2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival announces Next Link Project selections

The 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) today announced the Next Link Project musical selections. The 10 musicals were announced as part of the 11th edition of the Festival, which will take place from July 7 to July 27 at locations around midtown Manhattan in New York City, including The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street).

One of NYMF's flagship programs, the Next Link Project is open to any writer - produced or unproduced, with or without agency representation. The program receives hundreds of submissions from all over the world each fall, and every script and demo recording is reviewed by numerous members of NYMF's Reading Committee, and then by a Grand Jury of leading musical theatre artists and producers. Finally, 10 shows are awarded production spots in the Festival.

This weekend (February 21-23), the selected Next Link Project show teams will gather for the first time at NYMF in New York City to begin preparing their shows for the 2014 Festival. You can follow the action live on Twitter @NYMF using hashtag #nextlink.

Dan Markley joined NYMF as Executive Director & Producer last year and Mary Kate Burke is Director of Programming. A Grand Jury panel of industry experts helped to curate the musical lineup of the Festival.

This year's Grand Jury included Abrams Artists agent Beth Blickers, OBIE and Drama Desk Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin, Tony Award- and Outer Critics Circle Award-nominated actor Hunter Foster, Tony Award-nominated composer and lyricist Amanda Green, Tony Award-nominated director Thomas Kail, Associate Producer of the Old Globe Eric Louie, Outer Critics Circle-nominated director and choreographer Josh Prince, Tony Award and Drama Desk-nominated actor and writer Tony Sheldon, and two-time Tony Award-winning actor Michael Cerveris.

"This is a terrific lineup of new musicals that ensures 2014 will be one of the best Festivals ever. We are especially grateful to all the readers and members of the Grand Jury for their dedication and passion throughout the selection process,” said Dan Markley, Executive Director & Producer of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. “Identifying and supporting the Next Link Project writers is enormously gratifying for the entire staff. It's pretty amazing that in less than five months our audiences will be able to see fully realized premieres of each of these shows.”

The 2014 Next Link Project selections come from all over the globe, and all 10 will be making their New York premieres. Two of this year's selections come from last year's NYMF Developmental Reading Series, highlighting NYMF's role as an incubator for new musicals, and giving the writing teams the time they need to develop their shows through various stages.

"The Next Link Project is the cornerstone of NYMF's mission to identify and nurture the best talent in musical theatre,” said Director of Programming Mary Kate Burke. "The blind submission process ensures that two talented undergraduates who attend NYU and Northwestern are afforded the same consideration as the composer and lyricist of Kenny Chesney's 'Somewhere With You,' all of whom will have shows this summer at NYMF thanks to the Next Link Program. The writers this year represent a broad range of musical styles but are similar in their unique and imaginative storytelling."



Book and Lyrics by Becca Anderson & Dan Marshall; Music by Julian Blackmore

Following your dream is never a trivial pursuit.

It’s the National High School Quizbowl Championship! Dreamy-eyed brainiac Maggie McCutter hopes to win a scholarship so she can escape her controlling mother. Maggie’s world is hilariously turned upside down when she falls for Tyler O'Neil, a football-obsessed slacker from the rival Walla Walla Walruses. As she's torn between the family she’s got and the friendship she's found, will Maggie’s trivial pursuits be in jeopardy? ACADEMIA NUTS is the uproarious nerd-rock musical everyone will be buzzing about!

Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/academianuts


Book by Jacey Powers, Dan Wolpow & Adam Spiegel; Music by Adam Spiegel; Lyrics by Dan Wolpow

A two of a kind musical!

1993—Bill Clinton is president, Jurassic Park is about the tear up the box offices, 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!

Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/cloned


Book by James Millar & Alexis Fishman; Music by Friedrich Hollander, Mischa Spoliansky, Rudolf Nelson & more

Berlin's last starlit night.

It is 1933 in divinely decadent Berlin. Alexis Fishman (NYMF’s Next Broadway Sensation Winner 2012) is Erika Stern, darling of the crumbling Weimar Cabaret scene. Feisty, sassy and always provocative, her show embodies the excess and daring of the time. But as the Nazi’s rise to power, tonight’s performance will be her last. The lights go down and the audience holds their breath.

Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/dergelbestern


Book by Harrison Kaufman; Music and Lyrics by Christopher Anselmo

Sometimes life doesn't have a moral.

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.

Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/fable


Book and Lyrics by Victor Kazan; Music by Kevin Purcell

A love story in the quest to save two birds.

Set in the Yucatán on the eve of the Mexican Revolution, THE MAPMAKER'S OPERA recounts the poignant story of Diego and Sofia – star-crossed lovers whose fate is sealed by a desperate quest to save two birds. The story takes place in and around Mérida, where local plantation owners ostentatiously enjoy vast wealth amassed from the toil of Mayans who from dawn to nightfall are forced to harvest the prized henequen. Inspired by Flamenco and Mariachi music, the show is certain to delight audiences of all ages.

Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/themapmakersopera


Book, Music, and Lyrics by Cheryl E. Kemeny

Thousands of Footsteps. One Believer.

She won't quit and she won't stay quiet! It’s the turn of the century and aging Mary Harris “Mother” Jones is on a tireless crusade for justice as she leads ragged mill children on a march to end child labor. Inspiring, heartbreaking and hopeful, this thrilling new musical following “the most dangerous woman in America” will captivate audiences of all ages with its vibrant score blending period infused melodies with powerful contemporary anthems to deliver an uplifting message of human dignity that transcends time.

Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/motherjonesandthechildrenscrusade


Book, Music and Lyrics by Brian Sutton

Can they find a happy ending?

After her high school boyfriend dumps her, modern-day Roz somehow finds herself in fair Shakespearian Verona, as Romeo's girlfriend Rosaline. She wanders into the balcony scene only to learn that she's been dumped again, before falling for another "loser" -- Juliet’s rejected paramour, Paris. Can Rosaline and Paris achieve that which eludes Romeo and Juliet: a happy ending?

Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/searchingforromeo


Book by Peter Zinn; Music and Lyrics by JT Harding

THE country-rock musical of a new generation.

SOMEWHERE WITH YOU is a country-rock musical with music by country song writer, JT Harding and features many of his hit songs made famous by Kenny Chesney, Uncle Kracker, Jake Owen, and JTX (including Chesney’s number one song “Somewhere with You” and Uncle Kracker’s “Smile”). This compellingly gritty, coming-of-age love story centers around a new generation of Southerners growing up in the early 2000s, confronted by the methamphetamine epidemic, the War in Iraq, and other post 9/11 challenges in the rural South.

Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/somewherewithyou


Book and Lyrics by Aaron Ricciardi; Music by Kelly Hoppenjans

Fight back. Move.

Welcome to the US of A. God’s been destroying the rest of the world for being “un-American,” and only the States remain—at least that’s what Mr. Travel preaches every day on America’s only TV show. A trippy dystopian tale with an electro-folk-pop soundtrack, this Epic play with songs zooms in on Teeny, Mr. Travel’s daughter who has a flair for breaking the rules. Teetering on adulthood and perplexed by this cruel world, Teeny learns to see past smoke and mirrors…and she starts a revolution.

Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/teenytraveltakesatrip


Book, Music and Lyrics by Rowen Casey

You never know what's in store...

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.

Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/valueville

An additional slate of special events, free events, developmental readings and educational panel discussions will be announced at a future date.

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NYMF 2014 tickets will go on sale to the general public on June 16.