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Musical Theatre Factory Sets Full 2016-17 Season with Residencies, Concerts, Roundtables & More

On the heels of joining Playwrights Horizons Resident Company Program, Musical Theatre Factory (MTF), under the direction of Founding Artistic Director Shakina Nayfack, has announced its first full season of programming since its founding in January 2014.

The 2016-2017 season lineup includes seven developmental residencies, five Joe's Pub concerts, four of MTF's signature 4X15 series, four Factory salons and the addition of Representation Roundtables, devoted to showcasing emerging writers of color, women writers and trans* identified writers.

Founding Artistic Director Shakina Nayfack shall remain at the helm of the organization and has enlisted General Managers Frankie Dailey and Joey Monda as the organization continues to grow.


Book, Music & Lyrics by Nikko Benson and Benjamin Halstead
Performances will take place at Playwrights Horizons South Room, 416 W 42nd Street, 4th Floor
Sept 30th at 3pm & 7pm
Oct 1st at 2pm & 7pm
Tickets, which are $18, are available at

NIKOLA TESLA DROPS THE BEAT is an EDM musical about history's most overlooked inventor and his struggle to realize his vision of the future. The show's modern style and score reflect Tesla's obsession with that future, translating electric innovation into electronic music. Tesla himself is contemporized as a pop-icon whose sounds pushed the limits of what his audience could handle. Come feel the beat drop.

Nikko Benson is a New York-based writer and performer, recipient of a 2016 Jonathan Larson grant. Projects include Start Again, In Pursuit of Magic, and The Pledge (w/ Christopher Staskel). He and his songs have been featured in concerts and cabarets around the city, such as Brian Stokes Mitchell's Plays With Music, William Finn's "Ridiculously Talented" series, and Shakina Nayfack's One Woman Show and Post Op. ASCAP and Dramatists' Guild member, TPAP teaching artist, MTF founding member!

BENJAMIN HALSTEAD studied filmmaking at NYU, where he wrote/directed a couple musical short films, and then enrolled at NYU again for the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. His songs have been performed at Joe's Pub, 54 Below, Bill Finn's Cabaret, Barrington Stage, NYMF, MTF, and more. MTF Founding Member. Ben spends his days in SpotCo's Digital Marketing Department, selling Broadway one tweet at a time.

Book by Jeremy King
Music & Lyrics by Sam Salmond
Based on the Novel by David Feinberg

New York used to be a fun town, but in 1986, everyone is crippled by fear of AIDS. Everyone, that is, except BJ Rosenthal, who's doing his best to keep the party going. But when an ex-lover becomes ill, BJ comes face to face with the reality he's tried so hard to ignore. To protect himself he swears off whatever could put him at risk: sex, love, bars, sandwiches, direct eye contact, New Jersey...pretty much everything. Still, memories of men from bygone days are everywhere, and the only way out is through. Can BJ connect the dots of his footloose past before he loses his friends, his happiness, and his mind? EIGHTY-SIXED is a new musical about a man confronting his history in order to reclaim his future.

Sam Salmond is a 2016 Jonathan Larson Award-winning composer/lyricist/ bookwriter. In addition to Eighty-Sixed, which has been developed at Second Stage Theatre, Sam is the creator of the immersive show Uncool: the Party (CAP21 and MTF), and wrote book and lyrics for Mother, Me and the Monsters (Barrington Stage - Critic's Pick, The Boston Globe) and Cage Match (Prospect Theater). He contributed songs for Shakina Nayfack's Manifest Pussy (Theatreworks Palo Alto, The Wild Project and the North Carolina HB2 Rebel Tour). Sam's songs have been featured at venues across the country, including Lincoln Center, Ars Nova, Symphony Space, Joe's Pub, 54 Below, NYMF and NAMT.

JEREMY J. King (Libretto) Jeremy's debut novel and introduction to the Immortal Testimonies series, In Stone, was published by Bold Strokes Books in 2012 and was listed in Advocate's "Top 10 Books for Young LGBT Folks and Anyone Who Wants to Understand Them," and recommended by the American Library Association's GLBT Round Table. His sophomore release, Night Creatures, was a finalist for the 2014 Rainbow Award in fantasy. The latest installment of the series, Dark Rites, recently hit shelves. Eighty-Sixed is his first foray into dramatic writing after studying acting and writing at Marymount Manhattan College. He was raised on the Jersey Shore and currently resides in Manhattan where he continues to develop work for the page, the stage and hopefully the screen.

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jahn Sood
Dates and performance times TBA

THE DISAPPEARING MAN is a new folk opera that takes place backstage at a small-time circus in 1936. When the headliner is offered another job, each of the performers in the motley troupe must decide whether to adapt to change or fight to keep the family together.

Jahn Sood is the creator of new folk operas The Disappearing Man and In A Sea of Faces. Lyricist/librettist for musicals With You Always and Vitals Signs. He was a founding member of indy-rock group Ezra Furman & the Harpoons, founding editor at The Inman Review, and assisted composer Pat Irwin (of the B-52s) on the scores of Feed the Beast, Nurse Jackie, Bored to Death and several documentaries and feature films.

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson
Dates and performance times TBA

A STRANGE LOOP follows Usher, a black gay man and musical theater writer who works as an usher at a long running Broadway show where he serves entitled tourists and fights to move away from a core self-hatred that manifests in the form of voices in his head that include but are not limited to student loan representatives, his parents, men on Grindr, and Tyler Perry stage play characters. As these forces swirl around him, Usher is swept into a painful confrontation with his long held perception of himself.

Michael R. Jackson holds a BFA and MFA in playwriting and Musical Theatre Writing from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He wrote book and lyrics for the musical Only Children with composer Rachel Peters, book, music, and lyrics for the musical A Strange Loop, and book and lyrics for the musical adaptation of the 2007 horror film Teeth with co-bookwriter and composer Anna Jacobs.

Music by Ben Krauss
Book and Lyrics by Sukari Jones
Dates and performance times TBA

A slave and master in a horse drawn buggy; a teen cook and young actress on a showboat; a middle aged seamstress and 9 year old runaway on an Alabama public bus; AIN'T FAR FROM HOME is a new original musical triptych about a friendship between a white woman and a black woman formed by time they live in--respectively 1855, 1905 and 1955--that asks "where are we headed?"

SUKARI JONES is a screenwriter, playwright and lyricist whose writing explores the intersection of race and power in America, often through a satirical and/or magical lens. Sukari received her B.A. from Vassar College and M.F.A. from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program where she was twice awarded the Yip Harburg Outstanding Lyricist Award. Sukari completed the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop earning a place in the Advanced workshop level. She is an alum of several writers groups including terraNOVA Groundbreakers and The Public Theater's Emerging Writers group. Sukari's work has been produced and developed at The Public Theater, Tofte Lake Center, Vineyard Arts Project, Lark Play Development Center, Barrington Stage Company, Laurie Beechman Theatre, NYU, Musical Theatre Factory, Lincoln Center Theater, Joe's Pub, Prospect Theater Company and Goodspeed Opera House. She is a current member of the Musical Theatre Factory, where she is the inaugural moderator of the Person Of Color Roundtable and active member of the Rodgers and Hammerstein writers group and screenwriter for Korean TV series.

BEN KRAUSS is an active pianist, vocal coach, and music director in the New York area. Broadway: The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Addams Family. Selected Regional/Stock: Westport Country Playhouse, North Shore Music Theater, ReVision Theater Company, Theater by the Sea, Surflight Theater. Ben's orchestrations have accompanied singers such as Raul Esperza, Josh Young, and Karen Ziemba. Additionally, Ben is an alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop.

Music, and Lyrics by Zoe Sarnak
Dates and performance times TBA

THE YEARS BETWEEN is a window into lives, loves, and desires of the millennials as a new "Lost Generation." The original members of the "Lost Generation," so named by Gertrude Stein, were the survivors of World War I - "lost" and directionless in work, art and love after the returning from the war. One hundred years later: stable childhoods, big dreams, and the post-crash reality of early adulthood have left a new generation floating and searching: struggling financially, changing jobs, and passing through long-term but non-committal relationships.

Zoe Sarnak (composer/lyricist) Works include: A Lasting Impression (Off-Broadway 2012, Winner NJ Playwright's contest), The Years Between (T-fellowship, MTF-Playwrights Horizons Lab), Landed (NYFA commission with Emily Kaczmarek). Awards include: Davenport Songwriting contest, NY Stage & Film's Founders Award finalist, Fred Ebb Award finalist, Women's Project Lab Artist. Residencies include: The Public at Vineyards Arts, Goodspeed Writers Colony, Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, and Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. Music featured: Lilly Awards, Women of Note, Cutting Edge Composers and more. Upcoming: Secret Soldiers (with MarSha Norman), Transport Group's 20th Century Commission (with Michele Lowe) and Teddy & Max (with Brian Crawley).

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Dmitry Koltunov
Dates and performance times TBA

A rock musical with Russian Folk influences, Fireflies tells the story of a young Ukranian immigrant trying to support his Old World family and community in NYC. Wrestling with the pressures of a dream job and a new relationship, he is forced to question his values, allegiances, and abilities to live up to his own and others' expectations.

DMITRY KOLTUNOV is a NYC based singer-songwriter. He emigrated to NYC from Ukraine at the age of 10, and found his passion for writing in the search for identity that followed. Born into a family of musicians, Dmitry has been writing and performing since an early age. He is passionate about lyrical storytelling, and Fireflies is his debut project as a writer, lyricist, and composer. Dmitry is a graduate of UPenn where he studied economics and computer science while pursuing poetry, music, and writing.

September 26th at 9:30pm - Followed by Season Launch Party

Music and Lyrics by Joe Iconis
Book by Joe Iconis, Lance Rubin, and Jason SweetTooth Williams
Fresh on the heels of a sold-out, critically acclaimed run at Barrington Stage Company, Broadway BounTy Hunter makes its boisterous Big Apple Debut in concert at Joe's Pub. Inspired by the exploitation movies of the 1970s (think Shaft or Enter the Dragon), this rafter-shaking new musical follows down-on-her-luck actor Annie (played by Annie Golden) as she's asked to become a bounTy Hunter and capture a South American drug lord. With an instant-classic R&B/Funk score, the musical follows a woman of a certain age as she tries to find the inner strength she needs to save theatre and realize her true badass identity. Starring an electric and diverse cast led by Alan H. Green, Scott Watanabe, and Jeff McCarthy, be among the first to catch a glimpse of the show that everyone is talking about. Ready or not, here comes Annie Golden: BounTy Hunter!

Michael R. Jackson Monday, November 21st at 7pm
Michael R. Jackson is a composer, lyricist, and trash talker. He's not only unapologetically black and gay, he's relentlessly so. Haters have called him "old," "a misogynist," and a "self-loathing coon." Lovers have called him a "cut-up," a "gadfly," and a "National Treasure." His mother is still waiting for him to be discovered like Lana Turner in a soda shop. His music is a soulful musical theater singer-songwriter sound wed to lyrics that are personal, humorous, and boundary-pushing. He wrote book and lyrics with composer and co-bookwriter Anna Jacobs for the musical Teeth (based on the Mitchell Lichtenstein 2007 film of the same name and presented by Musical Theatre Factory), and book, music, and lyrics for the musical A Strange Loop (presented by Musical Theatre Factory).

Christy Altomare Monday, January 20th at 7pm
Christy is originating the role of Anya in the Broadway production of Anastasia to open at the Broadhurst Theater on April 24, 2017. In 2012 she made her Broadway debut as Sophie Sheridan in Mamma Mia! at the Winter Garden Theater. Christy took on the role of Sue Snell in the reimagined MCC Theater Off Broadway production of Carrie for its 2011/12 season. In the fall of 2011, she brought Jerusha Abbott to life in the Detroit run of John Caird and Paul Gordon's new musical Daddy Long Legs. She joined the 1st national touring cast of Spring Awakening as Wendla Bergmann in the summer of 2008 and took the stage for over 600 performances through 44 cities across the US and Canada. She is a 2008 graduate of Cincinnati University's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) with a BFA in Musical Theater.

Joel Waggoner Monday, March 27th at 7pm
Joel Waggoner holds an M.F.A. from NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and currently works as a composer/lyricist, performer, vocal coach, musical director and violinist. His new musical Presto Change-O, with book/lyrics by Eric Price, has been commissioned by Barrington Stage Company and will receive a full-production in Summer 2015. As a performer, he was most recently seen in Southern Comfort (Barrington Stage Co.,CAP21, NAMT). Joel's bluegrass-folk/rock musical, Carolina Breeze (book and lyrics by Lori Mannette) recently received the New York Writer's Summit award for Outstanding New Musical. His works have been performed at Birdland, Joe's Pub, Merkin Recital Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, Barington Stages, Goodspeed Operahouse, NYTB, New Voices in Seattle, and Playwright's Horizons. Currently, he is serving as a full-time Vocal Coach and Music Director for the Pace University BFA Musical Theatre Dept. Joel is a private vocal coach for MTCA (Musical Theater College Auditions, LLC). 2012 Dramatist Guild Fellow. 2009 ASCAP Max Dreyfus Award Winner.

REBEKAH ALLEN Monday, May 22nd at 7pm
Rebekah M. Allen is a writer, composer, and lyricist living in New York City. Her work has been featured at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, the Musical Theatre Factory, the York Theatre, the Boo Festival (Award Winner), the Songwriters' Salon, Second City Chicago, and has been showcased at 54 Below in We Are The Tigers: In Concert. Her original full-length projects include We Are The Tigers: A New Musical and Remission, which premiered at the New York Musical Festival in July 2016. She is a lyricist in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop and an entertainment contributor at

MTF's 4X15s:
1 night. 4 new musicals. 15 minutes each. Lineups to be announced.
In our 4x15 Series, we showcase 15-minute staged segments from four new shows by up-and-coming writers. Each creative team receives five hours of rehearsal to workshop the strongest or most troublesome excerpt of their piece with a cast of MTF volunteer performers. The program allows writers to see a portion of their work fully staged and on its feet, and the selections are presented together before a public audience and a panel of industry professionals. Shows are selected from member submissions, the 4x15 series is presented bi-monthly alternating with Factory Salons. By the start of the 2016-17 season, the Factory will have assisted in the development of more than 20 new musicals through 4x15.
Wednesday, November 9, 9pm-12am
Sunday, December 18 (Holiday Salon!), 9pm-12am
Wednesday, March 8, 9pm-12am
Wednesday, May 3, 9pm-12am

Factory Salons happen every-other month, and are informal open mic nights for new musical theatre songs. Salons are curated by an established musical theatre writer who invites additional guests to perform featured sets of new work. These community-building events provide an open platform for all artists to share their work and to seek out new collaborators. The drop-in evening serves as a beginning point for new projects or a check-in for long gestating shows. For many, the Salon serves as an introduction to the Factory and its mission.

10/5/16 at 8PM at the Robert Moss Theater, 440 Lafayette Street
12/5/16 at 8PM
3/8/17 at 8PM
5/3/17 at 8PM

Introducing Representation Roundtables:
MTF's new 'Writers Of Color' and 'Women's + Trans*' Roundtables exist as drop-in song clinics and safe-space sharing forums devoted to showcasing emerging People of Color, Women and Trans* Identified artists. In this monthly 3-hour writers room, musical theater creators each receive 15 minutes of uninterrupted sharing time, with the potential for feedback and support. This commitment-free roundtables seek to support underrepresented writers as well as provide an entry point to other MTF Assembly Line programs. The 'Writers of Color Round Table' will be moderated by Sukari Jones and the Women and Trans-identified Writers Round Table will be moderated by Anna K. Jacobs.

MTF Writers Groups
Meeting every three weeks, MTF currently facilitates two different writers groups, each with six developing projects. Selected by and facilitated by the artistic staff, the shows and artists selected for the writers group represent a long-term commitment from the writers to develop their work with Musical Theatre Factory, and in return receive priority access to Assembly Line programming.

Founding MTF Members still active in Writers Group
Anna K. Jacobs - Echo
Lisa Burns and Chris Staskel - Shades of Wayne
*Nikko Benson and Benjamin J. Halstead - Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat
*Michael R. Jackson - A Strange Loop
*Founding writers group projects receiving development residences this season

Rodgers and Hammerstein Group (2nd year)
Andrew Hanley and Anderson Heinz - The Beautiful Things
Sukari Jones and Ben Krauss - Ain't Far From Home
Michelle Elliot and Danny Larsen - Heart Island
Anna Grace Carter and Eric Grunin - Our Woman, Frank Thompson

Lerner and Lowe group (new)
Brandon Michael Lowden - working on a show TBA
Jill Abramovitz, Brad Alexander, and Barry Wyner - working on a show TBA
Jahn Sood - Ernesto
Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald - REB+VoDKa+ME
Oliver Houser - XY
Avi Amon and Claire Kiechel - you're nothing to no one to me

Musical Theatre Factory was founded by Artistic Director Shakina Nayfack in January 2014 as a collective for early-career musical theatre makers interested in changing the way new musicals are developed in New York City. The mission of the Factory is to develop and present new Musical Theatre Works in a collaborative environment free from the pressures of critical or commercial success. With a focus on peer-evaluation and process-driven volunteer support, MTF's assembly line of development programming directly addresses the needs of today's musical theatre artists and is intended to nurture new work from initial concepts to full drafts and, occasionally, first productions.

In its first two years MTF has assisted in the development of over 90 new musicals with more than 900 volunteers contributing over 16,000 combined hours of service. The organization has partnered with a number of other theatre companies throughout NYC, including Joe's Pub at The Public Theatre, The People's Improv Theatre, Poetic Theatre Productions, and Playwrights Horizons, where they will begin a three-year residency this coming fall.

MTF members include some of today's most exciting composers, lyricists, book writers, directors, choreographers, music directors, dramaturgs, performers, and arts administrators. The organization is overseen by General Managers Frankie Dailey and Joey Monda, with Creative Producer Aaron Glick serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors.


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