Sutton Foster, Bailey Ryon, Graham Rowat and More Join Casts of NAMT Festival of New Musicals

By Adam Hetrick
10 Oct 2013

Sutton Foster
Sutton Foster
Photo by Laura Marie Duncan

Sutton Foster, Bailey Ryon, William Parry and Graham Rowat have joined the casts of the new musicals that will be presented during the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's 25th Annual Festival of New Musicals.

Presented Oct. 17-18 in Manhattan, the annual weekend of musical theatre provides a platform for emerging and established theatre writers to showcase their works with casts featuring Broadway and Off-Broadway actors. Many of the new works find life at regional companies, as well as Off-Broadway and on Broadway.

Betsy King Militello is the executive director of NAMT.

NAMT has also named the participants in the Oct. 18 Songwriters Showcase, which will include The Wedding Singer Tony nominees Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar; Jawbreaker songwriters Jordan Mann and Jeff Thomson; Legally Blonde Tony nominees Nell Benjamin and Laurence O'Keefe; Bread and Roses collaborators Jill Abramovitz and Brad Alexander; Memphis Tony Award winners Joe DiPietro and David Bryan; Joe Iconis; Tony Award-winning Drowsy Chaperone writers Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison; and Sam Willmott.



Here's a look at the 2013 selections and their teams:

Analog and Vinyl
Book, music and lyrics by Paul Gordon
Directed by Michael Berresse ([title of show]); Jodie Moore is music director
Featuring Bryan Fenkart (Nobody Loves You), Sarah Stiles (Into the Woods) and Harriet Harris (Thoroughly Modern Millie).

"Harrison is obsessed with LPs from the sixties and the superior quality of analog. Rodeo Girl, a quirky Silver Lake hipster, is obsessed with Harrison but he barely notices. With his vintage record store about to go under, Harrison and Rodeo Girl are visited by a mysterious customer who makes them a devilish offer they can't refuse."

The Astonishing Return of…The Protagonists!
Book and lyrics by Kevin Del Aguila, music by Michael Shaieb
Directed by Christopher Gattelli with musical direction by Lynne Shankel
Featuring Sutton Foster (Anything Goes), Kevin Smith Kirkwood (Kinky Boots), Andy Karl (Rocky), Douglas Sills (The Addams Family), Kara Lindsay (Newsies), Aurelia Williams (Once on This Island), Alice Lee (Spider-Man), Carlos L. Encinias (Scandalous), Marc Kudisch (9 to 5) and Christopher Sieber (Shrek the Musical), Tyler Maynard (Altar Boyz) and Todd Alan Johnson (Aida).

"The Protagonists was once a mighty group of superheroes battling the forces of evil. Twenty years later, they find themselves battling the forces of thinning hair and menopause. But when an old nemesis re-emerges with a sinister plan, can the former superfriends pull it together to save the world again?"

The Boy Who Danced on Air
Book and lyrics by Charlie Sohne, music by Tim Rosser
Featuring Giuseppe Bausilio (Billy Elliott), Anthony Lee Medina (Spring Awakening), Fajer Al-Kaisi, Sorab Wadia (Nymph Errant) and Jonathan Raviv (My Name is Asher Lev).

"The Boy Who Danced on Air focuses on a tradition in Afghanistan called Bacha Bazi: wealthy men take in poorer boys and train them to dance. The boys perform at parties and are often sexually abused. This is the story of what happens when two of those boys fall in love."

Come From Away
Book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Brian Hill directs with musical direction by Dan Pardo
Featuring Ruthie Ann Miles (Here Lies Love), Klea Blackhurst (Hello, Dolly!), Lenny Wolpe (The Drowsy Chaperone), Spencer Moses (Hello, Dolly!), Nick Choksi (Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812), Colin Hanlon ("Submissions Only"), Allison Case (Hands on A Hard Body), Becca Ayers (The Addams Family), Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Avenue Q), Barbara Walsh (Company), Jason "SweetTooth" Williams (Bloodsong of Love) and Jason Michael Snow (The Book of Mormon).

"Come From Away tells the true story of when seven thousand people landed on the doorstep of Gander, Newfoundland... and the people of Gander 'put the kettle on.' A rocking musical about when 38 planes from around the world were diverted to a small, Canadian community on September 11, 2001 — doubling its population in an instant. While the world witnessed the worst acts of humankind, the stranded passengers had their faith in humanity restored by the spirited people who comforted those who had come from away."

Eastland
Book and lyrics by Andrew White
Music by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman
Amanda Dehnert directs
Featuring William Parry (Memphis), Melanie Vaughan (Parade), William Ryall (Chaplin), Andi Alhadeff, Will Connolly (Once), Randy Redd (Million Dollar Quartet), Lauren Marcus (The Planet That Ate Dirty Socks), Katrina Lenk (Once), Emily Walton (The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World), Derek Hasenstab and Erik Heilman.

"Early morning, July 24, 1915: Moored on the Chicago River, the S.S. Eastland overflows with passengers ready for their company picnic. The boat leans to port – and keeps leaning, until it tips completely over. By day's end, hundreds will perish, whole families will vanish and unexpected heroes will emerge."

My Heart is the Drum
Concept and music by Phillip Palmer
Original story and book by Jennie Redling
Lyrics by Stacey Luftig
Schele Williams directs
Featuring Natalie Venetia Belcon (Avenue Q), Mel Johnson Jr., (Jekyll & Hyde), Crystal Joy (Motown the Musical), Saycon Sengbloh (Motown), Krystal Joy Brown (Big Fish), Rebecca E. Covington (Motown), Nicole Lewis (Hair), John Eric Parker (The Book of Mormon), Danielle K. Thomas (Avenue Q), Donald Weber (Motown), Jarran Muse (Motown) and Tommar Wilson (The Book of Mormon).

"When Efua Kuti is pulled from school and forced to marry, she flees her village in Ghana to pursue her dream: a college education. Guided by the spirit of her grandmother, she confronts life-threatening dangers, and in doing so, discovers her true strength. A joyous tale of modern Africa with driving rhythms and rich vocal harmonies, this big, coming-of-age musical celebrates the promise within us all."

The Sandman – a little nightmare musical
Music by Richard Oberacker
Book and lyrics by Robert Taylor & Richard Oberacker
Based on the disturbed scribblings of E.T.A. Hoffmann
Valerie Gebert is musical director
Featuring Bailey Ryon (Matilda), Heidi Blickenstaff ([title of show]), Douglas Sills (The Addams Family), Joshua Colley (Newsies), Mavis Simpson-Ernst (Evita), Robert Creighton (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and Kelly McCormick (Les Miserables).

"Germany, 1838. What if Clara's nutcracker had been built by a clockmaker whose children were held hostage by the Sandman? What if the clockmaker’s nanny had invited the Sandman in? What if the Sandman steals children’s eyes at night? Too ghastly to contemplate. Who dares put such horrors in a musical?"

The Single Girls Guide
Book by Gordon Greenberg, music and lyrics by Tommy Newman
Kevin Moriarty directs
Featuring Graham Rowat (Mamma Mia!), Julia Mattison (Godpsell), Clarke Thorell (Annie), Adam Heller (Elf), Amber Iman (Soul Doctor), Sydney James Harcourt (The Lion King), Michael McCorry Rose (Wicked), Farah Alvin (I Love You Because), Jenny Powers (Superman...), Gwen Hollander (Little Women), Steve Rosen (The Other Josh Cohen) and Susan Mosher (Hairspray).

"Jane Austen meets Helen Gurley Brown in the stylish world of 1964 Manhattan. Filled with the buoyant sounds and bright spirit of the mid-1960s, The Single Girl's Guide is a fizzy riff on 'Emma' and 'Sex and The Single Girl' that echoes the questions we continue to ask about marriage, sex and being single."

The Three Little Pigs
Book and lyrics by Anthony Drewe, music by George Stiles
Victoria Bussert directs with musical direction by Ryan Fielding Garrett
Featuring Christopher Sieber (Shrek the Musical), Ann Harada (Cinderella), George Salazar (Here Lies Love), Ciara Renée (Big Fish) and David Larsen (Hands on a Hard Body).

"Take three little superstar Piglets, their devoted single-parent Mom, a misunderstood Big Bad Wolf and the award-winning tuneful wit of Stiles and Drewe and you've got the perfect "Great Big Little Broadway Show" for audiences of three years old and up. This very curly musical tail will huff, puff and blow you away!"

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