NYMF to Stage A Letter to Harvey Milk, Prison Dancer, Flambé Dreams, Rio and More
By Adam Hetrick
February 22, 2012
The New York Musical Theatre Festival has announced that A Letter to Harvey Milk, Prison Dancer: The Musical and Living With Henry are among the musicals selected for the 2012 Next Link Project.
The 2012 Next Link musicals offer a broad spectrum of subject material, including one man's struggle as an individual living HIV, a modern Rio de Janeiro-set take on "Oliver Twist," a romantic musical about eternal life, and a story about a dance-based rehabilitation program set within a maximum security prison in the Philippines.
NYMF, which has swapped its annual fall presentation for a July 9-29 run, annually selects roughly ten new musicals previously un-produced in New York City to fill out the Next Link Project slots.
Writers participating in the Next Link Project benefit from the Next Link dramaturg team, as well as writer support resources, including seminars on fundraising, marketing, industry outreach and self-producing. Each production receives a $5,000 production subsidy for the summer festival.
The 2012 Next Link selection committee included Susan Birkenhead, Jean Doumanian, Christopher Gattelli, Ann Harada, Stephen Oremus, John Rando and David Thompson.
The ten Next Link Project selections follow:
A Letter to Harvey Milk
By Jerry James (book), Laura l. Kramer (music) and Ellen M. Schwartz (lyrics)
Based on the short story "A Letter To Harvey Milk" by Lesléa Newman
"What can a retired kosher butcher and a young lesbian writing teacher possibly have in common? More, perhaps, than either imagines. And it all begins when Harry writes an impassioned letter to his late friend Harvey Milk. With plenty of advice from his dead-but-combative wife – and surprisingly, from Harvey himself – Harry grapples with the hidden truths of his long-buried past and the promise of a surprising future in this deeply emotional and funny new musical."
Arnie the Doughnut
By Frances Limoncelli (book) and George Howe (music/lyrics)
"Arnie, a lovable chocolate-covered doughnut with sprinkles, is the happiest pastry in the bakery when he's finally selected to be taken home by a new owner. But when mild-mannered Mr. Bing tries to eat the unsuspecting Arnie, both are in for the surprise of their lives. Embark upon a hilarious quest to redefine human/doughnut relations in this unexpectedly original new musical based on the whimsical book by Laurie Keller."
By Matthew Hardy (book/lyrics) and Randy Klein (music)
"Joseph Christiansen wants to be a great Maitre d' like his father who was tragically killed in a freak flaming Bananas Foster accident. Against the wishes and warnings of his pill-pushing psychiatrist mother, young Joe leaves the safety of his small hometown and journeys to New York City to make it big in the glamorous world of food and beverage service. Will Joe succeed… or will he end up flambéed like his father? Find out in this quirky tale of drugs, dreams and flaming desserts!"
Brett Boles (book, music and lyrics)
"What if you could live forever? On New Year's Eve in 1625, Will Timeson and Jack Mercer discover the secret of immortality – an elixir that will grant them the gift of eternal life. But is it a gift? When the two men fall in love with the same woman – a beautiful, young woman with a dark, painful secret – the stage is set for a grand, musical epic about friendship, love, betrayal and redemption spanning several tumultuous centuries and set to a sweeping, romantic score."
He's Not Himself
By Marc Silverberg (book, music and lyrics)
"Mild-mannered police officer Gene Bauer is having a really bad day. His job is to protect a priceless diamond… the same one he's apparently been hired to steal. He's met the love of his life, and attempted to kill her several times. His fellow policemen are hunting him, and he keeps getting knocked unconscious. And to top it all off… he has no idea that any of this is happening! A new-fangled, crazy-tuneful, slapstick-wacky musical comedy about a man forced to face the most dangerous nemesis imaginable: himself!"
Living With Henry
By Christopher Wilson (book, music and lyrics)
"Michael is HIV positive, but it's not a death sentence – not anymore. Michael just has to learn to live with it... but that's not as simple as it sounds. A musical drama that explores the fears, complications and realities of coping with a complex, chronic condition that affects every day, every relationship, every breath, Living With Henry is sometimes comic, sometimes heartbreaking, but always passionate, bold and stunningly honest."
My Ohio: A Swing State Duet
By Dana Yeaton (book/lyrics) and Andy Mitton (music)
"God wants Bonnie to save the souls of her 23 Ohio Kindergarten students, and if that means risking her job or even the occasional excruciating back pain – well, so be it. Bonnie's new chiropractor, Neil, sees things differently; in fact, as a gay new-ager and a recent transplant from Brooklyn, Neil sees most everything differently. And when his first treatment proves to be a miracle cure, Bonnie starts to feel things she hasn't felt in years. Her response: 'Put me back the way you found me.' But can he really 'un-heal' her?"
Prison Dancer: The Musical
By Romeo Candido (book, music and lyrics) and Carmen DeJesus (book)
"The lives of eight Filipino maximum-security prisoners are changed forever when a video of their dance-based rehabilitation program becomes a viral Internet sensation on YouTube. As the dark prison suddenly finds itself in the worldwide spotlight, these hardcore criminals are given a second chance to find love and happiness in the most challenging circumstances. A modern inspired-by-a-true-story about how fears can hold us captive – and dreams can set us free to dance!"
By Mitch Magonet and Joey Miller (book, music and lyrics)
"Twelve year-old Pipio hunts for his lost mother among the street-kids, gangs and drug-lords that rule Rio's favelas – the toughest slums in the hottest place on Earth. The boy's search for identity becomes a struggle for survival in this re-invention of Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist' set in modern-day Brazil – a colorful, character-filled Carnaval tale presented by the Escola de Samba Foltando!"
By Riley Thomas (book, music and lyrics)
"Moving on is never easy, as six strangers discover when they are trapped between stations on the subway. When tension builds, colorful characters clash as they recognize pieces of themselves emerging in one another. This poignant, contemporary musical will take you on a humorous and heartfelt ride as it explores exactly what it means to be Stuck."
Memberships are on sale now. Members can book NYMF tickets beginning May 15. Single tickets go on sale June 15.