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For a one month period every summer, The Theatre District in NYC welcomes aspiring and up-and-coming playwrights, composers, directors and performers to the New York Musical Festival. This year, from July 10 to August 6, theatre artists from around the world will gather to introduce new projects to the community, with the hope of someday producing a full length musical and/or concert, ultimately transferring their show to Broadway.

In years past, shows such as In Transit (NYMF ’04) and Next to Normal (NYMF ’05 as Feeling Electric) made their public debut at NYMF before making their way to Broadway. This year’s festival includes 20 full length productions, 14 concerts and beta musicals, and 10 developmental readings in addition to educational workshops and panels hosted by the Honest Accomplice Theater. This years honorary chair is none other than 6 time Tony Award winner, and Broadway Black legend, Audra McDonald.

Here are Broadway Black’s top 3 must-sees if you plan on attending this year’s festival:


1.Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical (Full Length Production)

Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical: We have Civil Rights era musicals (The Wiz, Raisin, Purlie, to name a few), but do we have an actual Civil Rights musical- or at least one about the Freedom Riders?

Set in the Jim Crow South, Freedom Riders follows the story of the real-life Civil Rights activists Diane Nash, John Seigenthaler, John Lewis, and the Congress of Racial Equality’s original 13 riders who from May 1961 to December 1961, led the nonviolent protest to desegregate public interstate buses. Book, music and lyrics by Richard Allen and Taren Gray.

Performance Dates: August 1st through August 5th, 2017

Location: The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row

Individual tickets for $27.50


2. #BlackGirlJoy: Star Johnson in Concert (Concerts and Beta Musicals)

#BlackGirlJoy: Star Johnson in Concert:

 #BlackGirlMagic just got a little more magical!

DC-based singer, songwriter and composer, Star Johnson’s #BlackGirlJoy is a musical revue featuring songs from her shows How to Quit Your Day Job, Flattops, F Words and others. Go for the mix of “Stephen Sondheim and Lauryn Hill” stay for the #BlackGirlMagic.


Performance dates: July 27-29

Location: The Green Room 42 @ Yotel

Individual tickets: $27.50

3. FORA (Developmental Reading)

FORA: How often do we get to enjoy the West-Indian/Afro-Caribbean diaspora on stage?

This developmental reading of FORA follows the story of Gigi, a 17 year old native of the fictional island of Forafu. While her homeland is experiencing unsettling changes because of a Great Migration, Gigi “discovers the true meaning of love in all its forms.” Book and Lyrics by Jae Antoinette Broderick; Music by & Jae Antoinette Broderick and Matthew A.C. Cohen



Performance dates: July 18 and 22

Location: Playwrights Horizons Rehearsal Studio

Individual tickets: Available with festival pass


For more information on productions, events and festival passes visit http://www.nymf.org/.

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