National Alliance for Musical Theatre Announces Initial Casting and Additional Programming For the 35th Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS

Featuring Performances by:



Songwriters Showcase Includes:


Book, Music & Lyrics by Christie Baugher



Songs with Music & Lyrics by Jaime Lozano



By Nicholas Connors


And Midday Cabaret Performances Featuring Work by:

Ross Baum, Teresa Lotz, Hayley Goldenberg & Julia Sonya Koyfman, and Hope Villanueva & William Yanesh


New World Stages

October 26-27, 2022

New York: National Alliance for Musical Theatre (Betsy King Militello, Executive Director) is proud to reveal the preliminary casting and additional programming for the 35th Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS, which takes place on Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27, 2023, at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues).


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 festival 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.


Free Registration for industry members is now open at


Initial casting for this 35th Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS includes Saint Aubyn (Broadway: Ain’t Too Proud), Noa Luz Barenblat (Tour: Fiddler on the Roof), Sondrine Lee Bontemps (Disney Cruise: The Little Mermaid), Ashley Brown (Broadway: Mary Poppins), LaDonna Burns (Tour: RENT), Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda (Off-Broadway: Americano! The Musical), Emy Coligado (Broadway: Miss Saigon), Sabina Collazo (Barrington Stage Company: A Little Night Music), Matt Dallal (Roundabout: Darling Grenadine), Maya Days (Broadway: Aida), Nick Drake (Broadway: Back to the Future), Yvette González-Nacer (Broadway: Hadestown), Kathel Louis Griffin (NYC: Millennials Are Killing Musicals), Z Infante (La Jolla Playhouse: Kiss My Aztec!), MinJi Kim (Off-Broadway: Romeo and Bernadette), Aury Krebs (Roundabout: Darling Grenadine), Claire Kwon (Broadway: Almost Famous), Samantha Massell (Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof), Bryonha Marie (Broadway: Prince of Broadway), Chris McCarrell (Broadway: The Lightning Thief), Veronica Otim (Broadway: & Juliet), Joel Perez (Disney+: “Beautiful, FL), Marina Pires (Broadway: Aladdin), Allie Re (Argyle Theatre: Grease), Scott Redmond (Tour: Oklahoma!), Jelani Remy (Broadway: Back to the Future), Adriana Ripley (University of Colorado Boulder), Wren Rivera (Broadway: Jagged Little Pill), Kate Rockwell (Broadway: Mean Girls), Honor Blue Savage (AL: Tuck Everlasting), Terran Scott (NAMT Festival: Get Out Alive), Alexis Semevolos-Velazquez (Regional: On Your Feet!), Eric Siegle (Broadway: Tina), Talia Suskauer (Broadway: Wicked), Nasia Thomas (Broadway: Six), Anita Welch-Smith (Tour: Avenue Q).


The casting director for the Festival of New Musicals is Michael Cassara, CSA.


NAMT’s SONGWRITERS SHOWCASE features innovative music from three new musical projects currently in development. This year’s Songwriters Showcase will include:


Book, Music & Lyrics by Christie Baugher


Songs with Music & Lyrics by Jaime Lozano


By Nicholas Connors


The MIDDAY CABARETS give Festival attendees the chance to listen to short sets of new music in the relaxed Green Room Lounge. During the lunch break on both days, there will be two 20-minute Midday Cabarets, each featuring a different musical creator or team. This year’s Midday Cabaret writers include composers, lyricists and playwrights Ross Baum, Teresa Lotz, Hayley Goldenberg & Julia Sonya Koyfman, and Hope Villanueva & William Yanesh.


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, Teeth, Benny & JoonDarling 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:


Music & Lyrics by Dmitry Koltunov
Book by David Goldsmith
                  Director: Dev Bondarin
                  Music Director: Andrea Grody
                  Directing Observer: Abigail Holland

A family of Ukrainian Jews flees the anti-Semitism of the Soviet Union in the aftermath of Chernobyl. They settle in Brighton Beach, NY, where Yasha, the youngest son, struggles to rescue his family from financial ruin during the tech boom of the early 2000s through the collapse of Lehman Bros in 2008.


Book, Music & Lyrics by Christopher Anselmo & Jared Corak
                  Director: Leora Morris
                  Music Director: Patrick Sulken
                  Directing Observer: Cooper Ellis

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.


Fountain of You
Book & Lyrics by Tasha Gordon-Solmon
Music by Faye Chiao
                  Director: Catie Davis
                  Music Director: Jesse Kissel
                  Directing Observer: Tyra Ann-Marie Wilson

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.


Music & Lyrics by Anna Gilbert and Gaby Moreno
Book by Evynne Hollens and Rebecca Tourino Collinsworth 
                  Director: Rebecca Aparicio
                  Music Director: Kurt Crowley
                  Directing Observer: Tah-Janay Shayoñe

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.


Never Be King
Music by Charlie H. Ray & Sam Columbus
Book & Lyrics by Charlie H. Ray
                  Director: Abbey O’Brien
                  Music Director: Alyssa Kay Thompson
                  Directing Observer: Aidan Pauer

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.


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
                  Director: Kimille Howard
                  Music Director: Louis Danowsky
                  Directing Observer: Wanye’ Yoakum

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.


Wonder Boy
Book, Music & Lyrics by Jaime Jarrett
                  Director: Bo Frazier
                  Music Director: Anessa Marie
                  Directing Observer: Joyah Love Spangler

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.


Yoko’s Husband’s Killer’s Japanese Wife, Gloria
Book by Brandy Hoang Collier
Lyrics by Clare Fuyuko Bierman
Music by Erika Ji
                  Director: Jess McLeod
                  Music Director: Lily Ling
                  Directing Observer: Nikki Mirza

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.


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 220+ organizational members and 60 individual members, located throughout 33 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 Lizard Boy, Interstate, Lempicka, Darling Grenadine, Gun & Powder, Benny & Joon, Come From Away, The Drowsy Chaperone, HONK!, It Shoulda Been You, 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 advance 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, Line Producers Thomas Bertron and India Shanelle, 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/New York Creative Spaces 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.

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