What is the Festival of New Musicals?

August 7, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

The summertime festival 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 “Take Me America” and “It Shoulda Been You” debuted to Issaquah audiences at the festival.

The 2011 festival offering “Trails” — a tale about childhood friends embarking on a journey along the Appalachian Trail — is set to debut on the Mainstage in March 2013.

The lineup for the Aug. 10-12 festival includes:

  • “Hello Out There” — The coming-of-age musical about schoolgirls-turned-unlikely online stock market advisers.
  • “Oneida” — Based on the mid-1800s Oneida commune in New York, the musical reflects the entanglements in the community.
  • “Great Wall” — The score, influenced by R&B melodies, is about Asian-American pianist Victor Woo pursuing a rock star dream.
  • “The ToyMaker” — The musical recounts the connection between a heartsick toymaker in the aftermath of World War II and a modern-day woman fascinated by the toys.
  • “Johnny Baseball” — The show examines the Boston Red Sox’s Curse of the Bambino through fresh eyes.

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

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