By Michael Gioia
21 Feb 2014
The Next Link Project, according to NYMF, "is open to any writer — produced or unproduced, with or without agency representation. The program receives hundreds of submissions from all over the world each fall, and every script and demo recording is reviewed by numerous members of NYMF's Reading Committee, and then by a Grand Jury of leading musical theatre artists and producers. Finally, 10 shows are awarded production spots in the Festival."
A grand jury panel of industry experts curate the musical lineup. They include Abrams Artists agent Beth Blickers, OBIE and Drama Desk Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin, Tony Award and Outer Critics Circle Award-nominated actor Hunter Foster, Tony Award-nominated composer and lyricist Amanda Green, Tony Award-nominated director Thomas Kail, associate producer of the Old Globe Eric Louie, Outer Critics Circle-nominated director and choreographer Josh Prince, Tony Award and Drama Desk-nominated actor and writer Tony Sheldon and two-time Tony Award-winning actor Michael Cerveris.
Dan Markley is the executive director and producer of NYMF, and Mary Kate Burke is director of programming. The selected Next Link Project show teams gather Feb. 21-23 in New York City to begin preparing their shows.
Here's a glance at the Next Link Project selections:
Book and lyrics by Becca Anderson and Dan Marshall
Music by Julian Blackmore
"Following your dream is never a trivial pursuit. It's the National High School Quizbowl Championship! Dreamy-eyed brainiac Maggie McCutter hopes to win a scholarship so she can escape her controlling mother. Maggie's world is hilariously turned upside down when she falls for Tyler O'Neil, a football-obsessed slacker from the rival Walla Walla Walruses. As she's torn between the family she's got and the friendship she's found, will Maggie's trivial pursuits be in jeopardy? Academia Nuts is the uproarious nerd-rock musical everyone will be buzzing about!"
Book by Jacey Powers, Dan Wolpow and Adam Spiegel
Music by Adam Spiegel, lyrics by Dan Wolpow
"A two of a kind musical! 1993 — Bill Clinton is president, Jurassic Park is about the tear up the box offices, and Wally Waterman is on the verge of inventing the teleporter! But weird science gets weirder when Wally accidentally clones himself. Is NYC big enough for two giant, identical egos? It'll take nothing short of a movie star, international espionage, and a few pigeons to find out. Featuring a gleefully breezy score, Cloned! is door-slamming, yodel-happy, bird-squawking fun!"
Der Gelbe Stern (The Yellow Star)
Book by James Millar and Alexis Fishman
Music by Friedrich Hollander, Mischa Spoliansky, Rudolf Nelson and more
"Berlin's last starlit night. It is 1933 in divinely decadent Berlin. Alexis Fishman (NYMF’s Next Broadway Sensation Winner 2012) is Erika Stern, darling of the crumbling Weimar Cabaret scene. Feisty, sassy and always provocative, her show embodies the excess and daring of the time. But as the Nazi's rise to power, tonight’s performance will be her last. The lights go down and the audience holds their breath."
Book by Harrison Kaufman
Music and lyrics by Christopher Anselmo
"Sometimes life doesn't have a moral. It's graduation time. When a mysterious classmate crashes their last epic night of celebration, a group of childhood friends is forced to confront the secrets they’ve been keeping from each other. Will their friendships survive the night? With an imaginative score and dynamic characters, Fable captures the moments when we are forced to change whether we like it or not. Watch what happens when the stories we were told as kids are revealed for the fictions they truly are."
The Mapmaker's Opera
Book and lyrics by Victor Kazan
Music by Kevin Purcell
"A love story in the quest to save two birds. Set in the Yucatán on the eve of the Mexican Revolution, The Mapmaker's Opera recounts the poignant story of Diego and Sofia – star-crossed lovers whose fate is sealed by a desperate quest to save two birds. The story takes place in and around Mérida, where local plantation owners ostentatiously enjoy vast wealth amassed from the toil of Mayans who from dawn to nightfall are forced to harvest the prized henequen. Inspired by Flamenco and Mariachi music, the show is certain to delight audiences of all ages."
Mother Jones and the Children's Crusade
Book, music and lyrics by Cheryl E. Kemeny
"Thousands of Footsteps. One Believer. She won't quit and she won't stay quiet! It's the turn of the century and aging Mary Harris 'Mother' Jones is on a tireless crusade for justice as she leads ragged mill children on a march to end child labor. Inspiring, heartbreaking and hopeful, this thrilling new musical following 'the most dangerous woman in America' will captivate audiences of all ages with its vibrant score blending period infused melodies with powerful contemporary anthems to deliver an uplifting message of human dignity that transcends time."
Searching for Romeo
Book, music and lyrics by Brian Sutton
"Can they find a happy ending? After her high school boyfriend dumps her, modern-day Roz somehow finds herself in fair Shakespearian Verona, as Romeo's girlfriend Rosaline. She wanders into the balcony scene only to learn that she's been dumped again, before falling for another "loser" — Juliet's rejected paramour, Paris. Can Rosaline and Paris achieve that which eludes Romeo and Juliet: a happy ending?"
Somewhere With You
Book by Peter Zinn
Music and lyrics by JT Harding
"The country-rock musical of a new generation. Somewhere With You is a country-rock musical with music by country song writer, JT Harding and features many of his hit songs made famous by Kenny Chesney, Uncle Kracker, Jake Owen, and JTX (including Chesney's number one song 'Somewhere with You' and Uncle Kracker's 'Smile'). This compellingly gritty, coming-of-age love story centers around a new generation of Southerners growing up in the early 2000s, confronted by the methamphetamine epidemic, the War in Iraq, and other post 9/11 challenges in the rural South."
Teeny Travel Takes a Trip
Book and lyrics by Aaron Ricciardi
Music by Kelly Hoppenjans
"Fight back. Move. Welcome to the US of A. God’s been destroying the rest of the world for being 'un-American,' and only the States remain — at least that's what Mr. Travel preaches every day on America's only TV show. A trippy dystopian tale with an electro-folk-pop soundtrack, this Epic play with songs zooms in on Teeny, Mr. Travel's daughter who has a flair for breaking the rules. Teetering on adulthood and perplexed by this cruel world, Teeny learns to see past smoke and mirrors…and she starts a revolution."
Book, music and lyrics by Rowen Casey
"You never know what's in store… Eddie awakes on his first night-shift at a giant superstore where nothing is as it seems. Desperately seeking an answer as to why Corporate sent him, he learns the truth about his past through run-ins with his guarded former flame, his flighty grandmother, and his utterly monstrous coworkers. With a spirited contemporary score as colorful as its employees, Valueville is a razor-sharp comedic journey about the price we pay at the final checkout."
An additional slate of special events, free events, developmental readings and educational panel discussions will be announced at a later date.
NYMF 2014 tickets will go on sale to the general public June 16. Visit NYMF.org.