The National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals kicks off October 26 with The 46th Minute concert hosted by Joe Iconis, which features songs from this year's event. The festival will take place October 27-28 at New World Stages, and will feature a host of Broadway, TV, and film performers including Hamilton’s Nicholas Christopher, Newsies actor Corey Cott, Jonah Platt (Wicked), Judy Gold (Clinton the Musical), Ciara Renée (Tick, Tick...Boom!), Kecia Lewis (Once on this Island), and Mamie Parris (Cats, School of Rock).
Now in its 28th year, the industry-only event showcases new works for theatre producers from around the world. Musicals at the festival are presented in 45-minute concert presentations over two days only.
The lineup for NAMT includes a new musical by Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould titled Lempicka, with direction by Griffin Matthews; a rock musical by Musical Theatre Factory favorites Alana Jacoby and Scotty Arnold; a new George Stiles, Anthony Drewe, and Elliot Davis collaboration; as well as the newest work by the Larson Award-winning songwriting team Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, the duo behind Henry and Mudge.
The complete list of new musicals and their casts, as billed by NAMT, are outlined below:
Benny & Joon
Book by Kirsten Guenther (Little Miss Fix-it), music by Nolan Gasser, as seen on the TED stage, and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein (Little Women on Broadway)
Benny has taken care of his psychologically troubled sister Joon since their parents died over a decade ago. Benny is now in his early 30s, and Joon in her early 20s, but, ten years on, not much has changed. A mechanic with his own garage, Benny feels he is a master at managing the life they’ve ended up with. But when they take in a strange young man named Sam, who is like a modern Buster Keaton, everything changes. This musical based on the MGM movie explores the challenge of navigating life and love in an imperfect world. Jack Cummings III directs; Charity Wicks is music director.
The cast is made up of Hannah Elless, Colin Hanlon, Andrew Kober, Parris, Zak Resnick, Andrew Samonsky, Tally Sessions, and Natalie Toro.
Joe Schmoe Saves the World
Book, music, and lyrics by Brett Ryback (Liberty Inn: The Musical)
Joe Schmoe Saves the World tells the parallel stories of an indie rock duo in America and a pair of Iranian students in Tehran. In places where artistry and female perspective are shut out, the two young women at the center of the story fight to have their voices heard. Raging against conformity, fear, and the status quo, they risk everything in an attempt to change the world through their art. Christian Barillas directs; Joe Kinosian is music director.
The cast is made up of Krystal Joy Brown, Adante Carter, James Crichton, Samantha Massell, Ana Marcu, Nawaf Nooruddin, Jonah Platt, and Nasia Thomas (Beautiful).
Book and lyrics by Jonathan Larson Grant winner Carson Kreitzer, and music by Matt Gould (Invisible Thread)
Set in Paris against the backdrop of the rising fascist tide, Lempicka follows the artist’s path through the chaotic upheavals of the 20th century. Fleeing the Russian Revolution as a nineteen-year-old bride, Tamara lands in Paris, a penniless refugee, and transforms herself into a rising star of the art world. But when she falls into a forbidden love affair with a prostitute—the breathtakingly beautiful Rafaela – she is forced to choose. As her world is about to shatter, will she risk it all in pursuit of love and art, or cling to the security of money and fame? Griffin Matthews directs; Annastasia Victory is music director.
The cast is made up of Jessica Molaskey, Jennie Harney, Adam Hyndman, Eden Espinosa, Steven Rattazzi, Zak Resnick, Lindsay Roberts, Michael McCorry Rose, Rhyn Saver, and Gabrielle Stravelli.
The Loneliest Girl in the World
Book and lyrics by Gordon Leary, and music by Julia Meinwald, the duo who wrote Pregnancy Pact
Anita Bryant always knew that she was destined for greatness. So did her biggest fan, Tommy, a young gay man who, like Anita, was searching for himself. As Anita reinvented herself as a beauty queen, a singer, a spokeswoman, a professional homemaker, and a cultural crusader, Tommy discovered his sexuality and his political voice. When they find themselves on opposite sides of the battle for gay rights, Tommy and Anita’s journeys of self-discovery collide with a single pie to the face. Michael Berresse directs; Rich Silverstein is music director.
The cast is made up of Robert Ariza, Sam Heldt, Eric William Morris, Brynn O'Malley, Dana Steingold, and Pearl Sun.
Book and lyrics by Alana Jacoby (Trivøya Gold), and music by Muiscal Theatre Factory founding member Scotty Arnold
Mortality Play is a rock musical about Todd, a 16-year-old in 1349 London trying to justify his desire to make art in a time of great need. The plague has just broken out, claiming his friend and bandmate John as one of its first victims. John’s ghost becomes a guide as Todd tries to balance his responsibilities as a son, boyfriend, doctor’s apprentice, and aspiring rock star. The show is a modern take on a medieval morality play that follows a young man’s struggle to decide between what he wants to do and what he believes the world needs of him. Michael Perlman directs; Mike Pettry is music director.
The cast is made up of Alex Boniello, Joshua Boone, Gerard Canonico, Nicholas Christopher, Kathryn Gallagher, and Charlie Pollock.
Music by George Stiles (Mary Poppins), lyrics and book by Anthony Drewe (Travels With My Aunt), and book by Elliot Davis (Loserville)
After the untimely death of his mother, impoverished Robbie is left running her launderette in London’s most colorful district, Soho. Constantly under the cheaply manicured thumbs of his two lap-dancing step-sisters, Robbie pays the rent by reluctantly accepting money from sugar daddy admirer, Lord Bellingham. Life gets more complicated when Robbie embarks on a secret romance with high-profile and highly-engaged Mayoral candidate, James Prince. Their worlds collide when Prince throws a cocktail party for his benefactors – chief amongst whom is Bellingham. Robbie, Prince, and his fiancée Marilyn, are left to fight for a fairytale ending. Marcia Milgrom Dodge directs; Brad Haak is music director.
The cast is made up of Peter Bartlett, Brandon Contreras, Judy Gold, Jeff Kready, Chris McCarell, Nora Schell, Aneesh Sheth, Ali Stroker, Kay Trinidad, and Teal Wicks.
The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown
Book, music, and lyrics by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk
Sitting in a car with the keys in her hand, 18-year-old Samantha Brown telescopes back to a time before her world fell apart. Memories of Kelly, her impetuous, daring best friend, haunt her. When Kelly was killed in a car wreck, Sam lost not only her best friend but also the part of herself that was learning how to take risks. Now, paralyzed by fear and inertia, Sam must make a decision. Will she wait for her parents to drive her to college or will she drive away into a future she can’t imagine? Portia Krieger directs; Paul Staroba is music director.
The cast is made up of Kevin Carolan, Corey Cott, Morgan Keene, Kecia Lewis, and Ciara Renée.
We Live in Cairo
Book, music, and lyrics by Patrick and Daniel Lazour, the brothers who wrote The Grand Room
We Live in Cairo is about a new generation faced with the aftermath of revolution. Three years after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, and the tumultuous events immediately thereafter, six young Cairenes gather to celebrate the homecoming of their friend from the United States. We Live in Cairo focuses on the disillusionment that set in after the Arab Spring’s most promising revolution failed, but simultaneously highlights the inspired and tenacious spirit of the Egyptian youth – students who risked their lives to change their country. Kareem Fahmy directs; Eli Zoller is music director.
The cast is made up of Melis Aker, Ashkon Davaran, Layan El-Wazani, Pomme Koch, Ahmad Maksoud, and Levin Valayil.
The Festival is overseen by NAMT new works director Ciera Iveson and festival general manager Lisa Dozier King. Registration for industry members is free and now open at namt.org/festival. The public can also receive passes to the Festival by making a donation or standing in line on the day of performances.