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NAMT Announces 8 Musicals for 2021 Festival

This year’s festival will be a hybrid online and in-person event to keep the enhanced accessibility offered by digital presentations.

NEW YORK CITY: The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) has announced the lineup of new musicals for the 33rd annual Festival of New Musicals, to be presented as a digital and in-person hybrid event Oct. 20-21. The festival brings in theatre producers from around the world to see eight new musicals that have had production costs underwritten by NAMT.

“After navigating last year’s pandemic-driven circumstances by presenting a fully online festival, we are happily evolving further to meet this year’s needs,” said NAMT executive director Betsy King Militello in a statement. “Our hybrid festival, which will include both the vital community-building of an in-person event and the enhanced accessibility of a digital presentation, is designed to give as many people as possible the chance to discover this year’s group of extraordinary artists. We are excited about these writers and their musicals and are eager to share them with the world.”

This year’s festival saw 15 theatre professionals select eight new musicals from over 200 submissions.

The festival will include AZUL, with book by Melis Aker and Tatiana Pandiani, music by Jacinta Clusellas, and lyrics by Clusellas and Ruben Dario. This bilingual musical follows Rita, a composer, as she struggles to forgive her father, understand her roots, and reconnect to a land she has never known years after Bluebird, an idealist poet, sought a better life by moving to a new land.

Fanny and Stella: a f*cking fabulous new musical, with music and lyrics by Eamonn O’Dwyer and book by SEVAN, takes place in London in the 1870s. The musical follows two middle-class boys as they flee their suburban upbringing to live as Fanny and Stella in Victorian London, until a run-in with the law results in a national scandal.

Next in the lineup will be Little Duende, with music and lyrics by Robi Hager and book and lyrics by Georgina Escobar. The musical follows the adventurous and curious young elf Adelita as she ventures to be reunited with her mother, who was kidnapped by the evil spirit of La Mancha.

The festival will also include Māyā, with book and music by Cheeyang Ng and book and lyrics by Eric Sorrels. In the British Raj in 1930, a struggling poet finds herself thrust into a turbulent political climate when Gandhi’s non-violent Independence Movement arrives on her doorstep.

Missing Peace, with book, music, and lyrics by Kalani Queypo and Kyle Puccia, follows Chase, who wakes up from a coma and is happy and free until dark memories begin to flood back and Chase is forced to grapple with his attempted suicide and the bad choices he’s made and the people he’s hurt along the way.

Next in the lineup will be Private Gomer Jones, written by Marshall Pailet. It follows a young man with a desire to join the Welsh army in 1914, but since he’s lost his hearing, he needs the help of a nurse with ties to the Deaf community to complete his journey of being a deaf soldier pretending not to be deaf.

The festival will also include Senior Class, with book, melodies, and lyrics by Melvin Tunstall and music by Greg Borowsky. After the senior musical production of My Fair Lady is cancelled, two Harlem theatre nerds decide to stage a one-night-only presentation of Pygmalion. Art begins to imitate life after the two meet a subway dancer named Alizé, who they try to transform into their perfect Eliza Doolittle.

TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix, with book and lyrics by EllaRose Chary and music and lyrics by Brandon James Gwinn, is an irreverent meta-analysis of queer women in media that asks, “Why do strong female characters always gotta die?” The musical sees T and L seek the happy ending they deserve and the queer future that’s never been modeled for them.

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, founded in 1985, is a national service organization dedicated to developing new musicals. More information on the selected musicals and creative teams is available online. Casting and other programming details will be announced at a later date.

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