Village Theatre's Festival of New Musicals Runs Through 8/17

Village Theatre's Festival of New Musicals Runs Through 8/17

Over one jam packed weekend, August 8 -10, six new musicals will be brought to life with help from more than 100 artists and one dozen directors and authors from across the country. Most audiences are comprised of enthusiastic Village Originals members (tickets are not for sale to the general public) who help the creative team with their reactions and constructive critiques. Press tickets are available upon request to all five readings in the Festival (fully sung with script in hand). One Festival show, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes, is a developmental production with full costumes and staging; tickets are for sale to the general public and this year there are nine performances from today, August 8 - 17, 2014.

Village Originals is a nationally renowned new musical development program, and each year The Annual Festival of New Musicals launches five fledgling musicals into the musical landscape. Steve Tomkins, Village Theatre artistic director comments, "The festival is one of my favorite weekends of the year at Village Theatre. We get script submissions year-round and spend months determining show selections. It's such a pleasure to be able to support new authors, and also an honor to have so many people who want to be a part of what we do."

Two musicals, Next to Normal (previous title Feeling Electric) and Million Dollar Quartet had their start through the Village Originals program and went on to win multiple Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize (Next to Normal). Other recent musicals that got their start at the Festival and went on to Village Theatre's Mainstage season include: Iron Curtain, It Shoulda Been You, Anne of Green Gables, Chasing Nicolette, The Gypsy King, Trails and The Tutor. In 1999 the new musical No Way to Treat a Lady was in the Village Originals program (the festival started the following year) and it will open on Village Theatre's Mainstage on March 19, 2015 for a six week run.

The Festival's five musical readings are performed at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre; showtimes are Kingdom (8/10/14 @ 2:00pm), My Heart Is the Drum (8/9/14 @ 7:30pm), Lord Arthur Savile's Crime (8/10/14 @ 7:30pm), The Single Girls Guide (8/8/14 @ 7:30pm), andA Proper Place (8/9/14 @ 7:30pm). The developmental production, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes is at First Stage Theatre; the showtimes are 8/8 @ 10:00pm, 8/9 @ 5:00pm, 8/10 @ 11:30am & 5:00pm, 8/14 - 8/16 @ 8pm, 8/16 - 8/17 @ 2pm.

The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes
Book & Lyrics by Christopher Dimond
Music by Michael Kooman

Howard Barnes is a perfectly average American guy; he likes baseball and grilling things. But beneath the surface, Howard is drifting through life blind to the wonders of the world around him. That is, until the day he wakes up to discover that his life has become a musical. Desperate to escape from the show, Howard embarks on a fantastical quest through the realm of musical theatre. Equal parts satire, romantic comedy and love letter to the American musical, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes is for people who love musical theatre, and their spouses who hate it. The director is Brandon Ivie and cast includes: Erik Gratton (Howard Barnes), Michele Ankrim (Maggie), Jeff Steitzer (Von Schwartzenheim), Billie Wildrick (Grace) and ensemble members Danny Kam, Brian Lange, Matt Wolfe, Nick Desantis, Bhama Roget, Heather McQuarrie, Krista Curry and Morgan Pate.

Book & Lyrics by Aaron Jafferis
Music by Ian Williams

In a world spinning out of their control, two young friends find meaning and purpose in their local Hispanic street gang. When a sudden attack ignites a bitter internal battle between ideals and survival, they are faced with a dilemma that tests the paradoxes of the human heart. Gripping, brutally honest, and fueled by a poetic hip hop/rock/Latin score, Kingdom not only delves into the eye of a cycle of violence, but illuminates the paths out of that storm in an important experience for theatre veterans and newcomers alike.

My Heart Is the Drum
Book by Jennie Redling
Music & Concept by Phillip Palmer
Lyrics by Stacey Luftig

When a passionate storyteller runs away from her small village in Ghana to pursue a college education and to escape an arranged marriage, she and her tribe must confront an intimidating and often dangerous outside world full of spirits, protesters, and the shady merchants of "pretty things." My Heart Is the Drum is a poetic, authentic, and electrifying story of awakening and love's enduring power that is nothing short of breathtaking.

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime
A new musical based on a short story by Oscar Wilde
Book by Kirby Ward and Beverly Ward
Music & Lyrics by Beverly Ward

What determines your fate? According to a mysterious palm reader's predictions, love will prevail for a young couple under one condition: the groom must become a murderer. Full of colorful characters and toe-tapping numbers, this retelling of Oscar Wilde's classic short story,Lord Arthur Savile's Crime will have you guessing what could possibly be "waiting 'round the bend."

The Single Girls Guide
Book by Gordon Greenberg
Music & Lyrics by Tommy Newman

Jane Austin gets a revamp worthy of Broadway! Set in the swinging '60s, a spirited secretary-turned-advice-columnist sets out to prove that women can be so much more than perfect little housewives. In a driving, pop-rock-fueled musical based on Austin's Emma, watch the hilarious antics that ensue when a bit of "advice" goes terribly awry. With love ballads in dentist chairs and masquerade ball fiascos, The Single Girls Guide has a fizzy spirit that echoes the questions we continue to ask about marriage, sex, and being single.

A Proper Place
Based on the J.M. Barrie play "The Admirable Crichton"
Book by Leslie Becker & Curtis Rhodes
Lyrics by Leslie Becker
Music by Curtis Rhodes
Additional Lyrics by Curtis Rhodes

Downton Abbey meets Gilligan's Island in this clever new musical. When a proper British family is stranded on a desert island, they find that they are woefully unprepared for the discomfort of nature. When it turns out that their butler is the only one with any sort of survival skills, the family must learn to overcome prejudices in order to stay alive. Get ready to be swept away on a crisp adventure of headstrong maids, an eccentric father, and forbidden love. Based on J.M. Barrie's play The Admirable Crichton, A Proper Place is a remarkably witty romp for the entire family to enjoy.

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