17th Annual Festival of New Musicals
September 25 - 26
The 17th Annual Festival of New Musicals was held in New York City at Dodger Stages, 340 W. 50th Street on Sunday, September 25 and Monday, September 26, 2005 for an invited audience of NAMT members and other theatre industry professionals.
Jeff Binder, Scott Coulter, Struan Erlenborn, Tristan Gaebler, Lisa Howard, Cheyenne Jackson, Molly Kallins, Adam Monley, Christiane Noll, Joe Ricci and Tally Sessions
Genre & Style:
In Saint Louis, in 1952, a troubled 10 year-old boy named Billy Lucas receives the gift of a model airplane from his foster parents. The plane unlocks a door to a mystical world of dreams and visitations. With an “Ace” fighter pilot as his guide, Billy embarks on a series of heroic and haunting World War I and World War II adventures, revealing his own true identity, the secrets of his past, and the key to his future. Mixing humor and heart, this musical chronicles the tragedy and transcendence of three generations of an American family.
Princess Caraboo (fka Caraboo, Princess Of Javasu)
Alexandra Carlson, Kerri Jill Garbis, Celia Keenan Bolger, Andrew Lippa, Steven Pasquale, Richard Silverstein, Robin Skye, Price Waldman, Sally Wilfert and Michael Winther
Mary Baker didn’t want to be a maid. But it was 1817 in England, and she was nobody, so what choice did she have? Go to America. And that journey is where we find her, on the dock in Bristol – she’s put on a turban and is speaking a made up language. She soon attracts the attention of a smooth talking Irishman who “translates” for her, and an American patron. Mary Baker realizes they want a princess, and she becomes one, Princess Caraboo. Based on a true story, Mary Baker manages to fool the scientists who are sent to examine her, and convince the nobles who gather to celebrate her. It’s about a girl who didn’t want to stay where she was put, in her place, in her time. It’s about a girl who wanted more. And got it.
The Funkentine Rapture
Shango Amin, Adrian Bailey, Shoshana Bean, Aisha DeHass, Cary Gant, Dion Graham, Montalbon Paulo, Billy Porter, Anika Noni Rose, Lawrence Stallings, Joy Styles, Marty Thomas, Jeffery Thompson, Richard Vida and Lillias White
Genre & Style:
The soaring ’70s. Platform shoes, skyhigh ‘fros, and a beat to take you even higher. When an aspiring funkmaster reaches for the stars, he’s caught in an uproarious battle between good and evil, funk and disco, Kentucky fried and Harlem’s catfish surprise. Can he win the girl, gain the gig, and rescue the recipe from heinous hands?
I Love You Because
Farah Alvin, David Austin, Matt Castle, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Colin Hanlon and Daniel Kutner
Genre & Style:
Set in New York City, I Love You Because follows Austin Bennet, a young greeting card writer whose life is turned upside down when he finds his girlfriend in bed with another man. Forced back out into the treacherous New York dating scene, Austin meets Marcy, whose spontaneity is matched only by her ability to drive him insane. A comedy that explores the rules and nuances of dating because sometimes love is learning how to love someone, not in spite of their differences, but because of them.
A Little Princess
Sean Attebury, Ken Barnett, Will Chase, Maya Days, Katherine Doherty, Melissa Dye, Jill Geddes, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Sarah Hyland, Macy Ladner, Mackenzie Mauzy, Julia Murney, Jesse Nager, Sophie Oda, Dennis Stowe and Tracy Walsh
Genre & Style:
A Little Princess is the story of a little girl with a great big imagination. Separated from her father and the open-hearted Africans who have helped him raise her, young Sara Crewe is sent to boarding school in London. When things go badly for her there, her imaginative powers come to the rescue helping to transform a drab institution into a place of magic and mystery. As the girl wins the affection of the other boarders she draws the ire of Miss Minchin, the dour headmistress; Sara is made a servant to the institution when her father is reported dead, and his fortune seized. Sara counters all Miss Minchin’s best efforts to degrade her with the grace and virtue of a little princess.
Meet John Doe
Donna-Lynne Champlin, Victoire Charles, Jed Cohen, Ron DeStefano, Brooke Ferris, Melissa Hart, Danette Holden, Dennis Holland, Amy Justman, Mary Jo McConnell, Guy Paul, Peter Roman, Michael Rupert, Mark Sanders, Graham Stevens and Greg Stone
Genre & Style:
Jazz/big band politcal drama/dramedy
Fake news, a brash tycoon with his sights on the White House, and one woman with the power to change the country. Based on Frank Capra’s most ambitious and controversial film, this jazz-driven musical tells the story of Ann Mitchell, a fast-talking newspaper reporter who runs a phony letter in her column when she gets laid off during the height of the Depression. She never imagines that John Doe, the “author” of the letter, will become a national superstar, or that the paper’s greedy new owner will try to use the grassroots movement John inspires to steal the presidency. In the end, she and the fake “John” she hires to play the role must face the very real feelings they have for each other and together find some way to heal the country. Featuring the audition and cabaret favorites “I’m Your Man,” “He Threw Me,” and “I Hope You Can See This.”
Party Come Here
Fyvush Finkel, Hunter Foster, Marcy Harriell, Megan Hilty, Kaitlin Hopkins and Terrence Mann
Genre & Style:
A nervous groom, a statue of Christ, and a 500-year-old Jewish caveman converge to make miracles happen during a tropical storm on one magical night in Rio. Part farce, part fable, Party Come Here tells the story of a collision of cultures as tantalizing as the sexiest city in the world. Mistaken identity, spirituality, hope, family, sex – all set to irresistible Latin rhythms. From the author of Modern Orthodox and the composer of Summer of ’42, this is an outrageous, original, outlandish, oddball, optimistic, ohmigod, one-of-a-kind show.
Matt Farnsworth, Morgan James, Jodie Langel, Scott Mikita and Phyllis Sommerville
River’s End is based on the true story of Glen and Bessie Hyde, a daredevil couple who vanished on their honeymoon to the Grand Canyon in 1928, while attempting to run the entire length of the Colorado River in a boat they built themselves. River’s End weaves together two completely different scenarios of what might have happened to the couple, with two pairs of actors playing Glen and Bessie Hyde.
THE COSMOPOLITAN by Lance Horne, Lorin Latarro and Josh Rhodes
LOVE JERRY by Megan Gogerty
PIECE by Scott Alan and Tara Smith
SPRING AWAKENING by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik
THE UNAUTHORIZED AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SAMANTHA BROWN by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk
VANISHING POINT by Liv Cummins and Rob Hartmann
Writers & Artists
Book & Lyrics, River's End
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 & Lyrics, A Little Princess
Violet, Playwrights Horizons 1997, Kleban, Lortel, & NY Drama Critics Circle Awards; Broadway 2014, Tony Nominee, London & Japan 2019.
A Little Princess, Theatreworks 2000, Royal Festival Hall concert, 2017.
Upcoming: Narcolepsy with Heather Christian. Yale BA; ACT MFA
Book & Lyrics, I Love You Because
Ryan Cunningham is a Jonathan Larson Award-winning lyricist and bookwriter, and a Drama Desk and MAC Award nominee. His Off-Broadway musical, written with composer Joshua Salzman, I Love You Because, was in the NAMT Festival of New Musicals and went on to be produced all over the world in five languages. His next musical also with Salzman, Next Thing You Know, has been produced at CAP 21 in New York, across America and in Europe. He also wrote the book and lyrics to The Legend of New York (O’Neill Conference finalist) and Michael Collins (ASCAP Musical Workshop winner) both currently in development with Salzman. Ryan is a graduate of the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. He teaches musical theatre writing at Northwestern University where is also the Associate Artistic Director of the American Music Theatre Project.
Book & Music, Meet John Doe
Andrew Gerle is a composer/lyricist, librettist, pianist and author. His works for the theater include the musicals MEET JOHN DOE (Jonathan Larson Award, cast album on Broadway Records), GLORYANA (Kleban Award, Richard Rodgers Award), THE TUTOR (three Rodgers Awards) and LA TEMPESTA (with Fantasticks lyricist Tom Jones, Tokyo premiere 2019). He has performed as piano soloist with the National Symphony, the Yale Symphony Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and on programs for National Public Radio and Television. He is also the author of “The Enraged Accompanist’s Guide to the Perfect Audition” and “Music Essentials for Singers and Actors” (Hal Leonard/Applause Books), and is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. This spring, he produced and engineered the benefit album ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE, featuring all new songs and performances from Tony and Grammy Award-winning writers and actors about our temporarily constrained lives.
Jenny Giering’s current musical commissions include Summerland (book by Sean Barry & Laura Eason, lyrics by Sean Barry, directed by Amanda Dehnert) for Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and Alice Bliss (book by Laura Harrington, lyrics by Adam Gwon, directed by Mark Brokaw) for Playwrights Horizons. Her other scores include The Mistress Cycle (produced at Apple Tree Theater, New York Musical Theater Festival); Crossing Brooklyn (commissioned and produced by The Boston Music Theater Project, also produced by The Transport Group; Kleban Award for best libretto); Alice Unwrapped (commissioned by Premieres, Inc. and produced at the Zipper Theater with Jennifer Damiano); Saint-Ex (2011 World Premiere at The Weston Playhouse Theater Company, Weston VT, Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, ASCAP/Dreamworks Musical Theater Workshop, Sundance’s White Oak Workshop). Her incidental scores include The Tempest (Shakespeare Theater, directed by Ethan McSweeney), As You Like It (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, directed by Gary Griffin). More info at: www.jennygiering.com
Book & Lyrics & Music, Ace
Richard Oberacker is the conductor of CIRQUE’S “KA”. Prior conducting: CIRQUE’S “DRALION”, THE LION KING, CATS. Original musicals as composer and co-lyricist & author: A LITTLE THEATER (Aurelia Theater), IN THAT VALLEY (NAMT Festival), DRACULA (CCM Corbett Theater), THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO FISHMAN (Signature Theatre), ACE, (NAMT Festival, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse, Old Globe, Signature Theatre), JOURNEY TO THE WEST (NYMF Festival), THE PARENTING PROJECT (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati), and THE SANDMAN (NAMT Festival, Fredericia Theatre in Denmark). Their TONY Award winning musical BANDSTAND opened at The Paper Mill Playhouse and premiered on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, was filmed for release in cinemas nationwide, and launched a National Tour. Mr. Oberacker composed the score for a new musical adaptation of THE GREAT GATSBY which premiered in Tokyo, Japan before a Japanese national tour. Upcoming, BRUCE (Seattle Repertory Theatre and Paper Mill Playhouse).
Music, I Love You Because
Joshua Salzman is a Jonathan Larson Award-winning composer and MAC Award nominated songwriter. His Off-Broadway musical written with bookwriter/lyricist Ryan Cunningham, I Love You Because has been produced all over the world. Also written with Cunningham, his musical Next Thing You Know has been produced at CAP 21 in New York, and across America and in Europe. Along with Ryan, Joshua is currently at work on the new musical Michael Collins—winner of the 2017 ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop. Joshua is a graduate of the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.
Book & Lyrics, Meet John Doe
Eddie has written lyrics or book and lyrics for musicals including Meet John Doe (with Andrew Gerle), The Nutcracker Sings (with Jihwan Kim), and Cinderella, After the Ball (with Jihwan Kim).
He is the Executive Director of The Theatre of Western Springs, a community theatre just outside of Chicago. He has worked in arts management at several Chicagoland theatres including the 16th Street Theatre in Berwyn and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.
Eddie is a proud alumni of The University of Michigan Musical Theatre program. Also, he had the coolest job on Broadway when he was a stuntman in the original production of the musical Ragtime.
Eddie lives in Western Springs, Illinois with his amazing wife, Kara, and their very cool kids, Sam and Lucy.
Book & Director & Lyrics & Music, The Funkentine Rapture
Lee Summers has directed productions regionally and in numerous New York venues, most recently On Kentucky Avenue at CUNY’s Aaron Davis Hall (2018). As a writer/composer, his works include Ella, First Lady of Song, conceived and directed by Maurice Hines starring Freda Payne (Delaware Theatre 2018); The Bayard Rustin Musical, songs recently premiered at Lincoln Center; conceiver/co-librettist/co-composer-lyricist/lead producer of Off-Broadway’s From My Hometown (8 AUDELCO Nominations); co-librettist/lyricist/composer, The Funkentine Rapture, for NAMT starring Billy Porter; lyricist/librettist for Pangaea, 2017 Bingham Theatre Competition winner/ Marymount production, 2018. His Broadway debut was in the Original Dreamgirls, reprising for the 20th Anniversary performance/recording with Audra McDonald and others. TV and film roles include ”Blue Bloods,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Malcolm X.” Summers, former adjunct professor for Motlow College, presently works at NRDC. He is an alum of Tennessee State University, BA from SUNY/ESC and MFA from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.
Book & Lyrics, Ace
Mr. TAYLOR is the co-lyricist/librettist with Richard Oberacker of several new musicals, including ACE, (NAMT Festival, St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Old Globe, Signature Theatre), JOURNEY TO THE WEST (NYMF), THE PARENTING PROJECT (Cincinnati Fringe, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati), THE SANDMAN (NAMT Festival, Fredericia Theatre), and their TONY Award winning musical BANDSTAND, which premiered on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, was filmed for Fathom Events nationwide release, and launched a National Tour. Their newest musical, BRUCE will premiere in co-production with Seattle Rep and Paper Mill Playhouse in the ’21/’22 season. A principal player with New York Chamber Soloists and the Mozart Orchestra of New York, Mr. Taylor is a member of the Dramatist’s Guild, and leads Birding & Nature Tours around the world for the Audubon Society.