6th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Abyssinia Jackson is born during a tornado in Stillwater, Oklahoma at the turn of the last century. Blessed with a gift of song and a voice that thrills and delights the entire community, Abby is brought up in the bosom of the church and under the watchful eye of Mother Vera, a folk-healer. Like Job, Abby is fated to undergo a series of trials that all but shatter her faith. Her journey from despair to wisdom is a timeless, as well as timely, parable that cuts across color lines and religious beliefs.
After The Fair
Genre & Style:
Based on Thomas Hardy’s novel, On the Western Circuit this carefully crafted new musical brings romantic intrigue to the stage. The emotional entanglement unfolds as a London barrister and simple maid meet at a country fair. She asks her mistress to answer his love letters for her and their lives are forever changed.
Six middle-aged guys, all urban professionals and frustrated jazz performers, get a chance to live their dream: their first professional ‘gig’ in the Catskills.
To continue his legendary bedroom exploits, Horner pretends he has lost his virility to a case of the pox.
The classic Oedipus myth has never been seen like this: set in film noir, this hysterical musical mystery becomes the ultimate black comedy.
Phantom Of The Country Opera
Paris has The Opera House, Nashville has The Country Palace. Both house a mysterious stranger – that’s where the similarities end. It’s all ‘twang’ in cheek!
The hostess of a news interview show is romanced by the leader of a terrorist group as they plot to destroy the Presidential campaign of a powerful tycoon.
Scott DeTurk and Bill Francoeur
Writers & Artists
Douglas J. Cohen
Book & Lyrics & Music, The Gig
2010 Fred Ebb Award, two Richard Rodgers Awards and Drama Desk Award nominee. Off-Broadway: THE EVOLUTION OF MANN (with collaborator Dan Elish @ The Cell Theatre); NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY (Hudson Guild Theatre and York Theatre Company, nearly 200 productions worldwide); THE GIG (MTC Stage 2, NAMT Festival 1994, five NYMF Awards); THE BIG TIME (book by Douglas Carter Beane, Drama Dept. workshop, NYMF 2005, 2020 McCarter Theatre concert starring Santino Fontana, Debbie Gravitte, Will Swenson, Laura Osnes); BOOZY (The Culture Project, directed by Alex Timbers); CHILDREN’S LETTERS TO GOD (Lamb’s Theatre). Doug also penned scores for THE OPPOSITE OF SEX (Williamstown Theatre Festival), GLIMMERGLASS (Goodspeed, 2000 NAMT Festival). With collaborator Cheryl Davis: DON’T STAY SAFE (Prospect Theater Company), BRIDGES (Richard Rodgers Finalist, Ignite Series@Times Center; Berkeley Playhouse) and BARNSTORMER (Jonathan Larson Grant for Lark Theatre; 2008 NAMT Festival). Member of The Dramatist Guild and ASCAP. Website: douglasjcohen.com
Book & Lyrics, After The Fair
STEPHEN COLE produced musicals include AFTER THE FAIR, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (Kleban Award winner, CD, NYMF 2006, Lyric Stage), SATURDAY NIGHT AT GROSSINGER’S, CASPER starring Chita Rivera, DODSWORTH starring Hal Linden and Dee Hoty. The experience of writing ASPIRE, the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East resulted in THE ROAD TO QATAR! which has played off Broadway, London and Edinburgh. TIME AFTER TIME premiered at Pittsburgh Playhouse. Stephen’s books include NOEL COWARD, THAT BOOK ABOUT THAT GIRL, I COULD HAVE SUNG ALL NIGHT, the Marni Nixon story (soon to be a major motion picture., ghosted PUT ON A HAPPY FACE (Charles Strouse memoirs). Stephen is the recipient of the 5 Dallas Theatre League Awards for After the Fair, Dallas-Ft. Worth Drama Critics Award for Road to Qatar!, Edward Kleban Award for Night of the Hunter and a Gilman-Gonzales Falla Commendation for musical theatre. Most recent produced musical: INVENTING MARY MARTIN, Off-Broadway, MERMAN’S APPRENTICE in concert at Birdland and on CD from Jay Records. Stephen is also an award winning and published short story author and has just completed his first novel.
Lyrics, Phantom Of The Country Opera
Cheryl Coons is the Chicago Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild. She has written lyrics and/or book for more than a dozen original musicals, including River’s End (ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theatre Award, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, Theatre for the American Musical Award), At Wit’s End (Carbonell Award), Sylvia’s Real Good Advice (Joseph Jefferson Award), Female Problems (After Dark Award), and Phantom of the Country Opera, published by Music Theater International. Her work has appeared on the stages of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Northlight Theatre, the Marriott Theatre at Lincolnshire, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, Florida Stage and Marin Theatre Company. Her original musicals have been developed at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Music Theater Conference, and she is a two-time participant in the ASCAP workshops in Los Angeles and Chicago. She has had two projects featured in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s annual Festival of New Musicals, and her musical River’s End was a featured selection at the New York Music Theatre Festival, where it was honored with the Theatre for the American Musical Award. Cheryl appeared at Carnegie Hall, singing her original songs in an evening sponsored by ASCAP and hosted by Michael Feinstein. She has served as an animateur for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Chicago Voices program, a mentor/instructor for the Writing the Musical Class at Northwestern University, and an instructor of musical theatre writing at Columbia College Chicago. She designed and taught a curriculum for musical theatre writing for Chicago Dramatists, where she has been a Resident Playwright since 2008, as well as a series of musical theatre writing and appreciation classes and for Porchlight Music Theatre. She is a Program Manager and Teaching Artist with Storycatchers Theatre, working with incarcerated youth at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.
Book & Music, Abyssinia
Ted Kociolek is a noted composer, librettist, music director, vocal coach, educator and pianist. As a writer, he is represented by THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, ABYSSINIA, JOLSON: A NEW VAUDEVILLE and has contributed songs to Nicky Silver’s revue, SHRINKS! Other composing credits include dance and incidental music, cabaret, industrials and special material. As a vocal coach, he has served on the faculties of NYU and Long Island University and maintains a private practice in New York City. Ted is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. www.tedkociolek.com
Matthew Martin Ward
Music, After The Fair
Matthew wrote the score for THE LADY IN PENTHOUSE B which was presented twice in 2016 at Urban Stages Theatre starring Klea Blackhurst, in a staged reading at the York Theatre with Tovah Feldshuh and Liz Callaway, and as part of the “New to New York series” starring Nancy Dussault. He is the composer of AFTER THE FAIR, book and lyrics by Kleban Award recipient Steven Cole. Premiering at Dallas Lyric Stage, AFTER THE FAIR has been produced in New York, London, Brighton, Chicago and Seattle. With Mr. Cole he wrote CASPER starring Chita Rivera and l MERLIN’S APPRENTICE. For the NYMTF production of NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (book and lyrics Cole) Mr. Ward created musical continuity based on notes left by the late composer Claibe Richards. He composed underscore for an evening of classical scenes (Lear, Medea, Hamlet…) MASQUES OF MELANCOLIA, starring Ann Jackson, Eli Wallach and Richard Chamberlain.