The New York Musical Festival (NYMF) has announced the initial lineup for the 2017 festival, which is set to run July 10–August 6 at locations around New York City. Included in the selections are The Body Politic, a musical about a transgender, Muslim immigrant living in North Carolina at the height of the Afghan War, as well as Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical, which recounts the true story of activists who challenged the Jim Crow South in 1961.
Passes are now on sale and offer discounted tickets, early ticket booking, and priority seating. Individual tickets for 2017 NYMF will go on sale June 15. Visit nymf.org/tickets for more information.
In the lead-up to the 14th annual event, NYMF has announced the Next Link Project musical selections, the festival’s flagship program which is open to any writer—produced or unproduced—and selected by a grand jury from hundreds of submissions from around the world.
“The Next Link Project anchors the Festival's slate of programming,” comments Rachel Sussman, director of programming and artist services. “These shows went through a rigorous submission process to ensure that we are selecting bold, relevant, and high quality work that seeks to broaden the viewpoints in our theatrical storytelling.”
The selected Next Link Project musicals, as outlined by NYMF, are listed below.
A Wall Apart
Book by Sam Goldstein and Craig Clyde; music and lyrics by Lord Graham Russell
An original rock musical about a 30 year love story set against the backdrop of the Berlin Wall. With music by Lord Graham Russell of Air Supply, this epic story examines three generations of family ties, brotherhood, love, and marriage. What is the price of liberty, and will the Wall divide or unite?
Book by Matthew McElligot, Larry Tuxbury, and Brian Sheldon; music by Michael Musial; lyrics by McElligot, Musial, and Tuxbury
This rollicking musical tells the tale of Backbeard, the hairiest pirate who ever lived, and his quest to answer the question "How should a pirate look?" When a rowdy birthday party ruins his clothes, a pair of persuasive tailors convince him to try a vibrant new outfit of patterned trousers, a colorful coat, and a pig. Now the fearsome pirate must face his greatest challenges: winning the acceptance of the Pirate Council, the townspeople, and even his own crew, in a high-spirited story of courage, acceptance, and standing up for who you are.
The Body Politic
Book and lyrics by Charles Osborne; music by Leo Hurley
A transgender man from Afghanistan emigrates to North Carolina at the height of the Afghan War, in this explosive musical about a collision of cultures that redefines the American family. Iphis sees his world reflected through the contrasting lenses of a conservative foster parent, a drag queen roommate, a young student, and the fearless mother who raised him. The Body Politic became the first musical in American history to be performed for a State Legislature, when it was presented last year in protest of North Carolina's "bathroom bill."
Book and lyrics by Christopher Dayett; music by Dayett and Kevin Mucchetti
Oscar Wilde’s 1890 gothic tale of indulgence and obsession is brought to life on stage. Set in Victorian London, artist Basil Hallward captures Dorian Gray’s youth and beauty in a single portrait. His decadent friend, Lord Henry, convinces Dorian that the true path to progress is to yield to temptation, luring him into a lifestyle of dark secrets. The portrait takes on his sin and age, yet Dorian remains untouched. Do our sins define our true nature, or are we damned by ignorance and mediocrity?
The Fourth Messenger
Book and lyrics by Tanya Shaffer; music and additional lyrics by Vienna Teng
What if the Buddha were a woman, living in our times? Mama Sid is a modern-day “awakened one” with a worldwide following. But a determined young woman seeks to unearth Mama Sid’s mysterious past, exposing secrets that could change everything. Epic and intimate, comic and profound, The Fourth Messenger investigates what it means to be both enlightened and human. Directed by Broadway’s Matt August (Grinch) with a ravishing score by indie favorite Vienna Teng.
Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical
Book by Richard Allen; music and lyrics by Allen and Taran Gray
Winner of the 2016 Beta Musical Award
In 1961, 400 ordinary human beings put their lives on the line to bring attention to the injustice of segregation in an action that would show the world an image of the ‘burning bus America’, whose existence most Americans wanted to ignore. Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical tells the true story of activists who boldly challenged the legality and optics of the Jim Crow South by riding buses in mixed groups. It features Civil Rights icons Diane Nash, John Seigenthaler, John Lewis, and other fearless pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement. Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical is a soaring portrait of the youthful and impatient voices of the Movement who used nonviolent direct action to initiate change.
Book and lyrics by Julie Soto; music by Will Finan; story by Soto & Ryan Warren
At age 15 Milo Reynolds had it all—a seat at the popular table, the perfect girlfriend, the “coolest” parents, and friends who worshiped him. So when Milo kills himself on Monday morning, his friends and family are left questioning everything they thought they knew about him. Generation Me explores the heartbreak, confusion, and survivor’s guilt of those left behind. Told in flashbacks that open Milo’s story like a mystery, Generation Me identifies a generation more privileged, self-interested, oblivious... and lonelier than ever.
Georama: An American Panorama Told on 3 Miles of Canvas
Book by West Hyler and Matt Schatz; music and lyrics by Schatz; arrangements and additional music and lyrics by Jack Herrick
In the 1850s John Banvard did more to elevate fine arts than any single American artist before him. Banvard was the most famous living painter in the world and the first millionaire artist, world-renowned for his three-mile long moving panorama celebrating the majesty of the Mighty Mississippi. Today an examination of reference books will not turn up a single mention of his name. John Banvard, the greatest artist of his time, has been utterly obliterated by history. This musical tells his story.
Play Like a Winner
Book and lyrics by Erik Johnke; music by David Wolfson
Winner of the 2016 Developmental Reading Award
In the fiercely competitive world of girls’ soccer, how far would you go for your child? Play Like a Winner is a satire of the soccer mom world based upon the award-winning play, All About the Kids by Caytha Jentis. At curtain, Coach Nick lies dead on center stage, impaled by a corner flag, while a chorus of soccer players sings in his honor. Kathy, a soccer mom, steps forward to tell us the story of how all this began…
Temple of the Souls
Book by Anita Velez-Mitchell, Lorca Peress and Anika Paris; music by Dean Landon and Paris; lyrics by Velez-Mitchell and Paris
Temple of the Souls is an award-winning contemporary pop musical of secrets, lies, and forbidden love. Two worlds collide in this mythical tale when Amada, the beautiful daughter of a Conquistador, and Guario, a young Taíno, meet in the magical rainforest of Puerto Rico. To escape the intolerant world below, our young lovers run away to the Temple of the Souls where nightmares and dreams come true.
The Goree All-Girl String Band
Book and lyrics by Michael Bradley; music by Artie Sievers
The year is 1938 and The Goree All-Girl String Band is the biggest new radio sensation in Texas. They also happen to be convicted criminals. The six band members teach themselves music from behind bars and earn a slot on a prison-based radio program. Through sisterhood, determination, and a little bit of luck, these women work (and play) together to fiddle their way to freedom. Inspired by a true story, The Goree All-Girl String Band is a tale of redemption that features an ensemble of actor-musicians performing a brand new country score.
Dan Markley serves as NYMF executive director and producer of 2017 NYMF.
NYMF has also announced the Invited Production selections for the 2017 festival. For the complete initial lineup, visit NYMF.org.