A twenty-year musical theatre tradition will be streamed live for the first time this year.  New Musicals Inc. will host the 20th STAGES FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS from July 28th through July 30th in North Hollywood, and streamcast it across the globe.

For the first time since its inception, the STAGES Festival will feature streaming of live and recorded new musical theatre events 24/7 beginning at 7:00pm on Friday July 28 and continue through Sunday evening July 30th.

“For years, we’ve been presenting the STAGES Festival for years as a one or two weekend marathon of readings of new musicals,” says NMI Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry, “but this year we’re reaching out to a broader audience from outside the local LA area.”

The live events include the New Voices Project Concert, featuring writers under age 26 (Friday, July 28 at 7:00pm); a concert reading of Michael Shapiro’s The Bully Problem, developed through NMI’s Sandbox developmental program (Saturday, July 29 at 8pm); and a concert reading of the winner of the 2017 Search for New Musicals, Spellbound! A F@$&ked-Up Musical Fairy Tale, by Ben Boecker (Sunday, July 30 at 7:30pm).  All live events will take place at New Musicals Inc., 5628 Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood.  (Visit the NMI website for info and reservations).

“For the 20th anniversary of Stages Festival,” says NMI Executive Director Scott Guy, “We thought we should do something really ambitious and new.  We’ve spent the last couple of months recording over 40 interviews with musical theatre professionals and collecting footage from various sources, including twelve musicals which were part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June.  We’ve been driven to have continuous programming streaming all weekend long.”

Interviews with writers, producers and theatre artists recorded especially for the Stages Festival include:

Ken Davenport
  • Broadway producer Ken Davenport (The Producer’s Perspective Blog); along with a lecture from Ken recorded at NMI’s Biz of the Musical Theatre Biz Conference last summer;
  • Broadway writing team Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (FIRST DATE and SECOND HAND LIONS);
  • Amy Engelhardt, co-creator of the new Off-Broadway musical BASTARD JONES; along with a promo video for the show;
  • Joe Baros, Artistic Director of New York Theatre Barn; along with video clips from NY Theatre Barn presentations;
  • Andrew Panton (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and David Bell (American Musical Theatre Project at Northwestern University) about their ground breaking new collaboration;
  • Victoria Bussert, Director of Musical Theatre at Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio;
  • J. Dawson, Artistic Producer of 3D Theatricals in Orange County, California;
  • Kevin Saunders Hayes and Victoria Levy, along with videos from their amazing soon-to-be-Off-Broadway musical/silent movie mashup VOX LUMIERE
  • Kellen Blair, co-creator of the Off Broadway musical MURDER FOR TWO, along with the documentary he shot when he went through the 15 Minute Musical process at NMI;
  • Amy Corcoran of London’s Aria Entertainment;
  • Kate Galvin, Associate Producer at 11th Hour Theatre in Philadelphia;
  • Marco Gomez, Artistic Director of DOMA Theatre Company in Los Angeles, along with footage from their world premiere of the new musical DORIAN’S DESCENT
  • Jeff Herbst, Artistic Director of Northern Sky Theatre in Wisconsin, along with an interview from Richard Castle and Matthew Levine, writers of OKLAHOMA IN WISCONSIN which just received its world premiere at Northern Sky;
  • Broadway producer Cody Lassen (SPRING AWAKENING);
  • Cheri Steinkellner, Tony nominee as co-bookwriter for Broadway’s SISTER ACT; including Cheri’s TED TALK on how to make your writing funnier;
  • Josh Katzker, Artistic Associate from Fingerlakes Music Festival in New York
  • Betsy King-Militello, Executive Director of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) in New York;
  • Rick Boynton, Creative Producer at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, along with promo footage from three of the many world premiere musicals produced at Chicago Shakes
  • Donna Lynn Hilton, Line Producer at Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut;
  • Robb Hunt, Executive Producer of the Village Theatre in Issaquah, Washington;
  • Gabrielle Wagner and Julie Weiner, from the creative team behind CITY OF LIGHT which received a world premiere production this past month in New York;
  • Tim Kashani and Pamela Winslow Kashani of Apples and Oranges Studios;
  • Kent Nicholson, Director of Musical Theatre at Playwrights Horizons in New York;
  • Michael Rubinoff, Producer at the Canadian Musical Theatre Project at Sheridan College in Toronto (and the man who commissioned and developed the Tony nominated new musical COME FROM AWAY).

Additional programming includes

  • Footage from all twelve of the brand new short musicals produced by NMI under the umbrella of 1001 Minutes of New Musicals at the Hollywood Fringe Festival last month; as well as interviews with many of the creative teams from the shows
  • Interviews with winners of NMI’s New Voices Project including Anderson Cook and Amanda D’Archangelis; Ariel Mitchell and Edison Hong; Oliver Houser; Eliot Rhys and Oscar Jacques; Jackson Teeley; Santino D’Angelo, Bill Nelson and Joseph Trefler, and Zack Zadek
  • A host of fabulous new musical theatre songs written by writers all over the country and performed as part of the cabaret A LITTLE NEW MUSIC in Los Angeles
  • “The Customer Is Always Right” and “I Quit!” – two “pop-up” musicals produced by New Musicals Inc;
  • Tips and lectures on the craft of writing musical theatre from NMI staff
  • The five part musical webseries “Coffee Quintet” by NMI writers Chana Wise and Carl Johnson;
  • An insider’s look at a series of brand new songs written on the occasion of NMI Artistic Director’s 60th birthday by NMI writers including Lori Jaroslow and Morgan Hollingsworth, Larry Todd Cousineau and Cindy O’Connor, Chana Wise and Cindy O’Connor, Jake Anthony, Ron Barnett, and Mitch Glaser and Bryan Blaskie.

Reservation for the live events, as well as program information and the link to the streamcast can be found at http://nmi.org/stages-musical-theatre-festival-2017/

About Peter Finlayson

Peter Finlayson is the Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-chief of FootLights magazine and footlight.click. While working on a prelaw program at the University of Michigan, he happily got involved with the theatre program. Much to his mother’s chagrin, law school never happened, but in a career spanning more than 4 decades, Peter has performed, directed or designed more than 150 productions. In his spare time, he is working on a new play. You can follow him on Twitter @Thtrdog .

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