National Alliance for Musical Theatre (Betsy King Militello, Executive Director) is thrilled to announce this year’s casting for the performances of Little Duende, Māyā, Private Gomer Jones and TL;DR featured in the 33rd Annual Festival of New Musicals. This year’s festival will be held on Thursday, October 21 and Friday, October 22, 2021 and will be presented as a unique digital and in-person hybrid, allowing wider accessibility for attendees.
Now in its 33rd year, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals attracts theatre producers from around the world to discover eight new musicals over two days. Production costs are underwritten by NAMT, which funds the Festival entirely through donations and sponsorships.
Joining the previously announced cast are Courtney Bassett (Broadway: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), Stephen Bogardus (Broadway:Love! Valour! Compassion!; Bright Star), Sommer Carbuccia (Netflix’s Riverdale), Meetu Chilana (Regional: Monsoon Wedding), Ruben Eduard Flores (Broadway: In The Heights), karen EiLbacher (Film: Dietland/ Lady Liberty), Gabriela Garcia (Broadway: Chicago), Daniele Hager (Regional She Loves Me), Dickie Hearts (Film:Tales of the City), Adam Hyndman (Broadway: Hadestown/ Once on this Island), Cedric Leiba Jr. (National Tour: RENT), Johnny Link (TV: Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist), Jared Loftin (Film: Tick…Tick… Boom!), Patrena Murray (ART: Gloria: A Life), Jamen Nanthakumar (Regional: Diana), Mason Alexander Park (National Tour: Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Daniel Plimpton (Tour: White Christmas), Sara Porkalob (Broadway: 1776), Zully Ramos (Regional: RENT), Majo Rivero (Regional In Arabia We’d All Be Kings), Ben Roseberry (Tour: Gentlemen’s Guide), Christina Sajous (Broadway: Spongebob/American Idiot), Heath Saunders (Broadway: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), Storm Thomas (Regional: Baltimore Center Stage), Vishal Vaidya (Broadway: Groundhog Day), Sonya Venugopal (Regional: Evita), Kuhoo Verma (Off-B’way: Octet), Skyler Volpe (Broadway: Sing Street), and Ada Westfall (Regional: A Play on War).
The Festival has introduced musical theatre producers to nearly 300 musicals and over 500 writers from around the world. As a direct result of the Festival of New Musicals, more than 85% of the shows presented have gone on to subsequent readings, workshops, productions or tours; have been licensed; and/or recorded on cast albums. Some past Festival shows include Come From Away, Lempicka, The Drowsy Chaperone, Lizard Boy, Benny & Joon, Darling Grenadine, Ordinary Days, Striking 12, It Shoulda Been You, Interstate and Thoroughly Modern Millie, among many others.
NAMT will film live presentations of all Festival musicals this year. Those presentations will then be screened at an in-person event on October 21 and 22. Members of the industry are invited to attend the screening, where they also can meet the writers, or they can view a livestream of the presentations, which will be shown in collaboration with Broadway on Demand. The general public will be able to view the streaming portion of the event by making a small donation to NAMT.
Festival registration is now open and available at namt.org/festival.
This year, a committee of 15 theatre professionals selected eight new musicals out of over 200 submissions. The musicals chosen for the 33rd Annual Festival are: AZUL (Book by Melis Aker and Tatiana Pandiani, Music by Jacinta Clusellas, Lyrics by Jacinta Clusellas with additional lyrics by Melis Aker and Tatiana Pandiani, Vocal Arrangements by Jacinta Clusellas and Kurt Crowley), Fanny & Stella (Music & Lyrics by Eamonn O’Dwyer, Book by SEVAN), Little Duende (Music & Lyrics by Robi Hager, Book & Lyrics by Georgina Escobar), Māyā (Book & Music by Cheeyang Ng, Book & Lyrics by Eric Sorrels), Missing Peace (Book, Music & Lyrics by Kalani Queypo and Kyle Puccia), Private Gomer Jones (Written by Marshall Pailet), Senior Class (Book, Melodies & Lyrics by Melvin Tunstall, Music by Greg Borowsky, Conceived by Kevin Duda), TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix (Book & Lyrics by EllaRose Chary, Music & Lyrics by Brandon James Gwinn).
Little Duende Music & Lyrics by Robi Hager, Book & Lyrics by Georgina Escobar
Director: Rebecca Martínez, Music Director: Erika R. Gamez
Cast includes Majo Rivero (Regional In Arabia We’d All Be Kings), Daniele Hager (Regional: She Loves Me), Mason Alexander Park (National Tour: Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Sommer Carbuccia (TV: Riverdale), Cedric Leiba Jr. (National Tour: RENT), Ruben Eduard Flores (Broadway: In The Heights), Gabriela Garcia (Broadway: Chicago), Zully Ramos (Regional: RENT)
Little Duende: In the land of Elflán, life and beauty flourishes. Adelita, an adventurous and curious young elf, is eager to find what lies beyond the horizon. When the evil spirit of La Mancha kidnaps her mother, Adelita is forced to travel north to the land of the Hadaseñas in hopes of being reunited with her again. Little Duende is a musical with the aesthetic tones of Pixar’s Coco and Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. With fairy tales and mythological themes, this musical comments on real-world matters as it explores the border crisis, dual-citizenship, and the consequences of a family secret.
Māyā Book & Music by Cheeyang Ng, Book & Lyrics by Eric Sorrels
Director: Arpita Mukherjee, Music Director: Nate Hopkins
Cast includes Meetu Chilana (Regional: Monsoon Wedding), Jamen Nanthakumar (Regional: Diana), Daniel Plimpton (Tour: White Christmas), Ben Roseberry (Tour: Gentlemen’s Guide), Vishal Vaidya (Broadway: Groundhog Day), Sonya Venugopal (Regional: Evita), and Kuhoo Verma (Off-B’way: Octet),
About Māyā: Māyā is many things: it’s a philosophy of Hinduism; the idea that the world around us is really an illusion; and a girl’s name. Set in the British Raj in 1930, Māyā is the story of a struggling poet in need of an awakening, not unlike India herself. When Gandhi’s non-violent Independence Movement arrives on Māyā’s doorstep, she is thrust into one of the most turbulent political climates in history. When she commits herself to the cause, she begins to shatter the illusions that have been deceiving her to discover the difference she’ll really make.
Private Gomer Jones Written by Marshall Pailet
Director: Sammi Canold, Music Director: Mona Seyed-Bolorforosh
Cast includes Stephen Bogardus (Broadway: Love! Valour! Compassion!; Bright Star), Dickie Hearts (Film: Tales of the City), Adam Hyndman (Broadway: Hadestown/Once on this Island), Jared Loftin (Film: Tick…Tick… Boom!), Johnny Link (TV: “Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist”), Patrena Murray (ART: Gloria: A Life), Christina Sajous (Broadway: Spongebob/American Idiot), and Heath Saunders (Broadway: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812)
About Private Gomer Jones: 1914. Young Gomer Jones has ambitions to join the Welsh army. But since he’s lost his hearing, he needs the help of a nurse with ties to the Deaf community to fake his way past the recruiters. And so begins Gomer’s journey as a deaf soldier pretending not to be a deaf soldier. He loses friends, his moral compass and his humanity. And then, through a series of moments in an increasingly senseless war, he finds himself again. When he returns to Wales, his sense of purpose has been decimated. But hope for a humanistic life has been found.
TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix Book & Lyrics by EllaRose Chary, Music & Lyrics by Brandon James Gwinn
Director: Sherri Eden Barber, Music Director: Rose Van Dyne
Cast includes Courtney Bassett (Broadway: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), karen EiLbacher (Film: Dietland/ Lady Liberty), Sara Porkalob (Broadway: 1776), Storm Thomas (Regional: Baltimore Center Stage), Skyler Volpe (Broadway: Sing Street), and Ada Westfall (Regional: A Play on War).
About TL;DR: TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix is a fantasy-driven, irreverent, rocking meta-analysis of queer women in media that asks, “why do strong female characters always gotta die?”. The cast and band, made up of six queer folks, defies the traditional cis, white, femme, skinny, able-bodied, male gaze-inspired concept of queer women in media. We start with T and L suspended in mid-air over the Grand Canyon – they promptly make out and then, with the help of their newfound queer community (The Band), seek a queer future that has never been modeled for them, the happy ending they deserve.
Previously announced casts.
AZUL Book by Melis Aker and Tatiana Pandiani, Music by Jacinta Clusellas, Lyrics by Jacinta Clusellas, with additional lyrics by Tatiana Pandiani and Melis Aker, Vocal Arrangements by Jacinta Clusellas and Kurt Crowley
Director: Elena Araoz, Music Director: Kurt Crowley
Cast includes Danny Bolero (Broadway: In the Heights), Blanca Camacho (Broadway: In the Heights), Renata Eastlick (The Public’s For Colored Girls…), Henry Gainza (Broadway: On Your Feet), Robi Hager (Broadway: Doctor Zhivago), Claudia Mulet (National Tour: On Your Feet), Martin Sola (Broadway: On Your Feet) and Claudia Yanez (National Tour: On Your Feet)
About AZUL: In an epic world of magical realism, Bluebird, an idealist poet, seeks a better life in a new land. Years later, in present-day Jackson Heights, Rita, a composer, struggles to forgive her father, understand her roots and reconnect to a land she has never known. AZUL is a bilingual spectacle, as well as a psychological deep-dive into the immigrant father-daughter relationship. It questions the place of art in capitalism and explores how memory and imagination reshape immigrant identity. The score is a constellation of songs rooted in Latin American folkloric traditions, along with jazz and chamber music.
Fanny & Stella Music & Lyrics by Eamonn O’Dwyer, Book by SEVAN
Director: Stephen Brackett, Music Director: Emily Marshall
Cast includes Jake Boyd (Broadway: Rock of Ages), Nathan Lee Graham (Broadway: Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Eddie Korbich (Broadway: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder), Judy Kuhn (Broadway: Fun Home, Tony nom), Orville Mendoza (Broadway: Peter and the Starcatcher), Mason Alexander Park (National Tour: Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Jamila Sabares-Klemm (Chicago: Hamilton) and Heath Saunders (Upcoming Broadway: Company)
About Fanny & Stella: London, 1870s: Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton were unremarkable middle-class boys growing up in Dulwich, who fled their suburban upbringing to live as Fanny & Stella in frenetic Victorian London. A run-in with the law casts them in their own coup de théâtre: the sensational show-trial of the ‘He-She Ladies.’ Dominating the press and scandalizing the nation, the investigation exposed every sordid detail of their wild lives. In a time when simply being themselves made them a threat to the establishment, this ordeal would test their extraordinary friendship and the resolve of an empire.
Missing Peace Book, Music & Lyrics by Kalani Queypo and Kyle Puccia
Director: Jesca Prudencio, Music Director: Steven Cuevas
Cast includes Phoenix Best (Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen), Nick Dalton (National Tour: Legally Blonde), Carolyn Dunn (Regional: Neechie-itas), Kyla Garcia (Regional: Sovereignty), Nic Rouleau (Broadway: The Book of Mormon) and Glenn Stanton (TV: “The Walking Dead”).
About Missing Peace: Chase wakes up from a coma, his past a blur. To his family’s surprise, Chase is happy and free until the dark memories begin to flood back like quick cuts of a movie trailer that just don’t add up. As Chase grapples with his attempted suicide, bad choices he’s made and the people he’s hurt along the way, he begins to work through his pain and heal relationships with those he loves the most.
Senior Class Book, Melodies & Lyrics by Melvin Tunstall III, Music by Greg Borowsky, Conceived by Kevin Duda
Director: Amy Anders Corcoran, Music Director: Andrew Bourgoin
Cast includes Amina Faye (Regional: Love in Hate Nation), Olivia Hardy (Broadway: Summer), Emma Lord (Regional: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Jose Luaces (Broadway: A Christmas Story, The Musical), Madison McBride (Regional: Godspell), Zachary Noah Piser (Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen), Darius Wright (Upcoming Broadway: MJ The Musical) and Daniel Yearwood (Broadway: Hamilton)
About Senior Class: When the Senior Class Musical production of My Fair Lady is canceled due to budget cuts, two theater nerds in Harlem convince the school to do a one-night-only, royalty-free staging of Pygmalion. When they meet a subway dancer named Alizé, art begins to imitate life as they try to transform her into their perfect Eliza Doolittle. However, this new modern-day Eliza schools them all as she proves she can Doolittle and so much more.