Next to Normal. [title of show]. Altar Boyz. The Great American Trailer Park Musical. What do these shows have in common? They all got their start at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, aka NYMF.
Broadway musicals today can cost upward of $12 million to produce (or $40 million if you’re Spider-Man). This makes it very difficult for unknown writers and composers to have their work seen by a broad audience. Enter NYMF. The three-week festival presents full productions and readings of dozens of new musicals, supported by an extensive grassroots marketing campaign. The 2009 Festival kicked off on September 28 and will be running through October 18, with great deals on student tickets.
Last Friday, Columbia’s NYMF Student Leaders Kley Todd (CC ’12) and Becky Greenstein (BC ’10) put together a talkback session with the writers of three NYMF shows. I went to hear these composers for myself. After all, you never know what might be the next smash hit to come out of NYMF!
The panel was composed of the writers of Open the Dark Door, F*cking Up Everything, and Punk Princess, all productions appearing in this year’s festival. The conversation quickly turned to discussion of the creative process and how a musical is written, from first inspiration to final product.
The three shows are also unique because they don’t feature a traditional “musical theatre” style. Instead, they favor rock, punk, and indie rock music to tell a new kind of story. In the video below, the panelists explain their choice of musical style and answer a significant critic: Stephen Sondheim.