The 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) today announced the 2015 Next Link Project musical selections. The 10 musicals, and three initial invited productions, were announced as part of the 12th edition of the Festival, which will take place in July at locations around midtown Manhattan in New York City.
This year’s selections include a diverse array of new musicals, spanning work from TV personalities including Jon Peter Lewis from American Idol, and his bandmate Ryan Hayes (of the group Midas Whale) from The Voice, to works returning to the Festival after participating in the NYMF Developmental Reading Series in 2014.
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.
Dan Markley is Executive Director & Producer and Jen Bender joined NYMF as Director of Programming and Artist Services this year. A Grand Jury panel of industry experts helped to curate the musical lineup of the Festival.
This year's Grand Jury included Tony Award-winning actor Michael Cerveris, OBIE and Drama Desk Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin, Tony Award-winning producer Jane Dubin, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-nominated actor Hunter Foster, Creative Director, Fox Stage Productions Isaac Robert Hurwitz, CAA Agent Joe Machota, Director of Theatre Arts Program at The National Black Theatre Jonathan McCrory, Tony Award-winning actor Billy Porter, Outer Critics Circle-nominated director and choreographer Josh Prince, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-nominated actor and writer Tony Sheldon, and Motown: The Musical director Charles Randolph-Wright.
The 2015 Next Link Project selections come from all over the globe, and many will be making their New York premieres. Three 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 the Festival,” said Bender. “These 10 shows went through a rigorous evaluation process to ensure that we are presenting work of the highest quality. We’re also proud that three of the shows presented in last season’s Development Reading Series–210 Amlent Avenue, The Calico Buffalo, and Manuel versus the Statue of Liberty–were accepted into the Next Link Project for this year, illustrating NYMF’s commitment to nurturing writers over the long-term.”
“The 2015 selections are an exciting array of new musicals that ensures NYMF audiences will once again have a great lineup to choose from this summer,” added Markley. “We would like to thank all the readers and members of the Grand Jury for their extraordinary contributions to selecting these projects, as NYMF continues its mission to cultivate and present a diverse offering of exciting new musicals. We look forward to seeing the Festivalgoers in July!”
This weekend (February 28-March 1), 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 2015 Festival. You can follow the action live on Twitter @NYMF and Instagram @newyorkmusicaltheatrefestival, using the hashtag #nextlink.
Industry professionals who are interested in working on NYMF 2015 shows are encouraged to attend the NYMF 2015 Networking Party on Saturday, February 28th. This is an opportunity for producers, general managers, directors, designers, choreographers, music directors and others to network face-to-face with the creators of the NYMF 2015 Next Link Project shows. The Networking Party will be held 6:30-8:30pm at Hurley’s Saloon (232 West 48 St.). For more information, and to RSVP, those interested in attending can visit the Facebook event page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/790125414390528.
NYMF 2015 NEXT LINK PROJECT SELECTIONS
210 AMLENT AVENUE
Book by Becky Goldberg; Music and Lyrics by Karl Hinze
Some family secrets shouldn't come out.
Welcome to the Hamptons. Guests are gathering in the summer sun at 210 Amlent Avenue, a regal beachfront property, to visit retired actress Mrs. Jordan, and to pay their respects to her recently-deceased husband, the famous Broadway director. Everything changes when Judah, a young friend of the family, shows up seeking answers about his own dead parents. Attractions form, schemes intersect, secrets are revealed, and no one will get away unchanged.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/210amlentave
DEEP LOVE: A GHOSTLY ROCK OPERA
Music and Lyrics by Ryan Hayes & Garrett Sherwood; Book by Jon Peter Lewis, Ryan Hayes & Garrett Sherwood
How lovers become adversaries. Funeral attire recommended.
Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera is a story of love, loss and indecision where sweethearts become adversaries in pursuit of what they cannot live without. Told entirely through continuous, haunting rock and roll, Deep Love features Jon Peter Lewis from American Idol, his bandmate from The Voice Ryan Hayes (of the group Midas Whale) and Amy Whitcomb from The Voice and The Sing-Off. Heartwarming and heartbreaking, it promises to delight all ages. Audience members are encouraged to come dressed in their best funeral attire.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/deeplove
Book, Music and Lyrics by Santino DeAngelo
The course of true art never did run smooth.
Set upon an Elizabethan stage, this is the long-awaited night of "The Fooling”, a whimsical rite of passage for all Elizabethan fools. Tonight the audience will meet Clown, the bawdy master-fool of the age, and his apprentice-fool, Student, an idealistic youth. Together they have been assigned to a retelling of The Comedies of Shakespeare, but when it's discovered that neither know anything of their subject, the Bard's most iconic characters (and the audience) get caught up in a wickedly-smart satire about the true nature of art and comedy.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/foolerie
MANUEL VERSUS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
Book by Noemi de la Puente, Music by David Davila & Howard Post, Lyrics by Noemi de la Puente & David Davila
A musical comedy about illegal immigration.
Inspired by the true story of a Princeton Undergrad who was an undocumented immigrant, and got a Rhodes scholarship to study Ancient Literature at Oxford. The Statue of Liberty wants America to be happy. Manuel wants to be a Classics Professor. Is that so much to ask? Apparently, yes. Latin music and American pop, rock, and gospel infuse the score. No one is spared in this zany political comedy that pulls no punches (pun intended) about immigration reform.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/manuel
POPE! AN EPIC MUSICAL
Book and Lyrics by Justin Moran; Music by Christopher Pappas
Kicking mass and taking confessions.
A popular Pope is framed for a heinous crime and banished from the Vatican. The public, blinded by the media frenzy, allow a tyrannical archbishop to sweep in and seize power. His iron fist quickly tightens and armies of robotic altar-boys stalk the streets. With fear spreading, the world is crying out for a hero… and only one Pope can answer the call! When good and evil collide in a Shakespearean power struggle lines must be drawn, sides must be taken, and confrontations must be musical!
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/pope
Book and additional lyrics by George D. Nelson; Music and lyrics by Jordan Kamalu
A love story that isn’t spoiled by the trailer.
Katy may live in a tiny trailer park, but that doesn't stop her from having enormous dreams. As a single mother, living with her own single mother, she does all she can to get her son out of their "single wide" situation. This includes avoiding all men, especially the type who left her there in the first place. But when her son befriends the reclusive new move-in two trailers down, she sees something different in him that makes her take a second look.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/singlewide
SPOT ON THE WALL
Book and Lyrics by Kevin Jaeger; Music by Alex Mitchell
Lost inside the art of memory.
Spot on the Wall tells the story of one family’s search for expression and empathy inside a museum. Paul Hunter, a talented photographer, is about to have an exhibition of his work at the museum—but when his artwork focuses on his mother’s recent lost battle with cancer, his family finds out how difficult it can be to face your pain and your past. With allusions to Greek mythology and a contemporary score, Spot on the Wall reminds us to delve into the ugly truth and look for the beauty.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/spotonthewall
THE CALICO BUFFALO
Book by EJ Stapleton; Music and Lyrics by Peter Stopschinski & EJ Stapleton
The greatest journey is the one you take to find yourself.
"We can always use a brand new legend in this old world and now we have one. The Calico Buffalo." Liz Smith, syndicated columnist — When the first-born son to the chief of all buffalo arrives covered with the markings of a calico kitten, the chief, his son, and the entire buffalo nation are catapulted into the adventure of a lifetime. The Calico Buffalo is a compelling theatrical experience. From the first musical moment, Grammy Award-winning composer Peter Stopschinski lets us know we are in for one wonder-filled ride.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/calicobuffalo
Book, Lyrics, and Music by Yianni Papadimos; Music by Andrew Bridges and Ben Chavez
Things aren't always black and blue.
One year after their friend Gabriel’s death, four young men return to the lake house they had spent their summers growing up in. Gabriel’s family has finally put the house up for sale and the boys have come to say goodbye. However, the tranquility of November on the Lake Erie coastline does not linger for long as tensions rise. Fingers are pointed about the night of their friend’s tragic death. Moments of silence are broken onstage as the minds of these young men explode into song.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/cobalteans
WHAT DO CRITICS KNOW?
Book by Matthew Gurren; Music and Lyrics by Matthew Gurren & James Campodonico
It's nothing personal, just show business.
In a strange turn of fate, the three most powerful theater critics, who have taken countless shows off the stage, must now put one on. With time running short, they enlist the help of a struggling Broadway writer, Nathan Wood, who has had a string of critically-panned flops and needs a comeback. Can the critics pull through despite their overly critical natures? Can cooperation, harmony and perhaps even love exist between an artist and a critic? Find out if poetic justice will be served cold or in a warm review in What Do Critics Know?
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/whatdocriticsknow
NYMF 2015 INVITED PRODUCTION SELECTIONS
(additional productions to be announced)
Book by Vynnie Meli with Greg Cooper; Music by The Acappella Company; Lyrics by The Acappella Company
A musical about finding your own voice.
A disillusioned teen idol from a small southern town returns home on the eve of the centennial celebration and realizes he’s left more behind than gospel and grits. But, is what Jeremiah feels love or just nostalgia? His return upends the town. Aunt Leona takes advantage and shines a light on her veteran gospel group as they put a new spin on old time gospel. She comforts Jeremiah saying, “You have to make your own music, sing your own song.”The message of this romantic comedy is reflected in the style of it's music–acappella.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/acappella
Book and Lyrics by Deborah Haber; Music by Casey Filiaci
A musical journey of survival.
Moses Man powerfully portrays the indomitable spirit of survival as it recounts the true saga of a Holocaust survivor, chronicling his perilous nine-year journey throughout Europe, Cyprus, Palestine, and Africa before finally finding freedom and home in America. Moses Man, based on the historically significant implications of the displacement of those facing persecution during the Holocaust, also reflects the contemporary dilemmas faced by each of us, aiming to instigate consideration, conversation and education.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/mosesman
SONGS FOR THE FALLEN
Book by Sheridan Harbridge; Music by Sheridan Harbridge & Basil Hogios; Lyrics by Sheridan Harbridge & Basil Hogios
Good girls don’t make history.
Paris 1847. Songs for the Fallen takes you through the extraordinary life of Marie Duplessis–courtesan, party girl, liar and legend–from desperate poverty to her meteoric rise as the most notorious woman in France. Part vaudeville, part cabaret, part MTV-goes-Baroque, it is the wild and hilarious tale of a woman who knew one thing: good girls don’t make history. The unbelievable tale that inspired The Lady of the Camellias, La Traviata and Moulin Rouge!Songs for the Fallen is an invitation to the decadent final party of the real-life woman.
Learn more: http://www.nymf.org/songsforthefallen
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An additional slate of productions, special events, free events, developmental readings and educational panel discussions will be announced at a future date.
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