NAMT Reveals Slate for 21st Annual New-Tuner Fest



One of the New York theater world’s quintessential developmental organizations — the National Alliance for Musical Theatre — has announced the roster for its 21st annual Festival of New Musicals. There are eight tuners in all. What is important to remember about NAMT is that unlike the similarly wonderful New York Musical Theatre Festival, these shows aren’t open to the public. Think of the festival, which runs on Monday and Tuesday, October 19 and 20, as a sort of trade show for commercial and nonprofit producers hungry for the next Spring Awakening. Ergo, admission to the festival is by invitation only, but the general public can obtain free, stand-by tickets the day of the festival. For more information, visit

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Per Kathy Evans, NAMT’s executive director, here are more details:

At NAMT’s Festival, New York City’s longest-running musical theatre festival, leading theatre producers from across the world come together for this industry-only event to discover eight new musicals presented in 45-minute staged readings over two days. Since 1989, the Festival has presented over 225 musicals and 330 writers, and 80% of these shows have found subsequent developmental and full productions; tours; and licensing agreements as a direct result of the Festival.

The musicals selected for this year’s festival are:

Band Geeks!
Book by Tommy Newman & Gordon Greenberg
Lyrics by Gaby Alter & Tommy Newman
Music by Mark Allen, Gaby Alter & Tommy Newman
Concept by Tommy Newman
Band Geeks! is a high-stepping tribute to high school marching bands and misfits everywhere. With just nine members and dwindling funds, the Cuyahoga High Marching Beavers are close to extinction. When a troubled athlete is relegated to their ranks, Elliott, the tuba-playing band captain and Laura, his best friend, must find a way to unite the band, overcome their pride and embrace their inner geek.

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Factory Girls
by Creighton Irons and Sean Mahoney
At the dawn of the American Industrial Revolution in 1844, Sarah Bagley leaves her New Hampshire farm to work, socialize, and write with thousands of young women in the growing textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts. When conditions deteriorate, Sarah risks everything they have gained to fight the “soulless corporation.” With rock, funk and folk music, Factory Girls captures the passion and upheaval of a time in American history when, for better or worse, our country chose to leave the farm behind.

Hostage Song
Book by Clay McLeod Chapman
Music & Lyrics by Kyle Jarrow
Bound and blindfolded in a war-torn country, two hostages take refuge in music, memory and each other in this new indie-rock musical. But the further into their fantasy world the two of them go, the more the space between reality and escape blurs.

How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back?
by Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler
Afterschool detention becomes an adventure when a stranger shows six students the power of a good story. The Tortoise and the Hare, The Ant and the Grasshopper, Androcles and the Lion… Aesop’s timeless fables take an entertaining turn in this new musical that reveals universal truths through appealing, age-old allegories.

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Iron Curtain
Book by Susan DiLallo
Music by Stephen Weiner
Lyrics by Peter Mills
New York, 1954: two hapless songwriters are kidnapped by the KGB, brought to Moscow, and forced to “fix” a Communist Propaganda musical. Iron Curtain is a madcap farce filled with divas and dominatrixes, secrets and spies, and mishaps and misdirects, as our heroes desperately try to get back home.
Note: Iron Curtain received a Jonathan Larson Award for its Book.

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It Shoulda Been You
Book by Brian Hargrove
Music by Barbara Anselmi
Lyrics by Brian Hargrove and others
In a world where nothing is what it seems – religions collide, plots are hatched, pacts are made, and secrets exposed – hope is found where you least expect it. Is it Iran? Is it Iraq? No, it’s just the Steinberg Wedding. Come see the truth unveiled.

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Memory is the Mother of All Wisdom
Book and Lyrics by Sara Cooper
Music by Zach Redler
Memory is the Mother Of All Wisdom is a two-person comic tragedy about the troubled relationship of a woman who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her estranged daughter who moves back home to take care of her.

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by Duane Nelsen
In this Victorian thriller, the PennyWise Music Hall is home to an illusionist who saws women in half while real murders are taking place on the streets outside. Reporter Chester Talbot sets out to unravel the story, but what he sees may not be what it seems.