The month-long festival nurtures New England musical theatre writers through a process of rehearsals, feedback and rewrites. The festival culminates in staged readings, which are open to the public for a nominal charge. This year’s presentations — sponsored jointly by the Speakeasy Stage Company and New England Light Opera — will be held May 7-16 at several different venues: the North Shore Music Theatre, the C. Walsh Theatre and Studio Theatre at Suffolk University, the Boston Conservatory, the New England Light Opera and the Speakeasy Stage Company.
A question-and-answer session with Tony-winning composer Finn will be offered on May 15 at Suffolk University's Studio Theatre. There is no admission for the event, which will begin at noon. Finn's Elegies, which debuted last season at Lincoln Center, will also be presented that day at 8 PM at the Boston Center for the Arts. Finn, who earned his Tony Award for his Falsettos score, has also written the scores for In Trousers, March of the Falsettos, Falsettoland, Romance in Hard Times, Elegies and A New Brain.
Among the musicals featured in this year's festival are Kevin Bleau's The Mission, Neal Hampton's The Chimes and Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan's The Woman Upstairs. Charles Turner and Nancy Rexford's Komachi will inaugurate Birth of an Opera.
An evening of cabaret will also be part of the festival's many events. On May 14 at 8 PM at Suffolk University's C. Walsh Theatre, attendees can expect to hear songs by composers Monica Bauer, Kevin Bleau, Maggie Devine Sullivan, Steve Gilbane, Harriet Goldberg, Marcus Hauck, Eva Kendrick, Sarah Newcomb, Rachel Peters, David Reiffel, Barry Rosenberg and Michael Wartofsky.
For more information about the Birth of a Musical events, call the North Shore Music Theatre at (978) 232-7200 or visit www.nsmt.org. A pass to all the events is available for $35.