Works By Coleman, Zippel, Stitt and Friedman to Be Part of Festival of New American Musicals

News   Works By Coleman, Zippel, Stitt and Friedman to Be Part of Festival of New American Musicals
The world premiere of the Cy Coleman revue The Best Is Yet to Come, as well as The Water and a new musical adaptation of Peter Pan are on the bill for the second annual Festival of New American Musicals in Southern California.
Lillias White and David Zippel
Lillias White and David Zippel Photo by Richard Termine

The festival, which has now been expanded to four months from last year's two-month run, features fresh productions of musical favorites, as well as staged readings, workshops and concerts. Over 30 arts organizations are involved in the festival, which is executive produced by Marcia Seligson, Bob Klein and Linda Shusett.

Honorary co-chairs for the Festival of New American Musicals include Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Jason Alexander and Angela Lansbury. Tony nominated and Oscar-winning composer Stephen Schwartz and ASCAP musical theatre director Michael Friedman serve as creative advisors.

Pre-festival events include Act III Theatre Ensemble's free presentation of the Andrew Lippa musical The Wild Party (March 12-13) as well as an evening celebrating the work of Richard Rodgers and Jonathan Larson award-winning composer Ryan Scott Oliver, entitled RATED RSO: The Music And Lyrics Of Ryan Scott Oliver at the Theatre at Boston Court (March 27).

Among the Festival's full productions are the world premieres of Mark Saltzman, Berton Averre and Rob Meurer's Set Up and Punch (Blank Theatre Company from April 24-May 31); Jordan Beck and Jonathan May's Peter Pan: A New Musical (LifeHouse Theater, May 9–June 14); The Green Room (Hermosa Beach Playhouse, May 19–May 31); Jeff Lantos and Bill Augustine's Plymouth 2.0 and Water And Power (Marquez Charter School on May 20); Michael Friedman and Melanie Marnich's The Brand New Kid (South Coast Repertory Company, May 29-June 14); Doug Haverty and Adryan Russ' iGhost (NoHo Arts Center, June 29-30); Orlando Pabotoy's That Beautiful Laugh (The Players Theater, March 27-April 18); and Bill DeLuca's Everyman – The Musical (Cal State Dominguez Hills Theatre, April 17–26).

Also on the bill are the West Coast premieres of William Finn's Make Me A Song (Covina Center for the Arts, May 6-10); Forbidden Broadway 25th Anniversary Special Edition (The Granada, June 4–14); the short-lived Johnny Cash Broadway musical Ring of Fire (La Mirada Theatre, June 5-21); Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori's Violet (The Alex Theatre on June 15); Douglas J. Cohen's No Way to Treat a Lady (Colony Theatre, April 15–May 17); Urinetown composer Mark Hollmann and Jack Helbig's The Girl, The Grouch and The Goat (Chance Theatre, April 17–May 24); as well as the national tour of Dirty Dancing — The Classic Story On Stage (Pantages Theatre, May 8-June 28). Tony winner Lillias White will star in the world premiere of the Cy Coleman musical revue The Best Is Yet To Come at the Rubicon Theatre (July 9-Aug. 2). Tony winner David Zippel, who created the production, will also direct. The revue will also feature choreography by Christopher Gatelli and musical direction by Billy Stritch.

Developmental stagings and readings include Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk's The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown (Orange County Performing Arts Center, April 21-May 3); Tim Werenko, Jeff Hylton and Georgia Stitt's The Water (Colony Theatre on April 27); and a look at Ken Cazan and Billy Pace's Prodigy, based on the life of art superstar Jean-Michel Basquiat (USC Campus on June 20).

For a complete schedule and tickets, visit

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