30th Annual Festival of New Musicals
October 25 - 26, 2018
The 30th Annual Festival of New Musicals was presented at New World Stages in New York City on October 25 & 26, 2018.
Over the course of two days, 45 minute cuts of eight new musicals were presented to over 700 industry professionals. The Festival celebrates what’s next in musical theatre by creating a nurturing environment for discovery, development and advancement of the musical theatre art form.
Already registered? Check out our Guide to Navigating the Festival.
Michael Lee Brown, Lauren Nicole Chapman, Nehal Joshi, Kingsley Leggs, Caissie Levy, David Park, Will Roland, Will Swenson, Laurie Veldheer and Marissa Jaret Winokur
Ideal Cast Size: 20
Ideal Band Size: 5
Style: Family Comedy
Life doesn’t always work out the way we want, or expect it to. What would happen if you could turn back the clock to a younger version of yourself and start over? 17 Again—a new musical based on the hit 2009 film starring Zac Efron and Matthew Perry—tells the story of a married 35-year-old man who fears his best days have passed him by…until he mysteriously wakes up as a seventeen-year-old high school basketball star with the chance to rewrite the future he believes he was meant to have.
Alex Boniello, Trista Dollison, Alan H. Green, Greg Hildreth, Brian Charles Johnson, Brittney Johnson, Hailey Kilgore, Jevon McFerrin, Bonnie Milligan and Graham Stevens
Ideal Cast Size: 6f, 6m
Ideal Band Size: 8
A.D. 16 tells the story of what happens when teenage Mary Magdalene falls in love with the boy next door: teenage Jesus. Featuring an R&B score that evokes the best of TLC, En Vogue, Prince and more, this comedic coming-of-age story asks the question: what if your first crush really WAS perfect?
Gun & Powder
Allison Blackwell, Charl Brown, Rebecca Covington, Eddie Egan, Liisi LaFontaine, Vince Oddo, Solea Pfeifffer, Aaron B. Phillips, Emily Rogers and Ryan Shaw
Ideal Cast Size: 10-16
Ideal Band Size: 9
Style: Western Folktale
Gun & Powder is inspired by the true story of Mary and Martha Clarke: African American twin sisters who passed for White and were outlaws. Set in Post-Emancipation Texas, we follow our heroines’ journey of defying racial boundaries and seizing what rightfully belongs to them. They are successful, until a little romance shakes everything up.
Sam Cieri, Katrina Rose Dideriksen, J. Quinton Johnson, Euan Morton, Julia Murney, Luca Padovan and Destinee Rea
Ideal Cast Size: 4M, 3F
Ideal Band Size: 5
Style: Fantasy Rock Song Cycle
Monstersongs puts audiences in a synthesized world of graphic novels, rock musicals, live performance, and new technology. Following the journey of a child who opens a portal into the psyches of often misunderstood creatures; Monstersongs flips the switch on the monster narrative, inviting audiences to explore the humanity that binds us all.
The River Is Me
Gisela Adisa, Terence Archie, Roman Banks, Taylor Caldwell, Grace Field and Jeremy Kushiner
Ideal Cast Size: 9 (4F, 5M)
Ideal Band Size: 5
The River Is Me is a music theatre ghost memoir centering on Bo—a funny 14-year-old comic book fan—who must recall and reckon with the last moments of his life, which ended when he was brutally lynched for whistling at a white woman in 1955, in order to save the mother he leaves behind.
Ken Barnett, Jeannette Bayardelle, Joshua Castille, Andrew Durand, Caitlin Houlahan, Diana Huey, Jo Lampert, Matthew Provençal, Caesar Samayoa and Kristen Sieh
Ideal Cast Size: 9
Ideal Band Size: 5
Style: Adventure Drama
In 1998, Tori Murden set out in her homemade rowboat attempting to become the first woman to cross the Atlantic solo. She unknowingly rowed into the heart of Hurricane Danielle. Row tells a heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting story of finding your heart in the middle of the ocean.
The Wicker Husband
Kerstin Anderson, Tracee Beazer, Lauren Blackman, Brian Calì, Clifton Davis, Jordan Donica, Ryan Duncan, Natalie Charlé Ellis and Todd Horman
Ideal Cast Size: 12
Ideal Band Size: 6
Style: Folk Musical
Woven from an exciting blend of folk music, storytelling and puppetry, The Wicker Husband is a magical story of love, redemption and revenge. It tells the timeless tale of the outsider, of the battle for self-acceptance in a society that constantly reminds us what it means to be “Ugly.”
Jennifer Blood, Jared Loftin, Jacob Morrell, Catherine Ricafort, Isabella Russo and Miiko Toiviainen
Ideal Cast Size: 6
Ideal Band Size: 7
Style: Comedic Drama
Chris can’t shake Christine. She’s with him everywhere he goes, staring back when Chris looks in the mirror. But when Chris falls in love, the divide between then and now begins to blur. XY is a musical drama about accepting the past and coming home to the most unfamiliar of places: ourselves.
Writers & Artists
Music, The River Is Me
Troy Anthony is a composer, actor and director based in New York City. He and his writing partner Sukari Jones have presented work at Joe’s Pub, Feinstein’s/54 Below, Prospect Theater Company and the Musical Theatre Factory. Commissions include Atlantic Theater Company, The Civilians and Princeton University. Troy has been seen in the Public Theater’s Twelfth Night and As You Like It, as well as Prospect Theater Company’s Tamar of the River. He leads the Public Theater’s Public Works Community Choir and focuses on the intersection between art and social justice at the DreamYard Art Center. He’s a graduate of Otterbein University.
Music, Gun & Powder
Ross Baum is a composer, performer and music arranger. His musical scores include: Gun & Powder (2018 Richard Rodgers Award, Signature Theatre’s SigWorks Musical Theater Lab), Crowndation: I Will Not Lie To David (National Black Theatre), Anne Frank: My Secret Life and A Letter to Auntie Rosa (Diverging Elements Theatre Company). He was selected as winner of NY City Center’s Sondheim Remix contest and Disney/NMI’s 2018 New Voices Project. As founder and music director of RANGE a cappella, he has provided vocal arrangements for Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, Billboard, Playbill, the E! Network, and a YouTube channel totaling 30 million views. Education: MFA in Musical Theatre Writing, NYU; BFA, Syracuse; BMI Workshop. www.rossbaum.net
Book, A.D. 16
Bekah Brunstetter ’s plays include The Cake (The Echo), Going to a Place Where You Already Are (South Coast Repertory), The Oregon Trail (Portland Center Stage Fall 2016, O’Neill Playwrights Conference; Flying V), Be A Good Little Widow (Ars Nova, Collaboraction, The Old Globe) and Oohrah! (The Atlantic Theater.) She is currently a member of the Echo Theater’s Playwright’s group. She has previously written for MTV (Underemployed; I Just Want My Pants Back), ABC Family’s Switched at Birth and Starz’ American Gods. She is currently a Producer on NBC’s This is Us. MFA, The New School for Drama.
Book & Lyrics, Gun & Powder
Angelica Chéri is a playwright, bookwriter/lyricist and screenwriter. Her play Berta, Berta premiered at the 2018 Contemporary American Theater Festival. Plays from her trilogy The Prophet’s Cycle include: The Seeds of Abraham (workshop, Pershing Square Signature Center, 2013, mentored by Lynn Nottage; production, Billie Holiday Theatre, 2014), The Sting of White Roses (production, North Carolina Black Repertory Company, 2016) and Crowndation: I Will Not Lie to David (2018 workshop, National Black Theatre, I Am Soul Residence). She and Ross Baum received the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award for Gun & Powder. Angelica holds a BA in Theater from UCLA, an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University and an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU.
Lyrics & Music, The Wicker Husband
Darren Clark’s musical and lyrical commissions have included: Day of the Living (RSC); Fantastic Mr. Fox (lyrics only for Nuffield Theatre, UK Tour 2016); The Scarecrows’ Wedding (Edinburgh Festival, UK Tour, West End for Scamp Theatre 2016); These Trees Are Made of Blood (Arcola Theatre, Southwark Playhouse). Darren is an associate artist with the children’s theatre company Paper Balloon, writing music and lyrics for all their shows. His collaborations with Rhys Jennings include: The Wicker Husband, which won the Inaugural MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award in 2016, and Turing, a musical exploring the life of codebreaker Alan Turing.
Daniel Goldstein is a writer and director based in Brooklyn. He is the winner of the 2016 Kleban Prize for most promising musical theatre librettist. His musical Unknown Soldier, written with the late Michael Friedman, had its world premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He is currently under commission by Roundabout Theatre Company for a play about Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of The Art of the Deal, called Orange Crush. He is developing a new musical based on the David Lynch film The Straight Story. His work as a director has been seen on and off Broadway and around the world.
Book & Lyrics & Music, XY
Oliver Houser is a NY-based actor and musical theatre artist. His work has been performed at The Kennedy Center, The Other Palace Theatre, The NY Musical Festival, the NY Fringe Festival, The SoHo Playhouse, the Kaufman Center, Feinstein’s/54 Below and other venues across the United States. He has developed work at Goodspeed Musicals, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, the ASCAP and BMI Musical Theatre Workshops and the Ucross Foundation. Oliver is a 2017 Dramatists Guild Fellow, a SongSpace Grant recipient and winner of the ASCAP Foundation Sammy Cahn Award for songwriting. He is a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. www.oliverhouser.com
Book, The Wicker Husband
Rhys Jennings trained as an actor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. The Wicker Husband, which won the MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award in 2016, is Rhys’ first professional credit as a bookwriter. Visiting the US in 2005, he wrote and created a large scale community theatre show called The Color Goblins for the town of Burgaw, North Carolina. As an actor, Rhys has worked extensively on stage and radio, and in 2009 he won the BBC Carleton Hobbs Award. His next collaboration with Darren Clark will be Turing, a biographical piece about WWII codebreaker Alan Turing.
Book & Lyrics, The River Is Me
Sukari Jones is a playwright, screenwriter and lyricist whose work explores the intersection of race and power in the United States, with a particular focus on the Black experience in America and complicated mother-daughter relationships. She received her BA from Vassar College, and her MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Memberships: Advanced BMI Musical Theatre Workshop; The Public Theater Emerging Writers Group. Sukari’s work has been commissioned/produced at Goodspeed Musicals, Lincoln Center Theater, The Lark Play Development Center, Village Theatre, Barrington Stage Company, Atlantic Theater Company, Joe’s Pub and The Public Theater. Fellowships: W.K. Rose (Vassar College), MacDowell Colony.
Lyrics & Music, Row
Dawn Landes is a singer-songwriter whose thoughtful music you might have heard if you watch Bored to Death, House, Gossip Girl or The Good Wife. Along with releasing six albums since 2005 (and an EP inspired by yé-yé, ’60s French pop music), she’s a frequent collaborator with contemporaries such as Sufjan Stevens, Norah Jones and composer Nico Muhly. She has appeared with the NYC Ballet, TED and Lincoln Center’s prestigious American Songbook Series. Her newest album Meet Me at the River was produced by Country Music Hall of Fame legend Fred Foster and will be released August 2018 on Yep Roc Records.
Music and Lyrics, A.D. 16
Cinco Paul, with Ken Daurio, has written the movies Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, Despicable Me 3, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, The Secret Life Of Pets, The Santa Clause 2 and Bubble Boy. He also wrote the lyrics for the six songs in The Lorax, and is the recipient of the ASCAP Sammy Cahn Award for lyric writing and the Harold Arlen Award for the score of Bubble Boy the Musical, the original cast recording of which was recently released on Ghostlight Records. BA in English, Yale University. MFA in Screenwriting, USC.
Book, 17 Again
While a student at NYU, Marco Pennette interned for Harold Prince and sold his first script to the sitcom Kate & Allie. Pennette soon relocated to Los Angeles where he created the NBC comedy Caroline in the City. He was also a show runner for series such as Ugly Betty (Emmy nominee) and Desperate Housewives. He currently writes for the CBS comedy Mom. His theater credits include the Off Broadway play Motherhood: Out Loud and the revised book for the 2015 Broadway revival of On the 20th Century. He is currently writing stage adaptations of Return of The Living Dead and the Universal film Death Becomes Her.
Book & Lyrics & Music, Monstersongs
Rob Rokicki is a songwriter, performer, music director and educator. He is the composer/lyricist of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical (book by Joe Tracz) which was nominated for three Drama Desk Awards, an Off Broadway Alliance Award and a Lortel Award. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Actor’s Equity, and is an alum of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. Other projects: Love, NY, Strange Tails, Relativity (with Michael Ruby) and the graphic novel rock album, Monstersongs (art by David O’Neill). Albums are available on Broadway Records and Great White Wax. BFA, BA University of Michigan. www.robertrokicki.com
Lyrics & Music, 17 Again
Michael Weiner & Alan Zachary wrote songs for Broadway’s First Date, which ran at the Longacre Theatre after a sold-out run at Seattle’s 5th Avenue/ACT Theatres. The show can now be seen in productions across the U.S. and around the world. Recently, Zachary and Weiner penned songs for the acclaimed musical episode of Once Upon a Time on ABC. The team wrote the score for a musical adaptation of the film Secondhand Lions (book by Rupert Holmes) which premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre. Upcoming musical projects include: 17 Again directed by Adam Shankman and 13 Going on 30 directed by Andy Fickman. For Universal Studios, the duo wrote songs with J.K. Rowling for Celestina Warbeck & the Banshees playing at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Currently, Zachary and Weiner are developing a TV series with Universal Television starring Kristin Chenoweth and have created shows for ABC, FOX, Disney Channel, Disney Animation and Disney Parks around the globe. Zachary and Weiner are recipients of the ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award. www.zacharyandweiner.com
Lyrics & Music, 17 Again
Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner wrote songs for Broadway’s First Date, which ran at the Longacre Theatre after a sold-out run at Seattle’s 5th Avenue/ACT Theatres. The show can now be seen in productions across the U.S. and around the world. Recently, Zachary and Weiner penned songs for the acclaimed musical episode of Once Upon a Time on ABC. The team wrote the score for a musical adaptation of the film Secondhand Lions (book by Rupert Holmes) which premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre. Upcoming musical projects include: 17 Again directed by Adam Shankman and 13 Going on 30 directed by Andy Fickman. For Universal Studios, the duo wrote songs with J.K. Rowling for Celestina Warbeck & the Banshees playing at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Currently, Zachary and Weiner are developing a TV series with Universal Television starring Kristin Chenoweth and have created shows for ABC, FOX, Disney Channel, Disney Animation and Disney Parks around the globe. Zachary and Weiner are recipients of the ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award. www.zacharyandweiner.com