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Festival of New Musicals

Festival History: 2004

16th Annual Festival of New Musicals

Listing of Past Festival Presentations

 

The 16th Annual Festival of New Musicals was held in New York City at the new Dodger Stages, 340 W. 50th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) on Sunday, Oct. 3 and Monday, Oct. 4, 2004 for an invited audience of NAMT members and theatre producers.

If you are interested in finding out more information about these shows, please contact kirsten@namt.org.

Following is information about the 2004 Festival presentations:

 

CAMILLE CLAUDEL

Music by Frank Wildhorn
Book & Lyrics by Nan Knighton
Directed by Gabriel Barre

19th century French sculptor Camille Claudel was haunted by two men—her lover Auguste Rodin, arguably the most important sculptor of our time, and her brother, the poet Paul Claudel. Both men were driven to possess Camille, but she lived only to work, one woman battling to compete against a phalanx of male artists. Camille's stormy affair with Rodin was surrounded by scandal and bitterly resented by her brother Paul. Camille persevered, happily breaking all the rules along the way. Presented last summer by Goodspeed Musicals, Camille Claudel has a score by Frank Wildhorn ( Jekyll and Hyde , The Scarlet Pimpernel , The Civil War —Tony nomination), book and lyrics by Nan Knighton ( The Scarlet Pimpernel —Tony nomination, Saturday Night Fever ), direction by Gabriel Barre ( The Wild Party , MTC) and stars Broadway and recording sensation Linda Eder (Theatre World Award winner— Jekyll and Hyde ).

 

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE

Book by Don McKellar & Bob Martin
Music by Greg Morrison
Lyrics by Lisa Lambert

Created by award-winning Second City authors, this soph- twist -icated musical was the sleeper hit of the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival. "Outrageous humor! Openly affectionate and uproariously funny!" — Variety . A pampered Broadway starlet chooses marriage over show business. Her producer, desperate to save his career and re-pay gangster investors, sets out to sabotage the nuptials. Ruses are played, hi-jinks occur, and just before the plot spins completely out of control... everyone zeppelins down to Rio for a happy ending. This classic (albeit fictional) 1920's musical is narrated with sinister enthusiasm by a tweedy musical theatre fanatic who stops throughout to praise or mock certain scenes and to provide lurid details about the performers' sad real lives. A full production at Toronto's Winter Garden Theatre was lauded by critics as "the best thing to happen to musical theatre in recent memory."

 

FLIGHT OF THE LAWNCHAIR MAN

Music & Lyrics by Robert Lindsey Nassif
Book by Peter Ullian
Based on a concept by Robert Lindsey Nassif

Jerry Gorman is a guy from Passaic, New Jersey, who has always dreamed of flying, despite being dyslexic and terminally average. His girlfriend, Gracie, encourages him to discover his "Jerriosity" and reach for the sky! However, Jerry's attempts to fly are thwarted by the FAA, the CIA, and Wal-Mart – not to mention Jerry's mom. Finally, Jerry and Gracie stumble on the idea of tying 400 helium-filled balloons to a lawnchair. Jerry launches himself 16,000 feet into the stratosphere, where he meets Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and Leonardo Da Vinci. Jerry finds himself faced with a difficult choice. Should he return to his earthbound life or join the Greats of Aviation in the sky? This delightful and uplifting fantasy, with book by Peter Ullian and music and lyrics by Robert Lindsey Nassif, is directed by Tony Award-nominee Lynne Taylor-Corbett.

 

THE GIRL IN THE FRAME

Music, Book, & Lyrics by Jeremy Desmon

When Alex's fantasy woman magically steps out of a photograph to seduce him, he figures that an affair with an imaginary mistress isn't exactly cheating. However, when his fiancée discovers his "infidelity", Alex is shocked to learn that she has a fantasy of her own. Soon, their tiny New York apartment is uncomfortably overcrowded and the couple must fight to reclaim their imperfect lives. This quick-witted, four-character comedy has book, music, and lyrics by NYU Musical Theatre Writing grad Jeremy Desmon (a recent Jonathan Larson Fellow at The Dramatists Guild). The Girl in the Frame has been developed at Goodspeed Musicals and Theatre Building Chicago, and it has received full productions at Stoneham Theatre and London's Bridewell Theatre.

 

A GOOD MAN

Music by Ray Leslee
Book & Lyrics by Philip S. Goodman

Based on an award-winning novel, the musical is set in rural Mississippi just after World War II. A black sharecropper, a strong and respected man, decides to paint his dilapidated tenant house white. His simple wish sets off passions and suspicions which gather like a summer storm, shattering family and community, and ending in a wrenching act of violence which changes all the people involved forever. The show is intensely dramatic, surprisingly funny, and musically rich – as much influenced by the blues, gospel, and rock as Copland, Arlen and Bernstein. A Good Man , music by Ray Leslee (Richard Rodgers Award-winner, Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation Award-winner) and book and lyrics by Philip S. Goodman, has been developed at the Actor's Studio and Musical Theatre Works.

 

LANGSTON IN HARLEM

Book by Kent Gash, Langston Hughes, & Walter Marks
Music by Walter Marks
Lyrics by Langston Hughes
Directed by Kent Gash

A music theatre piece made up of blues, jazz, spoken word poetry, rhythm and dance that evoke the state of mind that is Langston Hughes' Harlem. This is not a typical book musical but rather a descendant of newer forms, a kind of musical montage in a dramatic format similar to Cats , Movin' Out , or Def Poetry Jam . Based on the writings of one of America's foremost poets and using his poetry as lyrics, Langston in Harlem is a stirring and vivid portrait of the artist at the height of the Harlem Renaissance, with a book by Kent Gash (Associate Artistic Director of Atlanta's Alliance Theatre Company) and music by Walter Marks (Emmy Award winner for the PBS series "Getting On" and songwriter of "I Gotta Be Me" and "The Singer".)

 

STRIKING 12

Music, Lyrics, & Book by
Brendan Milburn, Rachel Sheinkin, and Valerie Vigoda

A funny, touching, uplifting hybrid piece of musical theatre in which the story is sung, played, acted, and dissected on stage by an unusual rock band, GrooveLily . The show runs on three levels: a musical retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl"; the story of a grumpy 30-something whose anti-holiday outlook is changed by a door-to-door saleswoman of holiday lights that combat seasonal affective disorder; and the interaction of the three musicians who frequently interrupt the proceedings. The show was developed with director Ted Sperling and is performed by GrooveLily (a trio which includes Milburn on keyboards, Vigoda on electric violin and Gene Lewin on drums), Striking 12 has rocked the holiday house at Prince Music Theatre, The Old Globe Theatres and will play TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, California this holiday season.

 

WINESBURG, OHIO

Music by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman
Book and Lyrics by Eric Rosen
Additional lyrics by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman
Created in collaboration with Jessica Thebus

Based on the classic American novel by Sherwood Anderson, this startling and unconventional musical journey explores what lies beneath the "normal" exterior of a small American town. Developed by Chicago's About Face Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Winesburg,Ohio is both a portrait of an artist as a young man and a journey into the secret lives and twisted passions of his hometown's everyday citizens. Backed by a score steeped in American folk music, the stories intertwine and unfold in a spellbinding and moving paean to following your dreams. Created with director Jessica Thebus, book and lyrics by Eric Rosen (director of Adam Guettel's Myths and Hymns at Prince Music Theatre) and music and additional lyrics by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman (sound designers for I Am My Own Wife and Metamorphoses – LA Ovation Award and Lucille Lortel nomination).