5 Shows that Stand Out at NYMF 2012

If it feels like I just wrote one of these posts, it’s because I did.

It hasn’t even been eight months since the last New York Musical Theatre Festival, and here we are again, ready to sift through the titles of this year’s offerings, looking for the next Altar Boyz, [title of show], or Next to Normal.

In a smart and strategic move, the festival was moved from the Fall to mid-July, and as long as the AC is cranking in all the venues, I think it’s going to prove to be a very successful move.

Of course, a festival is only as good as its shows, so let’s take a look.

A quick note for those that haven’t read these “Shows that Stand Out” columns before: to get the list below, I read through the catalog and note the shows that jump off the (web)page and say, “You should see me!”, and list them below with the reason why I was attracted to it.  Selection here does not  mean the show is good, mediocre or Moose Murders.  It just means that the show stood out, and therefore got me that much closer to buying a ticket.

So here we go . . . the five shows that stand out at this year’s NYMF, in no particular order:

1.  Foreverman – Book/Music/Lyrics by Brett M. Boles

Foreverman sounds like a superhero, doesn’t it?   Why hasn’t there been a successful show about a superhero?  They are larger than life.  They have special powers.  And so do characters in musicals.  Honestly, I’m not sure that this musical is about a superhero (the blurb talks about an “immortality” potion discovered in 1625) but the title/description certainly got me thinking about big aka “super” things, and musicals are about super things.  Oh, and besides that, I hear the one-man auteur of this show is an up-and-coming wunderkid and one-to-watch.

2.  Prison Dancer:  The Musical – Book by Romeo Candido and Carmen DeJesus, Music and Lyrics by Romeo Candido

Remember that blog I wrote the other day about not caring where the inspiration for a musical came from?  Well, enter Prison Dancer, a musical derived from this YouTube video with Filipino inmates as its main characters.  The video is emotional, musical, and already captured the hearts of the public with its 51 million views.  So, it only makes sense that a musical could do the same thing.  Could is a big word, of course, but they got me curious.

3.  Re-Animator The Musical – Book by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon and William J. Norris, Music and Lyrics by Mark Nutter

I had such high hopes for Evil Dead The Musical, when it played New World.  It was a fun show, that just didn’t take, thanks partly to the “Off Broadway Problem”.  That same desire for a fun, campy and gore-filled musical has me interested in Re-Animator, another show with strong and familiar source material.  Things are funny when they don’t make sense . . . and psycho killers singing doesn’t make sense.  Could be killer.  (There’s that C word again.)

4.  Rio – Book/Music/Lyrics by Mitch Magonet and Joey Miller

Rio is set in . . . duh . . . Rio.  And could you think of a better place for a musical?  Costumes, music, colorful characters.  That’s some rich soil that could sprout a very successful musical.  And when you read the description and see how the Producers framed the show as a “re-invention” of Oliver!, you can see why me and a whole lot of other folks have this show on our radar.

5.  Central Avenue Breakdown – Book by Kevin Ray and Andrea Lepcio, Music and Lyrics by Kevin Ray, Additional Story by Suellen Vance

I cheated.  CAB was in last year’s NYMF.  And it was on my list last year as well.  But, see, last year it won a big fat award.  And it was invited to Korea.  And it sold out.  So it’s back and, as with the case of all musicals, slightly revised as it winds its way to Broadway.  And all those things make me sit up and go, “Well, just what do we have here?”

I’ll be seeing a bunch of these shows, and a few others this NYMF season as well, so I’ll be able to see if they live up to their stand-outness factor face-to-musical-face.  And there’s only one way for you to find out if they all overcome their “couldness” as well . . .

Get tickets.  Support NYMF, and the writers and producers of new musicals.  Because when writers write, we all win.

For a full list of NYMF shows, click here.  And then comment below on the show that stands out to you!

Break bones, NYMFers!


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



– For the Actors:  Audition Workshop with Ken in Las Vegas on 7/15:   Click here.

– Win 2 Tickets to Triassic Parq!  Click here.

  • Amy Leigh says:

    Re-animator DID make it to a Los Angeles premiere, at least. Not quite sure how it did numbers-wise.

  • I’ll just list the six I already have tickets for:

    Central Avenue Breakdown
    He’s Not Himself
    Flambé Dreams

  • Lorraine says:

    Was hoping Baby Case would be on this list! (Though it seems a rather risky premise…) But I’ll know soon enough. Wouldn’t miss Hannah for anything!

  • MattChow says:

    I’m particularly excited about Flambé Dreams which is about a guy who wants to be a Maitre d’ like his father who was killed in a Bananas Foster accident and Arnie the Donut about well a donut. …or maybe I’m just hungry.

  • fire says:

    I love flaming deserts. Ken…why not Flambe Dreams. I’d check it out! The buzz is that it is hot and on fire.

  • janiska says:

    Almost all the story lines seem so trivial. More than light hearted, several border on downright silly.

    Did I misread the synopses, or do NYMF producers expect audiences to prefer escapist shows during the current chaotic world situation?

  • Bruce says:

    Ken: I’m sad that NYMF changed dates from September to July. I would assume many interested people, like myself, will be away on vacation. I sent an email to NYMF and got a reply from someone by the name of Scott Pyne saying that there were several reasons for the change. The primary reason has to do with real estate–many theatres that are the size and price that NYMF needs are rented in September. Another reason has to do with competition–in September/October there is the beginning of the Fall theatre season, Fashion Week and religious holidays. This doesn’t make sense to me since, as far as I know, most shows in the Festival have been sold out. I’m not sure if the real estate argument is correct, because I haven’t checked to see if the venues being used this year are the same ones used in the past. I at least appreciated that someone at NYMF heard my complaint and replied. Just thought you might like to know.

  • Bryan David says:

    “Because when writers write, we all win.”

    Dear Mr. Davenport, et al:

    With over a dozen (12) Two-Act Musicals to my credit everyone who knows me must be a winner. If not today, we call all wait until tomorrow…

    Bryan David
    Playwright & Lyricist


  • Matthew says:

    Hi Ken & All,

    My good friend Michael Ogborn has his musical BABY CASE in the festival this year. I highly recommend that you catch BABY CASE! Michael is a smart, darkly funny writer who can also pen that song that will stick in your head for a long, long time. Go see BABY CASE!

    Best, Matt

  • Frayne says:

    Hey Ken!

    I’m hoping that a little nudge from me will put “Living With Henry” on your radar.

    “Living With Henry” is by Christopher Wilson. http://www.facebook.com/livingwithhenry
    Please give it a look-see.

    Enjoy NYMF! I wish I could be there!

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