2015 Festival Update

Do you want to know more about the shows in the 27th Annual Festival of New Musicals? See the Five Things each show’s writing team wants you to know before you come to the Festival!


Five Things You Should Know About Costs of Living
1. Costs of Living was inspired by, though not based upon, a 2009 New York Times article by Corey Kilgannon called Night and Day about two immigrant cab drivers whose partnership began with promise and ended in tragedy.  Mr. Kilgannon liked it so much he wrote a follow-up article about the musical itself.

2. Costs of Living is very much a musical that behaves like a play. In fact, Playwright David Henry Hwang recommended it to the American Playwriting Foundation’s Relentless Award (the Philip Seymour Hoffman one), despite a very clear guideline barring musicals of any kind.
3. You might not think it from the description, but parts of Costs of Living are kind of hilarious.
4. With the proliferation of Asian-American stories in the mainstream, Costs of Living represents the next step in that evolutionary chain: a “Third Generation” story that isn’t about acclimation or immigration, but the impact of those things on the American tapestry.
5. Costs of Living has been in development for a few years with many readings and workshops.  We are looking for a staged workshop and/or production of the show, and are also open to seeking involvement from commercial producers.  Our hope is to get the show out there to as wide an audience as possible wherever possible.

Five Things You Should Know About Imagine Harry

1. Imagine Harry is about Tucker and Harry.  It’s about that moment in your life when you reconcile your need to be an adult with your desire to remain a child, and the musical comes at that moment through two lenses:  a 25 year-old who can’t seem to leave home and a 35 year-old who isn’t sure he’s ready to be a father.
2. Imagine Harry can be done at any scale.  Because the musical deals with imagination, it was written to sustain both a small theatre-out-of-a-trunk approach as well as an all-the-bells-and-whistles-and-possibly-laser-beams approach.  We want it to be a director’s playground, and are eager to take the first steps with a director and producer/theatre to explore ALL the possibilities for this magical world.
3. Imagine Harry is a musical for grown-ups. Although it has childhood as a central theme, the ultimate destination is an exploration of how to become a grown-up and deal with your aging parents, your fears about becoming a parent yourself and your place in the often overwhelming adult world. Think of it as a grown-up movie with a PG-13 rating, and you’ve got the target audience.
4. Imagine Harry has the beat of a pop song.  This musical was written by two guys who love pop music.  And musical theatre.  So if Ben Folds, Taylor Swift and A Great Big World had a jam session with Kander & Ebb, Ahrens & Flaherty and Jason Robert Brown, this score might have come from that session.
5. Imagine Harry has a big heart.  We are two guys who wear our hearts pretty much not only on our sleeves but with a neon sign pointing directly to them.  And we wanted to write a show that reflected that sensibility.  We don’t mind tears.  And we don’t mind laughing at the same time.  So we wrote a show that let us do both. And hopefully, you, too.

Five Things You Should Know About The Last Queen of Canaan

1. The Last Queen of Canaan contains elements of magical realism: the dead are raised, the land holds protective powers and a ninety-two year-old woman works with the strength of someone half her age.
2. From 1936-38, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) sent a diverse group (male, female, white, black) of unemployed writers to collect the stories of former slaves. The transcripts from the Federal Slave Narrative Project can be found in the Library of Congress – we used these accounts as research, but our story is fictional.
3. Jacob Yandura and Rebekah Greer Melocik began the show in 2011 (originally titled “Dogwood Days”), and the show has undergone many drafts and significant changes in the past four years. Harrison David Rivers joined the team as bookwriter in 2014.
4. Though our show is a period piece, the score is not pastiche. Just as the themes are relevant to America’s current civil rights struggles, the sonic world of The Last Queen of Canaan is contemporary, living in folk, R&B and gospel.
5. We are looking for a workshop or first production.

Five Things You Should Know About Legendale

1. Legendale is about Fantasy, and the complex but integral role it plays in our everyday lives. Whether embodied by video games, pro football, old-time movies, comic books, rock ’n’ roll, or theatre, Fantasy is universal.
2. Legendale is for one and all, created with both novice audiences and Broadway aficionados in mind. Its heartfelt story speaks as strongly to Luddites as to lifelong gamers.
3. Legendale has flexible production requirements, and its virtual world can be realized with anything from lighting and simple projections to the latest technological bells and whistles.
4. Legendale is thoroughly original, and free of parodies of current events or real-life games. It will be as timeless and enjoyable years from now as it is today.
5. Legendale is a very young show. Prior to its appearance in the NAMT festival, Legendale has had one closed-door reading. We are open to any and all developmental opportunities.

Five Things You Should Know About lift

1. lift features three generations of principal female characters. Strong, gutsy, complex women.
2. We wrote lift’s first draft several years ago, as the first giddy collaboration between new friends. Since then, the musical has had two NYC readings, a week-long university workshop, and several big rewrites in which themes, approach, and characters have come into their own. lift is looking for collaborators who can help it grow further through readings and workshops, moving toward a full production.
3. lift is entirely original material, envisioned from the beginning as a musical. Over a plate of vegetable fajitas, Daryl said she had an idea about a small town that’s experienced strange sightings. A musical about UFOs? Aaron chortled. Maybe not, we agreed. But how about we start with a community divided by an unexplained event? That conversation lasted six hours, and that nugget became lift.
4. lift can be intimate or sweeping in set, scope, and cast. Either way the playing space should be fluid, with locations that melt together in time and place, just as the characters’ lives—and memories and imaginations (there is considerable magic) and songs—intersect and overlap. The creativity lies in how you find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
5. When we did the workshop at Coastal Carolina University, Ethan’s dad—a ghostly memory—was played by a student who had lost his own father, a young UPS driver just like James. That student’s mother wrote us a moving email after the performance, telling us her story and how lift had allowed her to start processing an unfathomable loss with hope.

Five Things You Should Know About Noir

1. The piece is an original story inspired by classic film noir (Double Indemnity,Rear Window), modern film noir (Mulholland DriveThe Lives of Others) as well as by radio plays.
2. It’s a mystery — we couldn’t remember the last time we saw a stage mystery, so we wanted to remedy that! — with a sexy and twisted love story woven throughout.
3. There is an onstage foley artist, creating live sound effects to accompany the action.
4. The music is an exploration of hybridizing and integrating organic instrumentation and electronic instrumentation in a score that is modern but has strong references and connections to musical styles of the original film noir era.
5. In keeping with classic noir, there are a number of twists in the second act — sadly you won’t get to see those in the NAMT Act 1 presentation format — but we promise they’re very fun and very twisty.

Five Things You Should Know About On the Eve

1. With a development process that included a critically acclaimed workshop and full production, we look forward to continuing to develop On the Eve with theaters that champion new plays and “non-traditional” musicals.
2. On the Eve follows the story of Marie Antoinette, the Montgolfier Brothers, and the first time-traveling hot air balloon. While Antoinette actually did play a significant role in the history of ballooning, her involvement in the development of time travel remains debatable.
3. The entire show takes place in an old, bombed-out theater as the end of the world approaches. Tonight might just be the last stand against the Orwellian nightmare that controls what’s left of society.
4. While there is no proof, it’s pretty clear that On the Eve was conceived after The Threepenny Opera and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure spent a questionable night together. The result is a classically influenced indie-folk-rock musical in which band members play for their lives right alongside the actors, with percussive step-dancing as the sound of revolution.
5. Because it takes place in a run-down theater, costumes, props, and set pieces are cobbled together with whatever materials the old place has had in stock for decades. The result is a highly theatrical cacophony of eras and styles.

Five Things You Should Know About Othello: The Remix

1. Othello: The Remix was written by some hip hop freaks/
We rhyme our conversations while we flip hot beats/
Different from the norm, it’s a whole new form/
When the Bomb-itty hit in ’99 it was born/
And now it’s catchin on and there’s no stoppin it/
Shakespeare and Hip Hop? You thought they was opposites/
If lyrics get you geeked, we got some verbal treats/
Stealin from Shakespeare like he stole from the Greeks/
Good storytellers borrow, but great ones steal/
So believe me, the thievery is how we keep it real/
2. Othello: The Remix is performed entirely to track and is under 90 minutes at full length. It is a musical and an opera of sorts, because all scenes are over music and in verse. It requires a cast of four raptors (rapping actors) plus a DJ. However the cast could be made larger by “undoubling” roles. We are excited for alternative casting opportunities.
3. Audiences in 11 countries have experienced the joy of The Remix, but folks in the US have yet to discover it, except for those who caught our highly-acclaimed 6-month run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
4. A water molecule is made up of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, and the four actors in Othello: The Remix drink tons of them, as they rap, dance, and play over 25 characters combined!
5. We are open to and excited for a New York run, touring possibilities, regional productions, licensing opportunities and the show eventually making its way to the big screen.

Visit the festival page for more information.

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