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)
#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/.
Happening Now! A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare in the Park
The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park continues with the Bard’s classic romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Now through August 8, the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park will be open to the public to enjoy Shakespeare’s classic tale about four lovers who mistake each other for the wrong person after consuming a magical love potion concocted by a meddling forest sprite. With true love, mischief and a talking donkey head-chaos ensues.
The Public’s second free production of the summer features Phylicia Rashad (Titania), De’Adre Aziza (Hippolyta), Patrena Murray (Snout), Shalita Grant (Hermia) and Kyle Beltran (Lysander); as well as Annaleigh Ashford (Helena); Vinie Burrows (First Fairy, Peaseblossom); Danny Burstein (Nick Bottom); Justin Cunningham (Philostrate); Marcelle Davies-Lashley (Fairy Singer); Austin Durant (Snug); Keith Hart (Third Fairy); Alex Hernandez (Demetrius); Jeff Hiller (Francis Flute); Robert Joy (Peter Quince); Patricia Lewis (Fourth Fairy); David Manis (Egeus, Cobweb); Pamela McPherson-Cornelius (Second Fairy); Kristine Nielsen (Puck); Bhavesh Patel (Theseus); Richard Poe (Oberon); Joe Tapper (Robin Starveling); Judith Wagner (Mote); Warren Wyss (Mustardseed); Benjamin Ye (Changeling Boy). Direction by the Public’s Resident Director and Founder of the Public Works program, Lear deBessonet with choreography by Chase Brock.
Click here for info on how to get your free tickets visit
Encores! Off-Center Brings Bubbly Black Girl… back to NYC starring Nikki M. James
Kirsten Childs‘ The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin is set to take the stage tonight. New York City Center summer concert series, Encores! Off-Center, unites theatre’s finest with lesser known musicals each summer. The shows are known to make Broadway transfers and often times garner quite a few Tonys when they do.
Child’s premiered The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin off-Broadway in 2000. LaChanze originated the show’s lead Viveca, a bright eyed girl we follow from a childhood in 1960s LA to life as a professional dancer in 1990s NYC. Childs wrote the book, lyrics, and music for the show, filling the musical with simplicity and charm in response to its difficult subject of race.
Tony Award winner Nikki M. James (Book of Mormon) will take on the leading role for this Encores! production opening tonight (July 26th) and finishing its quick stint July 27th. Catch it while you can.
Also included in the Bubbly Black Girl cast: Penelope Armstead-Williams, Tanya Birl, Kaitlyn Davidson, Josh Davis as Director Bob, Yurel Echezarreta as Modern Teacher, Lauren E.J. Hamilton, Korey Jackson as Gregory, Kingsley Leggs as Daddy, Jo’Nathan Michael, Kenita R. Miller, Julius Thomas III as Ballet Teacher, Shelley Thomas as Mommy, and Alex Wong as Jazz Teacher. Choreography by Byron Easley and music direction by Annastasia Victory.
You can scope out calendar information and available tickets HERE.
Follow @NYCityCenter on Instagram for all the latest on their summer happenings!