The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) is off and running this month thru July 27; there are many stage productions in the making that have the potential of becoming blockbusters, SROs and sold-out tickets on the Great White Way as well as national and international tours.
This festival has an incomparable history for many shows that have garnered Tony Awards, Pulitzers and other accolades for performance, production and writing such as: title of show, Next to Normal, Alter Boys, Chaplin, Bedbugs and Clinton The Musical, just to name a few. It’s the Ziegfeld of possibilities.
There are over twenty musicals in the series this year and they take place around the theatre district at venues like PTC Performance Space, The Griffin Theatre, The Laurie Beechman Theatre and Theatre 3.
Our recommendations this year are two original productions: Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera and Manuel Versus The Statue of Liberty.
Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera has a cult following in the Midwest and now haunts and rocks the stage at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center on 42nd Street.
The story is set outside a cemetery in anywhere, rural countryside U.S.A. and brings to life a rock opera much like a New Orleans’ funeral march meets “Rock of Ages”. It’s about love, loss and betrayal between four characters: Florence, Friedrich, Constance and Old Bones — some living, one not so much.
This is the morbid creation of songwriters Ryan Hayes and Garrett Sherwood. The book is by Jon Peter Lewis (American Idol and The Voice).
“I met Garret and Ryan at an open mic night in college and they were writing songs in Idaho and we became friends, the story was influenced by a few un-named ex-girlfriends,” said Jon Peter Lewis. It started in my living room with a string of Christmas lights. It’s been a work in progress for over five years and has grown into a full production and this festival is helping us make it better,” said Mr. Lewis.
In October there will be a string of performances in the Pacific North West.
The cast includes: Amy Whitcomb (The Voice), Melanie Stone and dancers, Nicole Adjeleian, Adam Di Loreto, Pia Hamilton, Matthew Ortner and Sarah Roberts. This staging includes a frighteningly fabulous band.
Manuel Versus The Statue of Liberty is a political comedy that torches every current political issue from immigration to the American dream.
Based on a true life story, Manuel was brought to this country illegally from the Dominican Republic as a baby. His intelligence and hard work get him a scholarship into Princeton. He is then offered the opportunity to study at Oxford University but leaving the U.S. makes it impossible to come home. “If the country is going to export every undocumented immigrant, we may as well send the Statue of Liberty back to France.”
The boxing match with Lady Liberty begins.
This romp is fodder for the political season and cast with a lot of talent — most notably Shakina Nayfack as The Statue of Liberty and Gil Perez-Abraham as Manuel.
Kudos to Tami Dahbura, Alicia Taylor Tomasko, Erika Gonzalez, Anthony Chan, AJ Meijer and Michael Marotta as well as the musicians.
With a little editing and tweaking, this show could find a permanent house in NY, LA and every city in between.
Here is how to get tix:
NYMF Box Office
The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street