The Sundance of Musical Theater, finding the next Tony Award winners

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Over the past five years, the New York Musical Theater Festival has presented more than 175 new musicals including long-time hit Altar Boyz and Next to Normal, which opened on Broadway last month and has been nominated for 11 Tony Awards. A dozen new shows have been selected for the 2009 festival, which will run from September 28th through October 18th.

The shows are:

Academy
Book, Music and Lyrics by John Mercurio
Conceived and Developed by Andrew Kato
At St. Edward’s Academy, two seniors make a harmless bet on whether they can influence an unsuspecting freshman to break a few rules to succeed. But when the transaction goes recklessly out of control, the boys become entangled in a fight for their own academic and personal survival. Inspired by Goethe’s Faust, Academy is a pop chamber musical about boys learning to become men—and remaining true to themselves.

All Fall Down
Book by Greg Turner; Music and Lyrics by Selda Sahin
Golden boy Ben Little is embarking on his next great adventure: college. Everything comes crashing down, however, when he inexplicably jumps from the window of his sixth story dorm room. Astonishingly surviving the fall, Ben returns home—where nobody will talk about what happened or ask questions that might tear apart their picture-perfect world.

Fantasy Football: The Musical?
Book, Music and Lyrics by David Ingber
September 1991, New York City. An unemployed stats geek and a small-time bookie realize that their passion for sports is keeping them from maintaining a job or a girlfriend. Combining forces, they set out to create the ultimate sports fan experience—and, in the process, pull their lives together—in this “bromantic comedy” of a musical.

Fat Camp
Book by Randy Blair and Timothy Michael Drucker; Music by Matthew roi Berger; Lyrics by Randy Blair
Nothing is going to make rock-and-roll rebel Robert Grisetti stay at fat camp this summer. That is, except for one ex-Navy Seal father, two suspiciously cheery camp counselors, and a 12-foot barbed wire fence. Visit Camp Overton, a weight loss retreat for hefty teenagers, as secrets, sex, S’mores, and self-image collide in this new musical comedy exploring the trials and tribulations of being “the fat kid.”

Marrying Meg
Book, Music and Lyrics by Mark Robertson
Based on the play The Lass wi the Muckle Mou by Alexander Reid
It’s 1603 and renowned minstrel Thomas the Rhymer has set out to write his masterpiece—a heroic ballad of mortal derring-do. But when he is cursed by the Queen of Elfland with a tongue (and a quill) that cannot lie, and confronted with a world that refuses to play by storybook rules, Thomas’s heroic masterpiece seems determined to remain unwritten in this rollicking Scottish musical comedy.

Mo Faya
Book and Music by Eric Wainaina
Additional music by Joshua Mwai, Morris Otis Omollo and Helen Akoth Mtawali
DJ Lwanda’s voice rings out daily on local radio, leading and inspiring the Nairobi community of Kwa Maji. But Anna Mali, an avaricious real estate diva, craves the land beneath their slum. She seduces the fiery young DJ away with a job at a top nationwide station, and organizes a violent campaign to terrorize the people of Kwa Maji. When the government and media turn a blind eye to the decapitated bodies in the streets, DJ Lwanda must return home to expose the truth. But at what cost?

My Illustrious Wasteland
Book, Music and Lyrics by Tod Kimbro
Movie stars are sainted, anti-depressants are mandatory, and a tiny computer resides in every good citizen’s brain. Equal parts sci-fi epic, social satire, and high-energy rock show, My Illustrious Wasteland is an exhilarating ride through a wildly imagined future America. Watch as virtual lovers Mogs and Sunny encounter ghoulish tabloid reporters, pushy pop-up windows, terrorist hippies, drug-pushing clergy, and a ruthless Hollywood bad-boy President who presides over his perpetually distracted public.

Open the Dark Door
Book, Music and Lyrics by David Lefort Nugent
When the local executioner’s son, Skip, falls in love with the rebellious Luna, he and the other upstanding residents of Mortland, USA are shattered by a crisis of faith. Dangerous family secrets and festive beheadings are the norm in this haunting and darkly comic indie-rock musical examining a town crippled by fear and troubled by its past.

Plagued
Book and Lyrics by Vynnie Meli; Music by Casey L. Filiaci
Cinderella’s daughter Dusty just wants to study science and cure the Plague with the help of Scoop, a flirtatious chronicler, but her grandmother the Queen wants to marry her off to a rich old prince instead. Odds are against Dusty and Scoop, while Cinderella and Prince Charming fight the odds to stay in love. Will a fairy godmother come out of retirement to show them the way out of the Dark Ages?

Rainbow Around the Sun
Music and lyrics by Matthew Alvin Brown; Book and additional lyrics by Tom Stuart
Local rock hero Zachary Blasto struggles with personal demons as he relives both painful and joyous memories during a radio retrospective of his career. Based on the album and film of the same name, prog-rock concert meets musical theatre in this fast-paced dissection of broken hearts, life through a liquor bottle, and rebirth through loss.

Seeing Stars
Book by Shelley McPherson; Music by Don Breithaupt; Lyrics by Jeff Breithaupt
Eddie “Bare Knuckles” McSorley and “Gentleman” Joe Sullivan are two rival boxers in love with Jean, a feisty reporter, in this tough and tender original musical set in Hell’s Kitchen in the ’30s. A black-and-blue romance with a bruising climax and a colorful cast of pugs, thugs, and dames, Seeing Stars explores the world of “boys being boys” and the women who love them.

The Toymaker
Book, Music and Lyrics by Bryan Putnam
When Sarah’s marriage falls apart after two failed pregnancies, stories of a childless toy maker of the past propel her on a desperate search that spans the globe and time itself. In this tale of enduring passion and hope, Sarah’s quest to find a missing toy and solve the mysteries of a village destroyed by war lead her to a destiny of fulfillment she once thought impossible.

The productions will be taking place in several locations in midtown Manhattan.

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