Announcing the 34th Annual Festival of New Musicals

National Alliance for Musical Theatre (Betsy King Militello, Executive Director) is thrilled to announce the lineup of new musicals for our 34th Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS, which returns in person and takes place on Thursday, October 20 and Friday, October 21, 2022 at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues).

Registration for industry members is free and now open at The public can also receive passes to the Festival through a donation to NAMT. There is also a day-of standby line for the general public for free admission (based on availability).

Now in its 34th year, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS attracts theatre producers from around the world for this industry-only event to discover eight new musicals presented in 45-minute concert presentations over two days. All production costs are underwritten by NAMT. As a non-profit organization, NAMT funds the Festival entirely through donations, sponsorships and contributions.

The Festival has introduced musical theatre producers to nearly 300 musicals and over 500 writers from around the world. As a direct result of the FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS, more than 85% of the shows presented have gone on to subsequent readings, workshops, productions or tours; been licensed; and/or recorded on cast albums. Some past Festival shows include Come From Away, Lempicka, The Drowsy ChaperoneLizard Boy, Benny & JoonDarling Grenadine, Ordinary Days, Striking 12, It Shoulda Been You, Interstate and Thoroughly Modern Millie, among many others.

This year, a committee of 17 theatre professionals selected eight new musicals out of 480 submissions—the Festival’s largest submission pool ever. The musicals chosen for the 34th Annual Festival are:

Baked! The Musical (Book, Music & Lyrics by Jord Liu & Deepak Kumar), Blackout (Book by Steven Gallagher, Music and Lyrics by Anton Lipovetsky), Get Out Alive (Book & Lyrics by Nikki Lynette, Music by Nikki Lynette, Matt Hennessy, Clay Bail, Malcom Fong, Slavic Livins and Zeke Macumber), King of Pangaea (Book, Music & Lyrics by Martin Storrow), Perpetual Sunshine & the Ghost Girls (Book & Lyrics by Sara Cooper, Music by Lynne Shankel), Pup! A Chew Story (Book & Lyrics by Marcus Terrell Smith, Music by Robin Schäfer), The Female Pope (Music by Heather Christian, Lyrics & Libretto by Shannon Burkett), The Pelican (Book & Lyrics by Will Lacker, Music & Lyrics by Dylan Glatthorn).

In a statement, Betsy King Militello, Executive Director of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, said,

“After three years away from live Festival presentations, we can’t wait to welcome eight amazing writing teams from across the USA and Canada to New World Stages in New York City this fall! We were inspired by breadth, depth and scope of the record-shattering 480 submissions we received and are thrilled to introduce the eight selected shows to the musical theatre field in October.”

Casting for each musical and further programming details will be announced soon.


Baked! The Musical

Book, Music & Lyrics by Jord Liu & Deepak Kumar

When she doesn’t receive the scholarship that would send her to her dream school, Jane Huang, with her best friend and the class degenerate, secretly builds a Chinese bakery cannabis edible empire. Baked! The Musical is a reflection on failure, self-worth, and what we owe the people we love.

Jord Liu (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a theater maker, musician, and creative technologist based in San Francisco, CA, whose work centers collaborative engagement with art. She has worked with Underscore Theater in Chicago, the Chicago Musical Theater Festival, the New York Musical Festival, the Musical Theater Factory and National Asian American Theater Company (NAATCO) in New York, Shotgun Players in Berkeley, and SFBATCO, FaultLine Theater and Z-Space in San Francisco.

Deepak Kumar (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a playwright, composer, and lyricist based in the Bay Area, CA. His work most often deals with Asian-Americans grappling with the messiness of their identities as they relate to their unique American experiences.  His work has been produced by the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center (NPC22), Underscore Theatre Company in Chicago, the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO), Musical Theatre Factory, and PACE University in NYC, FaultLine Theatre in San Francisco, and Shotgun Players in Berkeley, CA. He is a Eugene O’Neill NMTC Semifinalist, a Bay Area Playwrights Festival Semifinalist, and a 2022 Macdowell Colony Fellow.



Book by Steven Gallagher
Music and Lyrics by Anton Lipovetsky

On August 14th, 2003, Toronto was plunged into chaos when the largest blackout in North American history left millions stranded in the dark. Inspired by real events, Blackout tells three stories of hope, resilience and connection that unfold when the city is dark, and strangers band together to find the light.

Steven Gallagher (Book) is a Toronto-based writer, director and actor. Blackout, written with Anton Lipovetsky, premiered in 2021 in Toronto’s High Park, co-produced by The Musical Stage Company and The Canadian Stage Company. His play Stealing Sam was seen at Alberta Theatre Projects in 2021 and at the 2014 New York United Solo Theatre Festival where it was awarded Best Drama. Memorial, winner of the Trafalgar 24 Play Festival, premiered in Toronto in 2013. His musical Pollyanna, written with composer Linda Barnett, was shortlisted for the 2016 Playwrights Guild of Canada Best New Musical Award. He is the recipient of the Aubrey & Marley Dan Fund for New Musicals and a Harold Award. 

Anton Lipovetsky (Music and Lyrics) is a composer and lyricist from Vancouver, Canada. He is currently a Crescendo Series Artist at Toronto’s Musical Stage Company. Anton has been commissioned to write music and/or lyrics for ten original musicals, including BlackoutCowboy Tempest CabaretOrdinary (Musical Stage), This Is It (Nashville Children’s Theatre), and Way Out There (YES Theatre). Three of Anton’s musicals have been shortlisted for the Playwright’s Guild of Canada Musical Award. As an actor, Anton has performed on stages across Canada, including the NAC and the Stratford Festival. He is a graduate of Studio 58 and Stratford’s Birmingham Conservatory.


The Female Pope

Lyrics & Libretto by Shannon Burkett
Music by Heather Christian

The Female Pope is a highly disputed story about a woman in the 9th century who rose to the papacy. A young girl’s father — desperate to keep her safe — disguises her as a boy, with the promise of an education. This unlocks a passion for learning that propels her to the most powerful position in the world — a stunning achievement that threatens the very existence of the Catholic Church itself.

Shannon Burkett (Lyrics & Libretto) is an actor, writer and producer based in NYC. Acting: Broadway – The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (Arthur Miller, starring Patrick Stewart). Off-Broadway – The Atlantic, The Flea, Soho Rep, New Georges, WPA, Playwrights, as well as commercial runs. Librettist/Lyricist: The Female Pope (music: Heather Christian, O’Neill Semifinalist, NAMT 2022), So You Wanna be a Porn Star: a story of sex love and rock-n-roll, (music: Peter Salett), and The Cult. Productions: music video (Winner: Best Music Video at Los Angeles Movie Awards) and sold-out benefit cabarets (Laurie Beechman – Breast Cancer Awareness Month).

Heather Christian (Music) is a Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning composer/performer making music- centered shows and rituals. She is a 2021 Richard Rodgers Award winner and Sundance Institute Time Warner Fellow. Recent composing/performing credits include her own work Oratorio for Living Things (Ars Nova), Animal Wisdom (The Bushwick Starr, Wooly Mammoth, ACT), I am Sending You the Sacred Face (Theater In Quarantine), Prime: A Practical Breviary (Playwrights Horizons Soundstage). She has released 11 records, teaches vocal-based music composition at NYU, and can be seen regularly in concert halls and dive bars as Heather Christian & the Arbornauts.


Get Out Alive

Book & Lyrics by Nikki Lynette
Music by Nikki Lynette, Matt Hennessy, Clay Bail, Malcom Fong, Slavic Livins, and Zeke Macumber

Nikki Lynette’s new autobiographical afrogoth musical raises mental health awareness through the lens of an underground concert. With music that is equal parts punk, hip hop, alternative rock and pop, Nikki’s true story shows that when life leads us to a bad place, we can always make it out alive.

Nikki Lynette (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a social impact artist who fuses mental health activism into her performances, filmmaking and visual art. With her musical about depression, Get Out Alive, she made history as the first black female playwright to be produced by American Music Theatre Project and the first AMTP work to debut at Steppenwolf. The film adaptation of Get Out Alive has won three awards. A proud ambassador for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), her first TEDx Talk, hosted by Princeton University, was an opportunity for her to share how her punk culture roots aided her suicide recovery.


King of Pangaea

Book, Music & Lyrics by Martin Storrow

After a sudden loss shatters his world apart, twenty-one-year-old Christopher Crow travels back to the imaginary island of his childhood in hopes of finding answers that will bring the pieces back together. King of Pangaea explores the rich, complicated, and at times beautiful world of loss, examining what it means to become king or queen of one’s own heart.

Martin Storrow (Book, Music & Lyrics) believes that creativity lives at the heart of everything. A prolific artist and songwriter based in Los Angeles, Martin has released six records and a collection of poems and has played more than a thousand concerts across the US and in Africa, Australia, and the Middle-East. His original music has been featured in film and television shows on NBC, Starz and Netflix. King of Pangaea is Martin’s first musical and was inspired by his lived experience.



The Pelican

Book & Lyrics by Will Lacker
Music & Lyrics by Dylan Glatthorn

In the not-too-distant future, The Pelican Bar is almost all that remains of a Florida coastal town devastated by climate change. When a new category of hurricane approaches, the few offbeat residents that remain must make a choice: exchange their freedom for safety in a nearby Corporate City or risk the storm to keep their town alive. Brimming with raucous melodies and deep grooves, humor and heartbreak, The Pelican is a musical that shines with the colorful chaos of Florida.

Will Lacker (Book & Lyrics) is a New York City-based playwright & lyricist originally from St. Petersburg, Florida. Original Works: The PelicanBittersweet Lullaby (licensed through MTI), Catch the WestboundEdisonThe InvasionThe Custodian, and Trials of a Scientific Mind. His works have been produced at theaters and festivals around the country, including The Player’s Theatre, Merkin Concert Hall, The Flea, NYC Fringe, Woodstock Fringe, Alexandra Film Festival, and Gen Con Film Festival. Will earned a BA from Marymount Manhattan, an MFA from Queens College, and is a graduate of the UCB improv school. Member: Theatre Now’s Musical Writers Lab, Dramatists Guild and ASCAP.

Dylan Glatthorn (Music & Lyrics) is a Brooklyn-based composer & lyricist. Original musicals: The PelicanEdison, & Bittersweet Lullaby (licensed through MTI). Dylan has written music for nine feature films, numerous shorts, documentaries and commercials for clients such as Lindt, Nickelodeon, Oakley, Red Bull, Alessi & PBS. Composed & arranged for Diana DeGarmo’s GEMINI; co-producer & arranger for LOLO’s X and upcoming lauren. Awards: New Hampshire Theatre Award for Best Sound Design, Clive Davis Award for Excellence in Music in Film, Best Original Score at First Run Film Festival, & two-time recipient of the Alan Menken Award. Member: ASCAP, Theatre Now’s Musical Writers Lab & The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.


Perpetual Sunshine & the Ghost Girls

Book & Lyrics by Sara Cooper
Music by Lynne Shankel

Featuring an all-women+ cast and an original through-composed 1920s-2020s mashup score, Richard Rodgers Award-winning musical Perpetual Sunshine & the Ghost Girls tells the true story of the capitalist exploitation and knowing radium poisoning of workers by the U.S. Radium Corporation—and the women who fought back.

Sara Cooper (Book & Lyrics) is a Playwright-Lyricist. Highlights: Perpetual Sunshine & the Ghost Girls, Richard Rodgers Award (2022), Rhinebeck Writers Retreat (2021), New York Theatre Barn New Works (2021), 5X15, Beck Center/Baldwin Wallace (2021), NAMT 15-Minute Musical Challenge (2020); ASCAP Foundation Lucille and Jack Yellen Award (2021); HoT, Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals (2022), Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Grove (2020); The Memory Show, LAMB Theatre (2022), New Bard, London (2016), Transport Group (2013), WaterGateMedia, Seoul (2012-2013), Barrington Stage Company (2010), NAMT Festival (2010);  Barrington Stage Spark Grant (2020); Elevator Heart, Moxie Arts (2019), Tisch (2016); Jonathan Larson Grant (2014). MFA GMTWP, NYU. Dramatists Guild, ASCAP.

Lynne Shankel (Music) As composer: bare: The Musical (additional music); Red Velvet (original music, The Old Globe), HoT (Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals 2022, Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Grove 2020, New York Theatre Barn New Works Series 2020); Perpetual Sunshine & the Ghost Girls (2022 Richard Rodgers Award, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat 2021, 5×15 Festival 2021, NAMT 15-Minute Musical Challenge 2020). As composer/lyricist: Postcard American Town (SDSU New Works Initiative winner 2020, New York Theatre Barn New Works Series 2019, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat 2018). 2021 ASCAP Lucille and Jack Yellen Award. Album: Bare Naked on Yellow Sound Label. Lynne teaches Musical Theatre Composition at the University of Michigan.


Pup! A Chew Story – A New Musical

Book & Lyrics by Marcus Terrell Smith
Music by Robin Schäfer

Is finding a forever home at the heart of every dog? Or are they meant for greater things? The strength of friendship is put to the ultimate test when two inseparable companions — a tri-pawed pit bull and his chew toy — embark on a quest for a forever home in Hollywood. 

Marcus Terrell Smith (Book/Lyrics) graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Linguistics. The following year he was accepted into the Actors Studio Drama School (ASDS) at Pace University in New York City, receiving an MFA in Acting. After graduating, he joined the national tour of Broadway’s Book of Mormon. Smith then moved to Los Angeles, where he diversified his talents as an actor on TV/Film and continued his work in theater. He is also a prolific storyteller, currently writing narrative lore for League of Legends (Riot Games) and Magic: The Gathering.

Robin Schäfer (Composer) is a songwriter, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who resides in Cologne, Germany. He had considered himself only a semi-professional musician, while pursuing a career in business administration, until 2018, when he decided to do music full-time. Over the years Schäfer played and composed in several original bands of various genres. Currently he focuses on his own Singer/Songwriter project, ROBIN SHEPHERD, and the instrumental Soul-Funk band MALAKO ZOO. He also works as a session musician and music teacher.

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, founded in 1985, is a not-for-profit organization serving the musical theatre community. Its mission is to be a catalyst for nurturing musical theatre development, production, innovation and collaboration. Their 155 organizational members and 60 individual members, located throughout 33 states and abroad, are some of the leading producers of musical theatre in the world and include theatres, presenting organizations, higher education programs and individual producers. Among the 284 musicals launched by NAMT’s Annual Festival of New Musicals are The Ballad of Klook and Vinette, Benny & Joon, Come From Away, Darling Grenadine, The Drowsy Chaperone, Gun & Powder, HONK!, Interstate, It Shoulda Been You, Lempicka, Ordinary Days, Striking 12 and Thoroughly Modern Millie, among many others, representing 525 writers.

The FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS is the cornerstone of NAMT’s mission to assure the advancement of the musical theatre field. Each year, the Festival presents eight shows before an audience of over 800 industry professionals, highlighting quality new works with a wide range of subjects and forms. With an explicit commitment to nurturing composers, lyricists and book writers of all identities and backgrounds, the Festival seeks to expand the musical theatre repertoire and advance the musical theatre art form.

The 34th ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS is overseen by NAMT New Works Director Frankie Dailey and Festival General Manager Joey Monda.

The 2021 Festival Committee is co-chaired by Brannon Bowers of American Music Theatre Project (IL) and Marguerite Hannah of Horizon Theatre (GA), with Chair Emerita Dana Harrel of Disneyland Paris (FR). Committee members include: Chris Alleman, Lake Dillon Theatre Company (CO); Taneisha Duggan, Octopus Theatricals (NY); Sharon Fallon, Sharon Fallon Productions, Inc. (NY); Elisabeth Farwell-Moreland, Seattle Rep (WA); Nancy Gibbs, 321 Theatrical Management (NY); Michel Hausmann, Miami New Drama (FL); Jonathan McCrory, National Black Theatre (NY); Matt Morrow, Diversionary Theatre Productions (CA); Kamana Ntibarikure, Segal Centre for Performing Arts (QC); Olivia O’Connor, Pittsburgh CLO (PA)/Geffen Playhouse (CA); Brad Willcuts, Michigan State University (MI); Chris Youstra, Olney Theatre Center (MD); Audrey Zielenbach, Gulfshore Playhouse (FL); and Julianne Wick Davis, (Alumna Writer Representative, writer of Southern Comfort (Fest ‘12) and Lautrec at the St. James (Fest ‘19)).

NAMT thanks the following foundations, government agencies, and organizations for their ongoing support of our programs: The Alhadeff Family Charitable Foundation, The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York Creative Spaces Grant, ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund, BMI Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Lucille Lortel Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Noël Coward Foundation, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Ted Snowdon Foundation and Anonymous donors.

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