New York Musical Festival Helps Launch Aspiring Artists

Irene Schultz

The 2013 New York Musical Festival, was held for three weeks this summer from July 8-28. This year’s festival featured 57 events including full-scale productions, readings, and workshops.

Every summer, The NYMF provides the grounds for aspiring playwrights to present their original work to excited theatre enthusiasts. The NYMF revives one of America’s greatest art forms every year by discovering and promoting new musical theatre artists and producers. The annual event inspires a wide range of audience members throughout New York. Now celebrating its 10th Anniversary, NYMF is the largest musical-theater festival in America.

NYMF was launched exactly 10 years ago in order to introduce new shows and modern ideas into the musical theatre world. NYMF is an affordable way for artists to produce their own professional productions. This ensures the artistry of musical theatre by launching culturally diverse new musicals in order to keep the art form fresh and relevant to today’s times.

The first festival was in 2004 and featured over thirty new musicals. Since then, while receiving both criticism and appraise, the featured musicals and artists have gone on to Off-Broadway and worldwide theaters. Next to Normal is among the many successfully entertaining shows that have passed through NYMF during its decade of existence.

For writers interested in submitting a show, NYMF has a two-month open submission window each fall, which provides ten subsidized full-productions slots in the festival. All work that has not yet been produced professionally in New York City is eligible for submission. NYMF executive director Isaac Hurtwitz explains “NYMF is and always will be about raw material at the start of its journey, that is not finished but has potential.”

The same goes for any actors and actresses who have not yet performed on Broadway. NYMF also has several additional programs that foster the art of musical theatre in New York. NYMF’s Next Broadway Sensation discovers young stars of today and provides them with singing master classes in order to help give them their big break. Participants receive coaching from leading professionals and compete to win the ultimate prize of performing their very own solo concert produced by NYMF.

In addition to NNBS, NYMF offers a Student Leadership Program which includes master classes, workshops and panel discussions. This provides students who are interested in a career in musical theatre with the education to create and perform original works of musical theatre. NYMF provides training and mentoring to a selected group of student leaders, both undergraduate and graduate, to create a SLP concert.

The 2013 NYMF participants attended a closing night party on July 28in celebration of their successful musicals. This is where the NYMF 2013 Awards for Excellence were announced. These awards are very important to the musical theatre scene in New York because they predict the future success of the musicals presented. This year, theatergoers should keep an eye out for the raved about Volleygirls. This new musical took home two awards including Outstanding Ensemble Performance, “Best of Fest” Audience Prize and Most Promising Musical Award. Created by Rob Ackerman, Eli Bolan, and Sam Forman, Volleygirls brings the world of sports to the theatre world. This seemingly risky clash actually brought humor, love, and a contemporary pop score to audiences’ hearts. Beloved NYMF veteran Susan Blackwell plays an Olympic failure seeking redemption as a high-school coach.

This year, NYMF received a Drama Desk Award in recognition of now a whole decade under their belt of creating new musical theatre and ensuring its future existence as an art form. “…we are really pleased that NYMF has been a stepping stone for so many shows, both in New York and around the country,” said Robert.