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Overview

October 3 - 4

Dodger Stages 340 W 50th Street, New York, NY

The 16th Annual Festival of New Musicals was held in New York City at the new Dodger Stages, 340 W. 50th Street on Sunday, Oct. 3 and Monday, Oct. 4, 2004 for an invited audience of NAMT members and theatre producers.

Musicals

Gold -- Rodin And Camille (fka Camille Claudel)

Director
Gabriel Barre

Cast
John Paul Almon, Leslie Becker, Timothy Bish, Matt Bogart, Nick Cavarra, Linda Eder, Margaret Ann Gates, Lynette Marrero, Mayumi Miguel, Michael Nouri, Darren Ritchie, Tina Stafford and Shonn Wiley

Synopsis

19th century French sculptor Camille Claudel was haunted by two men—her lover Auguste Rodin, arguably the most important sculptor of our time, and her brother, the poet Paul Claudel. Both men were driven to possess Camille, but she lived only to work, one woman battling to compete against a phalanx of male artists. Camille’s stormy affair with Rodin was surrounded by scandal and bitterly resented by her brother Paul. Camille persevered, happily breaking all the rules along the way. Presented last summer by Goodspeed Musicals, Camille Claudel has a score by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Civil War—Tony nomination), book and lyrics by Nan Knighton (The Scarlet Pimpernel—Tony nomination, Saturday Night Fever), direction by Gabriel Barre (The Wild Party, MTC) and stars Broadway and recording sensation Linda Eder (Theatre World Award winner—Jekyll and Hyde ).

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The Drowsy Chaperone

Director
Bob Martin

Music Director
Greg Morrison

Cast
Beth Beyer, Danny Burstein, Lea DeLaria, Robert DuSold, Christine Ebersole, Georgia Engel, Patrick Garner, Paul Kandel, Richard Kind, Bob Martin, Reno Roop, Christopher Sieber, Christianna Tisdale and Robert Tunstall

Synopsis

Created by award-winning Second City authors, this soph- twist -icated musical was the sleeper hit of the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival. “Outrageous humor! Openly affectionate and uproariously funny!” — Variety . A pampered Broadway starlet chooses marriage over show business. Her producer, desperate to save his career and re-pay gangster investors, sets out to sabotage the nuptials. Ruses are played, hi-jinks occur, and just before the plot spins completely out of control… everyone zeppelins down to Rio for a happy ending. This classic (albeit fictional) 1920’s musical is narrated with sinister enthusiasm by a tweedy musical theatre fanatic who stops throughout to praise or mock certain scenes and to provide lurid details about the performers’ sad real lives. A full production at Toronto’s Winter Garden Theatre was lauded by critics as “the best thing to happen to musical theatre in recent memory.”

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The Flight Of The Lawnchair Man

Director
Lynne Taylor-Corbett

Music Director
Larry Yurman

Cast
Bob Ader, Fred Berman, Roxanne Carasco, Donna-Lynne Champlin, Herndon Lackey, Burke Moses, Cheryl Stern, Rachel Ulanet, Valerie Wright and Bill Youmans

Synopsis

Jerry Gorman is a guy from Passaic, New Jersey, who has always dreamed of flying, despite being dyslexic and terminally average. His girlfriend, Gracie, encourages him to discover his “Jerriosity” and reach for the sky! However, Jerry’s attempts to fly are thwarted by the FAA, the CIA, and Wal-Mart – not to mention Jerry’s mom. Finally, Jerry and Gracie stumble on the idea of tying 400 helium-filled balloons to a lawnchair. Jerry launches himself 16,000 feet into the stratosphere, where he meets Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and Leonardo Da Vinci. Jerry finds himself faced with a difficult choice. Should he return to his earthbound life or join the Greats of Aviation in the sky? This delightful and uplifting fantasy, with book by Peter Ullian and music and lyrics by Robert Lindsey Nassif, is directed by Tony Award-nominee Lynne Taylor-Corbett.

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The Girl In The Frame

Director
Marc Bruni

Music Director
Vadim Feichtner

Cast
Melissa Dye, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Jonathan Rayson and Graham Rowat

Synopsis

When Alex’s fantasy woman magically steps out of a photograph to seduce him, he figures that an affair with an imaginary mistress isn’t exactly cheating. However, when his fiancée discovers his “infidelity,” Alex is shocked to learn that she has a fantasy of her own. Soon, their tiny New York apartment is uncomfortably overcrowded and the couple must fight to reclaim their imperfect lives. This quick-witted, four-character comedy has book, music, and lyrics by NYU Musical Theatre Writing grad Jeremy Desmon (a recent Jonathan Larson Fellow at The Dramatists Guild). The Girl in the Frame has been developed at Goodspeed Musicals and Theatre Building Chicago, and it has received full productions at Stoneham Theatre and London’s Bridewell Theatre.

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A Good Man

Director
John Ruocco

Music Director
William Foster McDaniel

Cast
Cheryl Alexander, Sondra Bonitto, John Martin Green, Derrick Middleton, Kevyn Morrow, Anika Noni Rose, Ed Setrakian, C.E Smith and David St. Louis

Synopsis

Based on an award-winning novel, this hauntingly beautiful family story is set in rural Mississippi just after World War II. A black sharecropper, a well-liked and respected farmer, decides to paint his dilapidated tenant house white. His simple wish sets off passions and suspicions which gather like a summer storm, shattering family and community, and ending in a wrenching act of violence. The show is intensely dramatic, surprisingly funny, and musically rich – influenced by the blues, gospel, jazz and rock – as well as Copland, Arlen and Bernstein.

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Langston In Harlem

Director
Kent Gash

Cast
Darius DeHaas, Jerry Dixon, Danielle Lee Greaves, Marva Hicks, Brandy Massey, John Eric Parker, Billy Porter and Soara-Joye Ross

Synopsis

A music theatre piece made up of blues, jazz, spoken word poetry, rhythm and dance that evoke the state of mind that is Langston Hughes’ Harlem. This is not a typical book musical but rather a descendant of newer forms, a kind of musical montage in a dramatic format similar to Cats, Movin’ Out, or Def Poetry Jam. Based on the writings of one of America’s foremost poets and using his poetry as lyrics, Langston in Harlem is a stirring and vivid portrait of the artist at the height of the Harlem Renaissance, with a book by Kent Gash (Associate Artistic Director of Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre Company) and music by Walter Marks (Emmy Award winner for the PBS series “Getting On” and songwriter of “I Gotta Be Me” and “The Singer”.)

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Striking 12

Director
Ted Sperling

Synopsis

A funny, touching, uplifting hybrid piece of musical theatre in which the story is sung, played, acted, and dissected on stage by an unusual rock band, GrooveLily. The show runs on three levels: a musical retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl”; the story of a grumpy 30-something whose anti-holiday outlook is changed by a door-to-door saleswoman of holiday lights that combat seasonal affective disorder; and the interaction of the three musicians who frequently interrupt the proceedings. The show was developed with director Ted Sperling and is performed by GrooveLily (a trio which includes Milburn on keyboards, Vigoda on electric violin and Gene Lewin on drums), Striking 12 has rocked the holiday house at Prince Music Theatre, The Old Globe Theatres and will play TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, California this holiday season.

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Winesburg, Ohio

Director
Eric Rosen

Music Director
Tom Murray

Cast
Ken Barnett, Lesley Bevan, David Bryson, Joe Dempsey, Jeff Dumas, Erica Elam, Mary Ernster, Ryan Gardner, Kristina Martin, Johanna McKenzie-Miller, Jeff Parker and Matthew Walker

Synopsis

Based on the classic American novel by Sherwood Anderson, this startling and unconventional musical journey explores what lies beneath the “normal” exterior of a small American town. Developed by Chicago’s About Face Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Winesburg, Ohio is both a portrait of an artist as a young man and a journey into the secret lives and twisted passions of his hometown’s everyday citizens. Backed by a score steeped in American folk music, the stories intertwine and unfold in a spellbinding and moving paean to following your dreams. Created with director Jessica Thebus, book and lyrics by Eric Rosen (director of Adam Guettel’s Myths and Hymns at Prince Music Theatre) and music and additional lyrics by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman (sound designers for I Am My Own Wife and Metamorphoses – LA Ovation Award and Lucille Lortel nomination).

More about Winesburg, Ohio

Songwriters Showcase

PRINCESS CARABOO by Beth Blatt, Jenny Giering and Marsha Norman
FROM MY HOMETOWN by Lee Summers, Ty Stephens and Herbert Rawlings, Jr.
HIGH FIDELITY by David Lindsay-Abaire, Amanda Green and Tom Kitt
OWL CREEK by Ben Cohn and Sean McDaniel
RIVER’S END by Cheri Croons and Chuck Larkin
THE SHAGGS: PHILOSOPHY OF THE WORLD by Joy Gregory, John Langs and Gunnar Madsen
SLUT by Stephen Sislen and Ben Winters

Writers & Artists

Jeremy Desmon

Book & Lyrics & Music, The Girl In The Frame

JEREMY DESMON is an award-winning writer whose stories have played around the world. The Girl in the Frame (NAMT 2005), seen in over a dozen productions, earned him the prestigious Edward Kleban Prize as America’s most promising musical theatre bookwriter.

Jeremy’s best known for the rock musical Pump Up The Volume, his critically-acclaimed “revisal” of Good News (Goodspeed), 7½ Wondrous Act(s) of True Love, Surviving The Avalanche and the high-school ht Cyrano de BurgerShack. Upcoming: A brand-new Broadway musical based on Simon & Schuster’s iconic sleuth, Nancy Drew.

In addition, Jeremy writes “family theatrical”/touring arena shows for some of the world’s most recognizable characters, including Disney Live’s Mickey’s Music Festival!, Universal’s Curious George Live! and Sesame Workshop’s Elmo Rocks! He’s proud to have written multiple editions of The Greatest Show on Earth for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Kent Gash

Book & Director, Langston In Harlem

Philip S Goodman

Book & Lyrics, A Good Man

Lisa Lambert

Lyrics, The Drowsy Chaperone

Ray Leslee

Music, A Good Man

Award-winning composer Ray Leslee wrote Avenue X, the acappella musical about racial tensions in New York, produced at Playwrights Horizons, the Kennedy Center and over 50 theatres around the world, winning Best Musical awards in Philadelphia, Dallas and Los Angeles; Standup Shakespeare, directed by Mike Nichols on Broadway featured F. Murray Abraham, Alfred Molina and Alice Ripley in recent productions; A Steady Rain at the Guthrie in 2015; A Good Man at the Vienna Chamber Opera and NAMT 2004; The Three Musketeers national tour; Educating Rita at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre; Twelfth Night at Theatre For A New Audience; Palestine at New York Theatre Workshop; and A Chamber Christmas Carol, an adaptation of the Dickens classic for five musicians and five actors at the Morgan Library & Museum. Ray is a long-time panelist for the Richard Rodgers Awards (chaired by Stephen Sondheim). As a teenager he was a pianist with legendary rock groups including The Platters, Jay and The Americans, The Shirelles, Lesley Gore and The Drifters, to name a few.
Current project: The Learned Ladies, a new musical based on the play by Moliere, libretto by Brian Dykstra.

Walter Marks

Book & Music, Langston In Harlem

Don McKellar

Book, The Drowsy Chaperone

Brendan Milburn

Book & Lyrics & Music, Striking 12

Brendan Milburn writes songs for theatre and film (mostly with wife Valerie Vigoda), produces records, and is a stay-at-home dad when he’s not off rewriting the opening number at some regional theatre somewhere. Musicals: Striking 12(NAMT Fest ’04, Off Broadway & regional), Sleeping Beauty Wakes (NAMT Fest ’12, CTG, McCarter, La Jolla), Wheelhouse (TheatreWorks), Toy Story: The Musical (Disney), Fantasy Faire (Disneyland), Long Story Short (regional),Midsummer Night (in development), Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (Balagan/Seattle Rep/ACT), WATT?!? (NAMT Fest ’11, Trinity Rep, Village Theatre), The Behavior of Broadus (CTG, Sacred Fools). Film: four movies about Tinker Bell (Disney). Proudest production: nine-year old son, Mose.

Greg Morrison

Music & Music Director, The Drowsy Chaperone

Robert Lindsey Nassif

Lyrics & Music, The Flight Of The Lawnchair Man

Andre Pluess

Lyrics & Music, Winesburg, Ohio

Based in Chicago, Pluess and Sussman have been collaborating as sound designers/composers for over 15 years. Projects include productions for Lookingglass Theatre and Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman for whom they designed the Broadway/regional/international productions of Metamorphoses, as well as her adaptation of the Chinese folk-tale The White Snake. Additional Broadway credits include sound designs for I Am My Own Wife and 33 Variations (with director Moises Kaufman), as well as the score for the Lincoln Center Theater production of The Clean House. Their musical Winesburg, Ohio (recipient of both Joseph Jefferson and Barrymore awards for outstanding musical) was a selection for the NAMT Festival in 2004, and has been produced at Steppenwolf/About Face, the Arden Theatre and Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Currently, they are composing the scores for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Tempest, as well as designing sound for The Jungle Book for the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. They have received numerous awards for composition and sound design including eleven Joseph Jefferson Awards, an Ovation Award, a Barrymore Award, Lortel/Drama Desk Nominations and a Drama Critics Circle Award.

Eric Rosen

Book & Director & Lyrics, Winesburg, Ohio

Rachel Sheinkin

Book & Lyrics, Striking 12

As book writer and sometimes lyricist, she has been part of the creative teams of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Striking 12 (also with Milburn/Vigoda at NAMT Fest ’04), Little House on the Prairie, Serenade and Blood Drive. She received Tony and Drama Desk Awards for the book of Spelling Bee. Rachel is interested in independent-minded musicals and loves the form when it is adventurous, inventive and nourished rather than limited by convention. She teaches on the part-time faculties of Yale School of Drama and NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Ben Sussman

Lyrics & Music, Winesburg, Ohio

Based in Chicago, Pluess and Sussman have been collaborating as sound designers/composers for over 15 years. Projects include productions for Lookingglass Theatre and Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman for whom they designed the Broadway/regional/international productions of Metamorphoses, as well as her adaptation of the Chinese folk-tale The White Snake. Additional Broadway credits include sound designs for I Am My Own Wife and 33 Variations (with director Moises Kaufman), as well as the score for the Lincoln Center Theater production of The Clean House. Their musical Winesburg, Ohio (recipient of both Joseph Jefferson and Barrymore awards for outstanding musical) was a selection for the NAMT Festival in 2004, and has been produced at Steppenwolf/About Face, the Arden Theatre and Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Currently, they are composing the scores for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Tempest, as well as designing sound for The Jungle Book for the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. They have received numerous awards for composition and sound design including eleven Joseph Jefferson Awards, an Ovation Award, a Barrymore Award, Lortel/Drama Desk Nominations and a Drama Critics Circle Award.

Peter Ullian

Book, The Flight Of The Lawnchair Man

Valerie Vigoda

Book & Lyrics & Music, Striking 12

Valerie Vigoda, lyricist-electric violinist-singer-actor, has toured the world with Cyndi Lauper, Joe Jackson and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Musicals: Striking 12 (NAMT Fest ’04, Off Broadway & regional), Sleeping Beauty Wakes (NAMT Fest ’12, CTG, McCarter, La Jolla), Wheelhouse (TheatreWorks),Toy Story: The Musical (Disney), Fantasy Faire (Disneyland), Long Story Short(regional), Midsummer Night (in development) and Ernest Shackleton Loves Me(Balagan/Seattle Rep/ACT). Film: Four Tinker Bell movies (Disney). Awards: Jonathan Larson (2006 & 2008), LA Ovation Award (2007), ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award (2009). Valerie lives in LA with husband/collaborator Brendan and 9-year-old son Mose.