By Philippe Bowgen
A mix of cutting-edge, funny and touching new musicals are premiering all over New York as part of the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival honorarily chaired by Tony Award-winning director Jack O'Brien.
O'Brien said of the festival, in a statement, "[NYMF is] the very font of creativity currently nurturing our stages and our industry with a nearly unbroken series of exciting, promising works. No one sings out quite like NYMF...long may she wave!"
NYMF continues through July 27 at several locations throughout New York City.
This listing also includes two autism-friendly performances as part of the The Autism Theatre Initiative (ATI) at the Theatre Development Fund (TDF).
Tickets, exact performance venues, times and more information are all available at nymf.org.
Book and Lyrics by Becca Anderson and Dan Marshall
Music by Julian Blackmore
Directed by Thomas Caruso July 9-13
"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-loving opponent from rival team, the 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!"
Featuring Alyse Alan Louis (Mamma Mia!), Alison Lea Bender, Todd Cerveris (South Pacific; Twentieth Century),Stephanie D'Abruzzo(Avenue Q), Khris Davis, Alexander Ferguson, Melody Madarasz, Will Roland (The Black Suits) and Jennifer Simard (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Shrek; Sister Act).
Somewhere With You
Book by Peter Zinn
Music and Lyrics by JT Harding
Directed by Peter Zinn
"Somewhere With You is a compellingly gritty, coming-of-age love story centering 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. A country soundtrack of hits and new songs accompanies this engaging storyline from songwriter JT Harding (including Chesney’s number one song “Somewhere with You” and Uncle Kracker’s “Smile”). While Somewhere With You centers around a love story between an aspiring country music singer and a recovering Meth addict, it is also one of the first to chronicle the experience of US soldiers based in Iraq in the early 2000s. The production captures the unique challenges, isolation, and emotional despair military members experienced during those initial tours in Iraq and continue to experience today in Afghanistan."
Featuring Emmy-nominated actor Jay Thomas ("Cheers," "Murphy Brown") Graham Scott Fleming , Katy Frame, Andrew Rothenberg, Anna Grace Barlow, Lauren Hoffmeier, Jonathan Judge-Russo, Joshua Wiles and Ashley Arnett.
Book and Lyrics by Frank Ceruzzi and Blake J. Harris
Music by Trent Jeffords
Directed by Richard J. Hinds
"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). 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" and a sprinkling of "Super Mario Bros." and you have a show that explores the ways in which our obsession with the virtual world has affected our ability to live in the real one. The show’s hip and memorable pop score is firmly rooted in musical theater."
Featuring Brenda Braxton, Jason C. Brown, Trey Harrington, Michael Mahany), Noah Marlowe, Alison Novelli, Heather Jane Rolff, Lucas Schultz, Barry Shafrin, Adam B. Shapiro, Perry Sherman and Bob Walton.
Deployed the Musical
Book, Music and Lyrics by Jessy Brouillard
Directed by Mindy Cooper
"With a soaring pop rock score and set against the epic backdrop of a military base in Baghdad, Deployed follows Emily's emotional journey. Our heroine develops an unlikely friendship with her interpreter, Laila, as she trains Iraqi women. Laila teaches Emily to appreciate others’ suffering and to realize the enemy she’s fighting is herself. When Emily finally lets go of her inner demons, a secret from the past comes back to wreak its revenge. They cannot forget...but can they forgive?"
Featuring Natalie Toro, Ashanti J’Aria, Kyle Robert Carter, Hanna Rose DeFlouri, Erik A. Gullberg, John D. Haggerty, Collin Lyle Howard, Adam Hyndman, Anna Lise Jensen, Clayton Jones, Janice Landry, Bryant Martin and Nina Negron.
Book, Music and Lyrics by Douglas J. Cohen
Directed by Igor Goldin
"The Gig is about a group of men from various walks of life, at different stages in their lives and careers, who get together to play music, just for fun. When an opportunity to play their first professional 'gig' in the Catskills presents itself, the results are funny, touching, and unexpected. Ultimately this musical is about pursuing your passion in life and begs the question, 'When was the last time you did something you really wanted?'"
Featuring Stephen Berger (Kinky Boots), Larry Cahn (The Graduate),Doug Eskew (The Color Purple, Five Guys Named Moe), Nick Gaswirth (A Christmas Story), Michael Minarik (Rock of Ages), Kevin Pariseau(Legally Blonde), Steve Routman ("The Wolf of Wall Street," "Inside Llewyn Davis"), and Bruce Sabath (Company, Hello Again), Dee Roscioli (Wicked), Kate Fahrner (Wicked) and Donna Vivino (Les Misérables, Wicked).
Coming of Age
Book, Music and Lyrics by Jon Provan
Directed by Ryan Pifher
"In Coming of Age 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."
Featuring Katy Blake (Evita), Maya Brettell (Beaches, the Musical –Signature Theatre DC), Ethan Haberfield (Mary Poppins), Ryan Jesse(Jersey Boys) Joe Paparella (Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar) and Susanna Rizzo.
Bayonets of Angst
Book by Rick Kunzi & Justin Zeppa
Music by Rick Kunzi & Adam Barnosky
Lyrics by Rick Kunzi
Directed by Michael Lluberes
"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!"
Featuring Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer, Paul Whitty (Once),Herndon Lackey (LoveMusik), Brian Charles Rooney (The Threepenny Opera), Michael Abbott, Jr. (Shotgun Stories), Ian Lowe (Murder for Two) and Ryan Andes (Big Fish).
Propaganda! The Musical
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Taylor Ferrera & Matt Webster
Directed by Nathan Brewer
"Ignorance may not always be bliss. Rookie doesn't know much about his family business – neither does the American Public – but covering up political scandals is in his blood. And now it's up to him to cover up the biggest scandal since Watergate! Armed with a clever idea, Rookie must fight the evil Agent X and save the bureau from doom. With an energetic, catchy score and maybe even a tap dancing president (though you didn't hear it from us…) Propaganda! The Musical is the ultimate tribute to the power of musical theatre."
Featuring MaryJoanna Grisso (West Side Story), Nick Mason, Kenita Miller (Xanadu, The Color Purple), Kenny Morris (Hairspray, Les Miserables), Benjiman Dallas Redding (West Side Story), Shaun Repito (West Side Story), Dale Sampson, Beth Cheryl Tarnow and Jillian Wallach (Legally Blonde).
Book by Paul Hodge and Michael Hodge
Music and Lyrics by Paul Hodge
Directed by Adam Arian
"It’s hard enough being president by yourself. Bill Clinton’s problem is that there are two of him. Literally.Clinton follows two Bill Clintons and Hillary on their quest to save their presidency and change America. With appearances by the Clintons, Newt Gingrich, Kenneth Star, Monica Lewinsky, Dick Morris and, of course, Eleanor Roosevelt."
Featuring Karl Kenzler (“House of Cards”, Mary Poppins, Twelve Angry Men); Duke LaFoon, Alet Taylor, Tom Souhrada (Mary Poppins), Kevin Zak (Silence! The Musical), Natalie Gallo (Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia), Kara Guy (Footloose; Hairspray, Crazy For You) and John Gregorio (Around the World in 80 Days).
Book and Lyrics by Rachel Dunham
Music by Shanon D. Whitelock
Directed by Dirk Hoult
"In 2011, Oprah closed the book on 25 years of dominating global television to focus on building her new empire, the Oprah Winfrey Network. It's not been going so well. Now, Oprahfication brings her back with a one-off retrospective episode to celebrate those years and present to you the ultimate interview.
The laughs are constant. Oprah's journey through Gospel, Motown, doo-wop, rock ballads, love ballads, and lullabies is a celebration of all things ‘O’ from her earliest beginnings to her wildest dreams."
Featuring Rachel Dunham.
Book and Lyrics by Aaron Ricciardi
Music by Kelly Hoppenjans
Directed by Travis Greisler
"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."
Featuring Leslie Alexander (The Boy From Oz, ”One Life to Live”), Jamie Bogyo, J. Anthony Crane (Sight Unseen), Holland Mariah Grossman, Luba Mason (The Will Roger’s Follies, Sunset Blvd, How To Succeed In Business….), Matthew Patrick Quinn, Jose Ramos, Michelle Rios (Man of La Mancha).
The Snow Queen (Autism Friendly Performance)
July 19 at 11:00 am
"How far would you go to save a friend?Be spirited away by this new musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fantastical coming-of-age adventure. Join Gerda on a dangerous and whimsical quest to save her best friend Kai before he is trapped forever in the Snow Queen's palace. Dare to enter a world where flowers sing, animals talk, and riddles yearn to be solved. With an original pop rock score, alluring ballads, urban steam punk flair, and the enigmatic Snow Queen, you'll soon see this is not your average bedtime story."
Rescue Rue (Autism Friendly Performance)
July 20 at 11:00 am
"Find your happily 'furever' after! 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. Fun for all ages!"