National Alliance for Musical Theatre Announces Lineup for 33rd Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS

The musicals chosen include AZUL, Fanny and Stella: a f*cking fabulous new musical, Little Duende, Māyā, Missing Peace, Private Gomer Jones & more.

By: Jul. 09, 2021
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National Alliance for Musical Theatre Announces Lineup for 33rd   Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS

National Alliance for Musical Theatre has announced the line-up of new musicals for their 33rd Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS on Thursday October 20 and Friday, October 21, 2021. This year, NAMT 's Festival of New Musicals will be presented as a unique digital and in-person hybrid, allowing wider accessibility for attendees.

Now in its 33rd year, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS attracts theatre producers from around the world to discover eight new musicals over two days. Production costs are underwritten by NAMT, which funds the Festival entirely through donations and sponsorships.

The Festival has introduced musical theatre producers to nearly 300 musicals and over 500 writers from around the world. As a direct result of the FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS , more than 85% of the shows presented have gone on to subsequent readings, workshops, productions or tours; been licensed; and/or recorded on cast albums. Some past Festival shows include Come From Away, Lempicka, The Drowsy Chaperone , Lizard Boy, Benny & Joon , Darling Grenadine, Ordinary Days, Striking 12, It Shoulda Been You, Interstate and Thoroughly Modern Millie , among many others.

NAMT will film live presentations of all Festival musicals this year. Those presentations will then be screened at an in-person event on October 20 and 21. Members of the industry are invited to attend the screening, where they can also meet the writers, or they can view a livestream of the presentations, which will be presented in collaboration with Broadway On Demand. Because seating at the live event will be strictly limited, the public can access the streaming portion of the Festival by making a small donation to NAMT.

Festival registration will begin later in July at

This year, committee of 15 theatre professionals selected eight new musicals out of over 200 submissions. The musicals chosen for the 33 rd Annual Festival are:

AZUL (Book by Melis Aker and Tatiana Pandiani, Music by Jacinta Clusellas, Lyrics by Jacinta Clusellas and Ruben Dario), Fanny and Stella: a f*cking fabulous new musical (Music & Lyrics by Eamonn O'Dwyer, Book by SEVAN), Little Duende (Music & Lyrics by Robi Hager, Book & Lyrics by Georgina Escobar), Māyā (Book & Music by Cheeyang Ng, Book & Lyrics by Eric Sorrels), Missing Peace (Book, Music & Lyrics by Kalani Queypo and Kyle Puccia), Private Gomer Jones (Written by Marshall Pailet), Senior Class (Book, Melodies & Lyrics by Melvin Tunstall, Music by Greg Borowsky), TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix (Book & Lyrics by EllaRose Chary, Music & Lyrics by Brandon James Gwinn).

In a statement, Betsy King Militello, Executive Director of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, said, " After navigating last year's pandemic-driven circumstances by presenting a fully online Festival, we are happily evolving further to meet this year's needs. Our hybrid Festival, which will include both the vital community-building of an in-person event and the enhanced accessibility of a digital presentation, is designed to give as many people as possible the chance to discover this year's group of extraordinary artists. We are excited about these writers and their musicals and are eager to share them with the world."

Casting for each musical and further programming details will be announced soon.

AZUL Book by Melis Aker and Tatiana Pandiani, Music by Jacinta Clusellas, Lyrics by Jacinta Clusellas and Ruben Dario

In an epic world of magical realism, Bluebird, an idealist poet, seeks a better life in a new land. Years later, in present-day Jackson Heights, Rita, a composer, struggles to forgive her father, understand her roots and reconnect to a land she has never known. AZUL is a bilingual spectacle, as well as a psychological deep-dive into the immigrant father-daughter relationship. It questions the place of art in capitalism and explores how memory and imagination reshape immigrant identity. The score is a constellation of songs rooted in Latin American folkloric traditions, along with jazz and chamber music.

Melis Aker is a writer, actor and musician from Turkey. Her plays have been commissioned by and developed at Atlantic Theater, Ars Nova (Play Group member), NYTW (2050 fellow), O'Neill, New Group, Dramatists Guild (DGF fellow), Roundabout Space Jam, LaMaMa, The Lark, Noor, Golden Thread Productions, 24 Hour Plays, Magic Theatre in the US, as well as the Finborough and Park theatres in London. She has also worked on developing a screenplay with Revelations Entertainment, headed by Lori McCreary and Morgan Freeman, and recently released her short play Scraps and Things on Playing On Air, starring Carol Kane. Melis is developing a musical play with Benjamin Scheuer and Jemima Williams based on their illustrated book Hundred Feet Tall and a new play commission from Ars Nova. Her play Field, Awakening (Kilroy's List) will receive its world premiere at the Finborough Theatre (COVID-19 pending). Training: Columbia (MFA), Tufts (BA), RADA (Acting).

Tatiana Pandiani is a South American writer & director-choreographer who works in English and Spanish. She serves as the Associate Director for the Broadway tour of What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck. Recent screen projects: Fractio Panis (Homebound, starring Brian Cox) and What the Constitution Means to Me (Amazon Prime). Other recent: When My Mama was a Hittite by Melis Aker (Park Theatre, London) and Christina by Alexis Sheer (Cleveland Playhouse). Tatiana directed the tour of Negrophilie by Zakiya Markland (Frank Collymore, Barbados; Ubumuntu Festival, Rwanda; Kampala International Festival, Uganda). She has developed AZUL at the O'Neill Center, Musical Theatre Factory, Tofte Lake, NYTW and The Drama League. Upcoming: Torera by Monet-Hurst Mendoza (Long Wharf), LEMPICKA (Associate to Rachel Chavkin, La Jolla). Tatiana is a professor at Hofstra University, a Teaching Artist at the Atlantic Theater. Fellowships: NYTW 2050, NDF. MFA: Columbia. Member of SDC. Representation: Paradigm.

Jacinta Clusellas is a composer, guitarist and arranger from Buenos Aires, Argentina, based in New York. Jacinta's debut album El Pájaro Azul was published in Japan under the record label Inpartmaint Inc. She has served as music director-composer-arranger for the development of AZUL. Jacinta has performed at Lincoln Center, Bebop Club (Buenos Aires), Mesón Nerudiano (Santiago de Chile), Estación (Quito), MAAC (Guayaquil), Atheneum Kelari (Athens) and Vlatos (Crete), to name a few. She has performed at SXSW (Austin, TX), Lanesboro (MN), ART (MN), Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (WY), Tofte Lake Emerging Artists Residency (MN) and Westben Residency (Canada). She has arranged for A.R. Rahman (Boston Symphony Hall) and Alejandro Sanz. Jacinta is a Teaching Artist at the Very Young Composers Program for the New York Philharmonic. She holds a BA from Berklee College of Music. Upcoming: Second album, produced by West One Music (London).

Fanny and Stella: a f*cking fabulous new musical Music & Lyrics by Eamonn O'Dwyer, Book by SEVAN

London, 1870s: Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton were unremarkable middle-class boys growing up in Dulwich, who fled their suburban upbringing to live as Fanny & Stella in frenetic Victorian London. A run-in with the law casts them in their own coup de théâtre: the sensational show-trial of the 'He-She Ladies.' Dominating the press and scandalizing the nation, the investigation exposed every sordid detail of their wild lives. In a time when simply being themselves made them a threat to the establishment, this ordeal would test their extraordinary friendship and the resolve of an empire.

Eamonn O'Dwyer is an award-winning composer and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. He has written original music for Lady Chatterley's Lover (UK Tour); Twelfth Night & Henry V (Shakespeare's Rose Theatre, York); It Never Happened (ArtsEd); Mrs. Beeton Says ... (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School); The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (NYMT, The Other Palace); The Comedy of Errors & Julius Caesar Re-imagined (RSC, Swan); Flesh & Bone (National Theatre Studio); Grimm Tales & Peter Pan (Chichester Festival Theatre); Jeeves & Wooster (Barn, Cirencester); Stones in His Pockets (Dukes, Lancaster); The Glass Menagerie (Theatre Chipping Norton). The score for his original musical The House of Mirrors & Hearts won the MTM Award for Best New Score at the Edinburgh Festival in 2010, and after its critically acclaimed run at the Arcola Theatre in 2015, it has now been performed in Australia and the US. For more info, visit

SEVAN is an award-winning London and NYC-based playwright-actor. As a writer, his work has been seen in London and New York at The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, The Flea Theater, The Sheen Center, The Bush Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Theatre503, Rich Mix, The Old Red Lion, The Space and Access Theater. He was a member of the Bush Theatre inaugural 2015 Emerging Writers' Group; The Public Theater 2011 Emerging Writers Group; NYTW Usual Suspect; Rising Circle Theater Collective 2010 InkTANK Writer's Lab. NYTW 2011/2012 Teaching Artist. 2017 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference Finalist. 2014/2015/2016 Princess Grace Award Semi-Finalist. 2014 Papatango Playwriting Prize Shortlist. 2014 Saroyan Social Justice/Human Rights Playwriting Award Finalist. 2010/2012 William Saroyan Playwriting Prize Finalist. He has won the 2016 Kondazian Playwriting Award for Armenian Stories and the 2016 Arch and Bruce Foundation Playwriting Prize.

Little Duende Music & Lyrics by Robi Hager, Book & Lyrics by Georgina Escobar

In the land of Elflán, life and beauty flourishes. Adelita, an adventurous and curious young elf, is eager to find what lies beyond the horizon. When the evil spirit of La Mancha kidnaps her mother, Adelita is forced to travel north to the land of the Hadaseñas in hopes of being reunited with her again. Little Duende is a musical with the aesthetic tones of Pixar's Coco and Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth . With fairy tales and mythological themes, this musical comments on real-world matters as it explores the border crisis, dual-citizenship, and the consequences of a family secret.

Robi Hager began his career in NYC as an actor/singer and appeared on Broadway with Spring Awakening , How to Succeed in Business... , Bye Bye Birdie , Doctor Zhivago and i n National Tours such as Fun Home and Spring Awakening . Regionally, he appeared in Ragtime , Next To Normal (Arden) and Bonnie & Clyde (TUTS). As a composer, he wrote songs "Quiero Soñar" and "Maduros" along with friend Alex McCabe, and they have appeared in both films Top Five and Can You Ever Forgive Me? . Robi is the creator and producer of the LGBTQ musical, Basic Witches , for which he received a Barrymore nomination for Best Original Score. He is the composer for a new musical called Silueta being developed with Power Street Theatre Co. in Philadelphia.

Georgina Escobar is a playwright who currently splits her time between El Paso, Texas, and NYC. She is a MacDowell Fellow, Djerassi Resident, and recipient of the Kennedy Center Darrell Ayers Playwriting Award. Her work has been featured in the Kilroys List, The Texas Review, Los Bárbaros, McSweeney's Anthology, and New Passport Press. Her plays have been produced across the USA and internationally in Mexico, Denmark and Sweden. Artistic homes and presenters include INTAR ( Then They Forgot About The Rest ), New York Children's Theatre ( Zoongoro The Musical ), Clubbed Thumb and Project Y, Lincoln Center ( Sweep ), Bushwick Starr ( Species: Human ) (NY), Two River Theater (NJ), Milagro (PDX), Aurora Theatre (GA), and Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre (IN).

Māyā Book & Music by Cheeyang Ng, Book & Lyrics by Eric Sorrels

Māyā is many things: it's a philosophy of Hinduism; the idea that the world around us is really an illusion; and a girl's name. Set in the British Raj in 1930, Māyā is the story of a struggling poet in need of an awakening, not unlike India herself. When Gandhi's non-violent Independence Movement arrives on Māyā's doorstep, she is thrust into one of the most turbulent political climates in history. When she commits herself to the cause, she begins to shatter the illusions that have been deceiving her to discover the difference she'll really make.

Born and raised in Singapore, Cheeyang Ng is an award-winning singer-songwriter who writes at the intersection of queer, Asian and immigrant stories. They have performed around the world, including Lincoln Center with Carole King and Carnegie Hall with a cappella group Vocalosity; and hold an MFA from New York University and a BMus from Berklee College of Music. They are the first Singaporean to headline a concert at Joe's Pub and Millennium Stage at Kennedy Center, showcasing their original music. Creator of podcast East Side Story and vocal group The Lunar Collective, they have won multiple vocal awards all across Asia, including Singapore, Taiwan and China. Musicals in development include Eastbound (Village Theatre Festival of New Musicals, NAMT Festival '20, NYTB IMPACT Award) with Khiyon Hursey and Māyā (Live & In Color, Hypokrit) with Eric Sorrels.

Hailing from Lebanon, Tennessee, Eric Sorrels is a New York-based performer, songwriter and music director. As a singer, he has performed with professional ensembles at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Bard Music Festival and places of worship throughout Manhattan. As a music director, he has helmed several cabarets and concerts at The Duplex and Feinstein's/54 Below. His songs have been showcased at The Duplex and Joe's Pub. He has a BA in Theatre from UT Knoxville and an MFA from NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Projects in development include Māyā and Only Us with Cheeyang Ng, and the song cycle Yas, Queen! @eric.sorrels

Missing Peace Book, Music & Lyrics by Kalani Queypo and Kyle Puccia

Chase wakes up from a coma, his past a blur. To his family's surprise, Chase is happy and free until the dark memories begin to flood back like quick cuts of a movie trailer that just don't add up. As Chase grapples with his attempted suicide, bad choices he's made and the people he's hurt along the way, he begins to work through his pain and heal relationships with those he loves the most.

Kalani Queypo is a founding member of SAG-AFTRA's National Native American Committee and serves on the Advisory Council for Native Voices Theater at the Autry. Kalani is an award-winning screenwriter for Ancestor Eyes , his self-directed short film that played at nearly 40 festivals, winning 14 awards. Kalani entered into the world of Musical Theater with Missing Peace , enjoying two developmental workshops with Native Voices Theater. He received a 2020 Rhinebeck Writers Residency, and was recently featured on Broadway for Biden: In Our America: A Concert for the Soul of the Nation . Kalani can be seen acting in the Oscar-nominated film, The New World, Steven Spielberg's Emmy-winning Into the West and Slow West (Sundance Grand Jury Prize). Television credits include Jamestown , Fear the Walking Dead , Mad Men , Hawaii Five-0 , Nurse Jackie , and Bones . This coming January, Kalani will be starring in the new CW series, Trickster .

Kyle Puccia is a Platinum-selling songwriter, composer and musician. His co-write, "Kids In Love," debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Kyle earned a Swedish Grammy nomination in 2018, and his songs have charted on Billboard's Top 40 Hot Dance Club Play & Top 10 UK Commercial Pop Charts. Kyle has composed dozens of scores for Microsoft and T-Mobile commercials. He has garnered song placements on such TV shows/films/brands as HBO, World Of Dance , Pretty Little Liars , Legacies , The Titan Games , Love Island , Siesta Key , The Vineyard, and Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List . He has music-directed and/or created vocal arrangements for TV's Lucifer (Netflix), LA workshop productions for Rock of Ages , and Romy & Michele's High School Reunion, The Musical.

Private Gomer Jones Written by Marshall Pailet

1914. Young Gomer Jones has ambitions to join the Welsh army. But since he's lost his hearing, he needs the help of a nurse with ties to the Deaf community to fake his way past the recruiters. And so begins Gomer's journey as a deaf soldier pretending not to be a deaf soldier. He loses friends, his moral compass and his humanity. And then, through a series of moments in an increasingly senseless war, he finds himself again. When he returns to Wales, his sense of purpose has been decimated. But hope for a humanistic life has been found.

Marshall Pailet is a writer and director for theater and is the proud owner of a wildly untrained, but ultimately well-meaning, terrier-mix. He directed, composed and co-wrote the Off-Broadway musicals Who's Your Baghdaddy , which was a two-time NY Times Critic's Pick, and Triassic Parq , which went on to win the Ovation Award for Best Musical for its LA premiere. Other writing includes Private Gomer Jones (Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals); Loch Ness (Best Musical/Best Director '19 BWW Awards); Claudio Quest (winner of six NYMF Awards for Excellence); Shrek The Halls (DreamWorks Theatricals); The Magic School Bus (TheaterWorks USA). Film: Veggie Tales: Noah's Ark starring Wayne Brady (Original Songs). He has written and directed for RKO Stage, Atlantic Theater Company, and PBS, among others. Graduate of Yale University.

Senior Class Book, Melodies & Lyrics by Melvin Tunstall , Music by Greg Borowsky

When the Senior Class Musical production of My Fair Lady is canceled due to budget cuts, two theater nerds in Harlem convince the school to do a one-night-only, royalty-free staging of Pygmalion . When they meet a subway dancer named Alizé, art begins to imitate life as they try to transform her into their perfect Eliza Doolittle. However, this new modern-day Eliza schools them all as she proves she can Doolittle and so much more.

Melvin Tunstall is an Off-Broadway Alliance Award-winning playwright for penning the book of the TYA phenomenon Polkadots: the Cool Kids Musical . Seen in over 50 productions worldwide, the show also took home the Naledi Award, South Africa's equivalent to the Tony Award. A proud participant in the Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Melvin took a small break from writing to make his Broadway debut in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical . The acting bug now quenched, Melvin returned to writing with commissioned adaptations of the Broadway musicals Wonderland and The Wiz. Melvin resides in New York City, where he is currently working on the musical adaptation of the YA Novel The Supadupa Kid for Barrington Stage Company, and an original movie musical based on the story of the famed Greensboro Four entitled One Week at Woolworth's . Melvin is represented by William Morris Endeavor.

Greg Dean Borowsky is a songwriter and music producer from South Africa, signed to Sony ATV. Greg is currently developing MANDELA - The Musical , which will be premiering at The Young Vic Theatre in London in 2022 and releasing a Broadway/West End all-star album through Sony Masterworks in 2021. Greg's last producer album, The Greg Dean Project , reached #1 on the UK Soul Chart and remained on the USA Billboard RnB Chart for six weeks in 2016. He made his debut as a musical theatre composer with Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical , which has had over 50 separate licensed productions staged around the USA, and was produced Off-Broadway by The Atlantic Theater Company, winning an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical in 2017, as well as a Naledi Award in South Africa (Best Production for Young Audiences, 2018).

TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix Book & Lyrics by EllaRose Chary , Music & Lyrics by Brandon James Gwinn

TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix is a fantasy-driven, irreverent, rocking meta-analysis of queer women in media that asks, "why do strong female characters always gotta die?". The cast and band, made up of six queer folks, defies the traditional cis, white, femme, skinny, able-bodied, male gaze-inspired concept of queer women in media. We start with T and L suspended in mid-air over the Grand Canyon - they promptly make out and then, with the help of their newfound queer community (The Band), seek a queer future that has never been modeled for them, the happy ending they deserve.

EllaRose Chary is a writer and advocate for inclusion in media. She likes telling stories with music and building community through artistic practice. She is a Richard Rodgers Award Winner, Drama League Award nominee, Dramatists Guild Fellow, Ars Nova Uncharted resident, O'Neill NMTC Finalist/Incubator Resident, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat Triple R Resident, NYFA Fellowship Playwriting/Screenwriting Finalist, Kleban Prize Finalist, a New Georges Affiliated Artist, recipient of the Anna Sosenko Grant and a NAMT Grant. Her work has been seen at The Civilians/City Center, UArts Polyphone Festival, The Great Plains Theatre Conference, Theatre C, The Rose Theater, Joe's Pub, Feinstein's/54 Below, Prospect Theater and more. She co-curates Tank-aret and her play with Brandon James Gwinn, The Séance Machine , was part of the Tank's 2019 Obie-Award winning season. This semester she was a guest lecturer and production studio lead artist at Harvard University.

Brandon James Gwinn is a composer-lyricist, performer and producer. His debut album, Not Too Late , is available now wherever music is sold. His award-winning musicals writing with EllaRose Chary include How to Survive the End of the World (now streaming at ), Cotton Candy & Cocaine , Queer. People. Time. and TL;DR , which received the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat Triple R Residency. He has been a Rodgers Award finalist, an O'Neill finalist, an Anna Sosenko Grant recipient, a Dramatists Guild Fellow and a Live Nation touring artist. He has been in residence at The Tank, Ars Nova, the Catwalk Residency and The O'Neill Theater Center Incubator Residency. Brandon has produced numerous recordings, including two Billboard and iTunes #1 albums by drag artist Trixie Mattel. Proud member of MAC, ASCAP, Dramatist Guild and a Grammy Voting member of NARAS.