FREEDOM RIDERS Among NYMF's 2016 Gala Award Winners

Broadway World

The New York Musical Festival (NYMF), previously known as The New York Musical Theater Festival, has announced the recipients of their 2016 Awards, given out at this year's Gala.

The NYMF/Stage Rights Publishing Award has been given to A SCYTHE OF TIME (book by Alan Harris, music and lyrics by Mark Alan Swanson); the NYMF Developmental Reading Series Award has been given to PLAY LIKE A WINNER (book and lyrics by Erik Johnke, music by David Wolfson) and the new NYMF BETA Award has been given to FREEDOM RIDERS (music and lyrics by Richard Allen and Taran Gray, book by Richard Allen).

Each November, NYMF holds a gala celebrating the year's artistic triumphs and honoring select individuals whose work has contributed to the continued vitality of musical theater. Held at the beautiful Edison Ballroom, a historic Times Square landmark, this one of a kind event is attended by an exclusive group of musical theater enthusiasts, Broadway artists, and leading members of the theater industry.

As the recipient of the NYMF/Stage Rights Publishing Award, A SCYTHE OF TIME will join the theatrical publishing catalog of Steele Spring Stage Rights and will now be available to professional and amateur companies throughout the United States and the World.

Steele Spring Stage Rights is the foremost independent theatrical publisher of intimate new musicals in the United States. Exploring new works has always been a vital part of the company's mission, and this partnership with NYMF helps further that goal. Founded by a playwright, Steele Spring Stage Rights is proud to represent new and inventive plays and musicals that have appeared off-Broadway, way off-Broadway and nowhere-near Broadway. Steele Spring Stage Rights wants to help authors share their distinctive voices with eager audiences around the world hungry for something beyond the ordinary.

Inspired by two stories from Edgar Allan Poe, A SCYTHE OF TIME takes us to London, 1881, where the public can't get enough of the infamously sensational Blackwood Articles, in which writers take their own lives and, in the process of dying, record their experience with death. On the other side of town, our heroine Signore Zenobia embarks on a quest to unravel the mystery of the articles in an effort to save her own magazine, and finds time pressing down on her as she composes a Blackwood Article of her very own. A bizarre tale of power and love, poetic justice and bloody revenge, A SCYTHE OF TIME shows us just how far one goes for fame and recognition in an absurd world. A SCYTHE OF TIME features a book by Alan Harris and music and lyrics by Mark Alan Swanson.

Each year, NYMF gives an award to the most promising new musical in the Developmental Reading Series. PLAY LIKE A WINNER will now receive automatic acceptance into NYMF's Next Link Project next season, as well as a $5,000 subsidy towards their participation, entrepreneurial training and networking opportunities. The writers also benefit from several months of ongoing dramaturgical support from NYMF's Programming Department.

In the fiercely competitive world of girls' soccer, how far would you go for your child? PLAY LIKE A WINNER is a satire of the soccer mom world based upon the award-winning play, "All About the Kids" by Caytha Jentis. At curtain, Coach Nick lies dead on center stage, impaled by a corner flag, while a chorus of soccer players sings in his honor. Kathy, a soccer mom, steps forward to tell us the story of how all this began. The book and lyrics of PLAY LIKE A WINNER were written by Erik Johnke, with music by David Wolfson.


The BETA category was introduced at the 2016 Festival, presenting new musicals in development that are "on their feet," exploring choreography or a specific design element, yet are not ready for production. Like the Developmental Reading Series Award, the BETA Award recipient, FREEDOM RIDERS, will be ensured automatic acceptance into NYMF's Next Link Project next season and will receive a $5,000 subsidy towards their participation, entrepreneurial training and networking opportunities. The writers also benefit from several months of ongoing dramaturgical support from NYMF's Programming Department.

FREEDOM RIDERS tells the story of Civil Rights activists as they risk their lives riding interstate buses in the extremely segregated South. Their end goal: to bring attention to the injustice of segregation in an action that would show the world an image of 'burning bus America' whose existence most Americans wanted to ignore. FREEDOM RIDERS proclaims the youthful and impatient voices of the American Civil Rights Movement. FREEDOM RIDERS features music and lyrics by Richard Allen and Taran Gray and a book by Richard Allen.

New York Musical Festival (NYMF) nurtures the creation, production, and public presentation of stylistically, thematically, and culturally diverse new musicals to ensure the future vitality of musical theater.

Now entering its fourteenth year, the Festival is the premier musical theater event in the world. The preeminent site for launching new musicals and discovering new talent, the Festival provides an affordable platform for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theater fans. More than 90 Festival shows have gone on to productions on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters in all 50 states, and in more than 20 countries worldwide. Festival alumni have received a wide array of awards including the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2013, NYMF received a special Drama Desk Award in recognition of its work "creating and nurturing new musical theater, ensuring the future of this essential art form."

New York Musical Festival is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. NYMF is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

The 2016 New York Musical Festival took place July 11 - August 7. For more information, visit