTunes.

Jevares C. Myrick (Music) is an American-born producer/composer, singer, dancer and actor, who is currently the Assistant Dance Captain/Swing on The Book of Mormon 2nd National Tour (also performed in the Broadway and 1st National company). His regional theater credits include The Producers, Sophisticated Ladies, Ragtime, Grease, Ain't Misbehavin', Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, All Night Strut, Smokey Joe's Café, among MANY others. Jevares attended Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio on a full scholarship as a Voice Performance/Opera Major and was featured in several Opera and Musical Theatre productions. Shortly after, he decided to pursue a career in performing, and was immediately cast as a lead performer for Royal Caribbean and Holland America Cruise Lines. Currently, Jevares can be seen composing and creating corporate backing tracks for Six Flags Over Georgia, Georgia Aquarium, Simon Corporation, and the Atlanta Lyric Theater.

J Kyle Manzay (Director & Story Consultant) received his MFA at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Off-Broadway: The Actor's Rap starring Vanessa Simmons and the workshop production of The Bootleg Blues starring Chadwick Boseman and Tracie Thoms. J Kyle is a recurring director at the Soul Repertory Theater's New Playwright Festival at the Dallas Theater Center. With Sony Entertainment he wrote, produced, and directed former Sony Recording Artist Jim Jones' album Prey IV Reign, Hip-Hop Monologues: Inside the Life and Mind of Jim Jones. Mr. Manzay is the founder of Korner Theatricals, which recently produced the Off-Broadway production The Great MacDaddy starring Khalil Kain. As an actor he received the 2004 Obie Award for Outstanding Performance and has been nominated for 5 AUDELCO awards including a nomination for his work in the post-Katrina inspired Waiting for Godot opposite Wendell Pierce. J Kyle has been featured on "Good Day New York," "The Hot 97 Morning Show," "The Wendy Williams Show" and featured in The New Yorker, New York Times, and XXL Magazine.

David Coffman (Producer) is Managing Director for Sundance Productions Inc., which is the New York office of BB Promotion - The Art of Entertainment, the group is now one of the leading firms providing high quality live entertainment in Europe. Based in Mannheim, Germany, the group's field of responsibility and line of business includes directing concerts in the region, facilitating national and international tours of musical theatre productions as well as premieres of German productions. Also currently the New York representative for Scandinavia's largest theatrical stage rights agency, Nordiska ApS. Negotiated international licenses for live stage rights for many Broadway musicals including The Addams Family, Flashdance, Hairspray, Spring Awakening, The Full Monty, Avenue Q, Wicked (Helsinki), Next To Normal among many others. Also license Cats and Rock of Ages in Mexico is association with Briones Productions. Additionally David co-conceived and produced the hit Latino musical 4 Guys Named José which played Off-Broadway and is in the MTI catalog and Blackbirds of Broadway which played to great success in theatres across the U.S., The Montreal Jazz Festival and two commercial European tours. David has also managed and/or booked Tango Argentino, Flamenco Puro, as well as domestic and international tours of A Chorus Line, Ain't Misbehavin', One Mo' Time, My One and Only, Ballet Folklorico de Chile, Ballet, Folklorico de Mexico, Dancers and Musicians of Bali, Antología de la Zarzuela, National Dance Company of Senegal, Spellbound, A Magic Night In America, Africa Oye and 3 Mo' Divas.

The New York Musical Theatre Festival nurtures the creation, production, and public presentation of stylistically, thematically, and culturally diverse new musicals to ensure the future vitality of musical theatre. Now in its twelfth year, the Festival is the largest musical theatre event in America. The preeminent site for launching new musicals and discovering new talent, the Festival provides an affordable platform for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theatre fans. More than 90 Festival shows have gone on to productions on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters in all 50 states, and in more than 20 countries worldwide. Festival alumni have received a wide array of awards including the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2013, NYMF received a special Drama Desk Award in recognition of its work "creating and nurturing new musical theatre, ensuring the future of this essential art form." NYMF is the flagship program of National Music Theater Network, Inc., a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. NYMF is supported, in part, 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. For more information, visit: