PHOTO CALL: Corbin Bleu, Ben Vereen, Melissa van der Schyff and More at NYMF Opening Gala

The ninth annual New York Musical Theatre Festival, showcasing new musicals from around the country, began its first-ever summer run July 9 in Manhattan. Cast members celebrated with an evening Gala at Hudson Terrace.

NYMF offers a varied selection of musicals penned by established and emerging artists. Aided by industry buzz and casts peppered with Broadway performers, NYMF productions sell at a brisk pace, with many productions nearly sold out before performances begin. Tony Award winner Ben Vereen is the honorary chair of the 2012 festival.

Highlights of the season include Re-Animator the Musical, which earned the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Score. It has music and lyrics by Mark Nutter, with a book by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon and William J. Norris. Stuart Gordon directs the July 17-22 run at the PTC Performance Space.

Melissa van der Schyff, Anika Larsen, Tom Riis Farrell and Michael Thomas Holmes are part of Michael Ogborn's Baby Case, a musical about the 1927 abduction of the Lindbergh baby. Jeremy Dobrish directs the July 16-22 NYMF run at the Pershing Square Signature Center.

Jeremy Kushnier, Julie Reiber, Rachel York and Jack Noseworthy star in Stealing Time, by Tor Hyams and Lisa Neubauer, July 15-16 at the PTC Performance Space. Michael Bartoli, Jeff Keller, Leslie Kritzer, Ravi Roth and Cheryl Stern are part of Letter to Harvey Milk, which has a book by Jerry James, music by Laura I. Kramer and lyrics by Ellen M. Schwartz. It will run July 23-28 at the Pershing Square Signature Center.

Gerard Canonico and Trista Dollison lead the cast of Stand Tall, by Lee Wyatt-Buchan, Aldie and Sandy Chalmers, which runs July 19-29 at the 45th St. Theatre.

Jenna Leigh Green, Colin Hanlon, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Curt Hansen are part of T.V. Show Theme Song Musical, conceived and directed by Stan Zimmerman, which runs July 10-11 at the Pershing Square Signature Center.

For a complete list of NYMF productions, concerts and events, visit