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Winners of the prestigious international Search for New Musicals were announced today at New Musicals Inc. in Los Angeles.

First Prize goes to Entertaining Murder with book, lyrics, and music by Chris Burgess.
Second Prize goes to Love and Sons with book, lyrics, and music by John G. Higgins.
Third Prize goes to Glass Ceilings with book by Nicholas David Brandt and music and lyrics by Laura Watkins

Special Merit goes to Weeds with book, music, and lyrics by Adam Gubman

Special Merit goes to Rose Petals and Ashes by Bill Berry

The Search for New Musicals accepts entrants from around the globe; winners receive awards worth up to $25,000 in workshop productions, concert readings, feedback, and developmental support.

"We are thrilled to sponsor the Search," says Elise Dewsberry, Artistic Director of NMI. "We love seeing what writers are creating; and of course our mission is to nurture the folks who are writing musicals, so announcing the winners of the Search is one of my favorite things to do all year!"

Entertaining Murder is a song cycle for four voices, based on the a true story of the hanging of Edith Thompson - a 'cause celebre' in 1922. There is now a consensus that she was innocent of colluding to murder her husband. So why did British justice fail her? And how did her sixty three love letters serve to incriminate her?

Love and Sons is the story of a modern day farmer who risks everything to keep his family together on the same land his ancestors settled. His sons Dooley and Chase are ready to leave to start their own lives, but when Homer uses the money he's promised them to buy new farmland for all of them to work, the whole family is driven apart. How can they find a way back to each other-and what does it really mean to be "together"?

Glass Ceilings is the story of historical women - whose stories you should but probably don't know - who find themselves in the surreal afterlife of Hergatory, a cabaret bar where feminists go when they die. They balance telling their stories with watching current events unravel, waiting with bated breath for more glass ceilings to come tumbling down.

Weeds is a fantasy movie musical about a young woman trapped in a mental institution somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Through the ultimate desire to create color and life in the fantastic (and somewhat horrific) magical world around her, she and her friends discover that true elevation lies in empowering each other, and through their understanding, find an escape to a better world.

Rose Petals and Ashes is a one-person song cycle about a songwriter struggling with addiction and the memories of his mother.

Entertaining Murder will receive a workshop at NMI in the spring, and a concert reading as part of the 2020 BIZ of the Musical Theatre BIZ in Los Angeles in July, 2020. Love and Sons will receive a staff table reading. Glass Ceilings will receive a Detailed Analysis from an NMI dramaturge.

NMI is committed to an ongoing search to find and nurture promising new musical theatre. If you've written a musical, and you would like some honest, constructive, detailed feedback on how to make your musical better, you can submit your musical to NMI for dramaturgical feedback at levels from evaluation to analysis to table reading to workshop to concert reading.

Past winners of the Search have included: The Water by Jeff Hylton, Tim Werenko, and Georgia Stitt (2008); Greenbrier Ghost by Susan Murray and Clay Zambo (2009); Gilbert & Sullivan on Wall Street by Charles Veley and Arthur Sullivan (2010); Emerald by Chris Burgess and Denise Wright (2011); Mad Bomber by Charles Monagan and Richard DeRosa (2012); It Happened in Roswell by Terrence Atkins and Jeffery Lyle Segal (2013); Off the Wall by Sarah Rebell and Danny Abosch (2014), Invisible by David Hollingsworth and David Orris (2015), Spellbound: A F@#$*d-Up Fairy Tale by Ben Boecker (2016), Bravo by Cristian Guerrero, Steven Schmidt, and Andrew Moorhead (2017), and The Bully Problem by Michael Gordon Shapiro (2019).

All musicals submitted (at any level) to NMI by July 15, 2020 will be automatically entered in the Search for New Musicals for next season. Winners of the 2020 Search will be announced by November 15, 2020. The winner of the Search receives a workshop with the Academy Repertory Company, detailed feedback from the NMI staff, and a concert reading in Los Angeles.

Information on submitting to the Search is available by visiting

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