The Aug. 25-26 event is patterned after the annual Theater League new musicals festival in Kansas City. In association with the Academy of New Musical Theatre (ANMT) and Cabrillo Music Theatre, the Festival will take place at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. The 2007 Thousand Oaks Festival of New Musicals will offer staged readings of:
The Grouch's Daughter by Jack Helbig and Mark Hollmann (composer of Urinetown). Tickets for the entire festival — all four staged readings plus workshops, discussions and a festival party — are $24, on sale at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza box office and all Ticketmaster locations.
According to Theater League notes, "Theater League's Festival of New Musicals is for theatre lovers who want to be present at the birth of great new musicals. The mission of the festival is to share the development process of new musical works with public audiences and Los Angeles-based artists."
Writers and composers from as far away as the U.K. and Australia submitted works that were rated by a panel of judges. Out of these submissions, four new musical theatre pieces have been selected to be performed in staged readings by local actors. The festival brings the writers and composers to hear their work before a live audience and receive feedback as they tailor their work toward a full production.
Festival artistic director Chris McCoy, who launched a similar Theater League effort in Kansas City, explained the Festival's philosophy: "I know that Broadway is the goal for any theatre writer or composer, but I think it's important to remember that theatre is alive and well all across the country. More and more regional theatres are looking for work that reflects the interests and values of their communities. I think that developing new work with the goal of finding alternative paths to success can only help the theatre industry nationwide."
The festival will feature staged readings produced by ANMT and Cabrillo and presented by Theater League.
The 2007 Thousand Oaks Festival of New Musicals
The Grouch's Daughter with book by Helbig, music and lyrics by Hollmann, and inspired by Menander's Dyskolos (the Scherr Forum Aug. 26 at 2 PM and 7 PM). "The small farming village of Phyle, on the outskirts of Athens, is in the grip of a terrible drought. Clemnon, the town's grouchiest, miserly resident owns the only working well and charges ridiculous prices for water. His nemesis, Xanthippe, sets out to free the town from Clemnon's stronghold by offering a sacrifice to the gods. When Clemnon's daughter and Xanthippe's son fall in love, their forbidden romance is put through trials until half the cast find themselves at the bottom of Clemnon's well. This retelling of Menander's Dyskolos is refreshingly unique with a contemporary and creative score." *
Founded in 1976, Theater League "is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, community-based performing arts organization dedicated to the development of professional legitimate theatre, both as a cultural and an educational resource. Serving its constituent communities by producing and presenting Broadway musicals, plays and new works in local performing arts centers, the League enriches the lives of more than 300,000 theatergoers annually, made possible by the support of the organization's 35,000-plus members, who subscribe to Theater League's cultural offerings."
Theater League produces and presents professional theatre series in a number of diverse communities around the country, including Thousand Oaks, CA. League founder and president Mark Edelman is a member of the League of American Theatres and Producers and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre.
A two-day pass for the Thousand Oaks Festival of New Musicals is $24 for the general public and $19 for Theater League subscribers. Tickets are available at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Box Office, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard. Tickets are also available through Ticketmaster.com or at (805) 583-8700 or (213) 480-3232.
For more information regarding the festival, visit www.TheaterLeague.org/NewMusicals.