Well, we'll tell you: No one knows.
That's the beauty of the New York Music Theatre Festival (NYMF), where all those shows got early showcases: You never know what you will find in the line-up, which this year features concerts, readings and special events — and almost two dozen productions of new stage musicals — July 7-27 at performing spaces in and around New York City's Theatre District.
Festivals like this are always full of surprises. But from out in front of the 2015 lineup, here are ten events that piqued our interest:
Tonya & Nancy
Book and Lyrics by Elizabeth Searle; Music by Michael Teoli
Based on the Olympic skating “knee whack” scandal, Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera is the story of two girls going for the gold. Produced previously in Boston, LA, and Portland, OR. July 9-16 at the PTC Performance Space.
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Drew Fornarola & Marshall Pailet
Directed by Tony-nominated Avenue Q actor John Tartaglia, Claudio Quest is a new musical comedy that follows a very super hero, his less super little brother, and one butt-kicking princess, as the three embark on a mission to overcome killer eggplants, a love-starved platypus, and their own 8-bit existential crisis. July 7-14 at Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre.
What Do Critics Know?
Book by Matthew Gurren; Music and Lyrics by James Campodonico & Matthew Gurren
In a strange turn of fate, the three most powerful theatre critics, who have taken countless shows off the stage, must now put one on. With time running short, they enlist the help of a struggling Broadway writer, Nathan Wood, who has had a string of critically panned flops and needs a comeback. Can the critics pull through despite their overly critical natures? Can cooperation, harmony, and perhaps even love exist between an artist and a critic? Find out if poetic justice will be served cold or in a warm review. July 23-27 at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre.
Balloon Boy: The Musical
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Billy Recce
They built the balloon. We inflated it. Inspired by the infamous media sensation known as the "Balloon Boy," this musical, written by 17-year-old Billy Recce, imagines the answer to the timeless question of "Why did a Colorado father say his son was in a homemade weather balloon that soared across the state?” This tale of irreverent, celebrity-spoofing, sky-high hilarity looks at how far a man will go to achieve fame in a country obsessed with the spotlight, and just how bright that spotlight can be before it burns a hole in his family. July 7-11 at the Studio Theatre at Theatre Row. The Gold
By Andrea Lepcio & Philip Yosowitz; Music and Lyrics by Philip Yosowitz
Joseph Cohen is a man who is fighting for the gold. In this sweeping historical fiction, The Gold, A New Musical, Joseph is a Jewish German boxer whose ambition is to win the Munich Olympics of 1936. However, the gold for which Joseph fights transforms from an Olympic medal into the fight for everything he values in life. It is testimony to the resilience of the human spirit. Its title alludes both to the coveted Olympic prize and to the journey of self-discovery that each of us take in our quest for purpose and value in our lives. July 16-19 at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row.
Unfinished Business With Karen Mason
Book by Karen Mason & Barry Kleinbort; Music by Brian Lasser, Lyrics by Brian Lasser, Gary Gardner, Geoff Leon & Edward Dunne
Time heals all wounds…or almost. In her revelatory solo show with music, Broadway’s Karen Mason offers a different riff on the age-old question, “Is it the singer or is it the song?” Namely: “Is it the singer…or is it the accompanist?” In this funny, tuneful and deeply moving portrait of friendship and recovery, Karen explores her 16-year relationship with her musical director/arranger, Brian Lasser, whose life was tragically cut short in the 1990s. Co-written with Barry Kleinbort, Unfinished Business is an unforgettable theatrical experience set to a throbbing musical beat. July 22-25 at Theater3.
Book by Jason Cannon; Music and Lyrics by David Maglione & Tomas Ruiz
The mischievous and magical adventure of Peter Pan is retold from Wendy’s modern-day perspective with a contemporary folk/rock score. With book by Jason Cannon and music and lyrics by David Maglione & Tomas Ruiz, Wendy's Shadow takes the audience back to the Neverland — where dreams are born, and time is never planned — and asks if it’s ever possible to leave the one you loved. July 24 at Theater3.
iLLa, A Hip Hop Musical
Book and Lyrics by Ronvé O'Daniel; Music by Jevares C. Myrick
iLLA: /ilə/ adjective. Exceedingly ill. Greater than. More superior. "His beat is ill, but mine is illa." Robert Perry's quest for swagger and self love while overcoming struggle. As a classically trained dancer with dreams of becoming a rap star, he is battling against today's racial climate while navigating relationships with his dysfunctional family. He strives to be better. He strives to be cooler. He strives to be Illa. July 20-23 at Theater3.
Book by EJ Stapleton; Music and Lyrics by Peter Stopschinski & EJ Stapleton
When the first-born son to the chief of all Buffalo arrives covered with the markings of a calico kitten, the chief, his son, and the entire Buffalo nation are catapulted into the adventure of a lifetime. From the award-winning children's book, with a score by Grammy Award-winning composer Peter Stopschinski.
Under Construction: NYMF's Next Broadway Sensations in Concert
Created by Kathryn Allison, Paul Ianniello, Joey Murray & Andrew Wheeler
NYMF’s Next Broadway Sensation winner Kathryn Allison (Broadway’s Aladdin) and 1st runner up Paul Ianniello team up for a one-night only concert event, Under Construction. An outrageously funny and diverse evening of song and stories, it celebrates what it is to be a living work in progress, both on and off the stage. Kathryn and Paul share the stage with surprise musical guests and a full band. Creative team includes director Joey Murray (The Broadway Dolls, Can-Can), and musical director Andrew Wheeler (Naked Boys Singing), who are both returning to The New York Musical Theatre Festival. July 27 at The Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café.
For a full list of the Festival's productions, visit NYMF.
Tickets are now on sale. Visit nymf.org/tickets for more information.