The National Alliance for Musical Theatre 46th Minute concert on October 18th at 6:30 pm directed by Branden Huldeen and produced for NAMT by Ciera Iveson with Karin Nilo was a wonderful way to see how the shows from prior seasons have been developed. The most interesting piece of the whole night was that the Fredericia Theatre, in Denmark has been co-producing and nurturing three of the shows presented.
First up was Beatsville by Glenn Slater and Wendy Wilf from the 2008 season. Beatsville had its World Premiere at Asolo Rep in a co-production with The 5th Avenue Theatre and additional development at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and NYU Steinhardt. With smooth jazz and cool bohemians and beatniks, Beatsville showed a bebop side to musical theatre.
My Heart Is The Drum by Jennie Redling, Phillip Palmer and Stacey Luftig was presented in 2013. I was present in 2016 when they won the Kleban Prize and in 2017 as they won the BMI Jerry Bock Award. In addition they had their World Premiere at Village Theatre and additional development at Kent State University and Goodspeed Musicals Johnny Mercer Writers Colony. The writers received the Fred Ebb Award for their music and lyrics. I expect to see this coming-of-age musical as a Disney cartoon.
Triangle by Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore had its premiere at the 2012 NAMT. Since then they have had their world premiere at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and additional development at Goodspeed Musicals Johnny Mercer Writers Colony and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. The writers received the 2016 Fred Ebb Award. Starring Adam Halpin (Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen), Zach Prince (Broadway: Honeymoon in Vegas) and Megan McGinnis(Broadway: Side Show, Les Mis), Triangle tells two love stories, set in the same New York City building, a hundred years apart. The site for the Triangle Shirt Factory fire weaves lives together across the century, long-buried secrets are uncovered and ghosts of the past begin to influence the future. After seeing this presentation, I can tell you I want to see this show. Since the world premiere at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Michael Arden and Sara Ramirez have championed this piece.
Big Red Sun by Georgia Stitt and John Jiler from 2012 has been produced at the Hour Theatre Company, York Theatre and 11University of Nebraska. I have seen readings of this show at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below.
Legendale by Andrea Daly and Jeff Bienstock made it’s mark in 2015 and had their world premiere at Fredericia Teater in Denmark in March 2017and its American Premiere at Human Race Theatre Co. in Fall 2017. Video games come to life as dreams of victory are smashed when Andy’s avatar is a lowly milkmaid, whose sole skill is crafting cheese. Andy and his avatar must both learn how to summon their inner warriors.
The 2014 entree The Noteworthy Life of Award Barnes by Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman, was presented at Goodspeed Musicals’ Festival of New Musicals. Howard Barnes is average, if emotionally repressed, man in his early thirties, when he wakes up to discover that his life has become a musical. Howard discovers that he must let go of the past and open himself up to the possibility of love. In doing so, he learns to embrace the music.
My favorite piece of the night was the 2011, the 1920’s “Mean Girls” musical Bernice Bobs Her Hair by Adam Gwon and Julia Jordan. This show was given a developmental production at the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma in 2015. Based on the classic short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, character assassination is the entertainment in town.
Last but not least was the heavy rock fused score of Lizzie by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, Alan Stevens Hewitt and Tim Maner. Since 2010 the show has gained a cult following playing all over the world including Playhouse Square/Baldwin Wallace University, TUTS Underground, Portland Center Stage and Fredericia Theatre in Denmark. Eden Espinosa (Broadway: Wicked), showed why she is revered as a musical theatre tour de force as she blew the audience away with her rendition of “Sweet Little Sister”
The 46th Minute is sponsored by Goodspeed Musicals (Lead Sponsor), Fredericia Theater and New Works Development Centre Uterus and McCoy Rigby Entertainment with La Mirada Theatre.