We are thrilled to announce 12 awards granted from the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals. The Frank Young Fund for New Musicals (FYFNM) is 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 12th year, this year the Fund is providing grants totaling $72,000 to organizations across the country.
NAMT Executive Director Betsy King Militello stated: “Every year we are excited to support our member theatres as they work to develop innovative and provocative new musicals.  While the development paths may look different at this moment in American Theater, we continue to be incredibly honored to provide grants to member organizations for their support of extraordinary writers telling important stories. With these grants, we have now awarded 165 grants totaling $614,500 to NAMT members across the country through the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals. These projects will join a growing list of significant new musicals supported by this program.”
Frank Young Fund grants of $5,000 to $10,000 to support full productions have been awarded to:
Atlantic Theater Company (New York NY) for a production to be announced, with funding from The Hollywood Pantages, a Nederlander Organization.
East West Players (Los Angeles, CA) for Interstate by Melissa Li and Kit Yan, with funding from the Alhadeff Family Charitable Foundation. 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, with funding from The Hollywood Pantages, a Nederlander Organization. A.D. 16 was featured in NAMT’s 2018 Festival of New Musicals.
Seattle Rep (Seattle, WA) for XY by Oliver Houser, with funding from The Hollywood Pantages, a Nederlander Organization. XY was featured in NAMT’s 2018 Festival of New Musicals.
Frank Young Fund grants of $2,000 to $5,000 to support a workshop or reading have been awarded to:
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, with funding from the ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund.
Music Theatre of Madison (Madison, WI) for Ten Days in A Madhouse by Karen Saari and Jennifer Hedstrom.
Playwrights Horizons (New York, NY) for Miss Step by Kit Yan and Melissa Li with funding from the ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund. Yan and Li and Festival alumni for Interstate (Fest ’19).
Prospect Theater Company, Inc. (New York, NY) for Peter and the Wave by Timothy Huang. Huang is a Festival alum for American Morning (fka Costs of Living, Fest ’15)
Theatre Now New York, Inc. (New York, NY) for Golem Owned A Tropical Smoothie by Ethan Crystal and Garrett Poladian.
Village Theatre (Issaquah, WA) for The Homefront by Jenny Stafford and Sam Salmond.
The recipients were selected by a distinguished panel, moderated by Gigi Bolt, the former Director of Theater and Musical Theater at the National Endowment for the Arts. The panelists were Kwofe Coleman, Managing Director of The MUNY; Emma Fassler, New Works Consultant for McCoy Rigby Entertainment; Michel Hausmann, Artistic Director of Miami New Drama; Ricardo Khan, director, writer and Co-Founder/Artistic Director Emeritus Crossroads Theatre Company; Mitchell Marcus, Artistic & Managing Director of The Musical Stage Company; Julia Meinwald, composer and NAMT Festival Alumna; and Michelle Yaroshko, Vice President, Professional Licensing of Concord Theatricals.
Additionally, the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals has awarded each of the following member organizations $500 to $2,000 for Writers Residency Grants over the past year:
11th Hour Theatre (Philadelphia, PA) for Bordello by Barbara Bellman & Emilliano Messiez.
Atlantic Theater Company (New York, NY) for Dream Empire by Tom Donaghy & Emily Gardner Xu Hall.
Goodspeed Musicals (East Haddam, CT) for an untitled piece by Grace McLean.
New York Theatre Barn (New York, NY) for The Helena Project by Debra Barsha & Sheilah Rae.
Olney Theatre Center (Olney, MD) for OKUNI by Naomi Iizuka & Paul Hodge.
Philadelphia Theatre Company (Philadelphia, PA) for Dear Shirley by Kristen Bair & Kevin Hammonds.
The Public Theater (New York, NY) for The Storyteller by K’naan Warsame.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, CA) for Untitled Asian-American Senior Sex Scandal Murder Mystery Musical by Min Kahng.
Transport Group Theatre Company (New York, NY) for SPLIT by Michele Lowe & Zoe Sarnak.
Village Theatre (Issaquah, WA) for XY by Oliver Houser. XY was featured in the 2018 Festival of New Musicals.
The Frank Young Fund for New Musicals has supported the development of many musicals over the last 12 years, including A Strange Loop by Michael R. Jackson at Playwrights Horizons; Soft Power by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori at both Center Theatre Group and The Public Theater; Renascence by Dick Scanlan and Carmel Dean at Transport Theatre Group; The Band’s Visit by David Yazbek and Itamar Moses at Atlantic Theater Company; When We’re Gone (fka Mortality Play, NAMT Fest ’16) by Alana Jacoby and Scotty Arnold at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma; Bella: An American Tall Tale by Kirsten Childs at Playwrights Horizons and Dallas Theater Center; Ordinary Days (NAMT Fest ’08) by Adam Gwon at Adirondack Theatre Festival; Far From Heaven by Michael Korie, Scott Frankel and Richard Greenberg at Playwrights Horizons; The Circus in Winter (NAMT Fest ’12) by Ben Clark, Hunter Foster and Beth Turcotte at Goodspeed Musicals; and Southern Comfort (NAMT Fest ’12) at all three grant levels, at Playwrights Horizons, CAP21 and Barrington Stage Company; among many others.
The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, founded in 1985, is a national service organization dedicated exclusively to musical theatre. Our mission is to be a catalyst for nurturing musical theatre development, production, innovation and collaboration. Our 240 members, located throughout 32 states and abroad, are some of the leading producers of musical theatre in the world and include theatres, presenting organizations, higher education programs and individual producers. Among the over 250 musicals launched by NAMT’s annual Festival of New Musicals are Benny & Joon, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Children of Eden, Come From Away, The Drowsy Chaperone, Gun & Powder, Honk!It Shoulda Been You, LempickaStriking 12, Ordinary Days, Thoroughly Modern Millie, We Live In Cairo and many others, representing almost 500 writers.
NAMT thanks the following foundations, government agencies and organizations for their ongoing support of our programs: The Alhadeff Family Charitable Foundation, The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York Creative Spaces Grant, ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund, BMI Foundation, The Hargrove Pierce Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Hollywood Pantages, Lucille Lortel Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Noël Coward Foundation, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Ted Snowdon Foundation, and Anonymous donors.

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New Work in Progress: Distant Thunder

Next, we chatted with Michael Baron, the Producing Artistic Director at NAMT member Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. The company is about to open the world premiere of Distant Thunder by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Shaun Taylor-Corbett and Chris Wiseman. Lyric Theatre has received a grant for this production from the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals.
Darrell Waters, a successful young attorney, returns to his childhood home in Montana to broker a deal that can benefit the impoverished Blackfeet Nation. He soon faces his reclusive father about their painful past and grapples with the paradigm of what it means to be Native American in the United States. Cultures collide and unite through music, dance, stories and faith as we witness the dawning of a Distant Thunder.

What is Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’s history with new works, and how does this new production of Distant Thunder fit into your overall commitment to new works development?
Lyric began our New Works Initiative in 2014 with a production of Triangle (NAMT Fest ’12) by Tom Mizer and Curtis Moore. Our audiences still talk about that show and the excitement of having a new work given a full production here in Oklahoma. I felt it was important that Lyric not only produce new productions of musicals from the canon but that we contribute to it as well. The value of having composers in residence working on their material and having a full production outside of the critical eye of New York has been thrilling to the artists and our audiences alike. Subsequent new musical premiere highlights have included Adam Gwon and Julia Jordan’s Bernice Bobs Her Hair (NAMT Fest ’11), Doug Cohen and Dan Elish’s Mann…and Wife (now titled The Evolution of Mann), and Alana Jacoby and Scotty Arnold’s When We’re Gone (fka Mortality Play, NAMT Fest ’16). Since Oklahoma is home to 39 nations, Lyric is a perfect theatre to premiere Distant Thunder. Lyric will be able to nurture and develop the production in an arena of artistic safety and in a geographic area that embraces multiple tribes.

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New Work in Progress: Hephaestus

Next, we spoke to Meghan Randolph, the Founder and Executive Director of Music Theatre of Madison, about their upcoming production of Hephaestus by Nathan Fosbinder. MTM will be producing the world premiere of the show this summer, which has received a Frank Young Fund for New Musicals Production Grant.
Hephaestus tells the story of the physically deformed, oft-forgotten Greek God of fire. Cast down to Earth by his mother, the jealous and powerful Hera, he reaches into his soul and identifies his strength as an artisan to win back his spot on Mount Olympus. Soaring contemporary music, beautiful costumes, and the Greek traditions of comedy and tragedy mesh together in this premiere that truly belongs to Madison.

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We are thrilled to announce 11 awards granted from the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals (formerly known as the National Fund for New Musicals), and six awards granted from the Innovation & Exploration Fund. Now in its 11th year, this year the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals (FYFNM) is providing grants totaling $70,000 to organizations across the country. The Innovation & Exploration Fund (I&EF) is providing grants totaling $12,000 to organizations nationwide.
NAMT Executive Director Betsy King Militello stated: “We are honored and excited to support our member theatres both as they work to develop innovative and provocative new musicals, and as they explore ideas to create new best practices in the field. With these grants, we have now awarded 162 grants totaling $563,000 to NAMT members across the country. These projects will join a growing list of important new musicals and initiatives supported by NAMT’s granting programs.”

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