Wopat recently starred as Julian Marsh in 42nd Street and was Tony Award-nominated for Annie Get Your Gun, Halston is currently appearing as Electra in Gypsy and Fellner recently played Dulcie in The Boy Friend, under director Julie Andrews, at Bay Street Theatre. She's stepping into Broadway's Mamma Mia! shortly.
Princesses is a musical within a musical, with book by Emmy Award-winners Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, about a group of "seen-it-all, too-hip-for-their-roommates private-school girls" who are forced by an enthusiastic teacher (Halston) to put on a production of Frances Hodgson Burnett' Victorian classic, "A Little Princess."
According to production notes, "At the center of Princesses are two father-daughter stories. The contemporary story revolves around 16-year-old Miranda Finck and her father, superstar Kevin Finch — once Shakespeare in the Park's lauded Henry IV, now People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. Miranda feels dumped in the exclusive Reardon School by her jet-setting father after her mother's death. A 'quality time' visit from Kevin results in his taking charge of the struggling student show with hilarious consequences. Simultaneously we watch the parallel father-daughter story of 'A Little Princess' unfold as the school production progresses from auditions through rehearsals with both stories resolving onstage on opening night."
The company also includes 11 teenage girls. Coincidentally, composer Andrew Lippa (Off-Broadway's The Wild Party) is currently working on a stage version of A Little Princess.
Lyricist Zippel is a Tony Award-winner for City of Angels and a two-time Oscar nominee ("Hercules," "Mulan"). The Steinkellners produced and wrote seven season of "Cheers." Wilder is an Oscar and Grammy nominee who penned the score to Disney's "Mulan" and pop songs for No Doubt, Christina Aguilera, and Kelly Clarkson. The score contains contemporary pop, sung by the girls, musical comedy numbers and a slightly more traditional sound for the show within a show.
NAMT's 15th Annual Festival of New Musicals also features new works by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, "The Little Mermaid") and Tom Jones (The Fantasticks).
Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy: The Musical) and Jevetta Steele (Academy-Award nominee for "Calling You" from "Bagdad Café") are also represented in the showcase of shows seen by industry people in a weekend of Manhattan presentations Sept. 21-22.
The eight works in the festival, held at the John Houseman and Douglas Fairbanks Theatres on 42nd Street, are Matthew Sheridan's The Ambition Bird; Alan Menken, Marion Adler and Connie Grappo's Ballad of Little Pinks; Tom Jones and Joseph Thalken's Harold and Maude, known as a cult-hit film, which is being developed at Musical Theatre Works; Julia Jordan, Nell Benjamin and Laurence O'Keefe's Sarah, Plain and Tall, previously produced by TheatreWorksUSA in an abridged version at the Lucille Lortel Theater and featured this summer at the O'Neill Music Theatre Conference; David Armstrong's Swing Shift, with musical arrangements and new music by Michael Rafter and new lyrics by Mark Waldrop; Jevetta Steele, Thomas Jones II, William Hubbard, and J.D. Steele's Two Queens, One Castle, recently produced at Mixed Blood Theatre Company in Minneapolis; and Barry Kleinbort and Joseph Thalken's Was, previously developed at Lincoln Center Theater.
Here's the breakdown of shows in descriptions by NAMT.
Was, book and lyrics by Barry Kleinbort, music by Joseph Thalken. Based on the celebrated novel by Geoff Ryman, Was interweaves two stories told a century apart – the first, in the 1870s, involving a young orphan named Dorothy Gael; the second, in the 1980s, regarding Jonathan Wood, a successful but dying actor, whose obsession with "The Wizard of Oz" leads him to Kansas searching for proof of Dorothy Gael's existence. Winner of the Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Commendation Award and first developed at Lincoln Center Theater, Was is filled with compelling characters whose interconnected journeys create a poignant and unforgettable experience. *
Since 1989, NAMT's Festival of New Musicals has introduced musical theatre producers to 131 musicals and 268 writers from around the world. Past Festival shows have included Tony Award-winning Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Children of Eden, Songs for a New World, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Summer of '42 and Honk!
The mission of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals is "to expand the musical theatre repertoire by encouraging the production of new musicals; present works that are diverse in ethnicity, subject matter, style, and concept; discover new work and new voices; and nurture creative writing teams."
The Festival is funded entirely by contributions to NAMT, a not-for-profit organization, and is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Admission is by invitation only to theatre producers.
For more information, visit www.namt.net.