Monday, June 29, 2015

Preview: 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival

The 2015 New York Musical Theatre is upon us and to get you ready, Theater in the Now is giving you a little glimpse into the 22 full production of this year’s festival! NYMF runs from July 7th until July 27th. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit and remember to use #musicalslivehere and #titn on Twitter and Facebook! And visit NYMF's Soundcloud playlist for a musical glimpse into the festival. And without further ado, a preview!

Top 5 Exciters

Claudio Quest
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Drew Fornarola and Marshall Pailet

This is the show for the geek inside. Written by Drew Fornarola and Marshall Pailet (Triassic Parq) and directed by Tony Nominee John Tartaglia (Avenue Q), Claudio Quest has all the makings for a superfun musical with a vibrant young cast. The musical follows a very super hero, his less super brother, and one butt-kicking princess on a mission to overcome killer eggplants, a love starved platypus, and their own 8-bit existential crisis. It sounds like it will be paying homage to Mario and friends, Claudio Quest has a cool logo and the marketability potential.

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
7/7 @ 7; 7/10 @ 1; 7/12 @ 8; 7/13 @ 1; 7/14 @ 5; 7/14 @ 9

Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera
Book by Jon Peter Lewis, Ryan Hayes, and Garrett Sherwood, Music and Lyrics by Ryan Hayes and Garrett Sherwood

Reality TV super fanatics, we got some names to draw you into this one! Written by Ryan Hayes, Garett Sherwood, and Jon Peter Lewis, Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera is a haunting rock and roll opera where sweethearts become adversaries in pursuit of what they cannot live without. For those who are avid fans of singing competitions, Deep Love is written by The Voice season 4 contestants Ryan Hayes and Jon Peter Lewis of Midas Whale and features Amy Whitcomb. If you want to go deeper, you'll remember Amber from The Sing Off Season 3 and JPL from one of the most competitive seasons of American Idol, Season 3, also known as the year that Jennifer Hudson was robbed. But back to the musical. Rock and roll and musical theater have had a nice bond in recent years and this one has a haunting score. Audience, you are encouraged to come dressed in your best funeral attire. Cue the cult followers

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
7/17 @ 8; 7/17 @ 9; 7/19 @ 4; 7/22 @ 1; 7/24 @ 5

Manuel Versus the Statue of Liberty
Book by Noemi de la Puente, Music by David Davila and Howard Post, Lyrics by Noemi de la Puente and David Davila

If ever there were a poignant piece of theater. Manuel Versus the Statue of Liberty is a Latin-infused American musical set up as the ultimate boxing match where Manuel, an undocumented immigrant, must take on The Statue of Liberty in a high-stakes fight known as immigration. Manuel Versus the Statue of Liberty packs all the punches in musical comedy fashion. Led by powerhouse performers Shakina Nayfack and Gil Perez-Abraham, this musical is riding high on the American Dream.

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
7/21 @ 8; 7/22 @ 5; 7/25 @ 5; 7/26 @ 8; 7/27 @ 12

Spot on the Wall
Book and Lyrics by Kevin Jaeger, Music by Alex Mitchell

Following the tale of Paul Hunter, a talented photographer who is about to receive an exhibition of work that focuses on his mother’s recent battle with cancer, Spot of the Wall is a musical about the difficulty of facing your pain and your past. Led by the stunning vocals of Robert Hager and featuring the beautiful score by Jaeger and Mitchell, Spot on the Wall seems like the sleeper musical of the festival that you’ll need a pack of tissues or two for.

Theater 3
7/7 @ 7; 7/10 @ 5; 7/11 @ 9; 7/12 @ 12; 7/14 @ 5

Tonya & Nancy: the Rock Opera
Book and Lyrics by Elizabeth Searle, Music by Michael Teoli

Every festival needs that campy show that draws audiences via pop culture. And believe me, I love pop culture. NYMF’s offering this year is Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera. For those who may not remember these 90s icon, this musical is about dueling figure skating divas Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerigan and the infamous whack heard round the world. Tonya & Nancy is certainly bound to garner much attention. Led by Jenna Leigh Green and Tracy McDowell as Nancy and Tonya, this one is sure to pack houses by concept alone.

PTC Performance Space
7/9 @ 8; 7/11 @ 5; 7/12 @ 8; 7/14 @ 9; 7/16 @ 1

The Rest of the Fest

210 Amlent Avenue
Book by Becky Goldberg, Music and Lyrics by Karl Hinze

An homage to New York, rather the Hamptons, 210 Amlent Avenue follows a Fourth of July celebration at the old Jordan estate hosted by retired actress Mrs. Jordan. A young poet arrives in search of the truth, setting off a firestorm of events. Inspired by the storytelling styles of Ibsen, Chekhov, and O’Neill, 210 Amlent Avenue features a score reminiscent of the classics.

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
7/9 @ 8; 7/10 @ 9; 7/11 @ 1; 7/12 @ 4; 7/14 @ 1

Conceived by Greg Cooper, Book by Vynnie Meli, Music and Lyrics by The Acappella Company

A gospel singer leaves home and makes it big as a pop singer. He returns home to find his own voice. Acappella is the message and the music in this romantic comedy. Performed solely by voice, Acappella has a hook that is certain to entice audiences.

PTC Performance Space
7/7 @ 7; 7/10 @ 5; 7/11 @ 9; 7/12 @ 12; 7/14 @ 1

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Santino DeAngelo

Be a guest of the Great Earl and meet Clowne, the most infamous jester of the age, and his traveling troop of fools as they employ madcap madness and musical comedy in their desire to divert you. Wits will be battled, entendres will be doubled, and art itself shall be put on trail in this whacky cross-dressing, mistaken identity, true love, and pure, unadulterated, foolerie send-up of Shakespearean proportions. And for those brave souls, on-stage seating is available!

PTC Performance Space
7/22 @ 8; 7/24 @ 5; 7/25 @ 9; 7/25 @ 12; 7/27 @4

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Ethan Anderson

Eric is writing a musical about his life. But instead of actors, he’s using voices…the voices in his head. Headvoice is a funny, touching, and original musical that tells the story of a young composer grow up and discovering love, loss, and the power of music. Developed at Elon University with a workshop session with Adam Guettel, Headvoice is a witty and clever score, featuring super beltress Molly Emerson, and is certain to touch hearts.

Theater 3
7/17 @ 8; 7/19 @ 12; 7/22 @ 9, 7/23 @ 1; 7/25 @ 9

Held Momentarily
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Oliver Houser, Additional Material by James Zebooker

Previously part of FringeNYC last year, Held Momentarily has an eerily similar story to NYMF 2012 show Stuck. Regardless, the musical follows six strangers stuck on a stalled subway car and discover it’s not just the train that’s stuck. Held Momentarily is a musical comedy about making connections, living in the moment, and moving on in life. Oh, and a woman just went into labor.

PTC Performance Space
7/20 @ 8; 7/23 @ 1; 7/25 @ 5; 7/26 @ 8; 7/27 @12

Moses Man
Book and Lyrics by Deborah Haber, Music by Casey Filiaci

Inspired by the true saga, Moses Man portrays the indomitable spirit of survival recounting the true saga of a Holocaust survivor and his nine-year journey throughout Europe, Cypris, Palestine, and Africa before finally finding freedom in America. Leading the cast of the epic musical is West End legend Oliver Thornton

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
7/8 @ 8; 7/10 @ 5; 7/11 @ 9; 7/12 @ 12; 7/13 @ 9

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Andrew Sabiston and Timothy Williams

With a score reminiscent of Les Miserables, Napoleon is the story about icons and the people who make them. Talleyrand, a mater politician operating in the shadows, believes he can manage the man he’s grooming for greatness. But there’s only one thing he can’t control; Napoleon’s obsession with Josephine. In the battle to come, two of the three will be known forever, one will be known as the devil incarnate.

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
7/15 @ 8; 7/18 @ 5; 7/19 @ 8; 7/20 @ 12; 7/22 @ 9

Passing By
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Patrick Thompson

Set in the small rural town of Jacksonia, Wisconsin, Passing By follows the relationship of Jenny Zimmerman, an ambitious writer, and Edison Wolter, a young man who runs his family farm. The two have grown up together and now they must decide what comes next. Will they plan a life together or follow their own separate dreams? Passing By is a romantic dramedy with a contemporary folk score.

The Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café
7/20 @ 4; 7/21 @ 12

Pope! An Epic Musical
Book and Lyrics by Justin Moran, Music by Christopher Pappas

Pope! An Epic Musical tells the tale of a young, idealistic, rock star Pope and his ambitious nemesis, the Archbishop, who will stop at nothing to wear Pope’s mitre. With a comic book world backdrop, Pope soon learns that a few well-placed enemies can overpower a few million fans. Good and evil collide in this rambunctious, Shakespearean power struggle where liens must be drawn, sides must be taken, and confrontations must be musical.

PTC Performance Space
7/15 @ 8; 7/16 @ 9; 7/ 19 @ 4; 7/ 19 @ 8; 7/21 @ 5

Real Men: A Musical for Guys and the Woman Who Put Up With Them
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Paul Louis and Nick Santa Maria

A show for bros by bros. Getting straight men to the theater without being dragged by their lady is hard. Get ready for an original musical comedy about real men behaving like, well, real men. This musical revue answers the one pertinent question on everyone’s mind: “Do real men sing and play with puppets?” You better believe they do!

The Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café
7/13 @ 8; 7/15 @ 12; 7/17 @ 12; 7/18 @ 7:30; 7/20 @ 8

Single Wide
Book and Additional Lyrics by George D. Nelson; Music and Lyrics by Jordan Kamalu

Katy may live in a trailer park but that doesn’t stop her from having enormous dreams. As a single mother, living with her own single mother, Katy does all she can do to get her son out of the “single wide” situation. But when her son befriends the reclusive new move-in two trailers down, Katy sees something different in him that makes her take a second look. Led by Stacia Fernandez and Emma Stratton, Single Wide features some unlikely musical heroes.

PTC Performance Space
7/17 @ 8; 7/21 @ 9; 7/23 @ 5; 7/24 @ 9; 7/25 @ 1

Songs for the Fallen 
Book by Sheridan Harbridge; Music and Lyrics by Sheridan Harbridge and Basil Hogios

The year is 1847. The place is Paris. Songs for the Fallen takes you through the extraordinary life of Marie Duplessis, courtesan, party girl, liar, and legend, from desperate poverty to meteoric rise as the most notorious woman in France. Part vaudeville, part cabaret part MTV-goes-Baroque, Songs for the Fallen is the wild and hilarious tale of a woman who knew one thing: good girls don’t make history.

Theater 3
7/21 @ 8; 7/24 @ 12; 7/25 @ 1; 7/26 @ 9; 7/27 @ 12

Summer Valley Fair
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Dylan Frederick

At Summer Valley Fair you can be anyone you want to be, right? Aching for more than the blue glow of 432 friends, one sixteen year old girl trades safety of her attic for roller coaster screams, laser light nights, boys who might be real, and supermoon girls who definitely aren’t. Created and featuring Dylan Frederick, Summer Valley Fair is the great hope that even without uploading, we can sing ourselves into existence.

Theater 3
7/16 @ 8; 7/18 @ 1; 7/19 @4

The Calico Buffalo
Book by EJ Stapleton, Music and Lyrics by Peter Stopschinski and EJ Stepleton

When the first born son to chief of all buffalo arrives covered with the markings of a calico kitten, the chief, his son, and the entire buffalo nation are catapulted into the adventure of a lifetime. This kid friendly musical is the stage adaptation of the book of the same name.

PTC Performance Space
7/8 @ 8; 7/10 @ 9; 7/11 @ 1; 7/12 @ 4; 7/16 @ 5

The Cobalteans
Book and Lyrics by Yianni Papadimos, Music by Andrew Bridges, Ben Chavez, and Yianni Papadimos

One year after their friend Gabriel’s death, four young men return to the lake house they had spent their summers growing up in. The boys have come to say goodbye but the tranquility of November on the Lake Erie coastline does not linger for long as tensions rise. The folk rock inspired score features a top notch young cast eager to explode on stage.

Theater 3
7/8 @ 8, 7/10 @ 1; 7/11 @ 5, 7/13 @ 1; 7/15 @ 9

Wearing Black
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Riley Thomas

When his twin brother Charlie suddenly passes away, all Evan wants to do is forget their complicated relationship and move on, but the tangled relationships Charlie left behind prevent Evan from truly letting go. As he slops into a spiral of self-destruction, Evan must mark a stark decision: either accept and forgive his dead twin brother, or become him. Written by Stuck scribe Riley Thomas, Wearing Black is an emotional journey of moving on featuring a heavy score.

Theater 3
7/9 @ 8, 7/10 @ 9, 7/11 @ 1, 7/13 @ 5, 7/15 @ 1

What Do Critics Know 
Book by Matthew Gurren, Music and Lyrics by James Campodonico and Matthew Gurren

This musical already gets the award for insulting the people reviewing the show! But nevertheless, What Do Critics Know follows three of the most powerful theater critics who have taken countless shows off the stage and now must put one on. With time running out they enlist struggling writing Nathan Wood, who is in need of a comeback. Can cooperation, harmony, and perhaps even love exist between an artist and a critic? The old-fashioned musical features Bach and Shakespeare, so get ready for anything!

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
7/23 @ 8; 7/24 @ 9; 7/25 @ 1; 7/26 @ 4; 7/27 @ 4