15th Annual Festival of New Musicals
September 20 - 22
The Ambition Bird
Victoria Clark, Timothy Jerome, Kevin O'Rourke and Carol Sirugo
Genre & Style:
Enter the suburban Boston kitchen – and world – of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Anne Sexton in this riveting chamber musical. Home alone one windy night, estranged from family, haunted by memories, Anne turns to her art for solace and her imagination soars. Join the legendary housewife-turned-poet on her wild ride though the terrors and exhilarations of creative genius in this theatrical tour-de-force.
Ballad Of Little Pinks
Kim Cea, Trisha Gorman, Michael McGrath, Sarah Jane Nelson, Ron Orbach, Jennifer Smith, Frank Vlastnik and Lee Wilkof
Based on a Damon Runyon short story, with music by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), this Depression-era musical pairs up Your Highness, an ambitious, tough-talking chorus Judy with her pick of all the swells on Broadway, and Little Pinks, a big-hearted busboy named for the small size of his ego and his inseam. When life deals Your Highness a mighty fall, Pinks is the only one there to catch her. With nothing for fuel but her indomitable will, the two set out on an improbable journey to fulfill her impossible dream, encountering dozens of colorful Runyonesque characters along the way.
Harold And Maude
Genre & Style:
Like the cult film favorite on which it is based, this first collaboration of veteran writer Tom Jones (The Fantasticks) and emerging composer Joseph Thalken (Was) tells a funny and life-affirming story about the unlikely romance between an eccentric young man morbidly obsessed with suicides and an equally eccentric old woman who is as much in love with life as he is with death. This heartfelt and quirky chamber musical is currently being developed at Musical Theatre Works.
Bridget Barkan, Alyssa Bernier, Christy Faber, Jenny Fellner, Becky Gulsvig, Julie Halston, Ashley Linton, Missy Matherne, Lindsay Mendez, Karla Mosley, Patti Murin, Marissa Perry and Tom Wopat
Genre & Style:
Princesses is a musical-within-a-musical story of a group of upscale teen girls forced to put on a school production of A Little Princess. When superstar of stage and screen Kevin Finch pays a visit to his daughter Miranda at the elite Reardon Boarding School where he has warehoused her since the death of her mother, he winds up taking over as director and co-star. Suddenly, the rebellious, reluctant students find a reason to be interested in putting on a show, and Miranda and Kevin find a way to connect for the first time. Created by veterans David Zippel (City of Angels, The Goodbye Girl, Hercules, Mulan), Cheri and Bill Steinkellner (Four-time Emmy-winners for Cheers and Disney’s Teacher’s Pet), and Matthew Wilder (Mulan, “Break My Stride,” and recent hits by No Doubt, Christina Aguilera, and Kelly Clarkson).
Sarah, Plain And Tall
Becca Ayers, Kenneth Boys, Eddie Korbich, Herndon Lackey, Jessica Molaskey, Kate Wetherhead, Debra Wiseman and John Lloyd Young
Genre & Style:
Living in 19th-century Kansas, widower Jacob places a personal ad in the newspaper which is answered by the strong-willed and unconventional Sarah, a fisherwoman from Maine, who travels to the prairie to see if marriage is a possibility. Based on the Newberry Award-winning novel by Patricia MacLachlan, Sarah, Plain and Tall is a touching portrait of how Sarah struggles to fill the role of wife and mother to Jacob and his two children. First commissioned and produced by TheatreWorksUSA in an abridged version at the Lucille Lortel Theater last summer, and developed in part through the AT&T: First Stage program, Sarah, Plain and Tall will be featured at the O’Neill Music Theatre Conference this summer.
Genre & Style:
Set on the American home front during World War II, Swing Shift tells the story of two women – Kay, a timid young housewife, and Hazel, an aspiring band singer – whose lives change completely when their men go off to war and they take jobs working the swing shift in an aircraft factory. In this topsy-turvy world where the workday starts at night, and women do men’s work, Kay discovers inner resources she never knew she had. She takes chances, both professional and romantic, that come crashing down on her when her husband returns home on leave. Loosely based on the film of the same name, the score is comprised of new musical arrangements of great hits from the 1940s.
Two Queens, One Castle
Thomas W. Jones, II
James Rich, Jevetta Steele, Thomasina Taylor, Austene Van Williams-Clark and Regina Marie Williams
Genre & Style:
Through 15 soulful and rousing gospel, R&B, jazz, and pop tunes, Jevetta Steele explores life’s complexities – catapulting career, motherhood, marriage, extended family, and church – which are even more complicated with the discovery that her husband is clandestinely gay. Attitudes of homosexuality in the African- American community are explored and exposed, and the foundation of love collides with deceit and illness in an ultimately harmonic affirmation of self. Created and performed by Academy-Award nominee Jevetta Steele (Bagdad CafÃ©, Tony-Nominated The Gospel at Colonus), Two Queens, One Castle just completed an extended run at the Mixed Blood Theatre Company in Minneapolis.
Timlin Addison, Danny Burstein, Malcolm Gets, John Jellison, Jessica Kostival, George Lovette, David McDonald, Brooke Sunny Moriber, Jim Moye, Adam Pelty, David Pittu, Allyson Turner and Barbara Walsh
Genre & Style:
Based on the celebrated novel by Geoff Ryman, Was interweaves two stories told a century apart – the first, in the 1870’s, involving a young orphan named Dorothy Gael; the second, in the 1980’s, regarding Jonathan Wood, a successful but dying actor, whose obsession with The Wizard of Oz leads him to Kansas searching for proof of Dorothy Gael’s existence. Winner of the Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Commendation Award and first developed at Lincoln Center Theater, Was is filled with compelling characters whose interconnected journeys create a poignant and unforgettable experience.
BARNSTORMER by Douglas Cohen and Cheryl Davis
CLYDE AND BONNIE by Rick Crom and Hunter Foster
CHINESE HELL by Leon Ko and Robert Lee
CINDERELLA by Jim Luigs and Scott Warrender
DESPERATE MEASURES by David Friedman and Peter Kellogg
THE FLIGHT OF THE LAWNCHAIR MAN by Robert Lindsay Nassif and Peter Ullian
MIRACLE BROTHERS by Kirsten Childs
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER by Stephen Cole and Claibe Richardson
NOTES TO MARIANNE by David Rossmer and Dan Lipton
PARTY COME HERE by Daniel Goldfarb and David Kirshenbaum
THE RHYTHM CLUB by Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar
Writers & Artists
Book & Lyrics, Harold And Maude
In 1960, Tom Jones and composer Harvey Schmidt wrote THE FANTASTICKS, which ran for forty-two years Off-Broadway (and is now approaching its tenth year in revival) followed by the musicals 110 IN THE SHADE, I DO! I DO! , CELEBRATION, COLETTE COLLAGE and others. After the retirement of Mr. Schmidt in 2004, Mr. Jones has been working with composer Joseph Thalken on a musical version of HAROLD & MAUDE, which is expecting a London opening next year, and with composer Jacques Offenbach (abetted by Nancy Ford) on a musical version of the Anatol plays of Schnitzler called THE GAME OF LOVE. Working on LA TEMPESTA with the talented young composer Andrew Gerle represents the realization of a life long dream.
Book, Sarah, Plain And Tall
Julia Jordan musical books include Sarah Plain and Tall (NAMT Festival 2003)and The Mice, both written with Larry O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Upcoming musicals: Storyville and Murder Ballad. . Plays include Smoking Lesson, Tatjana in Color, St. Scarlet, Boy, Dark Yellow, and Jones. Currently in development, the film Tell Me Something I Don’t Know with Glen Luchford slated to direct. Kleban Award, Francesca Primus Prize, Lucille Lortel Playwriting Fellowship, Manhattan Theater Club Fellowship, Jonathan Larson Award, Heideman Award and LeComte Nouy Award. She is one of the founders of The Lilly Awards and sits on the Council of the Dramatists Guild.
Book & Lyrics & Music, The Ambition Bird
Playwright-composer-lyricist Matthew Sheridan’s work has been presented by National Alliance for Musical Theatre, Cardiff Musical Theatre Festival (UK), American Globe Theatre with Turnip Theatre Company, The Human Race Theatre Company, the Dramatists Guild, Opera on the Go, Around the Block with the New York Public Library, Camino Real Playhouse, and Theatre Resources Unlimited. AUDITION is published by Playscripts in GREAT SHORT COMEDIES.
Cheri and Bill Steinkellner have earned Four Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, the Writers Guild, People’s Choice, Parents’ Choice, World Animation Award and the British BAFTA for writing and producing television’s Cheers and Disney’s Teacher’s Pet. Tony-nominated for Sister Act the Musical (with Alan Menken and Glenn Slater), the Steinkellners wrote librettos for Princesses (with David Zippel and Matthew Wilder), Mosaic (with Georgia Stitt). Additional TV: The Jeffersons, Who’s the Boss? Family Ties, The Facts of Life, Bob (Newhart), and Hope and Gloria. Additional stage includes the award-winning comedy Our Place and InstaPlay, L.A.s original and longest-running all-improvised musical. Bill teaches writing at USC, improvisation at UCSB and Santa Barbara City College, and is the best-selling author of Postcards from the Moon. They live in beautiful Montecito, CA, where they raised their three favorite writers/artists/children: Kit, Teddy, and Emma
Cheri and Bill Steinkellner have earned Four Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, the Writers Guild, People’s Choice, Parents’ Choice, World Animation Award and the British BAFTA for writing and producing television’s Cheers and Disney’s Teacher’s Pet. Tony-nominated for Sister Act the Musical (with Alan Menken and Glenn Slater), the Steinkellners wrote librettos for Princesses (with David Zippel and Matthew Wilder), Mosaic (with Georgia Stitt). Cheri is an Ovation nominee and Indy award winner, writing book and lyrics for Hello! My Baby (with Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, Eubie Blake, and many more). Additional TV: The Jeffersons, Who’s the Boss? Family Ties, The Facts of Life, Bob (Newhart), and Hope and Gloria. Additional stage includes the award-winning comedy Our Place and InstaPlay, L.A.s original and longest-running all-improvised musical. Cheri teaches writing at Stanford University and UCSB, studies Engaged Humanities at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and directs international award winning youth-theater.
Music, Harold And Maude
Joseph Thalken is an award-winning composer whose theater and concert works have been performed internationally. His musicals include HAROLD AND MAUDE, with book and lyrics by Tom Jones; WAS, with book and lyrics by Barry Kleinbort; AND THE CURTAIN RISES, with book by Michael Slade and lyrics by Mark Campbell, and BORROWED DUST, with libretto by Martin Moran.
Joseph is a member of a select group of composers whose music has been supported by the Shen Family Foundation’s prestigious Musical Theater Composers Initiative. Among his other honors and awards are two Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Musical Theater Commendations, the Constance Klinsky Award, A Meet the Composer Award and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has also written choral, concert and chamber music works that have been performed in the U.S. and Europe.