National Alliance for Musical Theatre has announced this year’s directors and music directors for the 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).
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.
Directors for this year’s Festival include May Adrales (Off Broadway/Regional: Vietgone), Roger Ellis (Northwestern University:Fun Home), Asher Lloyd Ehrenberg (Trans Theatre Collective, New York City Center), Richard Israel (Los Angeles: Violet), Rachel Klein (Off-Broadway: Red Roses, Green Gold, Alan Muraoka (Off-Broadway: Falsettoland), Mei Ann Teo (Off-Broadway/Regional: Where We Belong) and Ann Yee (London/Broadway: Caroline, or Change).
Music Directors for this year’s Festival include Deborah Abramson (Off-Broadway: Broadbend, Arkansas), Andrea Grody (Broadway: The Band’s Visit), Adam Cole Klepper (Off-Broadway:Titanique), Kris Kukul (Broadway: Beetlejuice The Musical!), Adam Brenner Laird (Tour: The Book of Mormon), Lily Ling (Tour: Hamilton), Julie McBride (Broadway: Moulin Rouge), and Alexander Tom (Tour: How the Grinch Stole Christmas).
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 Chaperone, Lizard Boy, Benny & Joon, Darling Grenadine, Ordinary Days, Striking 12, It Shoulda Been You, Interstate and Thoroughly Modern Millie, among many others.
Registration for industry members is free and now open at www.namt/festival.
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 (Lyrics & Libretto by Shannon Burkett, Music by Heather Christian), The Pelican (Book & Lyrics by Will Lacker, Music & Lyrics by Dylan Glatthorn).
Baked! The Musical
May Adrales is a theatre director, educator, artistic leader and mother based in NYC. Primarily a director of new work, she has helmed over 30 world premieres across the country. She currently serves as the Director of the Theatre Program at Fordham University. She is a Drama League Fellow, TCG Alan Schneider Directing Awardee, Next Generation Fellow, Denham award recipient and Paul Green Directing award. (mayadrales.net)
Alexander Tom is the former Program Head for BFA Musical Theater at Pace University and is currently the Resident Music Supervisor for Montclair State University. Broadway: The Music Man. Off-Broadway: The Visitor. Regional: State Fair (The Rev), Pacific Overtures (Signature – DC).
About Baked! The Musical: 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.
Asher Lloyd Ehrenberg (they/them) is a theatre maker based in NYC. Recent collaborations include work with Atlantic Theater Company, Bang on a Can, New York City Center, La Jolla Playhouse, and NYU. They have assisted and been the associate of directors including Laurie Woolery, Billy Porter and Anne Kauffman. In 2019, Asher was named the inaugural Directing Apprentice at New York City Center for their Encores! Off-Center season. They are an Indie TheatreFund grant recipient and a founding collaborator of the Trans Theatre Collective.
Lily Ling is a Chinese-Canadian music director, conductor, pianist and educator. She was the first female Music Director for Hamilton and the first person of Asian descent to conduct the production on Broadway. Additional credits: World Premieres of How to Dance in Ohio (Syracuse Stage) and Bruce (Seattle Rep).
About Blackout: 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.
The Female Pope
Mei Ann Teo (they/she) is a queer immigrant from Singapore making theatre & film at the intersection of artistic/civic/contemplative practice. They served as artistic director of Musical Theatre Factory for 3 years and is now an Associate Artistic Director and Director of New Work at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Kris Kukul (Music Director) Current/Recent: Beetlejuice The Musical! (Broadway, National Tour, South Korea), Sing Street (Huntington), Head Over Heels (Pasadena), You’re the Voice (Australia), The Liz Swados Project (Ghostlight), David Byrne‘s Joan of Arc (Public), In The Green (LCT), Songbird (59E59), Runaways (City Center), Jeff Buckley’s The Last Goodbye (Old Globe). Resident MD Williamstown – 10 seasons. Adjunct faculty NYU/Tisch.
About The Female Pope: 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.
Get Out Alive
Roger Ellis directs experimental theatre and film projects exploring post-traumatic growth, identity and the digital. Following a pre-pandemic run in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s LookOut Series, Ellis adapted _Get Out Alive_into an award-winning film, screened at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival, Melbourne Lift-Off Film Festival and San Francisco’s Decibels Music Film Festival.
Andrea Grody – Broadway: T_he Band’s Visit, Tootsie. Off-Broadway/Regional: Suffs, Public Works’ As You Like It, The Fortress of Solitude, The Great Immensity (all Public Theater), The Band’s Visit (Atlantic), Assassins (Yale Rep), Robin Hood and Unknown Soldier (Williamstown). As writer/composer: Strange Faces_. Creator of WordWaves (www.singwordwaves.com). B.A. Princeton, M.A. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
About Get Out Alive: 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.
King of Pangaea
Richard Israel is an L.A. and New York-based theatre director specializing in the development of new musicals. Current development projects include A Very Brady Musical and The Black Dahlia: A New Musical. Richard has directed published and original musicals throughout the United States, and is the proud recipient of the LADCC Career Achievement Award for Directing.
Deborah Abramson has served as Music Director or Associate Music Director for several premiere productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and at regional theaters. As a composer, she has written songs and shows with William Finn, Peter Mills, Amanda Yesnowitz, Chip Zien and many others, and she intends to write many more.
About King of Pangaea: 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.
Alan Muraoka – New York: Avenue Q (Resident Director), The Nice List (Virtual), Gentleman’s Guide… (Virtual-2022 Telly Award), Kung Fu (Signature – AD), Falsettoland (NAATCO).
Adam Cole Klepper is a preeminent pianist, conductor and music director. At 23 years old, he enjoys working as an assistant conductor at Titanique Off-Broadway, collaborating with Tony-nominee Kate Baldwin, Six’s Samantha Pauly, and working as a teaching artist for Broadway Imagined. Thanks to Dylan and Will. @adamcoleklepper
About The Pelican: 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.
Perpetual Sunshine & the Ghost Girls
Ann Yee is a multidisciplinary artist whose work has been seen throughout Europe and the US, including The Royal Opera House, Gothenburg Opera, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Goodman, Dallas Theater Center, Broadway and London’s West End. Film work includes A Bigger Splash with Ralph Fiennes.
Julie McBride is currently the music director for Moulin Rouge on Broadway. Other Broadway credits include SpongeBob SquarePants, Head Over Heels, Ink (MTC), Pretty Woman, Finding Neverland and Pretty Woman. Select Off Broadway and regional credits: Unknown Soldier, These Paper Bullets!, Miss You Like Hell, Deathless and Daddy Long Legs.
About Perpetual Sunshine & the Ghost Girls: 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.
Pup! A Chew Story – A New Musical
Book & Lyrics by Marcus Terrell Smith
Music by Robin Schäfer
Director: Rachel Klein
Music Director: Adam Brenner Laird
Rachel Klein: Off-Broadway: Red Roses, Green Gold (Minetta Lane Theatre/the Grateful Dead musical); Around the World in 80 Days (Davenport Theatre); The Anthem (“What makes this show pop is the bracing vision of its director, Rachel Klein.”-The New York Times). Selected NYC/Regional: More Than All the World; Circus of Circus (The House of Yes), The Suffragist, 54 The Musical_. http://www.rachelkleindirector.com/
Adam Brenner Laird is thrilled to be part of NAMT’s Festival! Broadway: Beetlejuice. National Tours: Book of Mormon, Wicked, Les Miserables.
About Pup! A Chew Story: 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.
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).
Read more on Playbill.com here.
Read more on Broadway World here.