Thursday, June 20, 2013

Festival Show Update: FUNKED UP FAIRY TALES

An interview with Shami McCormick, Artistic Director, of The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY as they prepare for the first full production of Kirsten Childs' Funked Up Fairy Tales, from our 2012 Festival, this summer.

Funked Up Fairy Tales—a collection of delightfully twisted urban fairy tales for sophisticated children and grown-up kids—welcomes you to the world of Titania, Faireetheeya and Magikwanda, teenage fairies with attitude. They wag their heads and suck their teeth as they turn things upside down to pass their Fairyland Academy exam. Will they pull through with flying colors and earn their Happy Ending Crowns?

What drew The Depot Theatre to Funked Up Fairy Tales?
We sat down [at the Festival] not knowing what to expect and in seconds were completely entranced by the piece (as was everyone around us)!  You could feel Kirsten’s sense of delight, her heart  and commitment in every element of the script and score. The piece seemed poised for a collaborative, artistic experience that could bring Kirsten’s vision to first fruition; a production in a place that could embrace and celebrate both the writer and the work and give the piece a team to develop it for a continuing future. We felt The Depot Theatre could be that place and are so honored to have this wonderful work in our season!

Why is the show a great match for your audience?
When it comes to musicals we have a multi-generational demographic that appreciates the classics of the American musical canon and more contemporary fare.  They like the intimacy of our space, how much a part of a production it makes them feel and how

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Work in Progress: BETTY BLUE EYES

An article from Wayne Bryan, Producing Artistic Director, of Music Theatre of Wichita as they prepare to produce the American premiere of Betty Blue Eyes.

Betty Blue Eyes is a highly original and very funny new musical which opened on the West End in 2011, and is making its American debut this summer at Music Theatre of Wichita, July 24-28. 

Set in 1947 England, when Princess Elizabeth’s forthcoming royal wedding is to be the cause for nationwide celebratory banquets, a meat-deprived village wages internal subterfuge to abscond with a prize pig named Betty.

With a clever libretto by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, Betty Blue Eyes is based on the Maggie Smith and Michael Palin film, A Private Function, screenplay by Alan Bennett. The tuneful new score is by NAMT Festival alumni George Stiles (Honk! and The Three Musketeers, both Fest '99) and Anthony Drewe (Honk!, Fest ‘99), whose other works include Just So and the new material in the stage version of Mary Poppins.

After the 1999 Festival presentation of Honk!, several NAMT theatres expressed an interest in producing it, including Music Theatre of Wichita.  Our transatlantic communications with authors George and Anthony quickly blossomed into an international friendship. This was solidified when MTWichita, with the writers' blessings, produced and distributed the American Cast Album of Honk! in 2001.

George and Anthony, along with licensing house Music Theatre International, subsequently credited the well-received album as one of the show's best marketing tools. Hundreds of Honk! productions followed the Festival presentation and the release of the

From the New Works Director: Getting ready to celebrate 25 years of the NAMT Festival!

It is a big year for NAMT and our Festival of New Musicals (Fest #25!), and we plan on celebrating in style! If you have not heard already, we will present a special benefit concert two days after the Festival on October 20th. In the last 24 years, we have presented 211 shows by 410 writers-that's a lot to be proud of and we want to SHOW OFF! (which also happens to be the title of the benefit!).

Unfortunately, we will not be able to do a song from every musical as that would be a 14-hour show. But we are assembling a 90-minute star- and song-packed concert that will show not just what we have done, but also what we have started. The benefit will be a celebration of NAMT, our founders, our leaders, our writers, our shows, our impact and, most importantly, our future.

I hope that all of you will mark your calendars now (I will wait while you get out a pen or double click on your calendar) for:

25th Festival of New Musicals: October 17 & 18
Fall Conference: October 19 & 20 (portions will be open to alumni)
SHOW OFF! Benefit concert: October 20 at 7pm at the NYU Skirball Center

We can't wait for these 4 days of celebration, discovery, dialogue and catching up. I hope to see all of you there as we honor you and the great work of this small but mighty organization that, in 1989, had the simple idea of gathering together theatres and producers from around the country to share great new musicals in development.

My, how far we have come, but we are only just getting started.