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October 19 - 20

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

Presenting Sponsor: Broadway Licensing

This year’s Festival featured shows selected from over 240 submissions from around the world, representing the breadth, depth and excitement of musical theatre today.

Festival Program


Darling Grenadine

Kristin Hanggi

Music Director
David Gardos

Melody Betts, Adam Chanler-Berat, Laura Dadap, Nikko Kimzin, Ben Mayne, Mike Nappi, Emily Walton and Kevin Zak

Ideal Cast Size: 11

Ideal Band Size: 8-10

Style: Romantic Seriocomedy

Genre & Style:



Darling Grenadine is a seriocomic musical about Harry, a fanciful jingle composer, and his precarious relationships with his girlfriend Louise, his brother Paul, and his Labrador Retriever (…also named Paul). Told with a rich contemporary score and a wink to the classic MGM musical, Darling Grenadine explores the friction between romance and reality, bitter and sweet, serving something magical, moving, and boldly new.

More about Darling Grenadine

Fall Springs

Stephen Brackett

Music Director
Emily Marshall

Jon-Viktor Corpuz, Trista Dollison, Alan H. Green, Janine LaManna, Lacretta, Alyse Alan Louis, Ken Marks, Will Roland and David Shih

Ideal Cast Size: 4 F, 5 M

Ideal Band Size: 5

Style: Comedy

Genre & Style:


Fall Springs is a semi-charming, cash-strapped town that sits directly on top of America’s largest reserve of cosmetic essential oils. It has big dreams, but at what cost? With new fracking techniques being recklessly implemented, the ground beneath Fall Springs is crumbling. Boulders, sheds, and the occasional bartender are being swallowed into the ground. And that’s only the beginning.

More about Fall Springs

GIRL Shakes Loose

May Adrales

Music Director
Brian Whitted

Felicia Boswell, Juwan Crawley, Danielle Lee Greaves, Esco Jouléy, Ciara Renee, Antoine L. Smith, Shelley Thomas and NaTasha Yvette Williams

Ideal Cast Size: 6F, 3M
Ideal Band Size: 6
Style: Drama

Genre & Style:


GIRL Shakes Loose is a three-city coming of age journey. GIRL finds herself in New York, unemployed, suddenly single and must figure out where she’s going and why she keeps making the same mistakes. It’s up to GIRL to figure out where home is and how (and if) she’ll get there.

More about GIRL Shakes Loose

The Ballad Of Klook And Vinette (fka Klook's Last Stand)

Jonathan McCrory

Music Director
Charles Duke

Bre Jackson and Kevyn Morrow

Ideal Cast Size: 1F, 1M

Ideal Band Size: 1-3

Style: Drama/Love Story

Genre & Style:

Drama/Love story


Klook is a drifter who’s gotten too old to drift. Vinette is on the run but she doesn’t know what’s chasing her.
Together they make a tentative stab at happiness, before the past they are evading begins to catch up with them. Tough, tender, funny and poignant, Klook’s Last Stand will grab you from the inside out. Soulful music and a lyrical text make this a mesmerising theatre experience.

More about The Ballad Of Klook And Vinette (fka Klook's Last Stand)

The Passage

Shelley Butler

Music Director
Mark Hartman

Farah Alvin, Cat Brindisi, Brian D. Coats, CJ Eldred, Daniel Marcus, John Rubinstein, Isabella Russo, Jennifer Sanchez and Ian Saraceni

Ideal Cast Size: 4F, 5M

Ideal Band Size: 5

Style: Drama

Genre & Style:


Albert, a sixth grader, has a monster living in his basement. When it captures his father, he enlists his brave new friend, Cassie, and together they embark on an epic journey to save his Dad and his family. The Passage is a coming-of-age story about two imaginative children confronting a reality stranger than anything they could imagine.

More about The Passage

Mythic (fka Persephone)

Andy Sandberg

Music Director
Ian Axness

Brennan James Caldwell, Emily Jenda, Andrew Kober, Eric William Morris, Samia Mounts, Larry Owens, Hannah Shankman, Jenna Ushkowitz, Akron Watson and Rachel de Benedet

Ideal Cast Size: 6M, 6F
Ideal Band Size: 3-4 (can be expanded to 8)
Style: Comedy

Genre & Style:


In Persephone, a myth is raised from the dead, the gods are celebrities hounded by the paparazzi, and their saga is set to a pop/rock score. Teenage Persephone longs for independence from her mother Demeter, but her wish gets distorted when she finds herself trapped in the Underworld by Greece’s perennial bad boy, Hades. What follows is an off-beat, emotionally-charged coming-of-age story for ancient and modern times.

More about Mythic (fka Persephone)

The Louder We Get (fka Prom Queen)

Matt Cowart and Lonny Price

Music Director
Cody Owen Stine

Major Attaway, English Bernhardt, Alphonse Gonzales, John Hillner, Taylor Iman Jones, Chilina Kennedy, Chris McCarrell, Iris Sharp, Ryan Vona and Max Wilcox

Ideal Cast Size: 18-27

Ideal Band Size: 8-14

Style: Coming-of-Age Comedy

Genre & Style:

Coming of Age Comedy


Prom Queen is inspired by the incredible, true story of Marc Hall, the Canadian teenager who took the Catholic School Board to court when they refused to let him attend prom with his boyfriend. In this fun and uplifting musical, Marc has to learn to be his own hero and fight for the right to be himself.

More about The Louder We Get (fka Prom Queen)

Sam's Room

Jaki Bradley

Music Director
Jason Pomerantz

Lincoln Clauss, Mallory Hawks and Laura Jordan

Ideal Cast Size: 1M, 2F

Ideal Band Size: 5

Style: Pop Concert Dramedy

Genre & Style:

Pop Concert Dramedy


This pop concert dramedy follows Sam, a teenager in 1998 with nonspeaking special needs, on his path to find a way to communicate. Shifting between cruel reality and pop star fantasy, Sam’s Room powerfully reveals the universal struggle with communication by giving a voice to someone who’s never had one.

More about Sam's Room

Songwriters Showcase

THE MOON AND THE SEA by Creighton Irons (Factory Girls, Fest ’09)
ONE GOOD DAY by Rona Siddiqui & Liz Suggs
THE RIVER IS ME by Sukari Jones & Troy Anthony
HERO by Michael Mahler (How Can You Run With A Shell On Your Back?, Fest ’09) & Aaron Thielen (The Bowery Boys, Fest ’10)

Hosted by Caesar Samayoa
Directed by Laura Brandel

Midday Cabarets

Benjamin Velez & Kathyrn Hathaway
Timothy Huang (Costs of Living, Fest ’15)
Bob Kelly & Sam Chanse
Anna K. Jacobs

Writers & Artists

Zakiyyah Alexander

Book & Lyrics, GIRL Shakes Loose

Zakiyyah Alexander‘s plays include: GIRL Shakes Loose (Penumbra Theatre 2017), Sick? (Summer Play Festival), The Etymology of Bird (Central Park Summerstage; Hip Hop Theater Festival; Providence Black Repertory Theatre), Blurring Shine (Market Theatre, Johannesburg; NY International Fringe Festival), Sweet Maladies (Brava Arts Center; Rucker Theatre; Bay Area Playwrights Festival), something new (commissioned by Philadelphia Theatre Company), and (900). A former resident of New Dramatists, her work has been developed at The O’Neill Musical Theater Conference, The MacDowell Colony, The Lark, etc. Past commissions: Second Stage, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, and the Children’s Theatre of Minneapolis. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama (MFA playwriting), Zakiyyah has taught television writing for Columbia’s MFA program, formerly an associate professor at Bard College. She is a co-founder of The Kilroys, and her work has been included on the 2015 Kilroys List. Currently, she is a story editor on the Fox show 24 Legacy.

Caitlin Bell

Lyrics & Music, Sam's Room

Caitlin Marie Bell studied opera at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she received her BM in vocal performance. She then moved to NYC and reconnected with her Americana roots in the Greenwich Village singer-songwriter circuit. There, she found her musical soulmates, forming Bell the Band. This summer, Caitlin travelled the country supporting fellow NYC group MisterWives. The tour supported her debut EP. The five song set gained early support from Spotify, and was featured on the cover of the New Roots playlist, contributing to the 300,000+ plays and 35,000 monthly listeners. Caitlin also plays keyboards and sings back-up vocals on tour with pop band Handsome Ghost.

Marc Campbell

Lyrics & Music, Sam's Room

Marc Campbell is a member of indie rock band MisterWives, dubbed by MTV as “the golden children of pop.” They currently have over 250 million streams and counting on Spotify and their first single was certified gold. The band recently played a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden playing with Brendon Uri (Panic! at the Disco). Marc has made numerous television performances, including Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden, Seth Meyers, MTV, Good Morning America and The Today Show. The band has also received prominent billing in major U.S. music festivals including Bonnaroo, Firefly, Lalapalooza, Outside Lands, Bottle Rock and more.

Trey Coates-Mitchell

Book, Sam's Room

Trey Coates-Mitchell – Directing credits: Sam’s Room at The Cell (New York Theatre Barn’s New Works Series).  Choreographer credits: The Pirates of Penzance and Hairspray at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre, Wonderful Town at The Gallery Players, Harold Pinter’s The Lover at Gamut Theatre, Goodnight Moon and Nine at Hollins University, and Product Test for Sideways Contemporary Dance Company. Associate Choreographer credits: A Little Night Music at The Gallery Players (NYIT Nominee for Outstanding Production of a Musical), RentDreamgirls and Evita.  As an Acting for Dancers guest artist: Joffrey Ballet School, Project HEAL, Broadway Boot Camp, Troy University, and NYCDA’s Summer Dance Intensive.

David Darrow

Book & Lyrics & Music, The Passage

David Darrow is a Brooklyn and Twin Cities-based actor, composer, and playwright. He has performed Off-Broadway and around the country at American Conservatory Theater, The Guthrie, Baltimore Center Stage, Theatre Latte Da, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Florida Repertory Theater, Project Y Theater (Innovative Theater Award: Best Featured Actor), and others. David has also written and co-written several musicals (The Passage, Jonah and the Whale, The Great Work, The Boy and Robin Hood) which have been produced or developed at The NAMT Festival, Apples and Oranges, Village Theater, Greater Boston Stage Company, Trademark Theater, and 7th House Theater. David has held artist residencies at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Everwood Farmstead and he is a graduate of Albright College.

Colleen Dauncey

Music, The Louder We Get (fka Prom Queen)

Colleen Dauncey is a composer/singer-songwriter who has collaborated with lyricist Akiva Romer-Segal on several musicals, including Going UnderBremen Rock CityRumspringa Break!, and Prom Queen: The Musical (recipient of the 2016 Stage West Pechet Family Musical Award). Colleen & Akiva are alumni of Theatre 20’s Composium, Acting Up Stage’s Noteworthy program, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project at Northwestern University, and the Canadian Music Theatre Project at Sheridan College. Their standalone songs have also been performed internationally in Cutting Edge Composers (NYC), Blame Canada (NYC, London, Canada), and more. Colleen writes and performs in several music groups, more at colleendauncey.com.

Oran Eldor

Music, Mythic (fka Persephone)

Oran Eldor: Composer: Persephone, Damascus Square, Sex Today, Love Tomorrow, Sesame Street (Israel), Peg + Cat (PBS). Orchestrations/arrangements: Fiddler on the Roof (Broadway revival, Dance Arrangements), Anastasia (Cast Album, additional orchestrations), John Legend, Andrea Bocelli, Kristin Chenoweth, Hugh Jackman, Deborah Voigt, Disney Parks, New York Philharmonic, L.A Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, The New York Pops, …Duddy Kravitz, The Great American Mousical, My Life is a Musical, Alan Menken. Education: BMI Workshop, Berklee College of Music.

Anoushka Lucas

Lyrics & Music, The Ballad Of Klook And Vinette (fka Klook's Last Stand)

Anoushka Lucas is a singer/songwriter and actress based in London. Since graduating from Oxford, she has released two self-produced EPs of her own jazz compositions. In 2013 she won the Jazz FM Love Supreme Competition and opened the inaugural Love Supreme Festival. She is currently completing an album due for release in 2017, supported by Jamie Cullum at Radio 2 and produced by Martin Terefe at Kensaltown Studios. She has co-composed the music for two original musicals written by Ché Walker, Klook’s Last Stand (Park Theatre, 2014) and The Etienne Sisters (Theatre Royal Stratford East, 2015), as well as playing in the band of Ché Walker and Arthur Darvill’s Lightning Child at The Globe in 2013.  In 2016 she played Mary Magdalene in the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Omar Lyefook

Music, The Ballad Of Klook And Vinette (fka Klook's Last Stand)

The godfather of the Neo-Soul movement- learned his craft classically growing up in London, playing trumpet, piano, bass guitar, and percussion. His album, There’s Nothing Like This, established Omar as a stand out artist with the title song hitting the charts, and so began a musical chain of events that has remained unabated. Soon after Omar signed to RCA notching up acres of critical acclaim. He worked alongside the legendary former Motown producers Leon Ware and Lamont Dozier creating his album, For Pleasure. His newest album Love in Beats is Omar’s eighth studio album. Omar made weekly appearances on BBC Television in Javon Prince’s comedy show and has toured the world. He has worked with and been admired by many artists including Erykah Badu, Estelle, and Stevie Wonder. After studying at the Identity Drama School in 2009, Omar made his acting debut in Ché Walker’s musical, Been So Long.

Peter Sinn Nachtrieb

Book & Lyrics, Fall Springs

Peter Sinn Nachtrieb 6’6”, is a San Francisco-based playwright whose works include boom, The Totalitarians, Hunter Gatherers, BOB, and A House Tour of the Infamous Porter Family Mansion with Tour Guide Weston Ludlow Londonderry.  His work has been produced worldwide including at Ars Nova, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Woolly Mammoth, Seattle Rep and many others.  His first collaboration with Niko was in 2010, on songs for Litter: The True Story of the Framingham Dodecutuplets, a commission for A.C.T.. He is a recent alumni of New Dramatists and is the Mellon Playwright-in-Residence at Z Space in San Francisco. He likes to promote himself online at http://www.peternachtrieb.com.

Akiva Romer-Segal

Lyrics, The Louder We Get (fka Prom Queen)

Akiva Romer-Segal and collaborator Colleen Dauncey have written the scores to Prom Queen, Bremen Rock City, Going Under, Scenes from the Bathhouse, Offline, and Rumspringa Break! as well as songs for cabaret performers, recording artists, and Broadway stars. Akiva was selected to participate in William Finn’s masterclass, Sheridan College’s Canadian Music Theatre Project, Theatre 20’s Composium, Acting Up Stage’s Noteworthy, The Cutting-Edge Composers series in NYC and the Johnny Mercer American Songwriters Project in Chicago. Akiva and his collaborators were recipients of the Playwright’s Guild of Canada’s New Musical Award for Prom Queen. Find out more at colleenandakiva.com.

Dale Sampson

Book & Lyrics & Music, Sam's Room

Dale Sampson is a Grand National Champion in public speaking. Dale is the creator and star of his first written work, Sam’s Room, the 2017 inaugural recipient of New York Theatre Barn’s IMPACT Award. National Tour: Seussical (Cat In the Hat), NYC productions: Rent (Mark), Evita (Che), Propaganda! The Musical (Rookie [lead]) at NYMF and workshop at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Kingdom Come (Freddy/Michael) winner: Best Musical at DUTF, Best Imitation at FestivALL, Emerging Artists, and Midtown International Theatre Festival, Regional: The View UpStairs regional premiere (Wes), The Last Five Years (Jamie), Cinderella with the American Pops Orchestra (Fairy Godmother/King/Step Sister).

Sonia Sanchez

Lyrics, GIRL Shakes Loose

Sonia Sanchez. Poet. Mother. Professor. National and international lecturer on Black Culture and Literature, Women’s Liberation, Peace and Racial Justice. Sponsor of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Board Member of MADRE. Sonia Sanchez is the author of over 16 books including Homecoming, We a BaddDDD People, Love Poems, I’ve Been a Woman, A Sound Investment and Other Stories, Homegirls and Handgrenades, Under a Soprano Sky, Wounded in the House of a Friend (Beacon Press, 1995), Does Your House Have Lions? (Beacon Press, 1997), Like the Singing Coming off the Drums (Beacon Press, 1998), Shake Loose My Skin (Beacon Press, 1999), and most recently, Morning Haiku (Beacon Press, 2010). She is the subject of the 2016 PBS featured documentary BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez.

Kent Lee Staines

Book, The Louder We Get (fka Prom Queen)

Kent Staines has been working in the Canadian entertainment industry for 25 years as an actor, director and writer. He wrote the libretto for Prom Queen (The Louder We Get) Lyrics: Akiva Romer Segal / Music: Colleen Dauncey which received its world premiere production at the Segal Centre in Montreal in November of 2016. It was since featured at NAMT in New York, presented at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Other Palace in Britain and has most recently enjoyed a second celebrated production at Theatre Calgary, which received six Broadway.com awards for the decade, including best script.
Kent’s screenwriting credits include Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story (Screen Door / CTV), MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives (CBC series co-created with Mary Young Leckie), Chateau Laurier (Seasons 1 and 2), co-written with Emily Weedon (Geneva Film Co/BravoFact) and the feature film Anxietyville (Xenophile Media).

Marcus Stevens

Book & Lyrics, Mythic (fka Persephone)

MARCUS STEVENS (Book & Lyrics) is a member of the BMI Musical Theater Workshop, ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. He has written the book and lyrics to MYTHIC (AKA PERSEPHONE, 2017 NAMT Festival Winner), RED (Richard Rodgers Award), EASTBURN AVENUE and YO, VIKINGS! (published by Samuel French, Inc). He recently contributed material to DRAGONS LOVE TACOS AND OTHER STORIES for Theaterworks USA. Marcus is also an actor who was seen Off-Broadway in two editions of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY.

Niko Tsakalakos

Lyrics & Music, Fall Springs

Musicals: Into the Wild (development: Encore Musical Theatre Company, Goodspeed, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Perseverance Theatre), Fall Springs (world premiere: Barrington Stage Company [BSC]; NAMT Festival of New Musicals; workshops: New Dramatists, Ars Nova, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley), Pool Boy (Pittsburgh CLO Spark Festival, Provincetown Playhouse, world premiere: BSC), Driving West (Ars Nova Uncharted Series). Concerts/cabarets (The Niko Songbook, and others) include: Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, Birdland, Ars Nova, Zipper Factor, BSC, Lincoln Center. Plays with songs: Litter (American Conservatory Theatre). Anthologies: Duck for President and Other Stories (TheatreWorks USA), Shakespeare in Mind (Dramatic Publishing), Songs by… (with William Finn). Awards: NAMT Writers Grant, Sundance Institute Composer Fellow, Jonathan Larson Grant and Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre Finalist, Ars Nova AntFest, ASCAP Plus Award, Vineyard Arts Project, Playwrights Center Writing Grant, Tisch MFA Scholarship, UCLA Barry Manilow Scholarship. Film score: Rock, Paper, Scissors (Alliance Films). Album: The First Snow.

Imani Uzuri

Lyrics & Music, GIRL Shakes Loose

Composer and vocalist Imani Uzuri was a 2015-2016 Park Avenue Armory Artist-in-Residence. She has performed at a myriad of international venues and festivals and has collaborated with a cross section of noted artists traversing many artistic disciplines. Her most recent album, The Gypsy Diaries, draws on her rural North Carolina roots. The Village Voice says, “Imani Uzuri is a constant surprise…seamlessly combining jazz, classical, country and blues motifs into highly personalized compositions.” Uzuri is a 2015-2017 Map Fund Grantee as composer for her contemporary opera Hush Arbor. She is currently composing a new full length musical Girl Shakes Loose with playwright Zakiyyah Alexander featuring the poetry of Sonia Sanchez. Uzuri is currently a 2016-17 Jerome Foundation Composer/Sound Artist Fellow. She recently made her Lincoln Center American Songbook debut and appeared as a featured performer on Black Girls Rock. Recent theater credits, Public Theater: composer for Public Works Troy and Mobile Unit’s Hamlet.

Ché Walker

Book & Lyrics, The Ballad Of Klook And Vinette (fka Klook's Last Stand)

Ché Walker’s writing includes Been So Long- featuring Sophie Okonedo (1998). In 2008. Ché made theatrical history with ‘Frontline’, the first contemporary-set new play performed at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. His musical adaptation of ‘Been So Long’ premiered at the Young Vic and has just been adapted into a feature film. ‘The 8th’ in collaboration with UK rockstar Paul heaton toured the country, starring HBO star Reg E Cathey. ‘The Lightning Child’ (2013) made history as the first musical at Shakespeare’s Globe. ‘Klook’s Last Stand’ premiered at Park Theatre in 2014 and ‘The Etienne Sisters’ played Theatre Royal Stratford East in 2015. The movie adaptation of ‘Been So Long’ is on Netflix. Ché currently has three screenplays in development.

Daniel Zaitchik

Book & Lyrics & Music, Darling Grenadine

Daniel Zaitchik is a composer-playwright, singer-songwriter, actor, and pianist.  His projects include Picnic at Hanging Rock (book/music/lyrics), Darling Grenadine (book/music/lyrics), Ula (book/music/lyrics) and Suprema (with playwright Jordan Harrison).  Zaitchik’s musicals have been selected three times for development at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Music Theater Conference.  His work has also been developed at Lincoln Center Theater, Ars Nova, New Dramatists, The Johnny Mercer Writers Colony, and Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals.  Darling Grenadine premiered at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre in August 2017.  As a singer-songwriter, Zaitchik’s recording projects include Summer of the Soda Fountain Girls and Bad Dancer.  As an actor, he has worked at Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Barrington Stage, Long Wharf Theatre and others.  Honors include the 2017 Kleban Prize for most promising musical theatre lyricist, the Ester B. Kahn Career Entry Award from Boston University, the Frederick Loewe Award from New Dramatists (for Suprema) and the Georgia Bogarduz Holof Lyricist Award (for Picnic at Hanging Rock).

This page was last updated on 12/11/2020. Some musical and writer information may be more recent.