NAMT Flash: Busy Duncan Sheik Has Another New Musical in the Pipeline

News   NAMT Flash: Busy Duncan Sheik Has Another New Musical in the Pipeline
Spring Awakening composer Duncan Sheik, who already has new projects in the pipeline for Broadway and Off-Broadway, will roll out yet another new project, Noir, as part of this fall's National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) Festival.

Duncan Sheik
Duncan Sheik Photo by Jenny Anderson

Noir--the French word for "black," which is also used as the name of a type of shadowy black-and-white film popular in the late 1940s--will tell the story of a man who listens in on his neighbors in the apartment next door. The musical is scheduled to have book and lyrics by Kyle Jarrow (Whisper House, A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant), with lyrics co-written by Sheik.

Noir is scheduled to be developed in a workshop July 31-Aug. 2 at Vassar's Powerhouse Theatre, as part of the New York Stage and Film series. Vassar describes it thus: "A heartbroken man never leaves his apartment, consoled only by the music on the radio. Through the thin walls, he hears almost every word of the couple next door—and before long, his eavesdropping becomes an obsession. Soon he finds himself drawn into a web of lust, lies, deceit and danger. Tony and Grammy Award-winning composer Duncan Sheik collaborates with Kyle Jarrow and Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812) on this lush and mysterious new musical inspired by radio plays and classic film noir." Sheik won the 2007 Tony Award for Best Score for Spring Awakening, which also won Best Musical, and which is headed for a Broadway revival later this season. He also composed music for American Psycho, which is headed for Broadway in 2017, and Because of Winn Dixie, done regionally. Sheik is also writing music for an Off-Broadway production of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, to star Tony winner Tonya Pinkins.

NAMT will showcase excerpts from this and other musicals Oct. 15-16 at New World Stages Off-Broadway.

Costs of Living -- Timothy Huang (book, music, lyrics), author of Peter and the Wall, has written a "rock and pop theatre score" for his story of "two immigrant cab drivers who come to New York for the American dream but instead find a nightmare scenario." Performed by a predominantly Asian-American ensemble, the musical originated in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.

On the Eve -- "As bombs explode outside, a theatre company staves off impending apocalyptic doom by performing a sci-fi musical about Marie Antoinette’s first time-traveling hot air balloon. As the dictatorial Talking Man turns the story into a celebration of stereotypes, the company fights back. Soon the play bleeds into reality, reviving hope for survival." Written by Shawn Magill and Seth Magill (music, lyrics and story) and Michael Federico (book and story). Imagine Harry -- "When Tucker was 8, Harry was his imaginary friend. Now Tucker's grown up, and Harry has left the biz—two lost guys trying to figure out the little things. Like life. Can they help each other before it's too late? " Will Van Dyke wrote music and lyrics; Jeff Talbott wrote book and lyrics.

The Last Queen of Canaan -- Set in 1937 rural Virginia, the musical "follows Cora Skye, an uncompromising landowner, and Ginny, her restless granddaughter. When Kay, a Northern do-gooder, descends on the property to collect Cora’s story for the WPA, she unwittingly instigates a confrontation that will leave all three women forever changed." Book by Harrison David Rivers, lyrics by Rebekah Greer Melocik, music by Jacob Yandura.

Legendale -- "Andy's favorite way to escape his humdrum life is an online game full of magic and monsters called 'Legendale.' When a once-in-a-lifetime tournament is announced, Andy dreams of victory, but finds himself stuck competing as a cow maiden––the lowliest character in the game. He curses his fate, until the fantasy becomes real and Andy and his avatar must both discover their inner warrior. An original, contemporary musical comedy with a pop-infused score, Legendale blends romance, adventure and virtual reality." Music by Andrea Daly, book and lyrics by Jeff Bienstock, story by Bienstock and Daly.

lift -- "In a blue collar Ohio town, 8-year-old Ethan falls through the ice and is miraculously saved with no known hero. When the boy, who not long ago lost his dad, insists it was a 'birdman,' his family grapples with faith and hope as the community watches the mystery unfold." Written by Daryl Lisa Fazio (book, lyrics) and Aaron McAllister (music).

Othello: The Remix -- Following an international tour and homecoming to sold-out audiences in Chicago, "this fresh urban take on Shakespeare’s tragedy is spun out and lyrically rewritten over original beats by The Q Brothers—America’s leading re-interpreters of Shakespeare through hip-hop." Book, music and lyrics by The Q Brothers (The Bomb-itty of Errors.

The NAMT Festival of New Musicals has showcased early versions of several musicals that went on to regional, Off-Broadway and Broadway productions, including Tony winner Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Drowsy Chaperone and Striking 12.

Admission to NAMT is limited primarily to members of the theatre industry, at Members of the public can also receive passes to the Festival through a donation to NAMT. There will also be a day-of stand-by line for the general public for free admission, based on availability.

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