The annual Manhattan festival allows producers and regional companies the chance to view emerging works, which are presented in 45-minute staged readings. Many of the musicals nurtured by NAMT find life regionally, Off-Broadway and on Broadway. The 2009 festival will run Oct. 19-20 at New World Stages.
Gordon Greenberg will stage the new musical Band Geeks!, which he co-authored with Tommy Newman, Gaby Alter and Mark Allen. Musical director is David Loud. The cast will include Jared Gertner (Ordinary Days), Aaron J. Albano (Spelling Bee), Alex Brightman (Wicked), Adam Chanler-Berat (Next To Normal), Patti Murin (Xanadu) and Griffin Matthews (Papermill’s 1776).
"Band Geeks! is a high-stepping tribute to high school marching bands and misfits everywhere," according to press notes. "With just nine members and dwindling funds, the Cuyahoga High Marching Beavers are close to extinction. When a troubled athlete is relegated to their ranks, Elliott, the tuba-playing band captain and Laura, his best friend, must find a way to unite the band, overcome their pride and embrace their inner geek."
Victoria Bussert will direct the Creighton Irons and Sean Mahoney musical Factory Girls, which features musical direction by Matt Hinkley. Casting includes Carrie Manolakos (Mamma Mia!), Anika Larsen (Xanadu, Avenue Q), David Larsen (Billy Elliot), Steel Burkhardt (Hair), Kate Ferber, Lindsay Mendez (Everyday Rapture), Dana Steingold (Spelling Bee), Brian Sutherland (1776) and Cortney Wolfson (Legally Blonde).
"At the dawn of the American Industrial Revolution in 1844, Sarah Bagley leaves her New Hampshire farm to work, socialize, and write with thousands of young women in the growing textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts. When conditions deteriorate, Sarah risks everything they have gained to fight the 'soulless corporation.' With rock, funk and folk music, Factory Girls captures the passion and upheaval of a time in American history when, for better or worse, our country chose to leave the farm behind." Oliver Butler will direct the Clay McLeod Chapman and Kyle Jarrow musical Hostage Song, with musical direction by Nathan Leigh. Casting will be announced shortly.
"Bound and blindfolded in a war-torn country, two hostages take refuge in music, memory and each other in this new indie-rock musical. But the further into their fantasy world the two of them go, the more the space between reality and escape blurs."
Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler's How Can You Run with a Shell On Your Back? will be staged by Kent Nicholson, with musical direction by Deborah Abramson. The cast will include Spring Awakening veterans Gideon Glick and Emma Hunton.
"After-school detention becomes an adventure when a stranger shows six students the power of a good story. The Tortoise and the Hare, The Ant and the Grasshopper, Androcles and the Lion... Aesop's timeless fables take an entertaining turn in this new musical that reveals universal truths through appealing, age-old allegories."
The Susan DiLallo, Stephen Weiner and Peter Mills musical Iron Curtain will have direction by Cara Reichel with musical direction by Remy Kurs. Casting will be announced shortly.
"New York, 1954: two hapless songwriters are kidnapped by the KGB, brought to Moscow, and forced to 'fix' a Communist Propaganda musical. Iron Curtain is a madcap farce filled with divas and dominatrixes, secrets and spies, and mishaps and misdirects, as our heroes desperately try to get back home."
Barbara Anselmi and Brian Hargrove's It Shoulda Been You will star Tony winners Harriet Harris (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cry-Baby) and Debra Monk (Curtains, Redwood Curtain), as well as Lisa Howard (Spelling Bee) and Sebastian Arcelus (Jersey Boys). Michael Bush directs with T.O. Sterrett as musical director.
"In a world where nothing is what it seems — religions collide, plots are hatched, pacts are made, and secrets exposed - hope is found where you least expect it. Is it Iran? Is it Iraq? No, it’s just the Steinberg Wedding. Come see the truth unveiled."
Sara Cooper and Zach Redler's Memory Is the Mother of All Wisdom, which was recently staged at the Barrington Stage Company, will reunite its cast and creative team including director Joe Calarco, musical director Vadim Feichner and cast members Leslie Kritzer (A Catered Affair, Rooms) and Catherine Cox (Baby).
"Memory Is The Mother Of All Wisdom is a two-person comic tragedy about the troubled relationship of a woman who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and her estranged daughter who moves back home to take care of her."
"In this Victorian thriller, the PennyWise Music Hall is home to an illusionist who saws women in half while real murders are taking place on the streets outside. Reporter Chester Talbot sets out to unravel the story, but what he sees may not be what it seems."
While the Festival is created for producers and industry members, the general public can obtain free, stand-by tickets the day of the festival.
For more information visit NAMT.
Musicals previously presented in NAMT's Festival of New Musicals include Vanities, Dangerous Beauty, Emma, The Gypsy King, The Story of My Life, Tinyard Hill, The Drowsy Chaperone, Thoroughly Modern Millie, I Love You Because, Songs for A New World, Striking 12, Summer of '42, Ace, Children of Eden, Harold and Maude, Honk! and Meet John Doe.
Founded in 1985 and based in New York City, The National Alliance for Musical Theatre is a national service organization dedicated exclusively to musical theatre. Kathy Evans is the executive director for the organization with members sprinkled throughout 33 states and six countries.