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Festival of New Musicals

2010 Festival of New Musicals

The annual Festival of New Musicals was held at New World Stages (340 W. 50th St) in New York City on Thursday, October 21 and Friday, October 22, 2010 for a select audience of NAMT members, producers and other musical theatre industry professionals.

NAMT’s Festival is the premiere industry event, which brings together theatre industry leaders to discover eight new musicals in 45-minute presentations.  According to American Theatre Magazine, “It’s an industry-only event, and it happens for only two days, but it makes a major impact in the world of musical theatre.”

The Festival is only open to theatre industry professionals and major donors to NAMT. We define an industry member as anyone currently working professionally in the theatre who can aid in the development of the shows or writers we present. If you have any questions about this policy, please e-mail



Book and Lyrics by John Jiler
Music by Georgia Stitt

Directed by Peter Flynn
Music Direction by Mary Mitchell Campbell



A teenage boy unearths a dark family secret as he searches for his long-lost father through the bewildering landscape of post-WWII America… where innocence has vanished, and the simple melodies of Kern and Berlin have been replaced by the dizzying energy of jazz and the birth of rock-and-roll.

Big Red Sun was the winner of the Harold Arlen Award from ASCAP, and has been developed at ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, and was presented at Oklahoma City University.

"What a thrill it was to see our work presented at this level and to be received so lovingly by our industry. The NAMT organization is clearly made up of devoted industry professionals who are passionate about new musicals and creative about the ways they discover them, nurture them, present them and, ultimately, produce them."

-Georgia Stitt, Composer,
Big Red Sun

Danielle Ferland and Parker Pogue in rehearsal for Big Red Sun. (Photo by Donald Bowers.)


Book and Lyrics by David H. Bell
Music by Jeremy Cohen
Co-creator Aaron Thielen

Directed by Dominic Missimi
Music Direction by Brad Haak



A musical that follows the journey of Dick, a streetwise kid, and his gang of bootblacks trying to "Make It ThroughThe Day."  The backdrop of the show is Five Points New York in 1884. Dick rescues a young English girl, who through a series of unfortunate circumstances, is abandoned by her devious step-father and his compatriots. Despite being faced with many dangerous adventures, the two never lose hope of realizing a brighter future. The show follows Dick and the boys trying to protect Jenny and reunite her with the only family she has left, her Grandfather. Loosely based on the writings of American writer Horatio Alger, this musical deals with the great distance between the American mythology and the much darker and more ominous truth about life in the tenements of the time.

The Bowery Boys was created and developed by the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois, who provided multiple table reads and, in the summer of 2008, sponsored a three week workshop at the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University.  The show had a full production at the Marriott Theatre in December 2008 and was nominated for three Jeff Awards including Best New Work.

"The Festival allowed us the opportunity to get the show on its feet in front of hundreds of theatres, producers and other industry folks. Anytime you get that kind of opportunity, it is a win-win."

-Aaron Thielen, Co-Creator,
The Bowery Boys

Dominic Missimi directs the cast of The Bowery Boys. (Photo by Kristin Fullerton.)


Book and Lyrics by Nathan Christensen
Music by Scott Murphy

Directed by Pam Berlin
Music Direction by Vadim Feitchner




12-year-old Jonas lives in a perfect world, without pain, conflict or loneliness. But after being assigned to carry the memories of life before “Sameness,” an ability learned from a mysterious man called the Giver, Jonas must choose between his perfect community and a world that contains both beauty and pain.

The Giver was given a two-week developmental workshop by Theatreworks/USA in 2006, followed by an additional week of developmental work in 2007.  CAP21 sponsored a series of table readings in 2008 and 2009, followed by a concert reading in 2009.

"We've had a lot of readings in the past, but nowhere else have we had the opportunity to get our work in front of so many industry people at the same time. It has absolutely been the best single way for us to get our work in front of the people who need to see it."

-Nathan Christiensen,
Book & Lyrics, The Giver

Stanley Bahorek, Terence Mann and the cast of The Giver in rehearsal. (Photo by Kristin Fullerton.)


Book by Robert Cary and Benjamin Feldman
Music by David Gursky
Lyrics by Robert Cary

Directed by Christopher Ashley
Music Direction by Eric Stern


Sexy female con artist Max Connor has created a perfect scam:  she’ll marry eligible bachelors, deny them sex, and then discover them in a compromising position with another, younger woman – leading to hefty annulment settlements.  But Max’s sex-starved husbands don’t know that the “other woman” is actually Max’s 22 year-old daughter Page, who’s in on the con.  Page wants independence, but when Max finds out the IRS wants back taxes, she convinces Page to come with her to Palm Beach for one last job.  All goes according to plan, until Page breaks the most important rule: she falls in love.  

The NAMT Festival presentation was the premiere of Heartbreakers.

"The NAMT Festival is a great way to introduce your work to the theater community and meet other writers at the same time.  It helps you understand not only how to improve your piece, but also gives you a sense of what the marketplace for your show might be."

-Robery Cary, Lyricist, Heartbreakers

Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Lisa Rothauser and Zakiya Young in rehearsal for Heartbreakers. (Photo by Donald Bowers.)


Music by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt
Lyrics by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner
Book and Additional Music by Tim Maner
Conceived by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner

Directed by Victoria Bussert
Music Direction by Matt Hinkley

A rock show retelling of the bloody legend of America’s first and favorite axe-wielding double-murderess and Victorian hometown girl, Lizzie Borden. Featuring four fierce rocker girls and a live band, this driving musical reveals why Lizzie took up that axe and how she became an American folk hero.

An early version of Lizzie Borden was seen at the Ohio Theatre, produced by Tiny Mythic Theatre Company, followed by a full production at HERE.  In 2006, with the encouragement and support of producers Hillary Richard and Peter McCabe, the piece was re-visited, workshopped and expanded into a full-length two-act musical, which premiered at the Living Theatre in 2009. This production was named in The Advocate’s “Top Ten of 2009” and was nominated for three Drama Desk Awards.

"Thoroughly supportive and encouraging, NAMT opened up so many possibilities for us: licensing, agency representation, producers/theaters interested in this show and potential partners to help develop future work. It's hard to imagine it turning out better."

-Tim Maner, Lyricist/Librettist,
Lizzie Borden

Carrie Cimma, Jenny Fellner and Marie-France Arcilla in rehearsal for Lizzie Borden. (Photo by Donald Bowers.)


Book by Martin Casella and Larry Dean Harris (conceiver)
Lyrics by Mark Winkler
Music by Phillip Swann
Additional Music by Jim Andron, Michael Cruz, Marilyn Harris, Emilio Palame and Larry Steelman

Direction by Sharon Rosen
Music Direction by Joe Baker


Everyone’s got a secret at Mary’s Hideaway, an underground nightclub in sexy, sultry, repressive 1953 Hollywood.  Inspired by film noir and driven by a sizzling jazz score, this story of five very ambitious people is about finding the courage to be who you are. You just need to… Play It Cool.

Play It Cool was first presented as a full production at the Celebration Theatre (nominated for numerous awards including a GLAAD Award), followed by readings at the Zipper Theatre, Snapple Theatre and the York Theatre.  The 2008 production at the New York Musical Theatre Festival was nominated for a GLAAD Award and NYMF Awards. 

"If you had the perfect model for what writers of musical theatre could hope for when they had a show, NAMT would be it - they have found a way to expose new musicals to the people that matter, while celebrating the writer."

-Mark Winkler, Lyricist, Play It Cool

Kate Wetherhead in rehearsal for Bernice Bobs Her Hair.

Music by Scott Ethier
Book and Lyrics by Jeff Hughes

Direction by Daniella Topol and Jerry Dixon

Music Direction by Aron Accurso



Set in the six months leading up to Rosa Parks’ historic ride on a Montgomery bus, Red Clay uses a new jazz and gospel-infused score to tell the story of the ordinary Americans who changed this nation in extraordinary ways.

Red Clay was the recipient of the 2009 Richard Rodgers Award and received a co-produced workshop with Queens Theatre in the Park and Playwrights Horizons in the fall of that year. It will have a staged reading this August as part of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s New Works Festival.

"NAMT is an excellent tool writers can use to get their show in front of companies that can seem unreachable otherwise. For 45 minutes, some of the leading artistic directors in this country are sat front-and-center with the best your piece has to offer. As a writer, that's all you can really ask for."

-Jeff Hughes, Librettist/Lyricist,
Red Clay


The cast of Red Clay in rehearsal. (Photo by Donald Bowers.)


Book and Music by Will Aronson
Book and Lyrics by Daniel Maté

Direction by Victoria Clark
Music Direction by Greg Brown



The Trouble With Doug is a contemporary comedic reimagining of Kafka’s Metamorphosis in which a happy, healthy young man transforms inexplicably into a giant talking slug.  Thrust together awkwardly under the same roof, Doug, his family, and his fiancée all struggle to understand and respond to this strangest of crises.

A staged reading of The Trouble With Doug was presented at Goodspeed Musicals' Festival of New Artists in January 2008. CAP 21's Professional Theatre Company presented a public reading in November 2008 and a workshop production in June 2009. Originally Produced at CAP21/THE SHOP.

"I can say without reservation that the NAMT Festival was a wonderful experience for us - t helped match us with a fantastic director, gave us an opportunity to revisit and refine what our show was most deeply 'about,' introduced us to people who have the interest and means to put our show on its feet, and laid the groundwork for future partnerships with theaters across the country and abroad."

-Will Aronson, Composer/Co-Book Writer, The Trouble With Doug

Victoria Clark directs the cast of The Trouble With Doug. (Photo by Kristin Fullerton.)


Festival Announcement Press Release - 7/7/10 (PDF)

For more information about these shows, please contact


The Festival of New Musicals has received a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  

NYSCA The Festival of New Musicals is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties.
Dramatists Guild The Festival is also supported in part by the Dramatists Guild Fund.




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