2014 New Voices Project Finalists Revealed

Looking for the next Sondheim -- or we should say Bobby Lopez (who wrote "Frozen" and "The Book of Mormon")...? Maybe the newest voice in musical theatre just won the 2014 New Voices Project, sponsored by New Musicals Initiative in Los Angeles. Three talented young musical theatre writers will have selections from their new musicals showcased as part of the New Musical Initiative's annual GOT MUSICAL concert at the Colony Theatre in Burbank on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.

After carefully reviewing many promising submissions from 18-25 year old writers across the country, the New Voices Project has selected these young writers to be showcased: Daniel Bernstein, Santino DeAngelo, and Zach Zadek.

The three promising writers will have their work reviewed by a distinguished panel of musical theatre professionals including representatives from Walt Disney Imagineering, and members of the staff of the Academy for New Musical Theatre (Elise Dewsberry, Artistic Director; Scott Guy, Lyric Lab Instructor; and Ross Kalling, Director of Music Curriculum).

Daniel Bernstein was born and raised in Westchester, NY and is currently a senior music major at Cornell University, with a minor in Theatre Performance. As a playwright, he has won four playwriting competitions: twice at Stagedoor Manor's Dramafest Ten-Minute Play Competition ("Human Nature" and "A Series of Awkward Moments"), and twice at Cornell University's Heermans- McCalmon Playwriting Competition ("Waking Up and Keys"). His first full-length musical, "Far From Canterbury", for which he has written the book, lyrics and music, is set to premiere at Cornell as a Mainstage production in April 2014, a project for which he has received the 2013-14 Undergraduate Artist of the Year Award through the Cornell Council for the Arts.

Bernstein says, "It's my belief that if stories are the way we understand the world, music is the way we understand how we feel about it. What I love about musical theatre, is how it can shape our minds through words, and touch our hearts through music. The interaction of these two forces has brought to life some of the most timeless works of art in American History."

Santino DeAngelo is a New York based writer, composer and director of experimental theater, musical theater, and film. He began his professional career writing music for the Golf Channel/PGA Tour when he was 14 and has gone on to compose orchestral, chamber works, ballets, and musical theater, working with the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, the Discovery Center, the Binghamton Philharmonic, as well as professional soloists Pej Reitz, Hakan Tayga-hromek, and John Covelli. Santino is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Rod Serling Award for Best Screenwriting, the Harpur Fellows Award, the United Cultural Fund, and the Classical Club Project Grant.

Regarding his passion for musicals, Santino DeAngelo said, "Musical Theatre is so compelling to me because I love telling a story. Adding music to storytelling allows me to comment on society in ways totally impossible through other theatrical forms."

Zack Zadek is a Long Island born composer/lyricist and singer/songwriter. His work has been heard at the Highline Ballroom, Joe's Pub, 54 Below, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Galapagos Art Space, and as part of In "The Valley: The Songs of Zack Zadek" at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Zack's sold-out musical "6", an intimate telling of six New Yorkers who, by six degrees of separation, unknowingly change each other's lives, was selected by the 2012 New York Musical Theatre Festival and is currently undergoing development. In addition to writing and performing new musical theatre, Zack is an active solo artist who has banged on pianos across New York, London, and Los Angeles. His current projects include "The Crazy Ones" (NYMF 2013), a new musical about Steve Jobs and Apple, Inc., "The Party In My Mind", a new immersive dance song cycle, and upcoming solo EP. Zack is a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatist's Guild of America.

From March 24th- April 16th, the 2014 The New Voices Project winners will have the opportunity to develop their new musicals, receive feedback, and make revisions. This workshop culminates with a public presentation of their works as part of the GOT MUSICAL concert at the Colony Theatre in Burbank on May 6th 2014. The material of the New Voices Project writers will be performed by local Los Angeles musical theatre performers.

"We are very proud of this program," says NMI's Artistic Producer Elise Dewsberry. "This is one of only a very few opportunities specifically designed for young musical theatre writers. The only other opportunity I know of on the west coast is Show Search, sponsored by the Festival of New American Musicals, which showcases completed short musicals by high school and college-aged writers. These writers are so important to the future of this great American art form - and we are thrilled to be contributing to that future!"

New Musicals Initiative seeks to encourage and enable writers, producers, directors, and dramaturgs to take a more collaborative and strategic approach to the creation of new works right from the start, before the pen even hits the page. The initiative hopes to foster the creation of exceptionally well crafted new musicals, that are intentional and intelligent in design. NMI strives to pave the way for the development of new musical theatre that is imaginative, inspiring, and impactful in today's world.

For information on the New Musicals Initiative or the New Voices Project, visit www.newmusicalsinc.net.

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