Eclecticism has been the signature of the musicals showcased at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals for the past 17 years, and this year is no exception. But this time there is one unexpected unifying element, notes Kathy Evans, the organization’s executive director.
“We certainly didn’t plan it this way and only noticed it after the fact, but almost all of the eight musicals selected to participate are set in the past,” she says. “It’s nostalgia, I suppose. And there is something very American about looking to history as a source of inspiration.”
To date, the festival has presented more than 170 musicals and 300 writers from across the globe. Among its success stories are “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” which was seen at the festival before making its way to Broadway, and the Broadway-bound “Princesses.”
But Broadway is not the only goal. Many shows launched at the festival have moved on to lives they might not have otherwise had on the regional theatre circuit. Last year, for example, five of the eight shows earned productions at such major venues as the Ahmanson Theatre and Goodspeed Musicals.
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