By Zita Lam
Village Theatre is excited to announce the lineup for The 17th Annual Festival of New Musicals, which will take place in Issaquah on August 11-13, 2017 and continues the theatre’s dedication to the development of new work. This year, the Festival’s five readings will include Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat, an electronic pop musical about one of the world’s greatest inventors; Hart Island, a look at social justice and the people society has forgotten; Afterwords, a tale of art and love; Howl’s Moving Castle, based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones and animated feature by Hayao Miyazaki; and ZM, a hilarious romp through a zombie-filled future by the Tony Award-winning authors of Urinetown.
The five new musicals featured in The Festival will truly encompass a wide variety of music and subject matter. “This summer has an unbelievable mix of writers, shows, and styles,” says Associate Artistic Director, Brandon Ivie. “From established Broadway teams to up-and-coming writers, from brassy musical comedies to complex and emotional dramas, from authentic folk tunes to boundary-pushing electronic dance music. I’m thrilled to have such a varied and accomplished group of writers with us!”
The Festival of New Musicals provides an essential platform for writers to incorporate a key component of live theatre – the audience. Each new musical will be rehearsed during the week, then present to the audience in staged reading format, performed in full using scripts. Many of these readings go on to be further developed in The Beta Series as well as on Village Theatre’s Mainstage. The readings are not open to the general public, however, those interested in being the first to see these new works may become a Village Originals Member to gain access to this and other exciting benefits and events.
The weekend will also feature The Northwest Songwriters Showcase which celebrates the Puget Sound’s vast pool of talent by presenting individual songs composed by local musical theatre writers. This year’s collection will include works by Sonya Schneider and Robertson Witmer; Leslie Wisdom and Nathan Young; Rheanna Atendido; Kat Sherrell and Natalie Wilson; Naomi Morgan; Daniel Maté; Kristen deLohr Helland, Justin Huertas, and Sara Porkalob; Monti Fleck, Zoe Johnson, Sophie Poole, Andrea Scott, Megan Titus, and Riley Toland.
The Festival of New Musicals is a vital cornerstone to the Village Originals program, which represents one of the strongest commitments to new musicals in the nation. The program fosters a creative and nurturing environment, allowing the creators of developing works the opportunity to further evolve their piece through readings, workshops, and developmental productions. The Village Originals program, as well as The Festival of New Musicals has been essential in launching Brian Yorkey’s Next to Normal, winner of three Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, Million Dollar Quartet, nominated for the Best Musical Tony Award and Outstanding Musical Drama Desk Award, Stephen Schwartz’s Snapshots, and It Shoulda Been You, which played Broadway in 2015. During the upcoming 2017-2018 Season, the new musical String will be featured on Village Theatre’s Mainstage, having been developed in The Festival of New Musicals in 2016 and The Beta Series in 2017.
About Village Theatre
Based in Issaquah, WA, with operations in Everett, Village Theatre is a leading producer of musical theatre in the Pacific Northwest. Producing entertaining, quality productions for the entire family since 1979, Village Theatre has grown into one of the region’s best-attended Equity theatres, with over 20,000 Subscribers and 200,000 projected total attendance each season. Through its Village Originals program, Village Theatre is nationally recognized for its contribution to the development of new musicals, having launched over 150 new works to date. Village Theatre also takes pride in nurturing tomorrow’s audiences through its youth education programs, Pied Piper and KIDSTAGE, serving over 60,000 young people, families, and schools annually.