National Alliance for Musical Theatre
announces lineup for the
FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS
35th Annual Festival to play New World Stages following NAMT Fall Conference
October 26-27, 2022
New York: National Alliance for Musical Theatre (Betsy King Militello, Executive Director) is thrilled to reveal the roster of new musicals for their 35th Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS, which returns in person and takes place on Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27, 2023, at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues).
Free Registration for industry members is now open at www.namt.org/festival. The general 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 35th year, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS is a must-attend event for theatre producers, presenters and developers from around the world. This industry-only event offers the chance to discover eight new musicals presented in 45-minute concert presentations over two days. As a non-profit organization, NAMT funds the Festival entirely through donations, sponsorships and contributions which underwrite all production costs.
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, Teeth, Benny & Joon, Darling Grenadine, Ordinary Days, Striking 12, It Shoulda Been You, Interstate and Thoroughly Modern Millie, among many others.
This year, a committee of 18 theatre professionals selected eight new musicals out of 575 submissions—the Festival’s largest submission pool ever. The musicals chosen for the 35th Annual Festival are:
Fallout (Music & Lyrics by Dmitry Koltunov, Book by David Goldsmith), Fountain (Book, Music & Lyrics by Christopher Anselmo & Jared Corak), Fountain of You (Book & Lyrics by Tasha Gordon-Solmon, Music by Faye Chiao), Mija (Music & Lyrics by Anna Gilbert and Gaby Moreno, Book by Evynne Hollens & Rebecca Tourino Collinsworth), Never Be King (Music by Charlie H. Ray & Sam Columbus, Book & Lyrics by Charlie H. Ray), The Oscar Micheaux Project (Working Title) (Music by Alphonso Horne, Lyrics by Jesse L. Kearney Jr. & Peter Mills, Book by Jesse L. Kearney Jr. & Cara Reichel, Additional Music by Peter Mills), Wonder Boy (Book, Music & Lyrics by Jaime Jarrett), Yoko’s Husband’s Killer’s Japanese Wife, Gloria (Book by Brandy Hoang Collier, Lyrics by Clare Fuyuko Bierman, Music by Erika Ji).
In a statement, Betsy King Militello, Executive Director of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, said, “Following last year’s successful return to live Festival performances, we eagerly anticipate bringing together eight brilliant writing teams from all corners of the country at New World Stages in New York City this fall. The overwhelming number of exceptional submissions we received this year has surpassed last year’s impressive count, reflecting the creative spirit and resilience of our community. We 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.
Music & Lyrics by Dmitry Koltunov
Book by David Goldsmith
A family of Ukrainian immigrants flees anti-Semitism of Soviet Russia in the aftermath of Chernobyl to settle in Brighton Beach, where the son grows up to pursue the burgeoning tech world of the early 2000s in this new American musical inspired by the life of its composer/lyricist Dmitry Koltunov; book by Motown’s David Goldsmith.
Dmitry Koltunov (Music & Lyrics) is a Ukrainian born singer-songwriter living in New York. His band played some of the best independent music stages of NYC before Dmitry focused on writing for theatre. When not writing, Dmitry runs a tech startup called Arbor helping families capture and share their history. In 2017 he became a resident writer with MTF/Playwrights Horizons, and New York Theatre Barn’s Emerging Voices program. In 2019 Dmitry received the ASCAP Scholarship for the NYMF Musical Songwriting Workshop. He was the runner-up for Taylor Louderman’s Write Out Loud contest in 2019 and 2020. Dmitry’s work has been performed at Joe’s Pub and 54 Below. Dmitry is a graduate of UPenn, where he majored in Economics and Computer Science while studying poetry and music composition.
David Goldsmith (Book): David’s plays American Guernica, Hotel Buzz and I Ragazzi are available for production through Broadway Licensing and Dramatists Play Service (www.dramatists.com). BROADWAY: Motown The Musical. WEST END: Motown The Musical, Imagine This (lyrics). NATIONAL THEATRE OF ISRAEL: Masada 1942 (book, lyrics). OFF-BROADWAY: Invisible Thread (Story Consultant), 2nd Stage Theatre, Diane Paulus, dir. LOS ANGELES: Having It All (book, lyrics), Ovation nominee, Best Musical, Best Book. DISNEY TV: “My Once Upon A Time” (lyrics) from “Descendants 3.” CARNEGIE HALL: Tribute To Stephen Flaherty (writer, curator, parody lyrics). David lives in Manhattan with his wife, Broadway’s Bryonha Marie. www.davidisawriter.com.
Book, Music & Lyrics by Christopher Anselmo & Jared Corak
When her grandfather’s memory begins to fade, 12-year-old Andi must brave a looming hurricane and embark on a perilous odyssey through the oddities of Florida in search of the one thing that might save him: the Fountain of Youth. A raucous folk-rock celebration of the healing power of family folklore, Fountain looks at love and loss through the eyes of a child—and encourages us all to find the wonder in the weird.
Christopher Anselmo (Book, Music & Lyrics) is an award-winning songwriter and playwright. His musicals include Fable (NYMF), Atlantic (Edinburgh) and the New York Times Critic’s Pick adaptation of The Pout-Pout Fish, which premiered at the New Victory Theater in 2019 and continues to tour the nation with TheaterWorksUSA. His latest musical, Fountain, has received residencies through New Victory LabWorks and the O’Neill NMTC. In addition to his work as a writer, Anselmo serves as associate to composer Jeanine Tesori on her projects, most recently the Tony Award-winning Kimberly Akimbo and Soft Power. Member of ASCAP, Dramatists Guild, BMI Advanced Workshop and Northwestern alum. christopheranselmo.com
Jared Corak (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a Brooklyn-based writer and lyricist, originally from sunny South Florida. His musicals include the New York Times Critic’s Pick adaptation of The Pout-Pout Fish, which premiered at the New Victory Theater in 2019 and continues to tour the nation with TheaterWorksUSA, and Fountain, which has received residencies through New Victory LabWorks and the O’Neill NMTC. He is the recipient of the Ellen Schwartz Award for Lyric Writing and the Jean Banks Award. When he is not writing musicals, he works on the CBS TV show FBI. Member of the BMI Advanced Workshop and Northwestern alum.
Book & Lyrics by Tasha Gordon-Solmon
Music by Faye Chiao
When a thirty-something actress is suddenly aged out of the industry, she undergoes an unconventional spa procedure to get her old life back. But it sets her on a whole new path to achieve true power and equality…at a cost. Fountain Of You is an irreverently funny take on our preoccupation with youth, beauty and the patriarchal system underlying it all.
Tasha Gordon-Solmon (Book & Lyrics): Tasha’s writing has been developed and produced at the Humana Festival, Clubbed Thumb, Northern Stage, New Georges, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, The Playwrights Realm, Ars Nova, Theatre Now New York and The Flea. She is a recipient of the Dramatists Guild Fellowship, the Playwrights Realm Fellowship, a Puffin Foundation Grant, and an AFO Solo Collective Residency. Residencies include The Millay Colony, Bethany Arts Community, Barrington Stage Company and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is a member of the TNNY Musical Writers Lab and the BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop, and an alumna of the Clubbed Thumb Early Career Writers Group, Project Y Playwrights Group, New Georges Jam and Ars Nova Playgroup.
Faye Chiao (Music) is a composer of musical theater, opera and concert music. Chiao has received awards from The Presser Foundation and OPERA America. Chiao’s works have been commissioned, produced and developed by Houston Grand Opera, Syracuse Stage, The Duffy Institute for New Opera, Boston Chamber Symphony, Manhattan School of Music, Prospect Theater, The Playwrights Realm, Pittsburgh Festival Opera and The New Victory Theater Labworks program. Chiao is a member of Theatre Now New York’s Musical Writers Lab and the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Workshop. Chiao holds degrees from The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. FayeChiao.com
Music & Lyrics by Anna Gilbert and Gaby Moreno
Book by Evynne Hollens and Rebecca Tourino Collinsworth
Inspired by a true story, Mija is a new bilingual musical about survival, identity and the complexity of family, following characters between continents, decades and across generations. When Luisa leaves behind her sheltered life in the U.S. for Guatemala, she’s blindsided by a life-threatening pregnancy. In Oregon, Gabriela aches for grown-up life to start, but first she seeks to uncover secrets the adults around her deny.
Anna Gilbert (Music & Lyrics), a singer-songwriter living in Portland, Oregon, composes songs about life, love and loss. She has made music with Grammy Award-winning producer Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars, The Lone Bellow), Jeremy Larson (Sucré, Violents), Peter Hollens (Legendary Vocals), Troy Welstad (Pink!, Selena Gomez, A Fine Frenzy) and Grammy and Golden Globe- nominee Sam Ashworth (H.E.R., Leslie Odom). Gilbert’s current projects include working on her pop project, Shy Honey — an up-and-coming synth pop band in Portland — and writing the music for Mija. Gilbert also releases music monthly on Patreon as a creator (Patreon.com/annagilbert).
Gaby Moreno (Music & Lyrics): Born in Guatemala, singer-songwriter-producer Gaby Moreno has released seven albums, earning two Grammy nominations (Alegoría, 2023 and Illusion, 2017), an Emmy nomination (co-writer, “Parks & Recreation” theme song), and won a Latin Grammy (Best New Artist, 2013). She won Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, the first contestant in the Latin category to win Song of the Year. She sings the theme song and voices “Marlena” in the Disney series, Elena of Avalor. Moreno has shared the international stage with Bono, Andrea Boccelli, Tracy Chapman, Ani DiFranco, Punch Brothers, Hugh Laurie, Calexico, David Gray, Oscar Isaac and many more. She was recently named the first UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador from Guatemala and works closely with various organizations that support those on the margins.
Evynne Hollens (Book) is a writer, singer and Artistic Director of One Voice Productions, a digital media company. She co-created Voices, a virtual and live a cappella show running on the largest theatrical venue at sea. Hollens co-founded Divisi, University of Oregon’s female-identifying a cappella group (inspiration for Pitch Perfect). She won a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for “Best Arrangement” of Divisi’s cover of Usher’s “YEAH!,” featured on Glee. Hollens made her Broadway debut at The August Wilson Theatre and performs at the Hult Center with the Eugene Symphony, Oregon Contemporary Theatre and the Shedd Institute.
Rebecca Tourino Collinsworth (Book) is a Seattle-based playwright, dramaturg and director. As a teaching artist, she’s worked with Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Alliance Theatre, NYFA, Seattle University and SMU; she also spent several years working with prisoners at the Washington Correctional Center for Women as part of the Engaged Theatre Residency. She is the Founding Artistic Director of Parley, a robust new work developmental program in the Pacific Northwest providing unprecedented support to its associate artists. Through Parley, Tourino Collinsworth has developed, directed and produced more than 80 world premieres by underrepresented writers in the last decade.
Music by Charlie H. Ray & Sam Columbus
Book & Lyrics by Charlie H. Ray
Henry of Navarre never dreamed of being the King of France—until everything around him started mysteriously falling into place. Never Be King is a baroque meets pop-punk musical that asks how far we would go to be a footnote in someone else’s story. After all, history’s just a he-said she-said.
Charlie H. Ray (Music, Book & Lyrics) is a writer, composer and performer splitting time between NYC and Miami. WRITER: Freedom Summer (Baldwin Wallace University, New York Musical Festival, BW/Playhouse Square), Never Be King (the Never Be King E.P., developmental). ACTOR/MUSIC DIRECTOR: Casa Mañana, Playhouse Square, Beck Center for the Arts, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, among others. In addition to creating theatre, he is an avid marketer and Partner at Innoruptiv. Proud BWMT 2020. @charliehray
Sam Columbus (Music) is a New York City-based composer, orchestrator and music director. WRITER: Freedom Summer (Baldwin Wallace University, New York Musical Festival, BW/Playhouse Square), Never Be King (the Never Be King E.P., developmental). ORCHESTRATOR/ARRANGER: Brilliant: The Musical (Broadway Bound Theatre Festival, Theatre Row), Boundless: The Musical. MUSIC DIRECTOR: Playhouse Square, Timber Lake Playhouse, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. BWMT 2019. www.samcolumbus.com for more.
The Oscar Micheaux Project (Working Title)
Music by Alphonso Horne
Lyrics by Jesse L. Kearney, Jr. & Peter Mills
Book by Jesse L. Kearney, Jr. & Cara Reichel
Additional Music by Peter Mills
From silent pictures to the talkies, groundbreaking cinematic pioneer Oscar Micheaux battles the racism of Hollywood to bring Black stories to the silver screen…facing down censorship boards, financial ruin and family betrayal. Micheaux’s legacy as America’s first major Black filmmaker comes to syncopated and soulful life in this jazz musical.
Alphonso Horne (Music) is a composer, performer and educator. He is a two-time Grammy nominated trumpeter, named by Wynton Marsalis as a rising star of the next generation. Broadway: Orchestra for After Midnight and Shuffle Along. Music Director: Ziegfield’s Midnight Frolic, For The Last Time. Theater Composing: Paradise Blue by Dominique Morisseau (Long Wharf Theatre); the original musical Dee (New Dramatists); Antonio Award nomination for music in The Wedding Band (Theatre for a New Audience). He wrote and produced Mother Kofi: The Tale Of An African Princess, inspired by his family history. Florida State University (BM), The Juilliard School (MM). www.alphonsohorne.com
Jesse L. Kearney, Jr. (Lyrics & Book) is an award-winning playwright and lyricist. Honors: ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop; Jonathan Larson Musical Theatre Fellowship through the Dramatists Guild; Lazarus Family Musical Theater Award; 2022 Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals. Works: The Little Playhouse (LCT Directors Lab); The Lion In Love (music: Brian Feinstein); book for The Blind Man (lyrics: Peter Mills / music: Deborah Abramson). Kearney was a co-founder and the General Counsel of The STAGE Network, a streaming media platform devoted to the performing arts. J.D.: New York Law School. MFA: NYU Musical Theater Writing Program. BA: Dartmouth. Member: Dramatists Guild.
Peter Mills (Lyrics & Additional Music) wrote music, lyrics and co-book for Off-Broadway’s The Hello Girls, nominated for three Drama Desk Awards and four Outer Critics Circle Awards. Other shows include Illyria, Golden Boy Of The Blue Ridge and The Honeymooners. He has won the Kleban Prize, the Fred Ebb Award, the Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, the Cole Porter Award, a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation grant, the Donna Perret Rosen Award, and received two Drama Desk Award nominations for The Pursuit Of Persephone. ASCAP member, NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program alum and faculty, and a founding member of Prospect Theater Company. www.PeteMillsMusic.com
Cara Reichel (Book) has co-authored shows with Peter Mills including The Hello Girls (2019 Drama Desk Award nominations), The Flood, The Underclassman, Death for Five Voices and others. For Theatrical Rights Worldwide, she wrote The Olympians: A New Muse-ical, a female-forward jukebox show drawing on hits from the BMG music catalog. She is the bookwriter for Marion Adler and Peter Foley’s I Capture the Castle, and has developed work at the Goodspeed Johnny Mercer Writers’ Grove, Rhinebeck Writers’ Retreat, and the Bogliasaco Fellows program in Italy, among others. She is the Producing Artistic Director of NYC’s Prospect Theater Company. www.CaraReichel.com
Book, Music & Lyrics by Jaime Jarrett
Jackson is recovering from a break-up, growing apart from his twin sister, and attempting to find a new normal in his identity as a transgender man. When he ingests an experimental drug and transforms into a superhero, he learns that protecting others is more complicated than he thought.
Jaime Jarrett (Book, Music & Lyrics) [he/they] is a Philadelphia and New York City-based composer, lyricist and librettist. Writing credits include: Wonder Boy (5th Avenue Theatre, Musical Theatre Factory), (You Can’t) Outrun the Monster (developed with The Ucross Foundation, Fresh Ground Pepper), Queer Baby Jesus (Dixon Place, co-written with Nina Roy), Normativity (Polyphone Festival, NYMF). They have participated in several writers groups including Musical Theatre Factory’s inaugural Makers Cohort, BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop, and Theatre Now New York’s Musical Writers Lab. Jaime is currently pursuing his MFA in Musical Theatre Collaboration at Temple University. Rep: Lucy Powis, A3 Artists Agency.
Book by Brandy Hoang Collier
Lyrics by Clare Fuyuko Bierman
Music by Erika Ji
Did Yoko Ono really break up The Beatles? Was Gloria Abe Chapman somehow responsible for John Lennon’s murder? Why do all these egotistical white guys marry Asian women? That’s weird, right? These questions keep Ruby Okamoto up at night. She’s getting answers—even if she has to summon all of Asian America into her insomniatic fever dream.
Brandy Hoang Collier (Book) is a poet, playwright and paradox from deep in the heart of Texas. She unravels conventions and incites chaos through paradigm-shifting storytelling, radically compassionate work practices and general vibes. Selected works include Yoko’s Husband’s Killer’s Japanese Wife, Gloria (5th Avenue Theatre Commission, Civilians R&D Group, Orchard Project, O’Neill NMTC) and The Blazing World (Polyphone Festival). In 2020, she co-founded Root Beer Occasion Theatre Company with business partner Jessie Field and orchestrated several online productions at the height of the pandemic. Collier proudly identifies as Asian-American, disabled, queer and utterly charming. brandyhoangcollier.com
Clare Fuyuko Bierman (Lyrics) is a playwright and lyricist raised in a Japanese-Jewish home with some rabbits, a snake and a bunch of finches. Recent: Yoko’s Husband’s Killer’s Japanese Wife, Gloria (5th Avenue Commission, Civilians R&D, Orchard Project, O’Neill Conference), The People vs. American Cheese (American Opera Project), Theseus and the Minotaur and the Other Six (Youth Theatre Northwest Commission) and VISARE (New Voices Winner, Vivace Award Nomination). She has participated in the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Play Festival and Broadway’s Future Songbook Series. MFA New York University, Musical Theatre Writing. clarebierman.com
Erika Ji (Music) is a cross-genre composer-storyteller who loves soaring melodies, dream worlds and stories that challenge our preconceptions about what is true, good or worth wanting. Her work has premiered at Lincoln Center and the Public. Recent projects, in addition to Gloria: VISARE (New Voices Winner, Vivace Award Nomination), Starsong (Rattlestick, Sound Bites). As conductor-pianist-vocalist, Erika performs on Broadway (Kimberly Akimbo) and national TV (CBS Sunday Morning). Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriter, NYU Tisch MFA Fellow. The proud daughter of Chinese immigrants, Erika studied computer science & philosophy at Stanford and built products at Dropbox before deciding to follow the music. erikaji.com
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 150 organizational members and 60 individual members, located throughout 31 states and eight countries 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 700 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 35th ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS is overseen by NAMT New Works Director Frankie Dailey and Festival General Manager Joey Monda. The Festival Team includes Festival Associate Producer Skye Cone Ivey and Associate General Manager Greg Kamp, as well as Festival Casting Director Michael Cassara, CSA.
The 2023 Festival Committee is co-chaired by Brannon Bowers of American Music Theatre Project (IL) and Sharon Fallon of Sharon Fallon Productions, Inc. (NY), with Chair Emerita Marguerite Hannah of Horizon Theatre (GA). Committee members include: Elissa Adams, Theater Latté Da (MN); Chris Alleman, Theatre SilCo (CO); Jen Bender, Paper Mill Playhouse (NJ); Dev Bondarin, Prospect Theater Company (NY); Anika Chapin, Signature Theatre (VA); Rick Edinger, Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama (PA); Ryan Morales Green, Latiné Musical Theatre Lab (NY); Michel Hausmann, Miami New Drama (FL); Branden Huldeen, Barrington Stage Company (MA); Jonathan McCrory, National Black Theatre (NY); Claudia de Vasco, Producer/Director/Arts Manager (TX); Brad Willcuts, Michigan State University (MI); Neen Williams-Teramachi, The 5th Avenue Theatre (WA); Chris Youstra, Olney Theatre Center (MD); and Robi Hager, (Alumni Writer Representative, writer of Little Duende (Fest ’21)).
NAMT thanks the following foundations, government agencies and organizations for their ongoing support of our programs: The Alhadeff Family Charitable Fund, The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York Access Micro-Grant, ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund, BMI Foundation, The Capdevilla/Gillespie Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Hollywood Pantages, Lucille Lortel Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Ted Snowdon Foundation, and Anonymous donors.