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Festival Show Update: XY

Last month, we chatted with Oliver Houser, the writer of 2018 Festival show XY. The musical has a variety of upcoming opportunities, including a public reading at member Chicago Shakespeare Theater this month.
Chris can’t shake Christine. She’s with him everywhere he goes, staring back when Chris looks in the mirror. But when Chris falls in love, the divide between then and now begins to blur. XY is a musical drama about accepting the past and coming home to the most unfamiliar of places: ourselves.

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We are thrilled to announce 11 awards granted from the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals (formerly known as the National Fund for New Musicals), and six awards granted from the Innovation & Exploration Fund. Now in its 11th year, this year the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals (FYFNM) is providing grants totaling $70,000 to organizations across the country. The Innovation & Exploration Fund (I&EF) is providing grants totaling $12,000 to organizations nationwide.
NAMT Executive Director Betsy King Militello stated: “We are honored and excited to support our member theatres both as they work to develop innovative and provocative new musicals, and as they explore ideas to create new best practices in the field. With these grants, we have now awarded 162 grants totaling $563,000 to NAMT members across the country. These projects will join a growing list of important new musicals and initiatives supported by NAMT’s granting programs.”

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Festival Show Update: We Live in Cairo

We also chatted with Patrick and Daniel Lazour, the writers of 2016 Festival show We Live in Cairo. The musical is about to have its world premiere at the A.R.T. in Boston; the production opens on May 14.
Inspired by the young Egyptians who took to the streets in 2011 to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak, this world premiere musical follows six revolutionary students armed with laptops and cameras, guitars and spray cans as they come of age in contemporary Cairo. Winner of the Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater, We Live in Cairo moves from the jubilation of Tahrir Square through the tumultuous years that followed. As escalating division and violence lead to a military crackdown, the revolutionaries of Tahrir must confront the question of how—or even whether—to keep their dreams of change alive.
 

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Last month, we chatted with Dave Steakley, the producing artistic director at NAMT member ZACH Theatre. ZACH is about to open a production of 2017 Festival show The Ballad of Klook and Vinette, formerly known as Klook’s Last Stand, written by Ché Walker, Anoushka Lucas and Omar Leyfook. Dave told us a little about what to expect from the upcoming production, and why everyone should make their way to Texas and check it out.
Tender, funny and incredibly moving, this contemporary new love story will grab you from the inside out. Klook and Vinette are two lost souls trying to find themselves in one another. Against all odds and with the past at their heels, together they make a tentative stab at happiness. This is a seductive musical about inevitability and the thrill of falling in love. 

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New Work in Progress: Life After

Next, we chatted with Barry Edelstein, the Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director at NAMT member The Old Globe in San Diego, CA about the company’s upcoming US premiere of Life After by Britta Johnson. Life After was previously co-produced by NAMT members The Musical Stage Company and Yonge Street Theatricals. The Old Globe production is produced by special arragement with Yonge Street Theatricals.
Grieving the recent loss of her famous father, 16-year-old Alice begins to question the events surrounding his death and sets out to uncover what really happened on the night that changed her family forever. Britta Johnson’s Life After is a bittersweet, witty and life-affirming new musical that explores the mess and beauty of loss and love. Through the vivid imagination of a young woman looking for the facts, we find a more complicated truth instead. 
 

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Festival Show Update: Benny & Joon

This month, we chatted with with Mindi Dickstein, Nolan Gasser and Kristen Guenther, the writers of 2016 Festival show Benny & Joon. The show is about to open a production at NAMT member Paper Mill Playhouse, the show’s second production following the world premiere at The Old Globe. We chatted about what has changed since the world premiere and the process of getting to a second production.
 
Based on the 1993 film starring Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson, this new musical is a smart, funny, tender-hearted celebration of love: between children and parents; romantic partners; friends; and, most of all, siblings. The pair at the heart of the show are Joon, a young woman dealing with mental illness, and Benny, the big brother who’s determined to take care of her. When a charmingly eccentric stranger comes into their lives, he throws their carefully calibrated world off-kilter—maybe for the better. Large in emotional scope and artistic ambition, Benny & Joon embraces a difficult subject with warmth, honesty, and wit.
 

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New Work in Progress: Marie, Dancing Still

Next, we chatted with Bill Berry, the Producing Artistic Director at NAMT member The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA about the company’s upcoming premiere of Marie, Dancing Still – A New Musical, written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Marie, Dancing Still is set to begin previews on March 22. 
In 19th-century Paris, an era of groundbreaking artistry, a girl named Marie dreams of being the next star of the ballet. Despite the odds of her hard-scrabble life, she scrimps, saves and steals in pursuit of her ambitions. But when fate leads her to the studio of Impressionist Edgar Degas, she unknowingly steps into immortality—becoming the inspiration for his most famous sculpture ever: Little Dancer.

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Alumni Show Update: Fall of '94

This month, we chatted with with Ellen Fitzhugh (Paper Moon, Fest ’95), Joseph Thalken (Was, Fest ’03; Harold and Maude, Fest ’03) and Ashley Robinson, the writers of Fall of ’94. The show is about to receive a reading at Red Mountain Theatre Company’s Human Rights New Works Festival. We chatted about the musical’s development and what they’re looking forward to learning through their participation in the Human Rights New Works Festival.
Fall of ’94 is a very personal coming-of-age story of five 12-year-old children in rural Union, South Carolina. Set during the unfolding of the Susan Smith tragedy, the eyes of the world were on this small mill town. While the kids focus on perfecting their annual Halloween spook house, the excitement of a media frenzy consumes everyone around them and brings the town’s dark secrets to the surface. Just down the hill from where they are building their spook house, the answers to the Nation’s questions lay in John D. Long Lake. Fall of ’94 asks what effect events of violence and an atmosphere of racial tension have on children and young people.

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Members in the News

NAMT in the News

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NEA Awards Grants to NAMT and Our Members

The National Endowment for the Arts has recently announced that it will award over $27 million in grants to fund artistic projects and research, with $3.28 million going to companies working in the field of Theater & Musical Theatre. Many NAMT members have been selected to receive grants in this cycle, including $55,000 to NAMT itself, in support of our Festival of New Musicals and Fall Conference. Congratulations to those members receiving grants in this round of NEA funding, including:
Ars Nova
Atlantic Theater Company
Diversionary Theatre
Horizon Theatre Company
The Lark
NAMT
The Old Globe
Philadelphia Theatre Company
Playwrights Horizons
The Public Theater
Roundabout Theatre Company
Seattle Repertory Theatre
Theater Latté Da
Theatre Under The Stars
Village Theatre
ZACH Theatre
Congratulations to all, and thank you to the NEA for supporting arts organizations throughout the country! For a full list of the recipients, visit the NEA’s website. 

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New Work in Progress: Men With Money

This month, we chatted with Ann-Carol Pence and Anthony Rodriguez, co-founders and respectively the Associate Producer and Producing Artistic Director at NAMT member Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, GA about the company’s world premiere of Men With Money, written by Bill Nelson and Joseph Trefler. Men With Money is set to open on March 7. 
Louis, Max, and Sonny are charming, young and eligible bachelors looking to marry their way from rags to riches. This romantic romp is full of dreams, schemes and lavish musical numbers set in the golden age mecca of Manhattan in the 1950’s, with a twist. It’s an alternative gleaming, fabulous and mighty Big Apple. And two of our leading men are looking for husbands, oh my!

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New Work in Progress: Alice By Heart

Next, we chatted with Jessica Chase, the Artistic Producer at NAMT member MCC Theater in New York, NY about the company’s world premiere of Alice by Heart, written by Steven Sater, Jessie Nelson and Duncan Sheik. Sheik is a Festival Alumnus for Noir (Fest ’15). Alice by Heart is set to open on January 30. 
 

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Festival Show Update: Mythic

This month, we caught up with Marcus Stevens and Oran Eldor, the writers of 2017 Festival show Mythic, formerly known as Persephone. We chatted about the musical’s recent London production, and the cast album that will be coming out in the new year. Mythic was just named one of the UK’s best shows of 2018 by The Stage.

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New Work in Progress: The Hello Girls

Next, we chatted with Cara Reichel, the Producing Artistic Director at NAMT member Prospect Theater Company in New York, NY about the company’s world premiere of The Hello Girls, written by Reichel and Peter Mills. Both Reichel and Mills are Festival Alumni for Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge (Fest ’11) and Mills is also an alumnus for Onanov Broadway (fka Iron Curtain, Fest ’09). The Hello Girls is running now through December 22nd. 

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Festival Show Update: Prom Queen

This month, we caught up with Kent Staines, Akiva Romer-Segal and Colleen Dauncey, the writers of 2017 Festival show Prom Queen, to check in with them and see where the show has been since its Festival presentation, and where it’s going next. 

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NAMT in the News

16 Musicals That Got Their Start at NAMT

This morning, Playbill published an article highlighting the impact of the NAMT Festival over the past 30 years, featuring excerpts of an interview with NAMT executive director Betsy King Militello. The article includes a brief overview of what the Festival does for our members, and the industry at large, along with a list of musicals that got their start at the Festival.

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We continued our New Musicals Month this week by showcasing Prospect Theater Company, CPA Theatricals, San Diego State University, Millikin University, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Goodspeed Musicals, the Fulton Theatre, the writing teams of Row and XY, and many more. Check out our week in review!

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This week we continued our New Musicals Month by highlighting Village Theatre, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, The Musical Stage Company, the writing teams of The Wicker Husband and Monstersongs, and many more. In case you missed it, here’s our week in review!

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NAMT New Musicals Month: Week In Review

This week we kicked off our New Musicals Month with Pittsburgh CLO, Theater Latte Da, Barrington Stage Company and the writing teams of two of our festival shows this year – The River is Me & 17 Again. In case you missed it, here’s our week in review! 

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Introducing New Musicals Month!

Our upcoming 30th Annual Festival of New Musicals gives us a great opportunity to celebrate and honor the groundbreaking work our members do year-round to develop new work. This month, NAMT will host a New Musicals celebration to feature the new works development happening across the membership. Before we dive into New Musicals Month, check out our infographic below to see the role that NAMT and our members play in the world of new musical development!

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New Work in Progress: Renascence

Next, we chatted with Lori Fineman and Jack Cummings III, respectively the Executive Director and the Artistic Director at NAMT member Transport Group Theatre Company in New York, NY about the company’s upcoming world premiere of Renascence. We also spoke with the piece’s writers, Dick Scanlan (Fest ’96, Thoroughly Modern Millie) and Carmel Dean about their experience working on the piece with Transport Group. The musical’s world premiere, funded in part by a grant from the National Fund for New Musicals, will open in October, just in time for NAMT members arriving for the Fall Events to see the show while they’re in town!

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Festival Show Update: When We're Gone

This month, we caught up with Scotty Arnold and Alana Jacoby, the writers of 2016 Festival show When We’re Gone (fka Mortality Play)to check in with them before the show’s world premiere at NAMT member Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma this fall. The production is funded in part by a grant from the National Fund for New Musicals. You can also check out a video fo Scotty and Alana talking about what they love about NAMT on YouTube!

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Festival Show Update: The Passage

This month, we caught up with David Darrow, the writer of 2017 Festival show The Passage, to check in with him before the show is featured at Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals this summer.
 

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New Work in Progress: Grumpy Old Men

Next, we chatted with Brad Kenney, the Executive Artistic Director, and Cheryl Farley, the Director of Marketing, Communications and Patron Services, at NAMT member Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, ME, about the theatre’s New Works Program and their upcoming production of Grumpy Old Men by Dan Remmes, Neil Berg and Nick Meglin. 
 

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