The 14th annual New York Musical Festival (NYMF) kicks off July 10, showcasing new musicals and works in development. The annual event, which takes place at locations around Manhattan, shines a spotlight on up-and-coming shows and musical theatre artists to keep on your radar.
As well as productions, NYMF features concerts, readings, workshops, and special events. Visit NYMF.org/tickets to purchase passes and for more information. The festival runs through August 6.
The complete lineup of musicals that are receiving productions, 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 McElligott, 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.
Ben, Virginia, And Me (The Liberace Musical)
Book by Roger O. Hirson; music and lyrics by Barbara Carole Sickmen
Before Liberace entered the world of glitz and glamour, the legendary showman crossed paths with history's most notorious gangster and his girlfriend, forming a unique bond. Featuring a lavish original score, this world premiere musical explores the phantasmagorical life of the iconic performer and his nearly career-shattering struggle to maintain privacy with respect to his sexual orientation. Friendship, love, and the quest for redemption play out for one of showbiz's most unique trios in the telling of this remarkable story.
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?
Errol and Fidel
Book by Boyd Anderson and Guy Anderson; music by Peter Kaldor and John Kaldor; lyrics by Anderson
Cuba, 1958: Revolution is in the air! In his final year Errol Flynn has one last adventure. The dashing star of so many Hollywood blockbusters yearns to be a real hero, and Fidel Castro fits the bill. What Fidel craves is fame, and who better than Errol to show him how? At the height of the revolution an explosive encounter beckons—fueled by envy, lust, and vanity—with a mysterious woman calling the tune. Or could the CIA really be pulling the strings? Who knew revolution could be so much fun?
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.
Matthew McConaughey Vs. The Devil: An American Myth
Book by Emilie Landmann and Carrie Morgan; music by Jonathan Quesenberry; lyrics by Morgan and Quesenberry
A Faustian comedy that dares to ask the question, “How did Matthew McConaughey win an Academy Award?" This show recounts how the RomCom-starring stoner became an A-list award winner. Matthew has his loyal agent Penny, his best friend Woody Harrelson, and his beloved bongos. Now all he needs is to be taken seriously in his art. Enter a demon with a deal too good to be true. Friendship, love, and loyalty are all tested in this hell-raising adventure to win Matthew the Oscar...and save his soul.
Miss Blanche Tells It All
Book by Jason Jacobs; music by Matthew C. Pritchard; lyrics by Pritchard and Jacobs
1969 New Orleans: it’s standing room only. The band starts the opening number for Miss Blanche, the hottest act in the Quarter - but Miss Blanche is missing in action. Instead, a fiery young man takes the stage. Relaying tales from his brutal childhood, he reveals a mysterious trunk, filled with clues about his past and the key to his future. Inspired by the imagination of Tennessee Williams, this intimate and seductive show takes us on one man’s journey of desire, self-expression, and liberation.
Motherfreakinghood! (Maternal Discretion Advised)
Book, music, and lyrics by Julie Dunlap and Sara Stotts
Rachael, wide-eyed and optimistic, is elated to finally put her party days behind and become a mom... #YAY! Angie has pre-enrolled her unborn child in the most exclusive all-girls preschool (definitely a girl, she already has a boy). After three kids, Marcia thought she was done. Is it bad that she doesn’t want to cancel her wine of the month club or stop having sex on her back? With a soundtrack ranging from rock to pop to funk and more, join these three unlikely friends as they bond in the trenches from pregnancy tests to empty nests, dominating the diapers and tackling the teens with unmotherly charm, one bottle at a time!
My Dear Watson
Book, music, and lyrics by Jami-Leigh Bartschi
Follow the legendary friendship of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. Through the mystery, action, and cleverness woven throughout Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, My Dear Watson looks beyond the realm of narrative and into the heart of the man himself...that is, if he has one at all. In this dramatic musical told from the perspective of Dr. Watson, we are forced to reanalyze and redefine love and friendship for a man who is seemingly incapable of both. Is there a man in the machine?
Book and lyrics by Taylor Tash; music by Nathania Wibowo
Inspired by the B-movie of the same title, Night Tide tells the kitschy and compelling tale of Johnny Drake, a lonely Naval sailor. While enjoying his first shore leave in a spooky, run-down seaside resort town, he meets Mora, a seductive and mysterious young woman who performs as a mermaid in the sideshow. Johnny immediately becomes smitten with Mora, but he soon discovers that she may actually be a real siren of the sea, and she may have lured her previous boyfriends to their watery graves...
Book by Laura Stratford; music by David Kornfeld; lyrics by Alex Higgin-Houser; story by Larry Little; and additional music by Dylan MarcAurele
Numbers Nerds is an almost all-girl high school math team from Waukesha, Wisconsin. The team has won the Regional Math Competition and is chosen to compete in the National Math SUM-IT. These smart and funny whiz kids must unite to solve difficult math problems without getting distracted by teen drama and pressures. It is a story of girls becoming women, conquering both anxiety and rivalry, finding a way to affirm themselves both as individuals and as team-members, so they can win at math…and at life!
Peace, Love And Cupcakes: The Musical
Book by Sheryl Berk, Carrie Berk and Jill Jaysen; music and lyrics by Rick Hip-Flores
New kid Kylie Carson is "different"—which can make middle school a very scary and unfriendly place. So she cooks up a sweet solution: form a cupcake club that's open to anyone seeking friendship and a place to belong. But the popular clique turns bitter with jealously and vow to destroy the club's efforts. Kylie is now faced with a tough choice: stoop to the mean girl's level or take the higher road. The delicious pop-infused score by Rick Hip-Flores brings the bestselling children's book by Sheryl and Carrie Berk to life, and drives home a message of empathy, love, and the power of young people to change the world. This production will support NoBully.org.
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 rain forest 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 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."
The Cadaver Synod: A Pope Musical
Book, music and lyrics by Robbie Florian
In the year 897 A.D., Pope Stephen VII dug up the rotting corpse of his predecessor, Pope Formosus, and placed it on trial in front of the entire Roman Clergy, Senate, and Aristocracy. After screaming at it for hours, Stephen had the body dismembered, disrobed, and thrown in the Tiber River. Why would he do this? Your guess is as good as ours. But, here's our guess. Brought to life with a sensuous mix of pope-punk, Catholic pop, and inarguably melodic ecclesiastical mandible-flappings, we invite YOU to the trial of the 9th century.
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.
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.
The Time Machine
Book by David Mauk and Brenda Mandabach; music and lyrics by Mauk
In this wicked retelling of the classic novel by H.G. Wells, a troubled inventor discovers a modern dystopia where machines are nonexistent and love is forbidden. Extraordinary events force him to venture underground where he must face the demons that control his future.
Dan Markley serves as NYMF executive director and producer of 2017 NYMF.
(Updated July 10, 2017)