What is the Festival of New Musicals?

August 9, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

The summertime Festival of New Musicals at Village Theatre is a laboratory to test original musicals before audiences.

Often, selections from the festival re-emerge later at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, or Mainstage, and sometimes on Broadway.

The festival introduced audiences to “Next to Normal” precursor “Feeling Electric” and “Million Dollar Quartet” before the musicals carted off Tony Awards on Broadway. “Next to Normal” also garnered the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a rarity for musicals.

The recent Mainstage productions “Anne of Green Gables” and “Iron Curtain” debuted to Issaquah audiences at the festival. So, too, did “Take Me America” and “It Shoulda Been You” — Mainstage offerings in the 2011-12 theater season.

The lineup for the Aug. 12-14 festival includes:

  • “The Giver” — The musical, based on the Newberry Award-winning novel by Lois Lowry, is the tale of a boy discovering emotions in a loveless society.
  • “Sundays at Tiffany’s” — “Iron Curtain” scribe Susan DiLallo offers a story of friendship, fidelity and show business against a fast-paced Manhattan backdrop.
  • “Hello! My Baby” — Emmy Award-winning “Cheers” writer Cheri Steinkellner transports audiences to tenement-lined streets populated by colorful characters in a catchy musical.
  • “Lizzie Borden” — The ax-wielding murderess Lizzie Borden is imagined as a rebel girl in a rock musical based on the century-old crime.
  • “Trails” — Childhood friends embark on a 2,000-mile hike along the Appalachian Trail, and learn lessons about the American dream, love and more.

The invitation-only festival is open to certain Village Theatre members. Learn more at www.villagetheatre.org.

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