National Alliance for Musical Theatre Announces Complete Casting For the 35th Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS



New World Stages

October 26-27, 2022

New York: National Alliance for Musical Theatre (Betsy King Militello, Executive Director) is thrilled to share additional casting 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).


Registration for industry members closes October 18th and is available at The public can 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).


Casting for the 35th Annual FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS includes Olivia Abiassi (NYTW: Eh Dah?: Questions for my Father), Tẹmídayọ Amay (Off-Broadway: Black Odyssey), June Angela (ABC: Fresh Off the Boat), Jonathan Arana (On Your Feet!), Saint Aubyn (Ain’t Too Proud), Jessie Austrian (Roundabout/Fiasco Theater: Into the Woods), Ari Axelrod (The York Theatre: Milk and Honey), Noa Luz Barenblat (Tour: Fiddler on the Roof), Iris Beaumier (The Little Prince), Sondrine Lee Bontemps (Disney Cruise: The Little Mermaid), Thani Brant (Off-Broadway: Notes from Now), Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins), LaDonna Burns (Off-Broadway: White Girl in Danger), Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda (Off-Broadway: Americano! The Musical), Carmen Esperanza Castillo (Philadelphia: Soon), Jenelle Chu (Regional: The Great Leap), John Clay III (New York, New York), Emy Coligado (Miss Saigon), Sabina Collazo (Barrington Stage Company: A Little Night Music), Matt Dallal (Roundabout: Darling Grenadine), Maya Days (Aida), Nick Drake (Back to the Future), Benny Elledge (Waitress), Emily Fink (Cincinnati: Fun Home), Cailen Fu (Mean Girls), Yvette González-Nacer (Hadestown), Gabriela Gomez (Single: “Wildflowers”), Alex Joseph Grayson (Parade), Kathel Louis Griffin (NYC: Millennials Are Killing Musicals), Tymothee Harrell (54 Below: FutureFest), Michael Benjamin Hernandez (Disney+: Moon Knight), Z Infante (La Jolla Playhouse: Kiss My Aztec!), Luke Islam (TV: America’s Got Talent), David Patrick Kelly (Into the Woods), MinJi Kim (Off-Broadway: K-POP), Eddie Korbich (The Music Man), Aury Krebs (Roundabout: Darling Grenadine), Claire Kwon (Almost Famous), Angel Lin (Tour: Once), Omar Lopez-Cepero (Chicago: The Notebook), Samantha Massell (Fiddler on the Roof), Bryonha Marie (Prince of Broadway), Tomás Matos (Hadestown), Chris McCarrell (The Lightning Thief), Easton Michaels (WI: The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Anne L. Nathan (Funny Girl), Veronica Otim (& Juliet), Joel Perez (Disney+: “Beautiful, FL), Marina Pires (Aladdin), Allie Re (Argyle Theatre: Grease), Scott Redmond (Tour: Oklahoma!), Jelani Remy (Back to the Future), Adriana Ripley (University of Colorado Boulder), Wren Rivera (Jagged Little Pill), Kate Rockwell (Mean Girls), James Rose (Constellation Stage + Screen: Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Sushma Saha (1776), Nathan Salstone (Sweeney Todd), Honor Blue Savage (AL: Tuck Everlasting), Evie Schuckman (Boston: Indigo), Terran Scott (NAMT: Get Out Alive), Alexis Semevolos-Velazquez (Regional: On Your Feet!), Eric Siegle (Tina), Talia Suskauer (Wicked), Stephen Tewksbury (Sweeney Todd), Nasia Thomas (Six), Stephanie Torns (Waitress), Clyde Voce (Off-Broadway: The Play That Goes Wrong), Anita Welch-Smith (Tour: Avenue Q) and EJ Zimmerman (Les Misérables).


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


SONGWRITERS SHOWCASE will feature Q&A’s with these writers alongside performances by Jewell Wilson Bridges (Tour: La Cage Aux Folles), Tiffany Topol (Tour: Once), Shereen Pimentel (West Side Story), Danielle Wade (Mean Girls) and more.


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 and feature performances by Ben Fankhauser (Newsies), Sydney Parra (Tour: Six), Liisi LaFontaine (West End: Dreamgirls), Rayshun Lamarr (Album: “Can’t Hold Back”), Maria Habeeb (Off Broadway: The Gospel According to Heather), Samantha Massell (Fiddler on the Roof), Maria Nalieth (Pace University), Mackenzie Lesser-Roy (Tour: Once) and more.


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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