The Next Link Project, according to NYMF, "empowers emerging musical theatre writing teams as both artists and entrepreneurs by providing the training and relationships needed to help them move their musicals from readings to fully-realized productions and to advance their careers by maximizing the exposure they receive in the Festival. Ten of the Festival's full production slots are reserved for participants in The Next Link Project."
Participants attend a special weekend-long symposium, featuring seminars on fundraising, marketing, industry outreach and self-producing, led by industry professionals. The writing teams are introduced to potential collaborators, supporters and producers, and receive dramaturgical support from professional literary managers and dramaturgs. Finally, each Next Link show receives financial support in the form of a $5,000 subsidy toward its production in the Festival.
Any work that has not been produced professionally in New York City may be submitted by authors (with or without industry representation), but scripts should be ready for developmental production. All entries undergo double-blind evaluations by several members of NYMF's reading team, with finalists referred to a grand jury of industry professionals.
This year's grand jury included choreographer Josh Bergasse ("Smash"), composer-lyricist Jeff Bowen ([title of show]), two-time Tony-winning actor Michael Cerveris (Tommy, Assassins, Evita), two-time Tony-winning playwright Marsha Norman (he Secret Garden, The Color Purple), producer Joey Parnes (Hair), Tony-winning actress Tonya Pinkins (Caroline, Or Change; Jelly's Last Jam), director Scott Schwartz (Rooms, Golda's Balcony, Bat Boy), Grammy-winning and Tony-nominated composer Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden, "In Harmony") and Tony-nominated actor Tony Sheldon (Priscilla Queen of the Desert).
"We are thrilled with the creativity and diversity of this year's Next Link productions," said NYMF executive director Isaac Robert Hurwitz in a statement. "The mission of the festival is to give a voice to a new generation of musical theatre writers and we really appreciate the support of the theatre community, our sponsors and our patrons over the past nine years. As we look forward to our tenth annual festival this summer, we are really pleased that NYMF has been a stepping stone for so many shows, both in New York and around the country." In other NYMF news, 2012 Next Broadway Sensation winner Alexis Fishman will perform at 54 Below March 21 at 9:30 PM. Max Chernin, who was a finalist in the competition, will open for Fishman. As winner of NYMF's Next Broadway Sensation, Fishman receives a solo concert produced by NYMF as well as performance opportunities throughout the 2013 Festival season. For tickets, visit 54Below.com.
The 2013 Next Link Project musicals follow:
Bend In The Road
Book and lyrics by Benita Scheckel
Music by Michael Upward
Based on "Anne of Green Gables" by L.M. Montgomery
"A beloved literary classic comes to life in this hilarious and inspiring new musical for the whole family. Adopted by the Cuthberts at Green Gables, precocious orphan Anne takes on town gossip Mrs. Lynde, mean girl Josie Pye, and gorgeous but arrogant classmate Gilbert Blythe, turning each bend in the road into a path straight to your heart."
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Milton Granger
"It's 1938, RKO is making 'The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle' with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and they've hired Irene Castle herself to be an advisor on the film. Torn between the director’s desire to make a great film and her own wish to honor her late husband, Irene must sift through a lifetime of memories – and some of the most romantic dance sequences ever created."
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Joe Slabe
"When the boys of St. Mark's join the girls of St. Anne's to present Cyrano de Bergerac, three friends get more of an education than they bargained for. Love blossoms, jealousies flare, and secrets are revealed that may end their youthful innocence as life imitates art in this funny and poignant coming-of-age story."
Gary Goldfarb, Master Escapist
Book and Lyrics by Omri Schein
Music by James Olmstead
"Gary Goldfarb is a big kid with even bigger dreams. He'll stop at nothing to win the heart of Cheryl Samatasinghar-Stein, the hottest girl in school… even if it means attempting Houdini's most dangerous feat, the Chinese Water Torture Cell Illusion, at the high school talent show. Can Gary's classmate Penelope talk some sense into him before it’s too late? With a catchy pop-jazz musical theatre score, Gary Goldfarb conjures up the magic, foolishness, and hilarity of high school romance."
Book and Lyrics by Andrew Barrett
Music by Ira Antelis
Based on the book "La mort de monsieur Golouja" by Branimir Šćepanović
and the screenplay "Julian Po" by Alan Wade
"Julian Po is determined to end his life at sea, but he finds himself stuck in the smallest, strangest town in Middle America. While waiting for a connecting train, Julian makes friendships that start to sway him from his mission, with repercussions no one anticipated. This darkly comic tale is led by four modern-day muses and set to the quintessentially American sounds of pop, rock and bluegrass."
Mata Hari: Tigress At The City Gate Book and Music by David Rhymer
Lyrics by Blake Brooker and David Rhymer
"Imprisoned by the French on charges of espionage, Mata Hari is a famed exotic dancer, courtesan and lover… and even more dangerous, an Emancipated Woman! But is she truly a German spy – or just a woman in love, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time? The most notorious and misunderstood figure in World War One sets the record straight in this one-woman tour de force."
Book and Lyrics by Laurel Klinger
Music by Bill Evans
"Mother Divine has a problem: she's just passed away and her husband, Harlem evangelist Father Divine, has already found her younger 'reincarnation.' With a little help from bumbling taxman Lester Stufflebean, Mother Divine is dead set on proving it’s never too late for a first wife to get revenge! Everyone is chasing someone else’s secrets in this comic romp set to a rousing, Gospel-tinged score."
Sasquatched! The Musical
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Phil Darg
"Bigfoot exists! While visiting a national park with his parents, young Sam runs off and encounters Arthur, a kindhearted Sasquatch who is also lost. They join forces to find their way home – but first they'll have to outwit the quirky locals and a sensationalistic media crew. This rockin' musical romp in the woods offers hilarious social commentary on human-Sasquatch relations and a reminder that there’s no place like home!"
Book and Lyrics by Alfred Solis and Mark-Eugene Garcia
Music by Amy Baer and Keith Robinson
"Five strangers meet in an airport standby line and must decide among themselves who deserves to get on the next flight. They soon realize that this is no ordinary airport and their meeting is by no means a coincidence. With a pop-rock score, this musical reminds us how interconnected we are!"
Swiss Family Robinson
Book by John Kennedy and Patrick Kennedy
Music and Lyrics by John Kennedy
"The intrepid Robinson Family finds their ship caught in a monstrous typhoon and their ship's crew nowhere in sight. Marooned on an apparently deserted island, they must rescue their hopes and dreams for a new life. Wait… Do you hear drums? Jungle drums?"
NYMF is the flagship program of The National Music Theater Network. Now entering its tenth year, The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) exists to "revitalize musical theatre culture by discovering and promoting new musical theatre artists, producers and projects; nurturing a vibrant and innovative artistic community; and connecting one of America's greatest art forms with a diverse, contemporary audience."
For more information, visit NYMF.org.