In past years, The Village Originals Festivals of New Musicals has premiered five musical readings; this year, however, "one festival show, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes, is a developmental production with full costumes and staging; tickets are for sale to the general public and this year there are nine performances from August 8 – 17."
Several of the festival readings have gone on to have their premieres at the VIllage Theatre as well – including Iron Curtain, It Shoulda Been You, Anne of Green Gables, Chasing Nicolette, The Gypsy King, Trails and The Tutor.
The 2014 lineup follows:
The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes
Book & Lyrics by Christopher Dimond
Music by Michael Kooman
Tickets to Howard Barnes only: $25 adults; $20 students and seniors.
"Howard Barnes is a perfectly average American guy; he likes baseball and grilling things. But beneath the surface, Howard is drifting through life blind to the wonders of the world around him. That is, until the day he wakes up to discover that his life has become a musical. Desperate to escape from the show, Howard embarks on a fantastical quest through the realm of musical theatre. Equal parts satire, romantic comedy and love letter to the American musical, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes is for people who love musical theatre, and their spouses who hate it. The director is Brandon Ivie and cast includes: Erik Gratton (Howard Barnes), Michele Ankrim (Maggie), Jeff Steitzer (Von Schwartzenheim), Billie Wildrick (Grace) and ensemble members Danny Kam, Brian Lange, Matt Wolfe, Nick Desantis, Bhama Roget, Heather McQuarrie, Krista Curry and Morgan Pate."
Book & Lyrics by Aaron Jafferis
Music by Ian Williams
"In a world spinning out of their control, two young friends find meaning and purpose in their local Hispanic street gang. When a sudden attack ignites a bitter internal battle between ideals and survival, they are faced with a dilemma that tests the paradoxes of the human heart. Gripping, brutally honest, and fueled by a poetic hip hop/rock/Latin score, Kingdom not only delves into the eye of a cycle of violence, but illuminates the paths out of that storm in an important experience for theatre veterans and newcomers alike."
My Heart Is the Drum
Book by Jennie Redling
Music & Concept by Phillip Palmer
Lyrics by Stacey Luftig
"When a passionate storyteller runs away from her small village in Ghana to pursue a college education and to escape an arranged marriage, she and her tribe must confront an intimidating and often dangerous outside world full of spirits, protesters, and the shady merchants of “pretty things.” My Heart Is the Drum is a poetic, authentic, and electrifying story of awakening and love’s enduring power that is nothing short of breathtaking."
"What determines your fate? According to a mysterious palm reader’s predictions, love will prevail for a young couple under one condition: the groom must become a murderer. Full of colorful characters and toe-tapping numbers, this retelling of Oscar Wilde’s classic short story, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime will have you guessing what could possibly be 'waiting ‘round the bend.'"
The Single Girls Guide
Book by Gordon Greenberg
Music & Lyrics by Tommy Newman
"Jane Austin gets a revamp worthy of Broadway! Set in the swinging ‘60s, a spirited secretary-turned-advice-columnist sets out to prove that women can be so much more than perfect little housewives. In a driving, pop-rock-fueled musical based on Austin’s Emma, watch the hilarious antics that ensue when a bit of “advice” goes terribly awry. With love ballads in dentist chairs and masquerade ball fiascos, The Single Girls Guide has a fizzy spirit that echoes the questions we continue to ask about marriage, sex, and being single."
"Downton Abbey meets Gilligan’s Island in this clever new musical. When a proper British family is stranded on a desert island, they find that they are woefully unprepared for the discomfort of nature. When it turns out that their butler is the only one with any sort of survival skills, the family must learn to overcome prejudices in order to stay alive. Get ready to be swept away on a crisp adventure of headstrong maids, an eccentric father, and forbidden love. Based on J.M. Barrie’s play The Admirable Crichton, A Proper Place is a remarkably witty romp for the entire family to enjoy."
The five musical readings will be performed at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre (Issaquah, WA).
For more information on the readings and how to take part, visit villagetheatre.org.