New York Musical Theater Festival 2010, September 27 to October 17
Perhaps “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding” will not be the next “Sound of Music” but it is one of the new musicals being given full productions this year in the New York Musical Theater Festival, an annual three-week event that since 2004 has presented some 200 new musicals. Several have gone on to Broadway and Off-Broadway including “Altar Boyz,” “[title of show],” Yank, and, most famously, Pulitzer- and Tony-winner, “Next to Normal.”
The 2010 festival features 27 full productions, including “Without You,” by Anthony Rapp, one of the original stars of “Rent,” based on his best-selling memoir.
Below is the full roster. For specific dates of performances and other details, go to the NYMF website and also check out the NYMF calendar. Which of these are good enough to transfer? The answer can be summed up by the title of one of the shows this year: “The Great Unknown.”
Above Hell’s Kitchen
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jonathan Spottiswoode
As his appetite for women threatens to consume him, a tortured rock musician wrestles with his inability to stay faithful during a series of gothic therapy sessions. Jonathan Spottiswoode and his cult band, Spottiswoode & His Enemies, bring a sexy expressionist twist to Don Giovanni that is at once comic, tragic and lyrical, and tinged with jazz, blues, rock, gospel, classical and punk. They say love is a game â€“ so who can you blame for playing?
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Ned Massey
He was dubbed â€œthe next Dylan, the next Springsteenâ€ by the man who discovered Dylan and Springsteen. So why have you never heard of Ned Massey? Maybe you should blame God, The Fates, or Ned himself. After a troubled childhood and an unfulfilled shot at fame, a self-destructive musician questions faith and explores the power of forgiveness. With raw honesty and dark wit, Bloodties charts the meteoric trajectory of a life propelled by divine messages.
Book by Kelly Holden-Bashar and Joel McCrary; Music by Allen Simpson; Lyrics and Additional Material by Brian D. Bradley, Lisa Fredrickson, Kelly Holden-Bashar, Joel McCrary, Edi Patterson, Steve Purnick, Cory Rouse, Allen Simpson, Ryan Smith, Peter Allen Vogt, and Matthew Stephen Young
Barefooted tap-dancing Hobbits! An â€˜80s power ballad by the rightful heir of Gondor! A sequin-studded cabaret number by the Balrog, a dark creature of shadow and flame! And much more! This hilarious musical parody of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings, follows all of the events from the beloved epic adventure with one big difference: this time, it’s funny.
Fingers and Toes
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Logan Medland
Tap virtuoso and chronic womanizer â€œToesâ€ Macgrath and relationship-tormented pianist â€œFingersâ€ St. Claire have less than two weeks to create a song and dance show about Love for a big audition with a Broadway producer. But when triple-threat Molly Molloy joins them to play their ingÃ©nue, their plans spiral out of control as real romantic entanglements turn the creative process upside down. It’s a modern day Singin’ in the Rain!
Book and Lyrics by Charles Leipart; Music by Eric Schorr
Based on the Stephen Mitchell novella The Frog Prince
A very scientific princess meets a frog she is determined to turn into a prince â€“ with the assistance of a troupe of Celestial Tap-Dancing Taoist Masters. In this saucy â€˜n’ swingin’ new musical, will Clementine get the Prince of her dreams, or will she find herself in bed with just another horny toad? It’s a bedtime story with a bawdy twist!
The Great Unknown
Book by William Hauptman; Music and Lyrics by Jim Wann
Spring, 1869: one-armed Civil War hero John Wesley Powell seeks to unite a torn nation with an unprecedented expedition through the Grand Canyon. Powell and his brother Walter, an Andersonville POW survivor, sail down the perilous Colorado River with a crew of war veterans, while his wife Emma Dean becomes ensnared in expansionist politics. What lies in the undiscovered land ahead? With a score incorporating bluegrass, country, folk, and environmental elements, The Great Unknown is an American musical adventure.
The History of War
Book by Chip Zien; Music by Deborah Abramson; Lyrics by Amanda Yesnowitz
The History Of War is spun from the imagination of a 12 year old boy – a megalomaniac in training. As he struggles with homework assignments and peculiar visions, he conjures up seven of the most famous tyrants of all time. They did horrible things. He wants to do horrible things. His parents are worried. …and everybody sings! … well, almost everybody. Reality and pathology neatly converge in this terrifyingly subversive new musical.
I Got Fired: A Semi-Autobiographical Sort-of-True Revenge Musical
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Keith Varney
Aspiring writer Keith has been a temp in a wacky office’s soul crushing cubicle for six years. When an evil nemesis emerges to squash his coffee-stained hopes and dreams, Keith makes a decision that causes him to get summarily firedâ€¦ with security escorts and everything! Naturally, he retaliates by writing a musical. Based on a true-ish story. Some names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Jay Alan Zimmerman’s Incredibly Deaf Musical
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jay Alan Zimmerman
When the noisy buzz of progressive deafness steals away his songs, Jay becomes one pissed-off composer. As Jay struggles to hold onto the disappearing notes, can his wife and son get him to strive for something other than fame or death? A wild pop-rock-rap-dance-classical-disco-experimental-sign language-multimedia mash-up, Jay Alan Zimmerman’s Incredibly Deaf Musical is the heartwarming, booty-shaking autobiography of a man trying everything he can to keep the music flying.
The Most Ridiculous Thing You Ever Hoid
Book by Andy Seiler, Jim Beckerman, and Fred Wemyss; Lyrics by Jim Beckerman and Andy Seiler; Music by Jim Beckerman
Based on the “Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel” radio series by Nat Perrin, Arthur Sheekman, George Oppenheimer, and Tom McKnight.
Who can forget Groucho, Chico and Harpo, those three mirth-makers of the silver screen? No one, that’s who! But when the Marx Brothers are let loose in an unsuspecting radio studio, the airwaves will never be safe for detergent commercials again! Featuring all new songs and bursting with mayhem, it’s a laugh-filled, tune-filled, lunacy-filled extravaganza!
My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding
Book, Music, and Lyrics by David Hein and Irene Carl Sankoff
Claire’s new job gives her the opportunity to discover her sexuality, rediscover her faith, and find the strength to come out to her teenage son, her ex-husband, and her homophobic mother. Will same-sex marriage be legalized? Will Claire get to marry the woman she loves? MMLJWW is for every mother who has come out to her son as a lesbianâ€¦ and a Jew. For every girlfriend who has met her future lesbian in-lawsâ€¦ at Hooters. And for anyone who’s ever been in love. The hit of the 2009 Toronto Fringe that made Canadian theater history, this dual mother-and-son coming-of-age tale, based on a true story, will make you laugh, cry, and celebrate love in all its forms.
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Alex Wyse
When Max and his boyfriend Calder find themselves in a hospital awaiting Calder’s heart transplant, the nurse supplies them with a mind-altering pill that slows time, turning one minute into one hour. Fueled by a sweeping contemporary score, Nighttime Traffic follows three characters through a world of thumping music, altered perceptions, and unanticipated inspiration as they spin minutes into moments and search for solace in unsettling times.
Book by Maria S. Schlatter; Music and Lyrics by Glen Roven
Based on the film Gazon Maudit
Pandora, a suburban housewife, and her serial-philanderer husband, Oliver, have their love and lives turned upside down the day that Mona, a Lesbian-American handywoman, walks through their door. In this raucous, contemporary sex farce, Mona and Oliver face off in a fight to win the greatest prize of all, the love of the beautiful Pandora.
Concept by Matthew Neff; Music by Michelangelo Sosnowitz
Directed and Choreographed by Matthew Neff
The busy gray city streets disappear as a homeless man conjures a fantasy world where he becomes a carnival barker. All eyes are on him as he presents a trio of dolls: The Solider, The Ballerina and the jester, Petrouchka. As he commands their tale of love and jealousy to unfold, reality and make-believe blur tragically in this dramatic dance musical based on a 1911 Ballet Russe production.
POPart: The Musical
Book and Lyrics by Daryl Lisa Fazio; Music by Aaron McAllister
When 18-year old klutzy outcast, Kitty Katz, leaves her suburban gated community for the Ghetto Art School, she finds art’s underbelly to be both seamy and spectacular. With her new friends â€“ an ultra-cool street artist and a kind-hearted boy-genius â€“ Kitty forges through the school’s cutthroat and preposterous melÃ©e, yearning to be a true artist. Will she find fame? The ghost of Willem de Kooning? Or something real?
Shine! The Horatio Alger Musical
Book by Richard Seff; Music by Roger Dean Anderson; Lyrics by Lee Goldsmith
Lower Manhattan, 1876. Join Dick as he rises from penniless bootblack to budding entrepreneur with a little bit of luck, a little bit of charm, and a whole lot of hard work. Based on Horatio Alger’s beloved tale, Dick’s adventures bring him face to face with scheming ex-convicts, vicious comic villains, kind benefactors, and a host of colorful characters in this rags-to-riches romp for the whole family.
Show Choir! â€“ The Musical
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Donald Garverick and Mark McDaniels
International pop phenomenon The Symphonic Sensations rose from small town high school show choir to big time show biz success with an explosion of tight harmonies and jazz hands. As the music bio TV documentary â€œBeyond the FaÃ§adeâ€ follows their thrilling path to fame and adoration by millions, the highs and lows of celebrity are exposed in this musical comedy exploration of America’s favorite extracurricular activity.
Book and Lyrics by In Seon Park; Music by Chang Wook Ma
Sergeant Sangho doesn’t bully his squad now that he’s distracted by his flirty new pen pal, Eunhee. He doesn’t know, however, that his dream girl is really a guy â€“ the friend of Private Chuljae, who’s tired of the sergeant’s grumpy moods at boot camp. But when Eunhee’s girlfriend is accidentally drawn into the deception, what started as a simple prank snowballs into a mess of heart-breaking proportions. It’s a rambunctious comedy about mistaken identities, love, and the lengths to which a soldier will go for an extra ration of Choco-pie!
The 2010 Selection of NYMF’s Production Exchange with the Daegu International Musical Festival, presented in Korean with English supertitles
The Tenth Floor
Book by Sara Cooper; Music and Lyrics by J. Sebastian Fabal
Locked inside the Tenth Floor, the Miami-Dade Correctional Facility’s juvenile division, 16-year-old Victor Alvarez escapes into fantasy to escape the harsh realities of prison and his home life. Fueled by a contemporary rock, hip hop, and salsa-influenced score, this high-energy musical follows Victor as he struggles to come to terms with both the truth of his present and the ramifications of his past â€“ or end up just another ruined kid.
Tess, a new rock opera
Book, Music and Lyrics by Annie Pasqua; Additional Book, Music and Lyrics by Jenna Pasqua
Based on Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Tess’s spirited and innocent life unravels when her impoverished family’s desperate need to connect to a once mighty bloodline results in an act of violence and shame. Desired by two men, forsaken by Victorian society, and burdened by secrets and duty, Thomas Hardy’s dark heroine struggles to remain pure in a stained world as she is pulled towards her ultimate fate.
Book by Kaethe Fine, Nat Bennett and Karen Bishko; Music and Lyrics by Karen Bishko
Meet Leah. She’s a songwriter who’s inappropriate, talented, obsessed, loyal, habitually unrequited in loveâ€¦ and who can’t stop eating cake! When her best friend suggests she needs psychological help, Leah marches into a handsome therapist’s office only to discover she’s still looking for love in all the wrong places. Forced to revisit the hilarious and heartbreaking dysfunction of her past, one woman’s quest to find romance becomes a journey to find herself.
Things As They Are
Book and Lyrics by John Dietrich; Music by Jonathan Comisar
This sweeping portrait of Dorothea Lange examines an artist’s journey as complex as the history captured in her work. Best known as the photographer behind the iconic Depression Era image â€œMigrant Mother,â€ Dorothea fights for the lives of the people she photographs, while constantly torn between the demanding roles of wife, mother, and artist. A woman ahead of her time, living during a tumultuous period in American history, will her relentless devotion to her subjects undermine all hope of keeping her world in balance?
Book by Christy Hall; Music by Jeff Thomson; Lyrics by Jordan Mann
Adrift in their lives, two friends reconnect after ten years and set out to fulfill a childhood promise: to hike the Appalachian Trail together from beginning to end. Over the six-month, 2000-mile journey, past and present intertwine as the two face both the elements and the ghosts that haunt their memories. As they sift through the ashes of their tumultuous history, a bond of brotherhood struggles to be reborn.
Book by Allan Shapiro and Gary Holmes; Music and Lyrics by J.C. Johnson and friends
George, unofficial mayor of 137th Street and a self-proclaimed expert on love, believes it should never be taken seriously. He finally meets his match when he befriends a down-on-her-luck stranger who is not what she seems. A funny and heart-warming look at the romantic travails of three couples learning about love in 1930’s Harlem, this musical features a tuneful and jazzy period score by Harlem Renaissance songwriter J.C. Johnson, a colleague of artists such as Fats Waller, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters and Billie Holiday.
Book, Music, and Lyrics by David Rossmer and Steve Rosen
Josh Cohen wants you to know he hates Valentine’s Day. This year is no exception: he’s still unlucky in love, working a job he hates, and his apartment just got robbed of everything except a Neil Diamond CD. But when an unexpected treasure arrives in his mailbox, he’s forced to confront his biggest enemy: his own conscience. Woven with songs in the style of Neil Diamond, V-Day is about doing the right thing, even when it sucks.
Vote for Me: A Musical Debate
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola
Tea Parties, oil spills, death panels…and that’s just the opening statements. In this musicalized Presidential debate where you pick the winner, the candidates dance and sing their way through the three-ring circus of American politics, campaign trails, and family life in the spotlight. Hum along and cast your vote to determine the outcome of the show–and the future of America! The writers of College The Musical (NYMF 2008) return to the festival with this hysterical world-premiere political spoof.
By Anthony Rapp, featuring Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson
Anthony Rapp presents his turbulent journey through the convergence of two life-changing events: the early days of Rent â€“ including the untimely passing of Jonathan Larson â€“ and the illness and death of his own mother. Based on his New York Times best-selling memoir, Rapp uses a mix of original music and songs by R.E.M. and Larson in a stunning one-man show about grief, hope, and triumph.