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 Jonathan Cohen
Book & Lyrics & Music, The Gig
Doug received the 2010 Fred Ebb Award, two Richard Rodgers Awards, and is a Drama Desk Award nominee. His musical, VALENTINO’S TANGO, premiered at the Manhattan School of Music October 28-30. Off-Broadway productions include: THE EVOLUTION OF MANN at the Cell Theater; NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY at the Hudson Guild Theatre and York Theatre Company (revival) plus nearly 200 productions worldwide; THE GIG (MTC at City Center, NAMT 1994), THE BIG TIME (NYMF Festival, McCarter Theatre 2020 concert, upcoming album starring Santino Fontana, Debbie Gravitte, Will Swenson, and Jackie Hoffman!); and CHILDREN’S LETTERS TO GOD (Lamb’s Theatre). Doug also penned scores for THE OPPOSITE OF SEX (Williamstown Theatre Festival), GLIMMERGLASS (Goodspeed at Chester, NAMT 2000). With collaborator Cheryl Davis: BRIDGES (Richard Rodgers Finalist, Ignite Series@Times Center; Berkeley Playhouse), BARNSTORMER (Jonathan Larson Grant for Lark Theatre, NAMT 2009; and DON’T STAY SAFE (Prospect Theater Company, 2021 Drama League Nomination).
Book & Lyrics, After The Fair
Stephen Cole is an award-winning writer whose 25 year career in the theatre had taken him and his musicals from New York City to London to the Middle East and Australia. His off-Broadway musical AFTER THE FAIR (music by Matthew Ward; winner of 5 Dallas Theatre Awards for it’s world premiere) was nominated for the Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Best Musical and was subsequently produced in London to great acclaim. The original cast CD featuring Tony winner Michele Pawk won several awards. A 20th Anniversary concert was presented to great acclaim. THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (music by Claibe Richardson) won the prestigious Edward Kleban Award for Stephen and was produced in San Francisco where it was nominated for several Bay Area Theatre Awards. The musical has subsequently been produced in NYC as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2006 and was produced at Lyric Stage in Dallas with a full orchestra. The award winning concept CD features Ron Raines and Dorothy Loudon and was the recipient of a German music critics Award. SATURDAY NIGHT AT GROSSINGER’S (music by Claibe Richardson) has had successful runs in Dallas (Starring Gavin MacLeod), LA and Florida. Broadway legend Chita Rivera toured in his show CASPER (music by Matthew Ward) This past fall CASPER was reborn as CASPER-THE FRIENDLY MUSICAL and played to rave reviews at Cincinnati Children’s Theatre. Hal Linden and Dee Hoty starred in the world premiere of his musical adaptation of DODSWORTH (music by Jeffrey Saver). Stephen has been represented off Broadway with the hilarious PIANO BAR at the Triad. In 2005 Stephen and composer David Krane were commissioned to write the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East and the result was ASPIRE, which was produced in Qatar. Their amazing and hilarious cross-cultural experiences resulted in yet another musical about the creation of the show entitled THE ROAD TO QATAR! which was produced to rave reviews at the Lyric Stage, had a successful run Off-Broadway, has been recorded by Jay Records and played at the Edinburgh International Festival garnering a Best Musical nomination. It is licensed by Josef Weinberger in London. Krane and Cole also wrote a short movie musical entitled THE WHEEL GOES ROUND that was accepted and shown at five International Film Festivals including The Big Apple Film Festival in NYC. Saver and Cole’s new musical TIME AFTER TIME had its world premiere in Feb. 2010 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse under the direction of Gabriel Barre. Other produced shows include MERLIN’S APPRENTICE and ROCK ODYSSEY, which had 10 seasons of productions at the Adrienne Arscht Center Miami. With David Evans, Stephen has written MERMAN’S APPRENTICE, which was a smash hit at Birdland in NYC and has a cast album on Jay Records, as well as playing in Autumn of 2019 to rave reviews in Sonoma and winning the SF Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Score. Stephen has five published books (one under option as a feature film), including THAT BOOK ABOUT THAT GIRL and I COULD HAVE SUNG ALL NIGHT, the Marni Nixon story (currently in development as a feature film), NOEL COWARD and Charles Strouse’s memoir PUT ON A HAPPY FACE. Stephen has penned ten award winning short stories and several articles published and translated under the banner of the Vienna Jewish Museum, where has also lectured. His first novel is, MARY, ETHEL…AND MIKEY WHO?, a time travel/showbiz/coming of age that takes a nerdy 30 year old threw Ethel Merman’s closet back in time and forward again. Stephen has just completed a new novel entitled 2020 and is working on a memoir of his incredible experience in the Middle East, THE ROAD TO QATAR!
Stephen has created and executive produced a new awards winning web-series entitled CONEY ISLAND SURPRISE starring Anita Gillette.
Stephen has written continuity, narration, and special material for fifteen different Drama League Shows including all star tributes to Kander and Ebb, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, , Liz Smith, Peter Stone, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Audra McDonald and Neil Patrick Harris. Some of the stars Stephen has written material for include Marlo Thomas, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, Donna Murphy, Christine Baranski, Hal Linden, Chita Rivera, Gavin MacLeod, Dee Hoty, Christine Ebersole, Keith Carradine, JoAnne Worley, Lauren Bacall, Matthew Broderick, Michael Rupert, Joel Grey and many others. Stephen is the recipient of a Gilman-Gonzales Falla Commendation for musical theatre.
Cheryl Beth Coons
Lyrics, Phantom Of The Country Opera
CHERYL COONS is a book writer/lyricist whose original musicals include River’s End (ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theatre Award, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, NAMT Festival, NYMF TAM Award), At Wit’s End (Carbonell Award), Sylvia’s Real Good Advice (Joseph Jefferson Award), and Phantom of the Country Opera (NAMT Festival, published by MTI.) She serves on the National Council of the Dramatists Guild, and teaches musical theatre writing for the Dramatists Guild Institute, and as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. Cheryl has served as an animateur with the Chicago Voices Project of Lyric Opera of Chicago, creating original musical theatre works based on the untold stories of community groups. For 8 years she was Program Manager for Storycatchers Theatre, creating original musical theatre works with young people incarcerated at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.
Music, Phantom Of The Country Opera
Michael Duff has written four musicals which have received professional productions, including At Wit’s End, which received Florida’s Carbonell Award for Best New Work. He was the recipient of Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award for Musical Direction for his work on Female Problems, to which he also contributed a number of songs, sharing Chicago’s After Dark Award for the music and lyrics. He composed the score for Phantom of the Country Opera, published by Music Theater International, and Ms. Cinderella, produced at Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theater. Listed in Who’s Who of Entertainment, Mr. Duff has been musical director/conductor for over 80 different productions, including the third national tour of Les Miserables, Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby, tours of 42nd Street, Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, West Side Story, and Fiddler on the Roof. He performed on Broadway as The City Editor in The News.
Book & Music, Abyssinia
Ted Kociolek is a noted composer, librettist, vocal coach, musical director, educator and pianist. As a writer, he is represented by SCARAMOUCHE, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, ABYSSINIA (Lyric Stage-Dallas, Goodspeed Musicals/North Shore Music Theatre/Cleveland Playhouse/Arena Stage), JOLSON: A NEW VAUDEVILLE and has contributed songs to the revues SHRINKS! by Nicky Silver and CRAZY LOVE, which had successful runs nationwide. Other composing credits include dance and incidental music, cabaret, industrials and special material. Ted has been affiliated with several Broadway shows and worked extensively in regional theater as conductor, keyboardist and arranger. As a vocal coach, he has served on the faculties of NYU and Long Island University and maintains a private practice at his home in New York City. Ted is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. www.tedkociolek.com
Book & Lyrics, Abyssinia
James Racheff has been a lyricist/bookwriter and playwright for more than thirty-five years. His shows have appeared on Broadway (Oh, Kay!), Off Broadway (Imperfect Chemistry), major regional theatres (Abyssinia, Houdini) at Goodspeed Opera House, Cleveland Play House, Arena Stage, North Shore Music Theatre, and internationally in Japan (Club Moonlight) and China (The Joker’s Game, MK–the Monkey King). His play, Feather on the Sea (Icarus and Daedelus) was presented by Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and100 Famous Views of Otzi (the Iceman) had its Equity premiere in New Jersey in 2016. He has a longtime collaborative association with composer Ted Kociolek, and in early 2020, their musical Abyssinia was presented by the Dallas Lyric Stage at the Dallas Majestic Theater. A former resident of Manhattan, he now lives on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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.
This page was last updated on 08/18/2017. Some musical and writer information may be more recent.