“We’ve spent the last year reaching out to choreographers and seeing dance works in development, because we feel dance is an essential part of musical theatre and because these shows can’t be discovered in the same way that many musicals are—by listening to a CD or reading a script,” said executive director Kris Stewart in a statement. “We want the Festival to represent as many artists as possible—including choreographers.”
The NYMF Dance Series will include All Is Love, which marries the traditions of musical theatre choreography with the electronic sounds of contemporary music; School Daze, where the fantasies of six students are played out during a high school prom in the 80’s; and Common Grounds, a NYMF commission that partners NYMF alumni authors (Sammy Buck and Doug Katsaros) with five up-and-coming choreographers (Ron de Jesus, Ray Leeper, Mia Michaels, Jeff Shade, and Lisa Stevens) to create a dance musical set in a midtown coffee shop.
“Common Grounds is evidence of how we’re trying to reinvigorate musical theatre by fostering artistically innovative collaborations,” said executive producer Isaac Robert Hurwitz in a statement. “Each year, we’re astonished by how much the festival community has grown – and each year, we hope we’re even more successful at getting a new generation of artists and musicals in front of audiences, where they can get the vital response they need.”
All Is Love has music by Travis Sullivan and Alex Fortuit. "A new dance musical from Walden Dance Theatre, All Is Love follows the journeys of three women disillusioned as they adjust to life in New York City. Inspired by classic movie musicals from the 1940s and 1950s, All Is Love marries the traditions of musical theatre choreography with the electronic sounds of contemporary music, and explores the magnitude of hope and survival in a story told entirely through dance. At 37 Arts, Sept 19-28.
School Daze was conceived and created by Wendy Seyb. "School Daze tells the tale of six students and their fantasies that are played out at a high school dance in the 1980's. In the tradition of Matthew Bourne's Play Without Words and Twyla Tharp's Movin' Out, choreographer Wendy Seyb (But I'm a Cheerleader) interprets her story without spoken dialogue and soley through movement and classical music. In a twist on the jukebox musical, Seyb uses the 'hits' of Mozart, Rossini, Bizet, Tchaikovsky and Bach, and proves that dance can be outrageously funny. Remember everything you’ve hated and loved about high school? It’s all here, told through classical music, heartfelt romance, drunken moments, comedy, and dance." At 37 Arts, Sept 21-28.
Common Grounds has a book by Sammy Buck and music by Doug Katsaros. "Eight million people. Eight million stories. Eight million coffee shops. An innovative dance musical set in a midtown coffee shop that explores how, in the most mundane of places, we intersect with, ricochet off of, and greatly impact each others lives. Commissioned by NYMF, this unique collaborative piece matches five of the most talented up-and-coming choreographers working today with writers from past NYMF productions, who created the new score and book." At 37 Arts, Sept 20-28.
(Playbill.com is a media partner of the New York Musical Theatre Festival 2006.)
2006 New York Musical Theatre Festival website