PUBLISHED: FRIDAY, JULY 5, 2013, 2:00 AM
A dude with a death wish. Dancing duo Vernon and Irene Castle. An alien from Planet Homo.
That’s but a taste of what’s on tap at the New York Musical Theatre Festival — an eclectic buffet of song and dance that prides itself on giving artists at every level an affordable showcase. It’s also where “Next to Normal” ran before winning Tonys and a Pulitzer.
Now in its 10th year, this summer’s three-week celebration boasts 24 full productions, special events and readings, plus familiar Broadway names.
Anthony Rapp (“Rent”) stars as a struggling writer in “The Water Dream.” Susan Blackwell, who was in the NYMF production of “[title of show],” gets spiky as a disgraced Olympian-turned high school coach in “Volleygirls.” And “Memphis” Tony nominee Chad Kimball takes on the title character — played by Christian Slater in the 1997 film — in the moody “Julian Po.”
“I play a guy who rides into a small town on his way to kill himself,” says Kimball. “He becomes a therapist of sorts to the people and helps unify them.”
The 2013 fest is more unified than ever, with a so-called NYMF hub at Signature Center (480 W. 42nd St.).
“We hope that this will change the entire experience of the festival for audiences,” says executive director Isaac Robert Hurwitz. “That includes making it easier to see many shows, creating a sense of community and improving the experience for artists.”
NYMF runs July 8-28. Tickets are $25 at nymf.org or by calling (212) 352-3101.