July 18, 2019

Important Dates:
8/14: New Works Roundtable
10/22-23: 2019 Fall Conference
10/24-25: 31st Annual Festival of New Musicals

Announcing the Lineup for the 31st Festival of New Musicals!

Registration for the 2019 Festival is now open! Last month, NAMT announced the line-up for our 31st Annual Festival of New Musicals, which will take place on October 24 & 25 at New World Stages in NYC. The eight shows selected to be part of our Festival, chosen from a pool of 219 shows submitted this year for consideration, are:

HI, MY NAME IS BEN book and lyrics by Scott Gilmour, music by Claire McKenzie 
INTERSTATE book and lyrics by Melissa Li and Kit Yan, music by Melissa Li 
IRON JOHN: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY book and music by Jacinth Greywoode, book and lyrics by Rebecca Hart (Fest '14, How to Break)
LAUTREC AT THE ST. JAMES music by Julianne Wick Davis (Fest '10, Southern Comfort), book and lyrics by John Dietrich
ONE WAY book and music by Ben Bonnema, book and lyrics by Christopher Staskel
SEAWIFE music and lyrics by The Lobbyists, book by Seth Moore, directed and developed by Liz Carlson
SIMON AND JORGE PAY THEIR STUDENT LOANS book, music and lyrics by Jesse Gage
TEETH book and music by Anna K. Jacobs, book and lyrics by Michael R. Jackson

Visit our website to learn more about this year's Festival, our shows, our writers and to register for all of our exciting fall events!  

Registration is Now Open for the Fall Conference

This year’s Fall Conference will be bigger than ever! We’re expanding our programming to include smaller group discussions allowing for deeper dives into the ins and outs of new musical development, community engagement, equity/diversity/inclusion, and more. We’ll look at how theatres can prepare their audiences for shows with sensitive topics, collaborate internationally, develop new work for young audiences, bring art to their communities, become more inclusive, and more! Attendees will also have a chance to meet the writers of the 31st Annual Festival of New Musicals for an exclusive sneak peek of the Festival. Register today!

Guest Speaker Announced for the New Works Roundtable!

Registration for the 2019 New Works Roundtable is now open! This year, the Roundtable will be hosted by Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut and will take place on August 14th. The day will be filled with thought-provoking discussion, as well as a chance to see two new musicals, meet the creative teams and attend a dinner with guest speaker and Festival Alumnus Duncan Sheik (Fest '15, Noir).

Many writers and producers are hoping for two things when developing a new musical: artistic excellence and commercial viability. Aiming to meet these two goals simultaneously can often feel like an overwhelming challenge—one that may be impacted by source material behind the story. How can we keep these two approaches central to our process when creating new work, regardless of whether or not a piece is an adaptation? At the 2019 New Works Roundtable, we’ll explore ideas for how we can achieve excellence and viability, discuss how our approaches change when it comes to looking at adaptations of both beloved and less-known source materials, and consider the tension that may arise at the intersection of these two goals. 

Following a morning of discussions digging into these questions, Roundtable attendees will attend Goodspeed Musicals’ productions of Passing Through by Brett Ryback (Fest ’16, Joe Schmoe Saves the World) and Eric Ulloa, and Because of Winn Dixie by Nell Benjamin (Fest ’03, Sarah, Plain and Tall) and Duncan Sheik (Fest ’15, Noir). Dinner, sponsored by Delaware Theatre Company (Bud Martin, Executive Director), will be included and will feature a talk by guest speaker Duncan Sheik.

The Roundtable is open to all NAMT members and Festival alumni writers. For more information and to see the expanded agenda, and more event details, visit the NAMT website.

Call for Applications – IDEA Opera Grants

IDEA Opera Grants are available to composer and librettist teams with racial or cultural identities that include African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and/or Native American (ALAANA*) who possess the ability to create theatrical works for the voice and instrumental ensemble. Previous experience writing for the operatic medium is not required. 
Applicants may request up to $12,500 in direct support to advance their work through activities that include the production of a workshop, reading or other performance-based event. In addition, OPERA America will contract and provide a videography team to create a high-quality, multi-camera promotional video of the work.
The deadline to submit an intent to apply is July 29, 2019.
The guidelines and application materials are available here.  
Questions? Contact Claire Gohorel, grantmaking manager, at CGohorel@operaamerica.org or 646.699.5236.
*ALAANA is an acronym adopted by OPERA America in alignment with Grantmakers in the Arts usage; it is intended to be inclusive of artists from historically underfunded racial or ethnic identity groups, although applicants may self-identify in different ways. Among the imperfect options, ALAANA acknowledges and attempts to call out distinct cultural communities in abbreviated form by name.
This month, we chatted with Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Niko Tsakalakos, the writers of 2017 Festival show Fall Springs. This summer, the show will receive its world premiere at NAMT member Barrington Stage Company, which received a production grant from our Frank Young Fund for New Musicals.

The town of Fall Springs is cash-strapped but sits directly on top of America’s largest reserve of cosmetic essential oils. The town has big dreams but at what cost? With new fracking techniques being recklessly implemented, the ground beneath Fall Springs is crumbling.
What was the response to Fall Springs after the 2017 Festival presentation?
People said lots of nice things to us after our presentation! We were particularly excited that the tone and the music both seemed to leave a strong impression on folks and left people wanting to see more. Not to mention, our “willful ignorance to human-driven climate change” subject matter seemed to resonate. Almost immediately, we began a conversation with Julie Boyd and Branden Huldeen at Barrington Stage about what next steps could be in store to make the show ready for production. 

What did you discover about the show after presenting it in the Festival, and what work have you done on the show since then?
On the positive side, we felt affirmed of the show’s strengths: its comic tone, its rocking and hooky music, the oddball characters, and its underlying heart. Working towards our NAMT presentation also resulted in us having a very tight Act One, but an Act Two that still needed some work, and that’s been the biggest focus for us since the festival.  We’ve written three new songs for the act, cut the dead mother ghost and her song, and done a lot of book work with some very funny new jokes. Last summer we had a workshop and reading at Barrington where we got to try out our full show in front of an audience and continue to hone the piece, and we’ve continued to refine over the past year.  

Fall Springs is about to have its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company. What has made Barrington a great partner as you’ve prepared for this production?

Barrington’s commitment, enthusiasm and support has made them a phenomenal partner for us. They have challenged us to make the show better and given us the developmental framework to make that happen.  It’s been a rigorous and fruitful process and we feel like we are premiering a show that has grown and strengthened through our work with Barrington these last two years. And they have helped us assemble a true dream team of collaborators working with us this summer.   

What are you most excited to share with audiences when the show opens next month?
The whole damn thing! We are excited to share an original, not-based-on-anything, ballsy musical COMEDY that is about something real. This show will by no means save the world, but we hope it’s a chance for an audience to reflect on how challenging it seems to be for us as humans to truly address the existential threats we are all facing until we are waist deep in the muck. We believe it’s not like any other musical out there and we’re simply thrilled to get to share our little misfit creation with the world, before it’s too late.

What do you hope is next for the show, and how can NAMT members who are interested in its future development get involved now?
As one does in a world premiere, we are going to learn a TON throughout the rehearsal process and run and I know we’ll want to carry what we learn forward and keep making our show stronger. We want to bring the show to New York, the country, the planet (again, before it’s too late).  

Why should people plan a visit to the Berkshires to check out the world premiere?
This is a show meant to be experienced. It is action packed, it is funny, and it’s gonna rock. And did you see our cast? That cast, seriously!  And that design team! And we got genius director Stephen Brackett moving them around? It’s going to be insane!  

There’s also a really good soft serve ice cream place in Pittsfield.  And Soco Creamery in Great Barrington has made a special Fall Springs flavor that you have to try! (Think Mudslide.) And then, the Berkshires, hello!  After the show, you can get a spa treatment, swim in a lake, buy a Norman Rockwell painting and contemplate what small things you can do to to save the planet. 

For more information about Fall Spring and to buy tickets to the upcoming production, visit Barrington Stage Company's website.
Next, we spoke to Meghan Randolph, the Founder and Executive Director of Music Theatre of Madison, about their upcoming production of Hephaestus by Nathan Fosbinder. MTM will be producing the world premiere of the show this summer, which has received a Frank Young Fund for New Musicals Production Grant.

Hephaestus tells the story of the physically deformed, oft-forgotten Greek God of fire. Cast down to Earth by his mother, the jealous and powerful Hera, he reaches into his soul and identifies his strength as an artisan to win back his spot on Mount Olympus. Soaring contemporary music, beautiful costumes, and the Greek traditions of comedy and tragedy mesh together in this premiere that truly belongs to Madison.

What is Music Theatre of Madison’s history with new works, and how does this production of Hephaestus fit into your overall commitment to new works development?
Hephaestus is actually our very first developed show. In the past, we have held readings of new works and found that pieces written locally were very popular with our audiences. We've also spent our time searching for shows that weren't likely to make it to our area and focused on producing those [Jarrow and Chapman's Hostage Song (NAMT Fest '09), Pen and Loddato's Arlington, and Cheslik-DeMeyer, Maner, and Hewitt's Lizzie (NAMT Fest '10) to name a few]. We want to show the Madison area audience that musical theatre is, comparatively, a very young art form, and there's so much more to come. Our audiences are very curious and educated, but some don't know a whole lot about how creating musicals works. We have wanted to develop a new piece for years, and when Hephaestus came around, we knew it was time to take the leap. 

How did Hephaestus first find its way to Music Theatre of Madison?
Nathan Fosbinder was in a production with us in 2007 when he was only 14. I became Facebook friends with him once he went to college at Boston Conservatory and followed his work there, and eventually saw that he had become a composer. I began talking with him about potentially doing a reading of something he had written. He said, "Well, I have an idea for a show about Hephaestus, the Greek God of fire, but I've only written one song for it." Then he sent me the song. That was all I needed to know he was a very gifted composer with a great future. So we decided to develop the piece, but we didn't want to just do it "in house." We thought it would be fun to let audiences be part of the adventure. So last year we did a workshop, which for us meant an event where audiences could see the costume and set renderings (and vote for their favorites), snack on Greek food, hear a reading of the show as it existed then and offer their feedback. It got people very invested. They gave great ideas, some of which were incorporated into the show. This endeavor helped people get a glimpse of how a musical has many stops on its way to production and gave them a stake in the process. Nathan, the director Catie O'Donnell, orchestrator Mark Wurzelbacher, and I spent a year with the feedback we'd received as well as our own ideas, and now we've got a full show that we're ready to present to our audiences. We're very proud of it, and we think our audiences will enjoy it greatly. 

What inspired MTM to produce this show now, and what makes you a great partner for this piece?
We were at a stage in our organization where we really needed to double down on the "what's next?" aspect of our work. Wisconsin is in dire straits when it comes to arts funding, and we knew we needed to have a mission that made us stick out from the competition. That was the practical side. From an artistic side, we wanted to inspire our audiences with the talent that existed here and challenge ourselves as artists with the process of creating new work. We also work with high school interns and letting them see this process is a terrific experience. Thanks to grant funding from our local libraries, we're also able to do previews and discussions with the composer at several library locations in our county. The Wisconsin Union Theater also provided a grant for Nathan to workshop his pieces with UW-Madison students, who will perform them in a free master class. It just opened up a lot of opportunities for us to connect with our community in a variety of ways. We want our community to understand how much musical theatre can offer, particularly new musicals by emerging composers. Hephaestus is a universal story of family strife, acceptance and self-love, and even though it's one of the oldest stories ever, it manages to resonate, and always will. 

What developmental work have you done with the writer as you prepare for this world premiere?
Nathan was also working on an MFA in Musical Theatre writing from NYU, and was in his second year after the workshop in 2018, so the amount of work we were able to do remotely was really remarkable. He had a sense of the actors and their strengths, and we had some great audience feedback to go off of. The overarching theme we heard was that the audience wanted more time with the characters and more time with Hephaestus once he's cast down to Earth. Nathan went so far as to add a new character, the only mortal, Kabeiro. He really gave each character a clearer journey, wrote some new songs and solidified the story. It was so impressive to see what he got done, and to see our team working together to put all the pieces in place. 

Why should folks plan a trip to Wisconsin to see the show this summer?
Come see what kind of talent resides in places you'd never think it would be. There are sensational actors, singers, musicians, designers and directors who have made their homes all over the country. Many of the theatres here are working very hard to create an arts economy so that these people can fully make a living in our community. MTM is growing by leaps and bounds at that and others are too. Great regional theatre doesn't just exist in large cities. Plus, our show is on the beautiful UW-Madison campus in the Memorial Union, which contains a terrace looking out over the lake, tons of restaurants, and of course, beer and cheese curds. So you can really make a night out of it and celebrate the greatest parts of Wisconsin!

For more information about Hephaestus and to buy tickets, visit Music Theatre of Madison's website

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES^ (Full Production)
FYFNM Production Grant Recipient
Book by Lynn Nottage
Music by Duncan Sheik (Fest '15-Noir)
Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead
Based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd
Atlantic Theater, New York, NY
Through Jul. 21

A STRANGE LOOP^ (Full Production)
FYFNM Production Grant Recipient
By Michael R. Jackson
Playwrights Horizons, New York, NY
Through Jul. 28

NEXT FESTIVAL (Staged Readings)
Music by Tidtaya Sinutoke
Book & Lyrics by Isabella Dawis
By Dylan Thomas
Composed by Cerys Matthews & Mason Neely
Adapted from the play by Reginald Rose
Music & Lyrics by Michael Holland
Book by David Simpatico
Theater Latté Da
Minneapolis, MN
Through Jul. 30

(Full Production)
By Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, IL
Through Aug. 4

By PigPen Theatre Co.
The Old Globe
, San Diego, CA
Through Aug. 11

THE PiTCH (Readings)
By Danny K. Bernstein
Book & Lyrics by Molly Reisman
Book & Music by Emily Chiu
Music by Noel Carey
Book & Lyrics by Carey & Scott Weinstein
Music by Matt Vinson
Book & Lyrics by Matte O’Brien

By Wes Braver & Rachel Dean
Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Auburn, NY
Through Aug. 16

(Full Production) Fest '17
By Daniel Zaitchik
The Marriott Theatre,
Lincolnshire, IL
Through Aug. 18

Book & Lyrics by Nell Benjamin (Fest '03-Sarah, Plain & Tall)
Music by Duncan Sheik
(Fest '15-Noir)
Based on the original book by Kate DiCamillo
Goodspeed Musicals,
East Haddam, CT
Through Sep. 1

Music & Lyrics by Joe Iconis (Fest '11-Bloodsong of Love)
Book by Iconis, Lance Rubin & Jason Sweettooth Williams
Greenwich House Theatre, New York, NY
Through Sep. 15

HANSEL AND GRETEL (Full Production)
Book by Sam Lafrage
Music & Lyrics by Lewis Flinn & Sam Lafrage
Barrington Stage Company,
Pittsfield, MA
Jul. 24-Aug. 10

PASSING THROUGH (Full Production)
Music & Lyrics by Brett Ryback (Fest ’16-Joe Schmoe Saves the World)
Book by Eric Ulloa
Goodspeed Musicals,
East Haddam, CT
Jul. 26-Aug. 18

FALL SPRINGS^ (Full Production) Fest '17

FYFNM Production Grant Recipeint

See article to the left.
Book & Lyrics by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
Music & Lyrics by Niko Tsakalakos
Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield, MA
Aug. 9-31

HEPHAESTUS^ (Full Production)
FYFNM Production Grant Recipient
See article to the left.
Book, Music & Lyrics by Nathan Fosbinder
Music Theatre of Madison,
Madison, WI
Aug. 16-24

KISS MY AZTEC! (Full Production)
Book by John Leguizamo & Tony Taccone
Music by Benjamin Velez
Lyrics by David Kamp, Velez & Leguizamo 
La Jolla Playhouse,
La Jolla, CA
Sep. 3-Oct. 13

(Full Production)
Book by Michael Mitnick
Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon (Fest '08-Ordinary Days; Fest '11-Bernice Bobs Her Hair; Fest '14-String)
Roundabout Theatre,
New York, NY
Sep. 14-Dec. 8

THE WRONG MAN (Full Production)
By Ross Golan
MCC Theater, New York, NY
Sep. 18-Oct. 27

LOCH NESS, A NEW MUSICAL^ (Full Production)
FYFNM Production Grant Recipient
By Marshall Pailet & A.D. Penedo (both, Fest '07-The Chocolate Tree)
Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Auburn, NY
Sep. 28-Oct. 13

bolded blue = NAMT members
^ = shows that have received Frank Young Fund for New Musicals grants
* = Sponsored Listing
NAVY SHOWS=shows from our Festival

ALADDIN (Broadway)
Music by Alan Menken (Fest '03-Ballad of Little Pinks)
Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice (Fest '94-Tycoon)
Book & Add'l Lyrics by Chad Beguelin (Fest '94-Wicked City)
New Amsterdam Theatre, New York, NY
Open-ended run

THE BAND'S VISIT (National Tour)
Music & Lyrics by David Yazbeck
Book by Itamar Moses (Fest '12-Nobody Loves You)
National Tour

Music & Lyrics by Joe Iconis (Fest '11-Bloodsong of Love)
Book by Joe Tracz
Lyceum Theatre, New York, NY
Through Aug. 11

(Multiple Locations) Fest '13
By Irene Sankoff & David Hein
Produced by Junkyard Dog Productions, Michael Rubinoff with Sheridan CollegeNancy Nagel GibbsSpencer Ross, Wendy Gillespie, La Jolla Playhouse & Seattle Repertory Theatre  

Multiple Productions
Open-ended run

HADESTOWN (Broadway)
By Anaïs Mitchell
Produced by MWM Live
Walter Kerr Theatre, New York, NY
Open-ended run

HAMILTON (Multiple Locations)
Book, Music & Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Produced by The Public Theater
Multiple Productions
Open-ended run

KING KONG (Broadway)
By Marius de Vries, Michael Mitnick & Craig Lucas
Produced in association with Harmonia Holdings
Broadway Theatre,
New York, NY
Through Aug. 18

(National Tour)
Book by Joe Tracz
Music & Lyrics by Rob Rokicki (Fest '18-Monstersongs)
National Tour

THE LION KING (Multiple Locations)
Book by Roger Allers & Irene Mecchi
Music by Elton John, Lyrics by Tim Rice
 (Fest '94-Tycoon)
Multiple Productions
Open-ended runs

MEAN GIRLS (Broadway)
Book by Tina Fey
Music by Jeff Richmond
Lyrics by Nell Benjamin 
(Fest '03-Sarah, Plain & Tall)
August Wilson Theatre, New York, NY
Open-ended run

THE PROM (Broadway)
Book by Bob Martin (Fest '04-The Drowsy Chaperone)
Book & Lyrics by Chad Beguelin (Fest '94-Wicked City)
Music by Matt Sklar (Fest '94-Wicked City)
Produced by Margot Astrachan Production
Longacre Theatre, New York, NY
Open-ended run

WICKED (Multiple Locations)
Book by Winnie Holzman
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Fest '96-Children of Eden)
Multiple locations and tours
Open-ended run
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