Composer-lyricist-librettist David Austin's musical — about an agoraphobic bookshop clerk/novelist (played by Gets) who falls in love with one of his characters (played by O'Hara) — will be seen, as is the NAMT festival custom, in a 45-minute presentation before industry people in midtown Manhattan.
The Writing Arthur NAMT festival cast will also include Pamela Myers (of Broadway's original Company), Tim Shew, Henry Hodges, Cassady Leonard, Colin Hanlon, and Courtney Balan, Jason Dula, Michele Gray, Heather Hawkins, Victor Hawks, Kevin Kern, Sean McCourt, Michael Mendiola, Anne Nathan, Kate Pazakis, Sascha Peralta-Ramos, Halle Petro, Liz Power, Caesar Samayoa, Charly Seamon, Brian Sears and Tom Stuart.
The musical is set in present day Boston and 19th-century Doolin, Ireland. According to NAMT, "Arthur Danby [Gets] has finally found the perfect woman [O'Hara]. Problem is, she's a fictional character in his novel. When a very real woman [Gasteyer] steps into his life, his worlds collide. Will Arthur fall deeper into the world he's created or allow life to write itself?"
Gets was a Tony Award nominee for Amour and starred in Off-Broadway's A New Brain and Merrily We Roll Along and TV's "Caroline in the City."
"Saturday Night Live" veteran Gasteyer played Elphaba in the Broadway and Chicago companies of Wicked, and was in Broadway's The Threepenny Opera and The Rocky Horror Show. O'Hara was a Tony Award nominee for The Light in the Piazza and The Pajama Game, and will star as Nellie in Lincoln Center Theater's South Pacific is 2008.
Attached to the property's future are producer Roy Miller (a producer of The Drowsy Chaperone, which was seen at NAMT before its Broadway success), and Jennifer Maloney (producer of Off-Broadway's I Love You Because, also a NAMT alumnus).
As a performer, Austin appeared in I Love You Because Off-Broadway. As a musical theatre writer, he's a member of The BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Writing Arthur has been seen in private developmental readings in New York City, and in a workshop production featuring Gasteyer at TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley, CA in April 2007.
Brian Nash is musical director of Writing Arthur.
The 19th annual festival, in which shows are seen in excerpted concert reading form before an audience of producers and other industry folk, will be held Oct. 7-8 at New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St. between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.
Admission to the Festival of New Musicals is for industry only. Industry professionals interested in attending should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cast members and directors for the following musicals to be seen in The National Alliance for Musical Theatre's 2007 Festival of New Musicals were previously announced.
The Break Up Notebook: The Lesbian Musical
Music and lyrics by Lori Scarlett
Book by Patricia Cotter
Director: Victoria Bussert
Cast: Hunter Bell, Jodi Dominick, Donna English, Ann Harada, Christine Lakin, Beth Malone, Jacqueline Maloney, Kelly Sullivan
It "examines a year in the life of the recently dumped Helen Hill. With her family of friends by her side she encounters: two-stepping 12-steppers, Paxil-popping lawyers, dental dams, grrrl bands, hot girl on girl action, and maybe…just maybe… the girl of her dreams."
Casey at the Bat
Music by Gordon Goodwin
Book and lyrics by Tom Child
Director: Marilyn Magness
Cast: Rachel Coliff, Holly Davis, Sarah Jane Everman, Matt Gumley, Curtis Holbrook, Eric Leverton, Adam Monley, Patrick Richman, Sarah Solie, Will Swenson, Tommar Wilson
Based on the classic poem, and the book "Casey On the Loose" by acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, "Casey comes to bat for Mudville, U.S.A. in a big-hearted, small-town tale of humor, love, greed and the competitive spirit to learn that he can be a hero even when he strikes out."
The Chocolate Tree
Music by Marshall Pailet
Lyrics by A.D. Penedo
Book by Marshall Pailet and A.D. Penedo
Director: Igor Goldin
Cast: Brian D'Addario, Danielle Freid, Curtis Holbrook, Cady Huffman, Felicia Ricci, Christopher Sieber, Jason Snow
"A remarkable young girl stricken with a grave illness uses her rich fantasy world and indomitable spirit to bring the impossible to life, which takes her family and the audience on a powerful, transforming journey."
The Gypsy King
Music and Lyrics by Randy Rogel
Book by Randy Rogel and Kirby Ward
Director: Marc Robin
Cast: Arcellus Sebastian, more TBA
"Two penniless entertainers stumble into a small town and land smack dab in the middle of a plot to assassinate the King. When it's discovered that one of them looks exactly like the doomed monarch, things get sticky."
Music by Ian Williams
Book and lyrics by Aaron Jafferis
Director: Jose Zayas
Cast: Robin de Jesus, Marisa Echeverria, Gerardo Rodgriguez, Jon Rua
"Inspired by the true stories of current and former Latin Kings, Kingdom chronicles the journey of two kids from the barrio who join the Kings in search of power and respect. When tragedy strikes, a power struggle tears the two friends apart — with devastating results."
The Story of My Life
Music and lyrics by Neil Bartram
Book by Brian Hill
Director: Richard Maltby
Cast: Will Chase, Jeffrey Kuhn
"A two-character musical about Thomas, a writer, and Alvin — lifelong friends, until life sent them in different directions. When suddenly faced with the task of writing Alvin's eulogy, Thomas digs through the cluttered collection of stories in his mind — with Alvin as his guide — to find a way to celebrate his friend's life and understand his untimely death."
Music by Mark Allen
Book and lyrics by Thomas M. Newman
Director: Casey Huhion
Cast: Colin Donnell, Christine Dwyer, Michael Lanning, Sally Mayes
"In South Georgia, 1964, a blacksmith and his son are desperate to keep the family's 200-year-old shop from becoming another 'pioneer' tourist joke. But as the Vietnam Conflict escalates and a summer romance blossoms, the world grows too large to ignore in this moving story about big love and small-town dreams." *
The Festival of New Musicals is funded by contributions to the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, a not-for-profit organization, and is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.
The 2007 Festival of New Musicals is produced by NAMT new works director, Kirsten Berkman.
The eight selected shows, culled from a pool of more than 100 applicants, were selected by the NAMT festival committee, comprised of artistic directors and producers from NAMT member organizations.
In addition to the eight festival shows getting a showcase, NAMT will present the "Songwriter Showcase" on Oct. 7. The "Songwriter Showcase" introduces eight new musicals with one song from each.
Founded in 1985 and based in New York City, NAMT is a national service organization dedicated exclusively to musical theatre. NAMT has presented its annual Festival of New Musicals since 1989. The Festival brings together leading theatre producers and writers, with the goal of furthering the development and production of new musicals. NAMT membership includes not-for-profit and commercial theatres, presenting houses, universities, and independent producers.
For more information, visit www.namt.org.