This blog is a part of The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers, found online at www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com.
NYMF: New York Musical Theatre Festival (we’re not sure what happened to the ’T’ in the acronym…). Approximately thirty musicals and a heaping helping of readings over the course of a couple sticky July weeks in New York City. It’s bedlam. It’s brilliant. It’s high and low brow theatre (or theater, take your pick…).
Call it what you will. There’s one thing everyone can agree on: it’s guerrilla theatre. After an intense rehearsal process, which often includes many rewrites and personnel changes, each show does a tech/dress run the day they open, giving them less than 10 hours to fine-tune all aspects of their show in their performance venue. Horrifying. Then, ready or not, the curtain goes up (most NYMF venues don’t have proscenium curtains – it’s just a metaphor….). Last-minute adjustments are made on the fly. EQ balance here. Costume fixes there. “What did we change that line to this afternoon?” desperately whispered to an assistant stage manager in the wings.
Isn’t it romantic? Given all the logistical obstacles – not to mention expense, OY! – of producing a show at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, submissions for the festival keep going strong. It seems everyone has a musical in their back pocket these days. But not everyone has the nerve to take on the kamikaze ride that is NYMF.
Over the next month, we’re going to give you a bird’s eye view into the development process of eleven NYMF shows. Each of the creative teams has agreed to blog for us at three different points during their rehearsal process, answering specific questions about the positive and challenging aspects of their journey toward opening night. We know it will be an insightful look for anyone interested in being part of future NYMF productions: writers, actors, musical directors, stage managers, producers, etc…
Below are the shows we plan on tracking during this exciting NYMF festival season. You’ll find a link to each of their individual pages with information on the writers, cast, creative and production teams and links to purchase tickets. We’re grateful to these shows for their involvement in this blog project, which we can already tell is going to be a very good read!
BAYONETS OF ANGST
Bayonets of Angst is an original musical comedy set to a bluegrass soundtrack and narrated by the last remaining veterans of the American Civil War. These old codgers detail the behind-the-battlefield exploits of President Lincoln, the madness of General Tecumseh Sherman, and the pickled promiscuity of General Ulysses S. Grant in a dizzying sequence of events that changed the course of history. And because they were the ones who was there – you just listen and hush up ‘bout it! Read more here.
CLONEDJacey Powers: Book Adam Spiegel: Music/Additional Story Dan Wolpow: Lyrics/Book
1993–There is a new president in the White House, Jurassic Park is about to tear up the box office, and Wally Waterman is on the verge of inventing the teleporter! But weird science gets weirder when Wally accidentally clones himself. Is NYC big enough for two giant, identical egos? It’ll take nothing short of a movie star, international espionage, and a few pigeons to find out. Featuring a gleefully breezy score, CLONED! is door-slamming, yodel-happy, bird-squawking fun! Read more here.
COMING OF AGE
Coming of Age is a theatrical song cycle — a collection of short stories about growing up. Each member of the dynamic ensemble cast – Girl, Boy, Young Woman, Young Man, Woman, and Man – plays multiple roles, spanning the globe and the whole of human history. They are rebels, warriors, dreamers, and innocents, confronting life and leaping into the unknown. A rock-infused contemporary score, evocative lyrics, and inventive staging join forces to chronicle the joys and fears of becoming yourself. Read more here.
It’s graduation time. When a mysterious classmate crashes their last epic night of celebration, a group of childhood friends is forced to confront the secrets they’ve been keeping from each other. Will their friendships survive the night? With an imaginative score and dynamic characters, Fable captures the moments when we are forced to change whether we like it or not. Watch what happens when the stories we were told as kids are revealed for the fictions they truly are. Read more here.
MADAME INFAMYJP Vigliotti – Book Cardozie Jones – Music/Lyrics Sean Willis – Music/Lyrics
At the turn of the 18th century, America stood firmly on the backs of its slaves while Paris burned as its poorest citizens revolted against the aristocracy. Two worlds united by one electrifying score, Madame Infamy is the dark and moving tale of Marie Antoinette, last Queen of France, and Sally Hemings, slave and mistress of President Thomas Jefferson. Fighting hardship, scandal, and loss, each must find the strength to combat a nation in hopes of protecting the ones she loves. Read more here.
RESCUE RUEStacey Weingarten – Concept/Book Kate Steinberg – Music/Lyrics Joshua Zecher-Ross – Music/Lyrics
When a little dog named Rue wishes for a “Happily Ever After” from her Fairy Dogmother, she soon embarks on an emotional journey of self-discovery and belonging. Kicked out of her home, Rue meets new friends and enemies alike on the street and at the pound before finding her “Furever” home in NYC and realizing life is really about finding your happy beginnings, not endings! Based on a true adoption story, this family-friendly pop musical is told by a colorful cast of puppets and people. For all ages! Read more here.
SEARCHING FOR ROMEOBrian Sutton: Book/Lyrics/Music
Roz is having a bad day. Not only was she dumped by her high school boyfriend, she finds herself transported to Shakespeare’s fair Verona, as Rosaline, and wanders into the balcony scene. She learns that she’s been dumped again, but this time it’s by Romeo. Things seem to be looking up when she forges an unlikely friendship with Juliet’s rejected suitor, Paris. Can Rosaline and Paris achieve the goal which eludes Romeo and Juliet: a happy ending? With its retro-pop score, Searching for Romeo will delight fans of the Bard and of teenage romantic comedies alike. Read more here.
SNOW QUEENKirsten Brandt – Book/Lyrics Rick Lombardo – Book/Lyrics/Director Haddon Kime – Music/Lyrics
The Snow Queen: A New Musical is a coming of age story about two young children, Gerda and Kai. When Kai is lured into leaving by the dangerous Snow Queen, Gerda sets off on an epic journey to find her best friend and bring him home. On her quest, she battles witches, robbers and snowflakes. She flies through the air with crows and rides on the back of a reindeer. When she finally arrives at the ice palace, she is ready to face the Snow Queen. But, to save her friend, Gerda must solve the greatest problem, the riddle of eternity… Read more here.
THE TRAVELSAaron Ricciardi – Book/Lyrics Kelly Hoppenjans – Music
Welcome to the U.S. of A. Other countries suffer biblical consequences for their filthy ways, but the U.S. of A. is the most perfect place on Earth—at least that’s what Mr. Travel preaches every day on the nation’s only TV show. A trippy dystopian tale with an eclectic soundtrack, this epic play with songs follows Teeny, Mr. Travel’s rule-breaker of a daughter. Teetering on adulthood and perplexed by this cruel world, Teeny learns to see past smoke and mirrors…and she starts a revolution. Read more here.
VALUEVILLERowen Casey: Book/Lyrics/Music
Eddie awakes on his first night shift at a giant superstore where nothing is as it seems. Desperately seeking an answer as to why Corporate sent him, he learns the truth about his past through run-ins with his guarded former flame, his flighty grandmother, and his utterly monstrous coworkers. With a spirited contemporary score as colorful as its employees, ValueVille is a razor-sharp comedic journey about the price we pay at the final checkout. Read more here.
WIKIMUSICALBlake Harris: Book/Lyrics Frank Ceruzzi: Book/Lyrics Trent Jeffords: Music
WikiMusical is a hilarious new musical satire of the virtual age. It tells the epic tale of two estranged brothers, Peter and Kurt Oglesby, who return to their childhood home for Christmas Eve and, through a series of mysterious events, are magically zapped inside the Internet. But getting back to reality isn’t as simple as clicking on the right hyperlink; the brothers must put aside their differences and come to terms with their pasts in order to save the future. Along the way, they will need to rely on help from allies like the Cuddly Kittens (who may or may not have created the Internet), a cowardly Emoticon (who is searching for his long lost love, Princess LOL), and an omniscient Narrator (who may or may not be Morgan Freeman). As you can probably already tell, WikiMusical is a quintessential quest story, inspired by such classics as The Wizard of Oz, Alice and Wonderland and The Phantom Tollbooth. Add a dash of Tron, a pinch of Avenue Q, and a sprinkling of Super Mario Bros. and you have a good idea of the style and tone of the show! Read more here.
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