New Work in Progress: Invisible

This month, we checked in with Elise Dewsberry from New Musicals Inc. about their upcoming concert reading of Invisible, written by David Hollingsworth and David Orris. The reading is being produced in consortium with NAMT member 3-D Theatricals, and has just received a Project Development grant from the National Fund for New Musicals. Invisible is a John-Hughes-esque musical theatre adaptation of the HG Wells classic The Invisible Man with a totally original pop/rock score that takes great joy in paying homage to popular music and popular cultural tropes of the era. The show ultimately endeavors to physically and figuratively bring the audience into their own hallowed high school hallways via the heightened and dangerous halls of Springborough High School. Invisible lives in the fairly self-concerned and narcissistic year of 1988, because at its core, it is a show about what it means to cut away all of the cultural and social melodrama and truly see another human being. NMI is working together with 3-D Theatricals to develop this project. How did that relationship first come about, and how did the two organizations come together to work on this specific project?
Funny you should ask!  Although T.J. Dawson and I both work near Los Angeles, we actually met at the NAMT Conference in the fall of 2014.  We got to chatting, and T.J. mentioned that he was interested in having 3-D Theatricals get involved in the development of new musicals.  Since that’s exactly what we’re about at New Musicals Inc., I suggested that he let me know if he had any new works he would like to submit for a reading as part of our STAGES Festival.  Since T.J. is hoping to produce new work on his mainstage at some point in the future, it made perfect sense that we should bring him some readings so that his audience could start to feel like they were a part of the development process, and start to take ownership of some of the new shows.  Once we got back to LA, we had several more meetings, and we wound up actually expanding our STAGES Festival (summer of 2015) and bringing performances of all five new musicals (including Invisible) down to Orange County for T.J.’s audience.  Since then, we’ve created a Concert Reading Series to bring even more new shows down to his audience.  It’s a win-win situation—our writers get a chance to hear their new works in development, and T.J.s audience gets a chance to know more about the development process.

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We are thrilled to announce eleven awards granted from the National Fund for New Musicals, a major funding program to support NAMT member not-for-profit theatres in their collaborations with writers to create, develop and produce new musicals. Now in its eighth year, the Fund will provide grants totaling $43,000 to twelve organizations across the country. NAMT Executive Director Betsy King Militello stated: “We are honored and excited to support our member theatres as they work with this inspiring group of writers to develop these innovative and provocative new musicals.  With these grants, we have now awarded 88 grants totaling $358,500. These projects will join a growing list of important new musicals added to the canon with support from our National Fund for New Musicals.

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Frank Young Fund Past Recipients

2021-2022 Production Grants   Ars Nova (New York, NY) for Oratorio for Living Things by Heather Christian. Diversionary Theatre Productions (San Diego, CA) for Eighty-Sixed by Sam Salmond and Jeremy J. King. Goodspeed Musicals (East Haddam, CT) for Anne of Green Gables by Matte O’Brien and Matt Vinso.   Project Development Grants Amas Musical Theatre (New York, NY) for MĀYĀ by Cheeyang Ng and Eric Sorrels. Ng is a Festival alum for Eastbound (‘Fest 20). Live & In Color (New York, NY) for Within Elsewhere by Joshua Betancourt and Trent Jeffords. New York Theatre Barn (New York, NY) for Sueños: Our American Musical by Jesse Sanchez and Jeff Chambers. Olney Theatre Center (Olney, MD) for Lautrec at the St. James by Julianne Wick Davis and John Dietrich. Lautrec at the St. James was featured in NAMT’s 2019 Festival of New Musicals. Porchlight Music Theatre (Chicago, IL) for an unannounced project. Seattle Rep (Seattle, WA) for an unannounced project. Theatre Now New York (New York, NY) for The Jury by Jonathan Bauerfield and Casey Kendall.   2020-2021 Production Grants   Atlantic Theater Company (New York NY) for Kimberly Akimbo by David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori.. East West Players (Los Angeles, CA) for Interstate by Melissa Li and Kit Yan. Interstate was featured in NAMT’s 2019 Festival of New Musicals. Olney Theatre Center (Olney, MD) for A.D. 16 by Bekah Brunstetter and Cinco Paul. A.D. 16 was featured in NAMT’s 2018 Festival of New Musicals. Seattle Rep (Seattle, WA) for XY by Oliver Houser. XY was featured in NAMT’s 2018 Festival of New Musicals.   Project Development Grants Ars Nova (New York, NY) for The Last Medicine Show by Sammy Miller & Kevin Armento. Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Chicago, IL) for It Came from Outer Space by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair. Music Theatre of Madison (Madison, WI) for Ten Days in A Madhouse by...

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