Luke Islam, Anne L. Nathan, Ben Fankhauser, More Join 35th Annual Festival of New Musicals | Playbill

Industry News Luke Islam, Anne L. Nathan, Ben Fankhauser, More Join 35th Annual Festival of New Musicals

The festival has previously presented Come From Away, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, all before they made it to Broadway.

Luke Islam, Anne L. Nathan, and Ben Fankhauser

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre has revealed the complete performing line-up for its upcoming 35th Annual Festival of New Musicals, which will return for in-person performances at New World Stages October 26 and 27. The event spotlights eight in-development musicals with 45-minute concert presentations. Industry members can attend for free, with general access available through a donation to NAMT.

The annual offering has become a vital proving ground for new musicals, with past Festival presentations including Come From Away, Lempicka, The Drowsy Chaperone, Lizard Boy, Teeth, Benny & Joon, Darling Grenadine, Ordinary Days, Striking 12, It Shoulda Been You, Interstate, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, among others.

Performing this year will be Olivia Abiassi (Eh Dah?: Questions for my Father), Tẹmídayọ Amay (Black Odyssey), June Angela (Fresh Off the Boat), Jonathan Arana (On Your Feet!), Jessie Austrian (Into the Woods), Ari Axelrod (Milk and Honey), Noa Luz Barenblat (Fiddler on the Roof), Iris Beaumier (The Little Prince), Thani Brant (Notes from Now), Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda (Americano! The Musical), Carmen Esperanza Castillo (Soon), Jenelle Chu (The Great Leap), John Clay III (New York, New York), Benny Elledge (Waitress), Emily Fink (Fun Home), Cailen Fu (Mean Girls), Gabriela Gomez, Alex Joseph Grayson (Parade), Tymothee Harrell (FutureFest), Michael Benjamin Hernandez (Moon Knight),Luke Islam (America’s Got Talent), David Patrick Kelly (Into the Woods), Eddie Korbich (The Music Man), Angel Lin (Once), Omar Lopez-Cepero (The Notebook), Tomás Matos (Hadestown), Easton Michaels (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Anne L. Nathan (Funny Girl), James Rose (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Sushma Saha (1776), Nathan Salstone (Sweeney Todd), Evie Schuckman (Indigo), Stephen Tewksbury (Sweeney Todd), Stephanie Torns (Waitress), Clyde Voce (The Play That Goes Wrong), and EJ Zimmerman (Les Misérables).

They join the previously announced Saint Aubyn (Ain’t Too Proud), Noa Luz Barenblat (Fiddler on the Roof), Sondrine Lee Bontemps (The Little Mermaid), Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins), LaDonna Burns (RENT), Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda (Americano! The Musical), Emy Coligado (Miss Saigon), Sabina Collazo (A Little Night Music), Matt Dallal (Darling Grenadine), Maya Days (Aida), Nick Drake (Back to the Future), Yvette González-Nacer (Hadestown), Kathel Louis Griffin (Millennials Are Killing Musicals), Z Infante (Kiss My Aztec!), MinJi Kim (Romeo and Bernadette), Aury Krebs (Darling Grenadine), Claire Kwon (Almost Famous), Samantha Massell (Fiddler on the Roof), Bryonha Marie (Prince of Broadway), Chris McCarrell (The Lightning Thief), Veronica Otim (& Juliet), Joel Perez (Beautiful, FL), Marina Pires (Aladdin), Allie Re (Grease), Scott Redmond (Oklahoma!), Jelani Remy (Back to the Future), Adriana Ripley, Wren Rivera (Jagged Little Pill), Kate Rockwell (Mean Girls), Honor Blue Savage (Tuck Everlasting), Terran Scott (Get Out Alive), Alexis Semevolos-Velazquez (On Your Feet!), Eric Siegle (Tina), Talia Suskauer (Wicked), Nasia Thomas (Six), and Anita Welch-Smith (Avenue Q).

The casting director for the Festival of New Musicals is Michael Cassara.

This year's show roster includes Fallout, with music and lyrics by Dmitry Koltunov and a book by David Goldsmith; Fountain, with a book, music, and lyrics by Christopher Anselmo and Jared Corak; Fountain of You, with a book and lyrics by Tasha Gordon-Solmon and music by Faye Chiao; Mija, with music and lyrics by Anna Gilbert and Gaby Moreno and a book by Evynne Hollens and Rebecca Tourino Collinsworth; Never Be King, with music by Charlie H. Ray and Sam Columbus, and a book and lyrics by Ray; The Oscar Micheaux Project (Working Title), with music by Alphonso Horne, lyrics by Jesse L. Kearney Jr. and Peter Mills, a book by Kearney Jr. and Cara Reichel, and additional music by Mills; Wonder Boy, with a book, music and lyrics by Jaime Jarrett; and Yoko's Husband's Killer's Japanese Wife, Gloria, with a book by Brandy Hoang Collier, lyrics by Clare Fuyuko Bierman, and music by Erika Ji.

The eight musicals were selected from 575 submissions—the largest in the Festival's history—by a panel of 18 theatre professionals.

Additionally, this year's festival will feature the Midday Cabarets, which will offer short sets of new music during the lunch break on both days. This year’s Midday Cabaret writers include composers, lyricists and playwrights Ross Baum, Teresa Lotz, Hayley Goldenberg & Julia Sonya Koyfman, Hope Villanueva, and William Yanesh, with featured performers including Ben Fankhauser (Newsies), Sydney Parra (Six), Liisi LaFontaine (Dreamgirls), Rayshun Lamarr, Maria Habeeb (The Gospel According to Heather), Samantha Massell (Fiddler on the Roof), Maria Nalieth, Mackenzie Lesser-Roy (Once), and more.

"Following last year's successful return to live Festival performances, we eagerly anticipate bringing together eight brilliant writing teams from all corners of the country at New World Stages in New York City this fall," said NAMT Executive Director Betsy King Militello in a previous statement. "The overwhelming number of exceptional submissions we received this year has surpassed last year’s impressive count, reflecting the creative spirit and resilience of our community. We are thrilled to introduce the eight selected shows to the musical theatre field in October."

Industry members interested in attending can register for access at

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