Submissions now open for the 2016 Festival of New Musicals!
NAMT New Works News

October 29, 2015


The application for the 28th Annual Festival of New Musicals is now live!  You can read the guidelines and access the application on our website. Please note that our deadlines are one month earlier this year. Member/Alumni submissions are due on January 12th (or January 26th with a late fee).

We will host two Festival Submission Q&A sessions in New York City and one online session for any writers or producers interested in submitting shows. We will walk through the application process with the attendees and provide tips for a successful submission. You can RSVP to these sessions online. The first session will take place on November 19th from 5pm-6pm in Studio B at A.R.T./New York (520 8th Ave, 3rd Floor Studio B). The second session will take place on December 1st from 12:30pm-1:30pm in Studio B at A.R.T./New York. The online session will take place on November 17 at 2pm (ET). Our submission system has changed this year, so everyone is encouraged to attend a Q&A session, even if you've applied in the past. 

We can't wait to read the fantastic new musicals that come from our Members and Alumni!  


We are now accepting applications for our latest round of Writers Residency Grants, as part of our National Fund for New Musicals. These grants are given to U.S.-based, not-for-profit NAMT Members to support their work with writers at the early stages of developing a new musical.  
The granting period will be for projects taking place between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016. Grant amounts range from $500-$2,000. The application is due on November 30th.  
You can read more about the grants and find the application on our website.  


NAMT has six free rehearsal studio hours at the ART/NY spaces (520 8th Avenue in Manhattan or their South Oxford Space in Brooklyn) that we would like to give away to one of our Festival Alumni Writers to use in the development of a new project.  The hours must be used by December 31 and can be used Sunday-Friday between 9am-10pm, except Monday-Wednesday after 6pm.  We will give all 6 hours to one project and will facilitate your booking request with ART/NY directly. We cannot guarantee that you will get the exact hours you request. 

If you want to be in the running for the free hours, all you need to do is send a two-paragraph email: the first paragraph should tell us about the project and who is involved, the second paragraph should tell us what you would use those 6 hours for.  That is all we need! You could use this time for a collaboration meeting with your fellow writers, a rehearsal or a table read-through (no drums, please)! 

You have until Tuesday, November 3 at 12noon (ET) to send Branden your request.  That afternoon we will put everyone’s names in a hat and draw the is that easy! Let Branden know if you have any questions.  
Didn't get to grab a CD or dropcard for all the shows at the Festival? The NAMT Jukebox has been updated to include demo tracks from all 2015 Festival Shows
The Jukebox also includes the 2015 Other Shows You Should Know! Check out some of the other submissions to the 2015 Festival that the Festival Committee thinks you should know about. This year's Other Shows You Should Know include Mortality Play, The Theory of Relativity (both featured in the Songwriters Showcase) and Unbound (featured in the Songwriters Cabaret). 
You must be a NAMT member logged into your website account to access the Jukebox.
Congrats to Brian Hargrove, Barbara Anselmi and everyone associated with It Shoulda Been You on the release of their original Broadway cast album!  You can buy the album online from Sh-K Boom (use code NAMT15 at checkout to save 10% and get free shipping) or anywhere you buy digital music.  The show is now licensed through Music Theatre International.  


A reminder to our writers that if your show was in the Festival post-2000, you are required to credit NAMT in the program of any readings, workshops and productions of your show. This credit is asked for in lieu of taking money from the show or the authors. If you need a copy of your agreement with NAMT, please email Branden and he can send you a copy.  
Any time you can list NAMT as a developer of your show on a website, interview or bio, it is helpful to the organization and greatly appreciated. 


This month, we checked in with Festival Alumni John Jiler and Georgia Stitt about their 2010 Festival Show, Big Red Sun.

Big Red Sun has gone through quite a bit of rewriting in the past few years, how would you summarize the show for those who don’t know it or need reminding? 
Big Red Sun tells the story of a family of musicians. Eddie and Helen Daimler were great swing musicians in the 1940s, but now in the early 1960s their teenage son Harry, a budding songwriter himself, lives alone with his mother and writes songs about his great war-hero father. In an effort to write more truthfully, Harry unearths a dark family secret. World War II carved a silent divide between those who fought and those who waited – a truth unshared. In a few short years, the simple melodies of Kern and Berlin were replaced by the dizzying energy of jazz and the beginnings of rock and roll. This is the story of a family that changed as much as their music did.
What have been some of the changes to the show?
 There are a few questions that have plagued us since our 2010 appearance at NAMT and our subsequent presentations at CTI and The York, and we’ve rewritten to try to address them. Eddie and Helen are musicians from the 1930s and ’40s and now their son Harry, himself a budding musician, is beginning to embody the sound of the 1960s. Since much of the story is told in flashback, we kept running into the problem that Harry felt like an observer or a narrator, rather than an engine or propeller of the story. By strengthening his relationship to his own music, we’ve got a reason for him to stay on his quest. “How can you have an original voice if you don’t have a story to tell?” is the question Harry keeps asking, and it’s at the center of how the folk music of the 1960s evolved. Harry wants to write music authentically; enough with the false romanticism and lying veneer of the 1950s! He is on the search for “a big story about something true,” and, ultimately, it’s his own story that he finds. We’ve eliminated some of the sub-characters and story lines that were distracting. Aunt Rose is gone, which means we were able to give quite a bit of her material to Eddie and Helen, strengthening their back story and their connection. We’re working to make sure Helen is a full character and not just a reflection of the men around her. We’ve tracked the way the flashbacks get told and we’re actually totally re-writing a few song moments in Act Two. Overall, we’re trying to make sure the show feels both important and entertaining. The songs can do the work of the scenes beautifully, but they also have to be vibrant and alive so you feel them on your skin and not just in your brain.
You are preparing for a concert of the show in Philadelphia early next year with 11th Hour Theatre Co. Has preparing for that concert brought about any changes to the script as you now approach it with that process in mind?  
We actually have two big events coming up. On January 19th in NYC we are going to present a concert version of the score at 54 Below as part of a new series Jennifer Tepper has created called, “New Musicals at 54: A Showcase Of Our Own.” [note: Tickets for this concert series will go on sale in the coming weeks. We will include more information about this in upcoming newsletters.] About a month later (Feb 27-29) we’ll present the score AND book in a concert reading at 11th Hour Theatre Company in Philadelphia. The relationship with 11th Hour is actually even more extensive than that. We are aiming to do a table read in December and a concert presentation in February with an aim towards a production the following season. All in all we’re doing a year of guided development with Michael O’Brien’s young and exciting company, and that has forced us to get our big ideas solidly onto the page and into the sheet music. Georgia is also using this process to write orchestrations and, inevitably, we’ll wind up with some new demos, too.

What does Big Red Sun need to aid in its development?  
We have always said that there is an entire element of the show that we can’t know until we see it. We'll have a character in a scene in 1963, and then in one exchange of dialogue he turns around and is in a scene in 1942. We have actors playing characters of multiple ages and multiple ethnicities. We have music that spans a few decades of history and includes klezmer, swing, jazz and early rock and roll. Sometimes all you get is a clarinet turning into a saxophone or a piano turning into a guitar to let you know that the times are changing. We have crafted this script and score on music stands for nearly a decade and we are very much looking forward to putting it on human bodies and watching these characters come to life. We need choreography, we need musical instruments, and mostly, we need audiences.

Why should everyone check out Big Red Sun?  
Like Harry, we have tried to write “a big story about something true,” but we’ve done it extremely efficiently using six actors and five musicians. It has taken us a long time to get it right, but we are very excited about the way this show has landed. We definitely think you’ll be entertained as you hear the way American pop music evolved through the middle of the last century, but you’ll also, hopefully, get sucked into a story about how a redemptive love can heal a broken family. We really do think we’ve got a Great American Musical baby here, just waiting to be born.

For more information about Big Red Sun, visit Georgia Stitt's website.


This month, we chat with Daren Carollo and Lauren Hewitt from Berkeley Playhouse in Berkeley, CA about their upcoming premiere of the new musical Bridges, written by Festival Alumni Douglas J. Cohen and Cheryl L. Davis.

In 1965, a young woman boldly joins a march to fight for her civil rights. Decades later, another young woman faces her own battle for equality. As their stories collide across time and distance, each must come to terms with who she is in the context of a changing and complicated world. Full of soulful melodies, Bridges is an empowering story that explores our country’s past and present – how far we’ve come, how far we have to go and the bridges we must cross to get there.

What was the impetus behind Berkeley Playhouse choosing to commission a new musical?  
While there are a number of really wonderful works being created for children’s musical theatre, with the exception of some exceptional Disney titles, and a handful of “Matildas,” there are very few works being created for the family musical theatre canon: shows specifically written for multiple generations to enjoy together with stories accessible enough for youth, but engaging enough for adults. There are fewer still that have very specific themes around social justice. However, Berkeley Playhouse has built an eight year reputation on these types of works. We felt it was only right to begin contributing to the canon that has meant so much to us.

This show in particular happened when Founding Artistic Director Elizabeth McKoy was watching a film with her daughter: Selma, Lord, Selma. Her daughter had no idea that young people or that people of all different races, religions and nationalities helped play a part in the civil rights movement, and this is a child who grew up in Berkeley!  Elizabeth realized that a number of our amazing youth felt someone helpless around issues of social injustice and didn’t know they could make a difference too. She knew she needed to tell that story as well!

What drew you to Cheryl and Doug to create this piece?  
Knowing what type of show we wanted, and the general subject matter, [dramaturg] Ken Cerniglia suggested to Elizabeth that we look at Cheryl.  After reading The Color of Justice, and Barnstormer, she seemed like the perfect choice.  When Elizabeth found out Doug was her writing partner she was even more excited.  She enjoyed Children’s Letter to God and when Doug was mentioned to our Communications Director, Ken Levin, he relayed how wonderful the score for The Opposite of Sex was and that No Way to Treat a Lady was one of his favorite cast recordings. Ken lent Elizabeth the recording, and she was hooked! 

What has the developmental process of this project been like over the past few years?  
We began this project in 2012 and it’s been just fantastic!  We’ve had Doug and Cheryl out to Berkeley twice to give readings here at the Playhouse and it allowed direct access to our community for feedback. We’ve had additional readings in Seattle and New York, and a workshop in Seattle as well.  This elicited feedback that will allow the piece to speak to a broader audience as well. We want this show to be polished and ready to be produced all over the country after the world premiere.  We want this commission to have legs! 

Why is Bridges a great match for your audience? 
I alluded to it earlier, but Berkeley has its heart and soul in social justice. We are at the epicenter of the free speech movement, the anti-war movement and one of the most progressive areas in the country.  Our audience is full of families who believe in these concepts and believe in instilling these ideas into their children. We know the power that theatre has to convene these messages and our audience consistently tell us how important it is that we do work that reflects these ideas. Additionally it’s a story about family and will allow multiple generations to come together and enjoy an evening of magic together.  If that isn’t a match for us, then I don’t know what is.

Why should everyone head to the Bay Area to catch Bridges?  
It’s rare to see a work like this. It’s fun and entertaining, accessible, but with important messages around race, identity, family.  You can come and experience a theatre that brings three and four generations of families together in our beautiful home, the Julia Morgan Theatre (an important historical landmark of its own). And you’ll be the first to hear an astonishing new score by an important composer, with a story and lyrics by an important writer! Plus it’s an excuse to come to San Francisco and the Bay Area, one of the greatest places in the world!

Visit Berkeley Playhouse's website for more information about their upcoming production of Bridges.


 bolded blue = NAMT members
NFNM = National Fund for New Musicals
* = Sponsored Listing
NAVY SHOWS=shows from our Festival


click here to give us the details!

ROTHSCHILD & SONS (full production)
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick (Fest ’89-That Pig of a Molette)
Book by Sherman Yellen
The York Theatre Company, New York, NY
Through Nov. 8   

THE BANDSTAND (full production)
Music by Richard Oberacker (Fest '99-In That Valley)
Book & Lyrics by Robert Taylor & Oberacker (both, Fest '13-The Sandman, '05-Ace)
Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ
Through Nov. 8 

RIDE THE CYCLONE (full production)
by Brooke Maxwell & Jacob Richmond
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, IL

Through Nov. 8

KANSAS CITY CHOIR BOY (full production)
Music & Lyrics by Todd Almond
Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, CA
Through Nov. 8

SNAPSHOTS (full production)
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Fest ’96-Children of Eden)
Book by David Stern
Conceived by Michael Scheman & Stern
Village Theatre, Issaquah, WA
Through Nov. 15  

FIRST DAUGHTER SUITE (full production)
by Michael John LaChiusa
The Public Theater, New York, NY
Through Nov. 15

INDIAN JOE (full production)
See article from previous issue.
Music by Elizabeth A. Davis, Luke Holloway & Jason Michael Webb
Lyrics by Davis
Book by Davis & Chris Henry

Goodspeed Musicals, Chester, CT
Through Nov. 15 

FUTURITY (full production)
NFNM Production Grant Recipient
Music by César Alvarez with The Lisps
Book & Lyrics by Alvarez
Ars Nova, New York, NY
Through Nov 22

HELL'S BELLES (full production)
Book & Lyrics by Bryan D. Leys (Fest '90-Murder on Broadway)
Music by Steve Liebman
The Elektra Theatre, New York, NY
Through Dec. 27

Book & Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman
Music by Steven Lutvak
Produced by Margot Astrachan Productions in association with The Old Globe
Walter Kerr Theatre, New York, NY
Through Jan. 17

COME FROM AWAY (full production) Fest '13
See article from previous issue.
by Irene Sankoff & David Hein
Seattle Rep, Seattle, WA
Nov. 13-Dec. 13

Written by GQ , JQ (both, Fest ’15-Othello: The Remix), Jackson Doran & Postell Pringle
Developed with Rick Boynton

Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, IL
Nov. 28-Jan. 3

DINER (full production)
Book by Barry Levinson
Music & Lyrics by Sheryl Crowe

Delaware Theatre Company, Wilmington, DE
Dec. 2-27

JANE AUSTEN'S EMMA (Full Production) Fest ’06
by Paul Gordon (Fest ’13-Analog And Vinyl)
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, CA
Dec. 2- Jan. 2

STRIKING 12 (Full Production) Fest ’04
Music & Lyrics by Brendan Milburn (Fest ’11-Watt?!?) & Valerie Vigoda (both, Fest ’14-Beautiful Poison)
Book by Milburn, Vigoda & Rachel Sheinkin (all, Fest ’12-Sleeping Beauty Wakes)
Theatre Under The Stars, Houston, TX
Dec. 17-27

FACTORY GIRLS (Concert) Fest '09
Music & Lyrics by Creighton Irons & Sean Mahoney
Book by Sam Forman & Rob Ackerman

11th Hour Theatre Company, Philadelphia, PA
Jan. 30-Feb. 1

Music by Daniel Green
Lyrics by David H. Bell
(Fest '01-Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief; Fest '10-The Bowery Boys) & Green
Book by Bell

AMTP at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Feb. 2016

Music & Lyrics by Douglas J. Cohen
 (Fest '08-Barnstormer, Fest '00-Glimmerglass, Fest '94-The Gig)
Book & Lyrics by Dan Elish
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK
Feb. 2-21

A BRONX TALE (full production)
Book by Chazz Palminteri
Music by Alan Menken (Fest '03-Ballad of Little Pinks)
Lyrics by Glenn Slater (Fest '08-Beatsville)
Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ
Feb. 4- Mar. 6

BRIDGES: A NEW MUSICAL (full production)
See article on left.
Book & Lyrics by Cheryl L. Davis (Fest '08-Barnstormer)

Music by Douglas J. Cohen (Fest '08-Barnstormer, Fest '00-Glimmerglass, Fest '94-The Gig)
Berkeley Playhouse, Berkeley, CA
Feb. 11-Mar. 6

BIG RED SUN (Concert) Fest '10
See article on left.
Book & Lyrics by John Jiler
Music by Georgia Stitt
11th Hour Theatre Company, Philadelphia, PA
Feb. 27-29

PUDDIN' AND THE GRUMBLE (full production)
By Becky Boesen & David Von Kampen
Lied Center for Performing Arts, Lincoln, NE
Mar. 10-20

SWEET POTATO QUEENS (full production)
Music by Melissa Manchester (Fest '01-I Sent a Letter to My Love)
Lyrics by Sharon Vaughn
Book by Rupert Holmes
Theatre Under The Stars, Houston, TX
Mar. 17-27

MY HEART IS THE DRUM (full production) Fest '13
Book by Jennie Redling
Music & Concept by Phillip Palmer
Lyrics by Stacey Luftig
Village Theatre, Issaquah, WA
Mar. 17-Apr. 24  

RAIN (full production)
Book by Sybille Pearson
Music & Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
The Old Globe, San Diego, CA
Mar. 24- May 1

C. (Full Production)
Book & Lyrics by Bradley Greenwald
Music by Robert Elhai
Theater Latté Da, Minneapolis, MN
Mar 30- Apr. 24

JOSEPHINE (full production)
Book by Ellen Weston & Mark Hampton
Music by Stephen Dorff (Fest '92-Lunch)
Lyrics by John Bettis (Fest '92-Lunch)
Asolo Repertory Theatre, Sarasota, FL
Apr. 27-May 29

THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR (Full Production) Fest '13
NFNM Production Grant Recipient
Book & Lyrics by Charlie Sohne
Music by Tim Rosser
Diversionary Theatre, San Diego, CA
May 5-Jun. 12

(Full Production) 
by Paul Gordon (Fest '06-Emma, Fest ’13-Analog And Vinyl)
Adapted from the novel by Jane Austen
The Old Globe, San Diego CA
Jul. 6- Aug. 14


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

Book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Music & Lyrics by Duncan Sheik (Fest '15-Noir)
Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
Open-ended run beginning on Mar. 24

Book by Craig Lucas
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Produced by Apples and Oranges, Triptyk Studios, SaraBeth Grossman & Pittsburgh CLO
Palace Theatre, New York, NY
Open-ended run

DADDY LONG LEGS (Off-Broadway)
Music & Lyrics by Paul Gordon (Fest '13-Analog and Vinyl, '06-Emma)
Book by John Caird (Fest '96-Children of Eden)
Davenport Theatre, New York, NY
Open-ended run

HAMILTON (Broadway)
Book, Music & Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Produced by The Public Theater
Rodgers Theatre, New York, NY
Open-ended run

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

NEWSIES (National Tour)
Book by Harvey Fierstein
Music by Alan Menken
(Fest '03-Ballad of Little Pinks)
Lyrics by Jack Feldman
National Tour

Book by Karey Kirpatrick & John O'Farrell
Music, Lyrics & Conceived by Wayne & Karey Kirkpatrick
Produced by Kevin McCollum (Alchemation)
St. James 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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