- Posted On January 18, 2021
Lesli Margherita (Photos courtesy of New York Musical Festival) Star Files View Comments The thirteenth annual New York Musical Festival officially starts on July 11, kicking off a month of workshop productions, developmental readings and concerts of shows to look out for. Several musicals, including Next to Normal, [title of show] and Altar Boyz got their big break at NYMF, so this is your chance to stay ahead of the curve. Below are eight picks with talented stars, intriguing scores and noteworthy premises that caught our eye. For the full lineup and tickets, visit the NYMF website.RemissionReading: July 11, 15 & 17Tony nominee Emily Skeggs will take a quick hiatus from Fun Home to explore another troubled college student at NYMF. In the reading of Rebekah M. Allen’s musical, Skeggs will play Davy, a junior who hides her cancer diagnosis and copes with life or death decisions through storytelling and fantasy. Like Fun Home, the show’s tone jumps between somber and unexpectedly energetic while facing dark themes.A Lasting ImpressionReading: July 13 & 20Jennifer Damiano and Meghann Fahy both played Natalie in Next to Normal on Broadway, and now they’ll share the stage as siblings. The show follows the connections and relationships between sisters Kali and Simone and Jo (played by Ciara Renée), a journalist who returns from assignment in Syria. Whitney Mosery, who worked with Damiano as the associate director of American Psycho, will helm the reading of Emily Kaczmarek and Zoe Sarank’s musical.Eh Dah? Questions for My FatherSolo Show: July 19, 20, 23, 24, 25 & 28Self-proclaimed “Ghetto-Hippie-Arab-Commie-China Doll” Aya Aziz tackles culture wars, Islamophobia and more in her semi-autobiographical solo show. The performance artist and songwriter weaves through several characters and voices to find the balance between her eclectic New York City life with the uncertainties of her Egyptian-American father and Muslim family. For a taste of Aziz’s unique sound and style, check out footage from her previous show, Sitting Regal by the Window.IconProduction: July 20, 23, 24 & 26A lavish score, Broadway grand dames and an intricate plot involving an American princess and an ill-fated affair all come into play in this romantic drama. Jonathan Kaldor and Sebastian Michael’s musical follows an American debutante who marries into a royal family and the affair with her music teacher turns violent, as well as a young man who uncovers his grandfather’s story 40 years later. The starry lineup includes Donna McKechnie and Tony Sheldon.A Scythe of TimeProduction: July 21, 23, 24 & 26Lesli Margherita in a fancy hat with peacock feathers? You’ve got our attention. The Broadway.com favorite will star in Alan Harris and Mark Alan Swanson’s show, which follows a 19th-century London writer as she attempts to solve the mystery of the deaths of several contemporaries. So like Mrs. Wormwood, she’s British, but this time, she loves reading. Inspired by two Edgar Allan Poe stories, the production also features PJ Griffith and Matt Dengler.Bread and RosesReading: July 22An all-star cast, including Mandy Gonzalez, Jon Rua (recently of Hamilton) and Mary Testa will take part in a developmental reading of this new musical, inspired by a true story and based on the film of the same name. With a sound that blends cultures and genres, Jill Abramovitz and Brad Alexander tell the story of Maya, a young Mexican woman who crosses the U.S. border to work with her sister as a janitor. After facing harsh and abusive conditions, she joins the movement to unionize the workers.Dust Can’t Kill MeProduction: August 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 & 7Once Tony nominee Elizabeth A. Davis and Spring Awakening’s Kathryn Gallagher are no strangers to incorporating instruments into their performances, and they’ll do so once more for this folk musical. The story follows a group of individuals who journey into the desert during the Dust Bowl following a prophet’s promise of paradise. The score, by Elliah Heifetz and Abigail Carney, is already one to keep your ears out for, having already picked up accolades from Fringe NYC.Newton’s CradleProduction: August 3-7Tony winner Victoria Clark will put her director’s cap on to helm a workshop of a new musical by mother-and-son team Kim and Heath Saunders (the latter set to make his Broadway debut this fall). The story, set to an electro-pop score, follows Evan Newton (played by Heath), a young man who, after proposing to his girlfriend, is forced to confront his family and fight the labels—like “autistic”—he was given from an early age.