The 14th annual New York Musical Festival (NYMF) is almost here, and with a lineup of shows so varied and so imaginative, they have to be seen to be believed. There’s another reason to head to NYMF this year: It’s a chance to catch some of your favorite Broadway stars in a more intimate setting, and see them doing what many of them love most—developing brand new work.
The festival will run July 10–August 6 at locations around New York City. Click here for more information on the festival and on the links below for specific show details.
Matthew McConaughey vs. The Devil: An American Myth
Ever wondered how Matthew McConaughey went from rom-com regular to serious, Oscar-winning dramatic actor? Emilie Landmann, Carrie Morgan, and Jonathan Quesenberry’s new musical has the answer: a demon in a dress with a deal too good to be true. The Faustian comedy features an all-star cast that includes Lesli Margherita (Matilda The Musical, Dames at Sea) as the Demon, Wayne Wilcox (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Normal Heart) as McConaughey, Jennifer Blood (Gentleman’s Guide to Murder, Matilda) as his agent Penny, and Max Crumm (Disaster!, Grease) as Woody Harrelson.
Performances run July 10–16 at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row.
The Goree All-Girl String Band
Lauren Patten has garnered a reputation for choosing musicals with female-driven stories, first with Fun Home on Broadway, in which she played Joan and Medium Alison, and then as the earnest and dedicated soccer coach in Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves Off-Broadway. This time, she’s taking on the role of a string player with a record—a criminal record—in Michael Bradley and Artie Sievers’ The Goree All-Girl String Band. The new musical is inspired by the true story of an all-female prison band and their journey to redemption through music.
Performances run July 24–29 at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row.
Wilson Jermaine Heredia, who won the 1996 Tony Award for originating the role of Angel in Rent on Broadway, stars in a reading of Pedro Pan. Offering a new perspective on what it means to be an immigrant in America, the new musical is based on the real-life story of Operación Pedro Pan, which saw thousands of Cuban minors sent to the U.S between 1960–62. Stephen Anthony Elkins’ score ranges between the rhythms of Havana to classic New York soul. Rebecca Aparicio is the book writer.
Performances run July 12–19 at Playwrights Horizons Rehearsal Studio.
Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical
For such a young actor, Brynn Williams has racked up a lot of Broadway credits: Bye Bye Birdie, 13, and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, to name a few. The young star is among the cast of Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical, which tells the true story of the activists who rode buses in mixed groups during Jim Crow. With a book by Richard Allen and music and lyrics by Taran Gray, the musical details an important moment in American history and offers a portrait of those who helped change it.
Performances will run August 1–5 at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row.
The Fourth Messenger
What does it mean to be enlightened in this day and age? Tanya Shaffer and Vienna Teng’s The Fourth Messenger explores modern spiritual awakening through the story of Mama Sid, a woman so enlightened, and with a worldwide following, she could be Buddha. Until a stranger threatens to unearth her mysterious past and expose her secrets. Nancy Anderson, who was Glenn Close’s Norma Desmond understudy in the recent Broadway revival of Sunset Boulevard, stars as Mama Sid.
Performances run July 18–23 at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row.
The electro-pop musical about sexual discovery at Bible camp is back. After a hit run at La MaMa in 2011, Bekah Brunstetter, Natalie Elizabeth Weiss, and Travis Stewart’s teen lesbian love story receives a NYMF concert staging with a cast that includes Spring Awakening’s Remy Zaken, American Psycho’s Krystina Alabado, and Billy Lewis, Jr. (national tours of Hair, Spring Awakening, We Will Rock You).
Performances run July 30-August 1 at The Green Room 42 at Yotel.
A Wall Apart
Lord Graham Russell, who is best known as the guitarist and singer-songwriter for the rock band Air Supply, debuts his first-ever musical A Wall Apart. With a book by Sam Goldstein and Craig Clyde, the story follows the lives of three brothers in East Berlin during the building of the infamous wall. The cast of Broadway regulars includes Maddie Shea Baldwin (Bright Star), Leslie Becker (Amazing Grace), Jordan Bondurant (A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder), and Darren Ritchie (Wonderland).
Performances run July 25–30 at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre row.
NYMF features productions, concerts, readings, and special events. Visit nymf.org/tickets to purchase passes and for more information.