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Overview

October 23 - 24

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

NAMT’s Festival is the premiere industry event, which brings together theatre industry leaders to discover eight new musicals in 45-minute presentations.  The Festival is only open to theatre industry professionals and major donors to NAMT.

The 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals was held in New York City on Thursday, October 23 and Friday, October 24, 2014 for a select audience of NAMT members, producers and other musical theatre industry professionals.

NAMT’s Festival is the premiere industry event, which brings together theatre industry leaders to discover eight new musicals in 45-minute presentations.

“On behalf of the Festival Committee, we are honored to present such an exciting mix of shows at our 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals and to advance the field through the introduction of these pieces to the Industry. From over 230 submissions, we carefully selected this year’s eight shows in celebration of the richness and diversity of the modern American musical. We know that they will join the musical theatre canon, already greatly enriched by the Festival and NAMT over the last quarter century.”

-Kelley Kirkpatrick
Festival Committee Co-Chair

The Festival is only open to theatre industry professionals and major donors to NAMT. We define an industry member as anyone currently working professionally in the theatre who can aid in the development of the shows or writers we present.

NAMT was honored to return to New World Stages for our 11th consecutive year!

Musicals

Beautiful Poison

Director
David Armstrong

Music Director
Ian Eisendrath

Cast
Terrence Archie, Natalie Venetia Belcon, Sarah Rose Davis, Michelle Duffy, Allen Fitzpatrick, Laura Griffith, Michael Lanning, Corey Mach, Jesse Nager, Brandon O'Neill and Chelsea Packard

Ideal Cast Size: 13 actors
Ideal Band Size: 13 instruments
Style: Contemporary Gothic Romance

Synopsis

In this steamy, New Orleans thriller, a singer/songwriter at a personal and professional crossroads meets a beautiful, mysterious woman held captive in a garden of unusual plants where dark secrets are buried and gothic obsession grows. Jazz funerals, Dixieland and voodoo rhythms mix in this contemporary adaptation of Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter.”

More about Beautiful Poison

Cubamor

Director
Kent Nicholson

Music Director
Jerome Korman

Cast
Sekou Alaje, Eugene Barry-Hill, Janet Dacal, Doreen Montalvo, Javier Muñoz, Adesola Osakalumi and Amirh Vann

Ideal Cast Size: 6 to 10 performers
Ideal Band Size: 4 to 7 instruments
Style: Romance

Synopsis

Cubamor is the contemporary story of two couples that fall in love across the American-Cuban political, historical and social divide. They are guided and challenged by the spiritual forces of the island, its incredibly diverse music and cultural heritage, and ultimately the power of love.

More about Cubamor

Great Wall

Director
Sarna Lapine

Music Director
Marco Paguia

Cast
Cindy Cheung, Carrie Cimma, Josh Dela Cruz, Danielle Herbert, Jared Joseph, Francis Jue, Jimmy Kieffer, Jaygee Macapugay, Hansel Tan and Moses Villarama

Ideal Cast Size: 10 to 16 actors
Ideal Band Size: 4 to 7 instruments
Style: Drama

Synopsis

Forced to reconcile family vs fantasy, American dreams collide when an aspiring musician reawakens his passions in the wake of his father’s sudden death.

More about Great Wall

How To Break

Director
Tamilla Woodard

Music Director
Jon Spurney

Cast
Kacie Sheik, Chris Sullivan, Vladimir Versailles, Madison Welterlen and Amber Williams

Ideal Cast and Band Size: 4 actors (one of whom plays guitar) and a beatboxer
Style: Comedy/Drama

Synopsis

Ignited by an electric collision of beats, breaking and lyrical flow, How to Break follows two teenage dancers battling their hospital caregivers – a pediatric hematologist, a folk singer and a nurse with a beatboxing problem – in search of a gut understanding of what it means to be “ill.”

More about How To Break

Mary Marie

Director
Daniella Topol

Music Director
Nathan Dame

Cast
Kevin Earley, Ruth Gottschall, Colin Hanlon, Mamie Parris and Emerson Steele

Cast Size: 5 actors
Ideal Band Size: 4 instruments (piano, violin, viola, cello)
Style: Family

Synopsis

It’s 1921, and despite the shocked whispers, Mary Marie is surprisingly philosophical about her parents’ divorce. In fact, she can’t wait to observe, first hand, their inevitable new romances. But after months of being shuttled between them, what she observes is that Mother is different. Could Father, who has always been as distant as the stars he studies, be changing too?

More about Mary Marie

The Noteworthy Life Of Howard Barnes

Director
Lonny Price

Music Director
Andy Einhorn

Cast
Andi Alhadeff, Courtney Balan, Jenni Barber, Todd Buonopane, Natalie Charle Ellis, Josh Grisetti, Mitch Jarvis, Lesli Margherita, Joel Perez and Sergi Robles

Ideal Cast Size: 12 actors
Ideal Band Size: 5-7 instruments
Style: Musical Comedy about Musical Comedy

Synopsis

Howard Barnes is a perfectly average, if emotionally repressed, man in his early thirties. That is, until the day that he wakes up to discover that his life has become a musical. Desperate to escape from the show, and get his normal life back, Howard teams up with Maggie, an aspiring actress who works in his office. Together, the two embark on a fantastical quest through the realm of musical theater. Along the way, Howard discovers that he must let go of the past and open himself up to the possibility of love. In doing so, he learns to embrace the music. Equal parts satire, romantic comedy, and love letter to the American musical, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes is intended for people who love musical theater, and their spouses who hate it.

More about The Noteworthy Life Of Howard Barnes

String

Director
Marc Bruni

Music Director
Matt Castle

Cast
Heidi Blickenstaff, Mallory Hawks, Orville Mendoza, Kenita Miller, Adam Overett, Geoff Packard, Margo Seibert, Q. Smith, Katie Thompson and Eugenio Vargas

Ideal Cast Size: 10 to 14 actors
Ideal Band Size: tbd
Style: Comedy/Drama

Synopsis

A workaholic Greek goddess gets tangled up with a security guard in the basement of the tallest building in the world. One mistake leads to another (a lost pair of scissors, a kiss, a stolen string) and soon Atropos is breaking her own rules to offer forever to an ordinary man. Can the fabric of the universe stand a flaw? An original musical about the three Fates in the modern city.

More about String

Stu For Silverton

Director
Andrew Russell

Music Director
Meg Zervoulis

Cast
Russell Arden Koplin, Annaleigh Ashford, Lewis Cleale, Celisse Henderson, Kevin Kern, Jeigh Madjus, Don Daryl Rivera, Mary Testa, Melanie Vaughan and Nick Wyman

Ideal Cast Size: 12 to 24 actors
Ideal Band Size: 4 to 14 musicians
Style: Traditional Musical Comedy (with a bit of edge)

Synopsis

Based on the true story of America’s first transgender mayor and the town that elected him, Stu for Silverton celebrates a new American folk hero from Silverton, Oregon. This heartwarming, all-American new musical blends Our Town and The Rocky Horror Show, testing the boundaries of tolerance as a small community adjusts to big changes.

More about Stu For Silverton

Songwriters Showcase

COSTS OF LIVING by Timothy Huang
ISLAND SONG by Samuel Carner and Derek Gregor
OCTOBER SKY by Michael Mahler and Aaron Thielen
STORYVILLE by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Julia Jordan and Lisa de Spain

Writers & Artists

Breedlove

Lyrics & Music, Stu For Silverton

Breedlove is one of the most distinctive singer-songwriters in New York’s downtown performance scene; he has toured several times with Semi Precious Weapons and his collaborators include Bootsy Collins, Lady Starlight, Darian Darling and Lady Gaga (for whom he is currently the opening act on the European leg of her ArtRave: The ArtPop Ball Tour). Having completed production on his first album with mega-producer Chew Fu (Gaga, Rihanna) an EP of their collaboration will be available soon on iTunes. Born and raised in San Francisco, he is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College.

Charles Vincent Burwell

Lyrics & Music, Cubamor

Organizations Vince has worked with include Lincoln Center Institute, Trenton Educational Dance Institute (TEDI), Urban Bush Women, Festival del Caribe Cuba, Ile Aiye Brazil and Jacob’s Pillow. With his collaborator James D. Sasser: the forthcoming BOTTLE SHOCK, based on the 2008 movie; and the new children’s musical Beautiful Game about soccer legend Pele. Currently an Uncharted Artist in residence at Ars Nova.Music for the Cairo Opera House Ballet Egypt, NDI for Artistic Director Jacques d’Amboise (Shanghai, China). Musician/teaching artist for NDI, associate musical director for the Trenton Educational Institute. Graduate of FAMU; MFA: NYU-Tisch GMTWP. On faculty at the Alvin Ailey Center for Dance.

Christopher Dimond

Book & Lyrics, The Noteworthy Life Of Howard Barnes

Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman received the 2013 Fred Ebb Award, a 2010 Jonathan Larson Grant and are the first recipients of the Lorenz Hart Award. Between them, they have received the Burton Lane Award, the Harold Adamson Award, the KC/ACTF Musical Theatre Award, a NYFA Fellowship, and numerous ASCAP Plus awards. Their musicals include Dani Girl(NAMT Fest ’12, licensed by Samuel French), Judge Jackie Justice (Pittsburgh CLO), Orphie & the Book of Heroes (The Kennedy Center), Golden Gate(Williamstown Theatre Festival), Homemade Fusion (London’s Ambassadors Theater, Edinburgh Fringe Festival) and Junior Claus (licensed by Dramatic Publishing).They are currently working on several new projects, including a commission from the Canadian Musical Theatre Project. Michael and Chris are members of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP, and are proud alumni of Carnegie Mellon University. They were Dramatists Guild Fellows, received a fellowship at the O’Neill National Music Theater Conference, and attended the Johnny Mercer Songwriting workshop. In addition, they are the founders of The ASCAP Musical Theatre Songwriting Workshop, a program dedicated to training young songwriters. Their debut album, OUT OF OUR HEADS, featuring an all-star lineup of Broadway performers, is now available on iTunes.

Peter Duchan

Book, Stu For Silverton

Peter Duchan wrote the book of the musical Dogfight, which premiered at Second Stage (director, Joe Mantello). Dogfight won the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and was nominated for five Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Off Broadway Musical and Book of a Musical, and two Drama League Awards, including Broadway or Off Broadway Musical. Dogfight received the 2011 Richard Rodgers Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Peter co-wrote the screenplays for Breaking Upwards (IFC Films) and the short Unlocked (official selection, Tribeca Film Festival). His play Lavender Scare was presented in Geva Theatre’s 2011 Plays-in-Progress series. Dramatists Guild Fellowship, 2011-2012. Graduate, Northwestern University.

Adam Gwon

Lyrics & Music, String

Musicals include Ordinary Days (NAMT Fest ’08, Roundabout, London’s West End, and more), Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory), The Boy Detective Fails(Signature Theatre) and Bernice Bobs Her Hair (NAMT Fest ’11).His songs have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and more, by such luminaries as Audra McDonald and Kelli O’Hara. Honors include the Kleban, Ebb, and Loewe Awards, Second Stage Theatre’s Rosen Award, ASCAP’s Harold Adamson Award, the MAC John Wallowitch Award, and commissions from Roundabout, Playwrights Horizons, SCR, Signature, and Broadway Across America. Adam is proud to be making his third appearance in the NAMT Festival.

Sarah Hammond

Book, String

Sarah just completed a seven-year playwriting residency at New Dramatists. Her play Green Girl was produced in SPF at the Public. Other works have been developed at BAPF, Williamstown, Geva, Trustus, South Coast Rep, the O’Neill, Broadway Across America, the Royal National Theatre, and beyond. Recipient of the Heidemann Award, the Loewe Prize and the Weston New Musicals Award. At NYU GMTWP, she wrote book and lyrics for Barefoot Persephone, a full-length musical; “Cloud & Goat,” a puppet musical; and the ten-minute musicals, “People Are Dancing” and “Jack + Jill,” which were both produced at Barrington Stage Company.

Rebecca Hart

Lyrics & Music, How To Break

Rebecca Hart once accidentally won a comedy competition in Dublin, Ireland, while appearing as musical guest. Born into a theatre family, she made her first stage appearance at nine months old and has been writing and performing music for only a slightly shorter time. She has been in and out of bands for a long time and has toured extensively on both coasts and in Ireland before putting roots down in NYC, where she is now a regular at the Rockwood Music Hall and other venues. She is an Associate Artist with The Civilians (as actor and composer) and sings lead with the Brooklyn-based Dirty Waltz Band in addition to her own shows. At the time of this writing she is en route to Louisville to make a new recording with KY-based cellist/songwriter Ben Sollee as collaborator/producer. She is an alum of Brown University’s Theatre Dept and the Maggie Flanigan Studio’s Two-Year program.

Composing and/or lyricizing credits include Aaron Jafferis’ “How To Break” (NAMT 2014 & Sprkbox Festival, Natl Theatre of Oslo, Norway 2014 – also performed); The Civilians “Let Me Ascertain You” (Joe’s Pub) & “Rimbaud in NY” (BAM – also performed); Target Margin’s “Uriel Acosta” (Chocolate Factory); “If Colorado Had an Ocean” (La Ma Ma); “STRUCK” (HERE & Ice Factory/New Ohio 2011 – also performed & co-wrote book); “Jazz Desert: the life & death of an american band” (Culture Project/45 Bleecker 2004 & Druid Theatre Galway IE 2005 – original solo show).

Songs, show schedule, and acting resume at www.rebeccahart.net

Aaron Jafferis

Book and Lyrics, How To Break

Stuck Elevator at ACT (SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, NEA, Creative Capital, NEFA National Theatre Project, Edgerton New American Play Award);Kingdom at The Old Globe (NAMT Fest ’07, Richard Rodgers Award, NYMF Most Promising New Musical); Shakespeare: The Remix (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Capital Rep, Zach Scott). Musicals developed by the Public Theater, Sundance Theatre Lab, Atlantic Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and many others. A former Open Rap Slam champion at the National Poetry Slam Championships, Aaron teaches poetry at a children’s hospital in his hometown of New Haven. BA: UC Berkeley. MFA: NYU GMTWP.

Carl Johnson

Music, Mary Marie

Multi-Emmy Award-winning composer Carl Johnson lives and works in Southern California. A graduate of the University of Kansas and USC, he has worked in the film and television industry as a composer, orchestrator and conductor for over 20 years. His feature film credits include Piglet’s Big Movie, Hunchback of Notre Dame II and The Return of Jafar. Among his TV credits are Gargoyles, Animaniacsand Toonsylvania. As an orchestrator/arranger he has worked on Skyfall, The Amazing Spider-Man and Wall*E. His other musical theater works include At Home in Mitford, A Tinseltown Christmas and Bagels!

Michael Kooman

Music, The Noteworthy Life Of Howard Barnes

Michael Kooman (music) and Christopher Dimond (book & lyrics) received the 2013 Fred Ebb Award, a 2010 Jonathan Larson Grant and are the first recipients of the Lorenz Hart Award. Between them, they have received the Burton Lane Award, the Harold Adamson Award, the KC/ACTF Musical Theatre Award, a NYFA Fellowship, and numerous ASCAP Plus awards. Their musicals include Dani Girl(NAMT Fest ’12, licensed by Samuel French), Judge Jackie Justice (Pittsburgh CLO), Orphie & the Book of Heroes (The Kennedy Center), Golden Gate(Williamstown Theatre Festival), Homemade Fusion (London’s Ambassadors Theater, Edinburgh Fringe Festival) and Junior Claus (licensed by Dramatic Publishing).They are currently working on several new projects, including a commission from the Canadian Musical Theatre Project. Michael and Chris are members of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP, and are proud alumni of Carnegie Mellon University. They were Dramatists Guild Fellows, received a fellowship at the O’Neill National Music Theater Conference, and attended the Johnny Mercer Songwriting workshop. In addition, they are the founders of The ASCAP Musical Theatre Songwriting Workshop, a program dedicated to training young songwriters. Their debut album, OUT OF OUR HEADS, featuring an all-star lineup of Broadway performers, is now available on iTunes.

Kevin Merritt

Book, Great Wall

As the owner of One Foot Productions, Kevin splits time producing live television, theatre, music and animation for shows and networks such as Tony Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, VH1, IFC, Presidential Inaugurations, HBO’s Def Poetry and many others. With his business partner Amanda Back, he is developing a new original music series for the Apollo Theatre. He directed season 2 of The CW cartoon “GoGoRiki” and was Associate Director of the tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella starring Eartha Kitt. He serves on the Board of the non-profit Music2Life. Finally as a musician himself he has performed on, arranged and produced numerous indie albums and “played for food” many times!

Brendan Milburn

Music, Beautiful Poison

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.

Duane Poole

Book, Beautiful Poison

A Christmas Memory (Larry Grossman, Carol Hall); Dorian (James Mellon, Scott DeTurk); Love Makes the World Go ‘Round (Bob Merrill); Scrooge in Love! (Larry Grossman, Kellen Blair); Pasadena Playhouse tributes to Sondheim, Schwartz, Jones & Schmidt; a dozen plays; over fifty television movies, series, and features, including the final two screen appearances of Kate Hepburn. His film, Shattered Image, was an official selection at the Venice, Montreal and Toronto Film Festivals. He has written for performers as varied as George Clooney, Cheyenne Jackson, Glenn Close, Anthony Quinn, Gwen Verdon, Jack Lemmon, Michael Feinstein, Fred Flintstone and Johnny Depp.

Yako 440 Prodis

Music, How To Break

YAKO 440 is a musician, beat maker, graffiti writer and graphic designer- a true school multi-media Hip Hop artist. His skill set includes human beatbox, turntables, bass, guitar, keys and drums. On 6 continents, this sonic arsenal has been put to use performing both as a duo with MC/beatboxer Baba Israel and with their 7-piece new rare groove band Soul Inscribed, sharing the stage with Afrika Bambaataa, Doug E. Fresh and KRS-1. In theater, Yako has toured and created original music for Baba’s shows Boombap Meditations and The Spinning Wheel Keeps Turning and is well traveled with the improvisational Hip Hop theater troupe Playback NYC. He is also a scholar and teaching artist with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College (USA) and experienced leading music and visual art workshops with all age groups since 2000 throughout the NYC area and cities all over the world.

James Sasser

Book and Lyrics, Cubamor

Performance: Broadway and off, touring & operatic stages worldwide. Involved in the development of dozens of new works on both sides of the table with outfits including TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Eugene O’Neill Center, Sundance Theatre Lab, The Vineyard, NYCO VOX, New Dramatists and many others. With his collaborator Vince Burwell: the forthcoming BOTTLE SHOCK, based on the 2008 movie, and the new children’s musical Beautiful Game about soccer legend Pele. Currently an Uncharted Artist in residency at Ars Nova.Other shows- Book: Alice Cooper Goes to Hell. Book & lyrics: First Flight:The Story of the Wright Brothers. Book/music/lyrics: Lost City. Buck Scholar, graduate of Manhattan School of Music, certificate from RADA, MFA: NYU-Tisch-GMTWP.

Kevin So

Lyrics & Music, Great Wall

Kevin So has earned the respect of Keb’ Mo’, Billy Bragg and playwright David Henry Hwang, and has built a loyal fan base around the world for the past 20 years. He has performed more recently at Carnegie Hall and The Ryman in Nashville. Kevin was also recipient of the 2007 NYC Fringe Festival Award (Best Music & Lyrics) for Great Wall. His songs have been recorded by India Arie (“Crush On You”), Keb’ Mo’ (“Talk”) and Shemekia Copeland (“Sounds Like The Devil”). He currently lives in Nashville with his dog Monk.

Valerie Vigoda

Lyrics, Beautiful Poison

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.

Chana Wise

Book & Lyrics, Mary Marie

Chana Wise (Bookwriter/Lyricist) has written book and lyrics for Mary Marie (NAMT Festival, 2014, Richard Rodgers Award finalist), Bagels! The Musical (2015 Neil Simon Festival finalist, 2016 JETfest finalist), Tinseltown Christmas (UC Irvine, 2012) and The Coffee Quintet – a short musical film (www.thecoffeequintet.com), all with music by Carl Johnson.  Chana also wrote lyrics for The Max Factor Factor, (music – Joe Blodgett, book – Adrian Bewley) produced by NMI at the NoHo Arts Center in August, 2014, Earthbound, (book by Adam Hahn, music by Jonathan Price) and The Island, (book and music by Jonathan Price), both produced by SkyPilot Theatre and premiering at T.U. Studios in Hollywood, June 2012 and July 2013, respectively.www.chanawise.com

Selection Process

Kelley Kirkpatrick (Center Theatre Group, CA) and Mara Isaacs (Octopus Theatricals, NJ), co-Chairs
Kevin Moriarty (Dallas Theater Center, TX), Chair Emeritus
Bob Alwine (Goodspeed Musicals, CT)
Carlos Armesto (Theatre C, NY)
Victoria Bussert
(Baldwin Wallace University, OH)
Amy Corcoran (Dallas Summer Musicals, TX),
Stephanie Cowan (Playing Pretend, NY)
Christine Denniston (Mercury Musical Development, UK)
Elise Dewsberry (New Musicals, Inc., CA)
Dana Harrel (formerly of La Jolla Playhouse, CA)
Robert Lee (NYU- Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, NY)
Søren Møller (Fredericia Theatre, Denmark)
Paige Price (Theatre Aspen, CO)
Greg Schaffert (Greg Schaffert Productions, NY)
John Simpkins (Sharon Playhouse, CT and NYU-Steinhardt, NY)