Brights Lights. Big City. Broadway is the place of dreams, but many a show has gotten its start with humbler beginnings — including some top-notch productions that began at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), which opened this past weekend.
With a mission to “ensure the future vitality of America’s greatest art form by providing an affordable way for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theatre audiences,” NYMF has featured more than 8,000 artists and entertained more than 300,000 audience members. This year the organization was honored with a Drama Desk Award for its continued efforts to create and nurture new musical theater.
Three musicals that have appeared at NYMF transferred to Broadway, including Chaplin, Next to Normal and [title of show]. The accolades for alumni shows are numerous, too, including one Pulitzer Prize for Drama and three Tony Awards. How does this year’s season shape up? Here are a few shows that we’ve got our eyes on:
Boys Will Be Boys
Book & Lyrics by Joe Miloscia, Music by Kenneth Kacmar
Ishmael Gonzalez suffers from Gay-D.D., a condition that renders gay men unable to stay focused on any trend for more than a few weeks. Before you can say “Barney’s Warehouse Sale,” Ishmael’s friends put on a charity revue exposing themselves and their views on loves won and lost (and borrowed!), in this comic musical romp that the Chicago Tribune called “a major hit!”
Kerrigan & Lowermilk LIVE
Now one of the most celebrated writing teams of their generation, Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk made their New York debut in NYMF’s first season with The Woman Upstairs. Blurring the line between musical theater and pop music, their songs (including hits “Run Away with Me” and “My Party Dress”) have garnered millions of YouTube views and earned them a legion of young fans around the world. Kait and Brian’s critically acclaimed debut album “Our First Mistake” reached #1 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter chart, and their musicals have been developed and produced at theaters across the country.
Book by Jason Slavick & the LAB Ensemble, Music & Lyrics by Nathan Leigh
Greek mythology meets burlesque, puppetry, and a folk-rock score in the latest piece from acclaimed ensemble Liars and Believers, creators of last year’s gritty Festival hit, Le Cabaret Grimm. Minnie’s Menagerie, an unconventional Depression-era sideshow, is raking it in with the help of Daedalus’s innovative technology. But when Daedalus’s son falls in love with Minnie’s daughter, the star attraction, their passion threatens to bring it all crashing down.
For a full listing of events, visit: www.nymf.org.