Back to the 25th Annual Festival of New Musicals

The Sandman: a little nightmare musical

2013 Festival

Sam Buntrock

Music Director
Valerie Gebert

Heidi Blickenstaff, Joshua Colley, Robert Creighton, Kelly McCormick, Bailey Ryon, Douglas Sills and Mavis Simpson-Ernst

Contact for Rights

Jessica Amato, The Gersh Agency / 212.634.8119

Number of Acts: 2
Number of Principals (Male): 2
Number of Principals (Female): 2
Preferred Ensemble Size: 1
Total Cast Size: 5
Orchestra Breakdown:

Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Reed 1 (flute, oboe, clarinet), Reed 2 (bassoon, bass clarinet), French Horn, Percussion (Or just use two pianos and call it a day)

Genre & Style:

Dark comedy thriller

Search Set & Costume Registry


Germany, 1838. What if Clara’s nutcracker had been built by a clockmaker whose children were held hostage by the Sandman? What if the clockmaker’s nanny had invited the Sandman in? What if the Sandman steals children’s eyes at night? Too ghastly to contemplate. Who dares put such horrors in a musical?

The Sandman is a rarity in musical theater: a genuinely scary story. The committee loved the unique sound of the score, with its Kurt Weill influences and inventive orchestrations, as well as the complicated, macabre plot and characters. NAMT audiences will be riveted and gasping in fear, with a few laughs on the side.

- Festival Committee

Development History

The Sandman: A Little Nightmare Musical was originally commissioned by The Signature Theatre (VA) and received its first Equity staged reading at the Carnegie Center for Visual and Performing Arts in October, 2012.

Festival Successes

Commercial option picked up by Playing Pretend. Production at the Fredericia Theatre in Denmark in 2015.

5 Things You Should Know

  1. Intelligent, heartless adults are generally the most fascinating people – just as intelligent, imaginative children are generally the most perplexing, and there’s no such thing as a fascinating adult who hasn’t wished at some point for the power to make the children in their life simply disappear.
  2. Though in grief we often choose to ignore it, the most ridiculous and genuinely funny things in life are usually said or occur shortly before or after someone dies – in fact, most people laugh almost immediately after screaming in terror (assuming they’re still alive), especially children, who just adore surprises.
  3. The developmental and behavioral modification benefits of frightening unruly children are well documented, as are the developmental benefits of securing just the right visionary director, originating theatre and terrifyingly well heeled producing team – and in truth, if you are out there lurking in the shadows somewhere, we do believe our little musical nightmare is ready to be put up on its feet.
  4. To wit: Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann wrote many darkly satirical tales under the influence of opium, was Edgar Allen Poe’s favorite writer, was considered by no less a figure than Sigmund Freud to have penned the world’s first great psychological thriller in the form of The Sandman, was re-incarnated in 1958, and is currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity under the assumed corporeal identity of Tim Burton.
  5. Though it’s true that people die in this show – even children on occasion in the most horrific manner – that’s no reason to pretend that real life isn’t far more frightening and gruesome when you really think about it. It’s just less entertaining.