28th Annual Festival of New Musicals
October 27 - 28, 2016
The 28th Annual Festival of New Musicals was presented at New World Stages in New York City on October 27 & 28, 2016.Festival Program
Over the course of two days, 45 minute cuts of eight new musicals were presented to over 600 industry professionals. Selected from a blind review process of over 190 submissions, this year’s Festival celebrated what’s next in musical theatre and the incredible stories and artists that are leading the way.
This year’s Festival attendees saw:
- Perspectives from inside political and social revolutions, spanning decades and continents
- Reimagining history with new musical styles, weaving rock-and-roll into the plagued dark ages and contemporary pop into pre-WWII Europe
- Intimate coming-of-age stories and large adaptations of heartfelt classics
Benny & Joon
Jack Cummings III
Hannah Elless, Colin Hanlon, Andrew Kober, Mamie Parris, Zak Resnick, Andrew Samonsky, Tally Sessions and Natalie Toro
Ideal Cast Size: 8-12
Ideal Band Size: 8-12
Style: Romantic Comedy
Genre & Style:
Benny has taken care of his sister Joon since their parents died over a decade ago. Now in his early 30s and Joon in her early 20s â€“ not much has changed. A mechanic with his own garage, Benny feels he is a master at managing the life theyâ€™ve ended up with, including Joonâ€™s psychological troubles. But when they take in a strange young man named Sam, everything changes. This musical based on the MGM movie explores the challenge of navigating life and love in an imperfect world.
Joe Schmoe Saves The World
Krystal Joy Brown, Adante Carter, James Crichton, Ana Marcu, Samantha Massell, Nawaf Nooruddin, Jonah Platt and Nasia Thomas
Ideal Cast Size: 8
Ideal Band Size: 8
Style: DanceRock Drama
Genre & Style:
Set amidst the 2011 Arab Spring, Joe Schmoe Saves the World tells the parallel stories of an indie rock duo in America and a pair of Iranian students in Tehran. Raging against conformity, fear, and the status quo, two young women risk everything to change the world through their art.
Annastasia Victory Kuporosova
Eden Espinosa, Jennie Harney, Adam Hyndman, Michael McCorry Rose, Jessica Molaskey, Steven Rattazzi, Zak Resnick, Lindsay Roberts, Rhyn Saver and Gabrielle Stravelli
Ideal Cast Size: 12-16
Ideal Band Size: 5-8
Style: Pop/Rock Musical Experience
Genre & Style:
Pop/Rock Musical Experience
Set in Paris against the backdrop of the rising fascist tide, Lempicka follows the artist Tamara de Lempicka as she flees the Russian Revolution, transforming herself from penniless refugee to rising star of the art world. But when she falls into a forbidden love affairâ€” with her muse, Rafaelaâ€” will she lose it all, again?
The Loneliest Girl In The World
Robert Ariza, Sam Heldt, Eric William Morris, Brynn O'Malley, Dana Steingold and Pearl Sun
Ideal Cast Size: 6 (3M, 3F)
Ideal Band Size: 4 (Piano, trumpet, electric bass, drums)
Style: Whimsical Comitragedy
Genre & Style:
The Loneliest Girl in the World charts the rise and fall of beauty queen-turned-pop star-turned-spokeswoman-turned-cultural crusader Anita Bryant and her biggest fan, Tommy, who seals her fate, and the fate of the gay rights movement, with a single banana creme pie.
When We're Gone (fka Mortality Play)
Alex Boniello, Joshua Boone, Gerard Canonico, Nicholas Christopher, Kathryn Gallagher and Charlie Pollock
Ideal Cast Size: 6
Ideal Band Size: 4-6
Style: Rock Drama
Genre & Style:
Mortality Play is a new musical about a 16-year-old in 1349 trying to be a rock star in plague-ridden London. This modern take on a medieval morality play follows a young manâ€™s struggle to decide between what he wants to do and what he believes the world needs of him.
Marcia Milgrom Dodge
Peter Bartlett, Brandon Contreras, Judy Gold, Jeff Kready, Chris McCarrell, Nora Schell, Aneesh Sheth, Ali Stroker, Kay Trinidad and Teal Wicks
Ideal Cast Size: 17-21
Ideal Band Size: 5
Style: Contemporary Musical Comedy
Genre & Style:
Contemporary musical comedy
When impoverished launderette owner Robbie becomes romantically involved with engaged Mayoral candidate James Prince, his step-sisters become the least of his problems! James and Robbieâ€™s worlds collide forcing them to fight for their own fairy-tale ending in this hilarious, satirical twist on the classic Cinderella story.
Mad Ones, The (fka The Unauthorized Autobiography Of Samantha Brown)
Kevin Carolan, Corey Cott, Morgan Keene, Kecia Lewis and Ciara Renee
Ideal Cast Size: 5 (3W, 2M)
Ideal Band Size: 4 (Piano, Guitar, Violin, Harp)
Style: Chamber Musical Memory Play
Genre & Style:
Chamber Musical Memory Play
When her best friend dies, Samantha Brown is paralyzed with grief and loses touch with the part of herself that was learning how to take risks. Now, she must wade through the memories of her senior year in order to take the first risk of her adult life.
We Live In Cairo
Melis Aker, Ashkon Davaran, Layan El-Wazani, Pomme Koch, Ahmad Maksoud and Levin Valayil
Ideal Cast Size: 4 M, 2 W
Ideal Band Size: 4
Style: Musical Drama
Genre & Style:
In 2011, a group of students met in a small flat in Cairo. This was the beginning of Egyptâ€™s greatest revolution. Armed with laptops and cameras, guitars and spray cans, these urban youth inspired millions of Egyptians to take to the streets and overthrow their president, Hosni Mubarak. We Live in Cairo tells of six revolutionaries coming of age in the todayâ€™s Middle Eastâ€”facing their past, still searching for freedom.
As of 10/10/16
THE FAMILY RESEMBLANCE by Masi Asare
HOW I PAID FOR COLLEGE by Marc Acito
WHAT I LEARNED FROM PEOPLE by Will Aronson (The Trouble with Doug, Fest ’10) & Hue Park
THE WHITE CITY by Avi Amon & Julia Gytri
Hosted by Kate Wetherhead
Directed by Amy Corcoran
Michael Cooper & Hyeyoung Kim (Sunfish, Fest ’06)
Paulo K. Tiról & Kathleen Wrinn
Emma Lively & Tyler Beattie
Michael R. Jackson
Writers & Artists
Scotty Arnold is a musical theater writer and founding member of the Musical Theatre Factory. He has collaborated on the full-length musicals WHEN WE’RE GONE (fka MORTALITY PLAY; words by Alana Jacoby; NAMT Festival ’16, World Premiere at Lyric Theater of Oklahoma, ’18), TRIVØYA GOLD (words by Alana Jacoby; developed at MTF, Wayne State University), EXTENDED STAY (book and co-lyrics by Jenny Stafford; developed at Winter Park Playhouse, MTF, CAP21), and THAT TIME WE FOUND A SASQUATCH IN THE WOODS (book by Nichole Jackson, lyrics by Brandon Michael Lowden; developed at MTF, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse). His play with music OSCAR & RICHARD & JOE received a sold-out concert reading at the Ravinia Festival, IL. He spent three seasons as the Resident Composer for the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP. scottyarnold.com
Book, Soho Cinders
Elliot Davis: Loserville (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Garrick, West End). Olivier Nominated for Best New Musical. Peter Pan (revised book), OUT THERE (Riverside Studios), Best Friends & Butterflies, (book & Music) TicketMaster Composer Award / Best New Musical Vivian Ellis Award. Current: What I Go To School For – The Busted Musical. In development: Rehab, Becoming Nancy. Radio: In another career strand Elliot is a prolific music documentary maker for the BBC. Film: Elliot’s first feature film screenplay commissioned by the BBC films in 2017 starring Geoffrey Rush. He is the inaugural recipient of the JJ Screenwriting Bursary in association with BAFTA.
Lyrics, Benny & Joon
Mindi Dickstein is a lyricist, librettist, and playwright. Lyrics: Little Women (Broadway, MTI, Sh-k-boom), Faerie Tale (Rhinebeck), Snow In August (American Harmony Prize). Book and lyrics: Trip (Playwrights Horizons Steinberg Commission), Beasts and Saints (ASCAP Workshop), Notes Across A Small Pond (Bridewell Theater, London), By The Numbers (Prospect Theater). Book: Toy Story – The Musical (Disney). In concert: Lincoln Center’s “Hear and Now: Contemporary Lyricists” and 54 Below. Her monologue, Starving To Death In Midtown, was performed internationally in support of Climate Change awareness in 2015. Honors include a Larson Award and a Second Stage Klinsky Award. MFA and faculty: NYU Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program. Member of ASCAP and The Dramatists Guild.
Book & Lyrics, Soho Cinders
With composer George Stiles: Cameron Mackintosh/Disney’s stage production of MARY POPPINS; HONK! (Olivier Award for Best New Musical, NAMT Festival 1999); HALF A SIXPENCE; THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS; TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT; SOHO CINDERS (NAMT Festival 2016); BETTY BLUE EYES; PETER PAN – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE; JUST SO and their trilogy THE THREE LITTLE PIGS (NAMT Festival 2013), GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS and THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF.
In development: SOAPDISH; BECOMING NANCY
With composer Tony Hatch: THE CARD.
With composer Dick Lee: A TWIST OF FATE
Music, Benny & Joon
Nolan Gasser is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist – most notably, the architect of Pandora Radio’s Music Genome Project and the company’s chief musicologist from its founding in 1999. He holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Stanford University. His original compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center, among others. Theatrical projects include the musical Benny & Joon (NAMT alum)—which next opens at the Paper Mill Playhouse on April 5, 2019 on its hopeful way to Broadway; an opera, The Secret Garden, commissioned by San Francisco Opera (2013); among others. Nolan’s book, Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste, will be released on April 30, 2019 (Macmillan Press). Beyond Pandora, Nolan has helped create two companies: Mission Measurement and Emetry, Inc. Nolan’s TEDx talk, “Empowering Your Musical Taste” is available on YouTube.
Matt Gould is a recipient of the Richard Rodgers Award (2012 and 2014), The Jonathan Larson Award, and ASCAP’s Dean Kay and Harold Adamson Awards. His musical Invisible Thread (fka Witness Uganda) had its NY premier at 2econd Stage Theater and its world premiere at ART. His upcoming original works include The Family Project for LA’s Center Theatre Group, and Baby Girl with Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel. Matt has performed his work around the world in Uganda, Mauritania, Japan, and across the US. A graduate of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, Matt is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer at schools and universities. @FakeMattGould
Book, Benny & Joon
Kirsten Guenther began her writing career in Paris, where she penned the popular weekly column, “The Sexy Expat” about an American navigating/dating the French. Book and lyrics: Little Miss Fix-it (seen on NBC). Book: Measure of Success (Rockefeller Grant), Mrs. Sharp (Richard Rodgers Award); The Cable Car Nymphomaniac (Bay Area Theatre Award Nominee) and Out of My Head (Steelespring Stage Rights). She has written sketches for celebrities including James Franco, Jared Leto, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kathie Lee & Hoda, Steve Buscemi, Deion Sanders and Queen Latifah. Kirsten was a Dramatist Guild Fellow and a Disney/ASCAP participant. MFA: NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
Book & Lyrics, When We're Gone (fka Mortality Play)
Alana Jacoby is a musical theater lyricist and bookwriter, playwright, lighting designer, stagehand, and teacher. She has written two full-length musicals with composer Scotty Arnold: When We’re Gone (FKA Mortality Play; NAMT Festival 2016; World Premiere at the Lyric Theater of Oklahoma, 2018) and Trivøya Gold (developed at the Musical Theatre Factory, Buck’s Rock Camp, and Wayne State University). Her work has been performed at Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, the Barrington Stage Company, and the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. A alumna of Brown University and NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, she runs the Lighting and Sound Design program at Buck’s Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp, and is an early childhood chess tutor with Chess at 3. She is a proud member of the Musical Theater Factory and the Dramatists Guild.
Book & Lyrics & Music, Mad Ones, The (fka The Unauthorized Autobiography Of Samantha Brown)
Kait Kerrigan (she/her) is an award-winning lyricist, bookwriter, and playwright. Off-Broadway: THE MAD ONES (fka THE UNAUTHORIZED AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SAMANTHA BROWN), HENRY & MUDGE, with composer Brian Lowdermilk. She has written book and lyrics for the immersive house party THE BAD YEARS, REPUBLIC, UNBOUND, IRENA; and lyrics for ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER & FRIENDS, and EARTHRISE. Her plays include FATHER/DAUGHTER, DISASTER RELIEF, IMAGINARY LOVE, and TRANSIT. Her work has been developed by La Jolla, Kennedy Center, Theatreworks/Silicon Valley, Primary Stages, Goodspeed, and others. Awards: Kleban, Larson, Theatre Hall of Fame Most Promising Lyricist. Alumna of Dramatists Guild Fellowship, Page 73’s I-73, BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop, and Barnard College.
Book & Lyrics, Lempicka
Carson Kreitzer is the recipient of a 2016 Jonathan Larson Grant for Lempicka. Current projects include Capital Crime!, a play with songs set in Gilded Age New York. She has received support from NYSCA, the NEA, TCG, and the Mellon and Toulmin foundations, as well as two Jerome and three McKnight Fellowships at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. She is an alumna of New Dramatists, an affiliated artist with New Georges and Clubbed Thumb, and was the first Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellow at the Lark. Her collection, SELF DEFENSE and other plays, is available from No Passport Press.
Book & Music, We Live In Cairo
Daniel Lazour has collaborated on four musicals with his brother Patrick, supplying the music and co-authoring the libretto. The two’s most recent musical We Live in Cairo, centering on the youth in Egypt’s 2011 revolution, was selected for the 2015 O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference and received the 2016 Richard Rodgers Award. Daniel’s other works include an opera scene (Bach and the Boy), a song cycle (Expat), and a string quartet (Chacarera), which all premiered at Columbia University. Daniel has spent time at SPACE on Ryder Farm and Rhinebeck Writers’ Retreat writing and composing on piano and guitar. He studied music composition at Columbia University. He is a 2015-16 Dramatists Guild Fellow.
Book & Lyrics, We Live In Cairo
Patrick Lazour is a writer, lyricist and playwright. With his brother Daniel, he has written and produced four musicals including The Grand Room, which was developed and performed at the Robsham Theater Arts Center at Boston College in 2013. We Live in Cairo, about the youth movement during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution was developed at the O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference and most recently received the Richard Rodgers Award. Patrick has developed work with his brother at Rhinebeck Writers’ Retreat and SPACE on Ryder Farm and is a 2015-16 Dramatists Guild Fellow. He holds a B.A. in political science and theater from Boston College. He lives in New York City.
Book & Lyrics, The Loneliest Girl In The World
Gordon Leary has written the book and lyrics for THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD (2018 Diversionary Theatre premiere, 2016 NAMT Festival, 2015 Polyphone Festival, 2014 Ars Nova OutLoud Series), REB+VoDKa+ME (2017 Tisch New Musical Workshop, 2017 Yale Institute, 2016 Civilians’ FINDINGS Series), THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (2021 Flint Rep premiere, 2019 Urban Stages, 2019 Flint Rep New Works Festival, 2016 Fresh Ground Pepper Festival), PREGNANCY PACT (2012 Weston Playhouse premiere, 2011 NAMT Festival, 2011 Yale Institute, 2011 Weston New Musical Award), CHEER WARS (2015 York Theatre Company, 2009 Richard Rodgers Award), and ACROSS THE RIVER (2013 Seoul Musical Festival, 2009 Daegu International Musical Festival.) Gordon has developed work with the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program, Ars Nova Uncharted, The Civilians’ R&D Group, Fresh Ground Pepper, Musical Theatre Factory, and Page 73’s Interstate 73. MFA, NYU/Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. www.omfgordon.com
Book & Lyrics & Music, Mad Ones, The (fka The Unauthorized Autobiography Of Samantha Brown)
Bree Lowdermilk (they/them or she/her) is a queer, gender non-conforming writer and composer. Their musicals include The Bad Years, Henry & Mudge, The Mad Ones (fka The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown), Republic, Rosie Revere Engineer & Friends and the albums Our First Mistake and Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Live. Awards: Jonathan Larson, Alan Menken, Richard Rodgers, Dramatists Guild Fellowship.
Julia is composer for musical theatre (and the occasional film and computer game score.) Her musicals include PREGNANCY PACT, REB+VoDKa+ME, and THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD. She and her collaborator Gordon Leary write aggressively empathetic shows that help them understand completely foreign points of view, like Anita Bryant’s anti-gay-rights crusade, online fan communities around high school shooters, and teenage girls who decide to get pregnant together. Julia’s work has been produced at the Weston Playhouse and Diversionary Theatre, and developed through groups like Page 73, Ars Nova, the Civilians, 92Y, and exciting acronyms like MTF, NAMT, NYMF, and YIMT. She is a Larson, Rodgers, and Billie Burke award finalist, and her work has received grants from the Anna Sosenko trust, Opera America, the Dramatists Guild Foundation and the NEA. Julia holds a BA in Music from Yale and an MFA from NYU’s GMTWP. www.juliameinwald.com.
Book & Lyrics & Music, Joe Schmoe Saves The World
BRETT RYBACK is an actor, composer/lyricist, and writer. He is the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation’s Cole Porter Award. His works include: Passing Through (Goodspeed); Nate the Great (Licensed by TRW); Joe Schmoe Saves the World (NAMT, ASCAP/Dreamworks Workshop); The Tavern Keeper’s Daughter (“Best Musical,” Pasadena Weekly); and Liberty Inn (LA Ovation Award nomination, Best Music/Lyrics). His award-winning plays Weïrd and A Roz By Any Other Name are both published in “The Best American Short Plays 2007-2008.” As an actor he originated the role of Marcus Off-Broadway in Murder for Two, and has performed at numerous regional theatres including Cincinnati Playhouse, Theatreworks Silicon Valley, South Coast Rep, The Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, and Geffen Playhouse. Brett is currently developing a narrative musical podcast called In Strange Woods with production company Atypical Artists. He created the online accompanist site PlayThisForMe.com, and teaches musical theatre at USC.
Music, Soho Cinders
With lyricist Anthony Drewe: Cameron Mackintosh/Disney’s stage production of MARY POPPINS; HONK! (Olivier Award for Best New Musical, NAMT Festival 1999); HALF A SIXPENCE; THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS; TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT; SOHO CINDERS (NAMT Festival 2016); BETTY BLUE EYES; PETER PAN – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE; JUST SO and their trilogy THE THREE LITTLE PIGS (NAMT Festival 2013), GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS and THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF.
In development: SOAPDISH; BECOMING NANCY.
With lyricist Paul Leigh: MOLL FLANDERS, THE THREE MUSKETEERS (NAMT Festival 1999), and TOM JONES.
For our 28th Annual Festival of New Musicals, NAMT received 193 submissions from around the world. The submitted shows were at all the different stages of development, from shows that have never had more than a table reading to ones that have had multiple regional productions. Our process to filter the field of 193 down to the eight you will see at the Festival started in early January and was completed in mid-June. The evaluation process is carefully crafted and executed to ensure that we are able to present an exciting and varied, top-notch Festival each year.
NAMT assembles a 15-person committee composed of NAMT Members and co-chaired by two members from across the world to represent the membership and the industry in the selection of the Festival. Each member sits on the committee for 2-3 years. The Festival selection process is overseen by the Festival Producing Director, who moderates the two committee meetings; neither she nor other NAMT staff members, however, express opinions or vote on which shows are selected for the Festival. All committee members are required to sign a Code of Integrity that outlines expected conduct as well as our need for confidentiality and transparency throughout the process.
Our evaluation process is blind, meaning the materials sent to the committee for review do not contain the writers’ names, agent names or development history of the project. The committee members do not know if a show is written by someone still in high school or by a winner of multiple Tony® awards; they know only the work that is on the page and on the demo cd. This blind process is key to the integrity of the Festival selection process, and we rigorously maintain the blind nature of the evaluation process at every step along the way.
Our evaluation process has three phases:
Round 1 (January-March)
- A 20-page excerpt and demo is evaluated by three members of the Festival Screening subcommittee (a group of additional NAMT members brought on to help with the volume in this initial round)
- About one-third of the shows are selected to move on, based on the scores given to them by the evaluators
Round 2 (March-May):
- Each show sent on to this round is fully read and evaluated by four members of the Festival Committee
- The Committee has a full-day meeting to select the shows that are the strongest contenders for the Festival, based not only on the scores on their evaluations, but also on the excitement and passion for each piece expressed by committee members at this in-person meeting.
- Around 20 shows are selected to become semi-finalists for the Festival.
Round 3 (May-June):
- The chair emeritus (the prior year’s senior chair) of the committee returns for this round to add a fresh pair of eyes and ears.
- Writers are permitted to submit revisions of the script or demo for this final review.
- All semi-finalist shows are read and evaluated by the entire committee.
The Committee has a full-day meeting to select the eight shows that will make the best Festival, including shows at all stages of development and of all shapes, sizes, styles and topics.
We continuously refine our selection process to ensure that we are always sharply focused on selecting great musicals that showcase the variety of voices writing today. Through the Festival, we look forward to welcoming more wonderful new musicals into the greater musical theatre canon. We know that you will be inspired and moved by this year’s selections, and we are excited to share with you what is next in new musicals.