October 2014


Want to play in our Sandbox?


The Max Factor Factor

Our favorite alien musical of the summer

A very special Conference


WHO won this year's Search for New Musicals?

Build Your Audition Book


But wait, that's not all

A benefit cabaroast for Jake Anthony

What's next?

WHO won this year's Search for New Musicals?

We're about to announce the winners for this year's SEARCH FOR NEW MUSICALS. We have a short list of finalists, and will be releasing the names of the winners on November 1. First Prize receives: A workshop and concert reading in Los Angeles.

Last year's Search winner, It Happened in Roswell, received a developmental production at the NoHo Arts Center this past summer (see article on right-side of page.)

"The real value of this service is in its rarity: from genuine industry professionals who have the clarity and vision to provide feedback with no bias or agenda and which asks the right questions and suggestions to enable YOU to genuinely UNDERSTAND how to make your work a better piece of musical theatre - the long term benefits of which are incalculable!"
---Michael Dresser

"To get professional feedback for a ridiculously low fee, where else are you gonna go?"
---David Fischer

"Thank you so much for the evaluation. It was more helpful than I could have imagined. Your words inspired me to work most diligently ...You are more valuable than money and gold! I really appreciate your insights and clarity."
---Peter Copani

"I'm extremely pleased and appreciative of your evaluation. Your thoroughness and assistance pretty much blew me away. I am both impressed and enthused."
---Michael McNeill

All submissions receive constructive critical feedback from NMI's dramaturgs. For more info on the search, CLICK HERE

Build Your Audition Book

Performers' Workshop directors Joshua Finkel and Jake Anthony are presenting a series of Master Classes for musical theatre performers, beginning with the Build Your Audition Book sessions in October and November.

This 6-session class fills in all the holes in your audition material. Never be frustrated that your audition songbook is outdated or that you can't audition for a certain project because you don't have the correct song. This is your chance to build up to six songs for your audition book, each ready for 16-bar, 32-bar, and full-song auditions.

Other upcoming Master Classes include Build and Perform Your Original Cabaret Act; Getting an Agent or Manager; Recording Your Vocal Demo; Getting Hired on Cruise Ships; and more!

For more info on the sessions being offered, CLICK HERE


Here's a sample of the kind of raves we received for The Max Factor Factor:

"Blodgett and Wise give us one catchy tune and clever lyric after another..."

"director Michael A. Shepperd's [direction is] inspired..."

"an all-around sensational cast...bring the colorful cast of characters to vivid, vibrant life"

"The stellar duo of Carey and Todd give Lance and Hoyt a just-right blend of charisma and charm..."

"the entire cast deliver[s] powerhouse vocals...The Max Factor Factor sounds fantastic, and it looks pretty darned fabulous as well thanks to Matthew Brian Denman's expert lighting, Daniel Mahler's gorgeous 1930s costumes, Carlo Maghirang's spiffy art deco set, and Michael O'Hara's spot-on properties..."

- Steven Stanley, StageSceneLA

"A frothy farcical mixture of frivolity features some fine phenomenal performances"

"The Max Factor Factor boasts precision dancing and gorgeous harmonies amidst well-timed madcap shtick."

- Gil Kaan, Broadway World

".. a seriously funny musical...as with any great comic tale, it deals with subjects of real importance and holds a mirror to the world. The Max Factor Factor is a great night out, fun, memorable songs, great performances and unique characters, I thoroughly recommend it!"

"The songs are great ...the costumes are wonderful ...the choreography is fun, well executed and visually inspiring... Lance Grant [is] played brilliantly by Jeff Scot Carey; Jessica Howell is ...a perfect, wise cracking, comic foil ... Heather Olt is astounding ... Clara is played with hilarious, drunken abandon by Jessica Snow Wilson ...Jeffrey Christopher Todd's Hoyt Baxter is a nervous, slender and slightly lost Tyrone Power, the perfect pairing for Lance...Jordan Kai Burnett is stellar as Eva Gallagher ...the studio heads are well played by Kevin McIntyre and Kevin Michael Moran...Johnny Strong is perfectly played by Stefan Rich ...the 'chorus' of lovelies [Trevor Shor, Everjohn Feliciano, and Alex Boling] is beyond reproach..."

- Samantha Ronceros, NoHo Arts District

"A superb cast leads the way to great fun and plenty of laughs in the World Premiere of MAX FACTOR FACTOR. The music (Joe Blodgett) and lyrics (Chana Wise) are award winning in our book. This musical comedy, set in Hollywood's golden age and directed by Michael Shepperd, is one of our FEATURED events. GO!"

- Performing Arts LIVE

"THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR [is] a bright and cheerful musical romp ..."

"Palmer Davis choreographs a tight musical that never lets its humor and charisma down."

"THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR is one of the most (if not the most) original musicals ever to hit the local stage scene ... Who says they don't make 'em like they used to?"

- Accessibly Live Off Line

Jeff Scot Carey (as Lance Grant) and Jeffrey Christopher Todd (as Hoyt Baxter)

But wait, that's not all

As if a world premiere, a national conference, a workshop production and a benefit weren't enough, our busy staff ALSO found the time to produce a concert series this summer, featuring some very interesting evenings of cabaret and musical theatre. The concert series included:

Super Gay Asian Cabaret
The HIT of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, back for four encore performances, plus special guests which changed every night! Super-Gay-Asian comedian Kevin Yee and Filipina Diva J.Elaine Marcos combined their unique styles of comedy-music-sketch-standup for four hilarious performances.

4x10 in Concert
Our brand-new acting ensemble, dedicated to readings, concerts and showcases of Academy writers, impressed us all with their amazing amount of energy and dedication, in a pair of concerts we're still talking about.

A concert reading of this dark musical comedy about the challenges facing young lovers desiring a mixed marriage betweeen a Puritan and a ...vampire. With book and lyrics by Noelle Donfeld and music by Brian Leader, in a touching benefit for Brian's suddenly-widowed wife.

Jake Anthony Tribute
(See the separate article, below)

Frogs in the Living Room
A wild two-person musical about the tempestuous feud between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and arts patron Aline Barnsdall...and the bitter battle for the artistic soul of Hollyhock House. This evening, a benefit for NMI, featured the incomparable Elise Dewsberry as Aline Barnsdall and the incorrigible Scott Guy as Frank Lloyd Wright.

Aline Barnsdall and Frank Lloyd Wright

A benefit cabaroast for Jake Anthony

Wait, was a roast or a cabaret!? Well, a little of both, as dozens of beloved L.A. music director Jake Anthony's closest (and snarkiest) friends turned out to put Jake in the spotlight. The evening was conceived to celebrate Jake's triumphant return back to life after a weird freaky bout with a double-pneumonia-induced virus thingie which laid him up for months. (He's back now with a vengeance.)

Many smiling and/or teary-eyed talented folks showed up to roast and toast the man of the evening and raise some funds to keep Jake's wolfish creditors on the other side of the door, including...could it be -- Judy and Liza, together again? Only Jake Anthony's triumphant return to life could have caused such an amazing evening.

The hosts of the evening: Liza Minelli (Paul Wong) and Judy Garland (Joshua Finkel)

What's next?

We're just starting our new season of development, so we have lots of projects which are just getting underway, including new shows we're creating for McCoy-Rigby Entertainment, East-West Players, Northern Skies Theatre, and Deaf West Theatre.

Last Saturday, our members regaled us with scenes from eight new speculative musicals...plus, we're pleased to announce we have a bumper crop of new writers joining us this year (we JUST extended the invitations to them this week). Please join us in welcoming Antonio De Mesa, Chris Edgar, Howard Ho, Morgan Hollingsworth, Lori Jaroslow, Jeff King, Marissa Kochanski, Dan Margules, Raphael Nemes, Blake Dylan Pilger, David Rackoff, Kristen Rea, Danielle Roderick, Barbara Rottman, Shawn Ryan, Weston Scott, Sahara Spain, Lucy Wang, and Laura Wardrip.

There are several other high-profile projects we're working on -- which we can't QUITE announce yet...but...watch this space!

Paul Lazarus
Jeff Marx
Marty Panzer
Hal Prince
Stephen Schwartz
Charles Strouse

Thomas E.Backer, PhD.
Susie Chodakiewitz
Susan Dietz
Jeannine Frank
Mark Halloran
Herb Isaacs
Amy Levinson (Millan)
Simon Levy
Ron Parker
Elsa Ramo
Bill Royce
Michael Silversher
Thomas White


Michael Blaha (President)
Cort Casady
Elise Dewsberry
Noelle Donfeld (Secretary)
Lori Jaroslow
Neville Johnson
Kevin Meyer (Treasurer)
Jan Roper (Member Representative)
John Sparks
Larry Verbit
Sue Warford (Emeritus Board)

Want to play in our Sandbox?

Up until recently, the only way to get feedback from the NMI staff has been to enroll in our curriculum or submit to the Search....However, we get MANY calls a month from folks who are looking for other ways to get individualized, personal help with their musicals. So, we're delighted to announce that with the official launch of our new name, New Musicals Inc., we are offering some new programs and services, ranging from a single hour of consultation to full workshops.

Take a look at these ways to get involved, and give us a call -- let's make musicals together!


The Incubator is where new musicals are born.

Whether you're looking for feedback, readings, or workshops, we likely have a developmental opportunity that is right for you.

Are you a producer or theatre company looking for an infrastructure to help you develop a musical, or a legacy of musicals? Perhaps you don't have the time, staff or budget to put together a reading or workshop. Hire us: we'll do all that for you, and you won't have the overhead of a whole department or staff.

Are you a bookwriter, lyricist, or composer looking for advice about whether your show is ready to show to a producer? Want some feedback about your storyline, or music or lyrics? We offer detailed, supportive, constructive feedback for you, at any point in your creative process, from outlining to final draft.

Need to see your musical on its feet to judge where you are in the developmental process? We can organize a table reading, workshop, or concert reading in a nurturing and supportive environment.

We've got all that. OR:

We also have lots of opportunities for consultation at every step of the development life cycle of your musical, including: outline advice, song spotting, lyric crafting, music arranging, script polishing, advice on marketing, or consultation about budgets, contracts, unions, producers' checklists, and raising money.

Maybe you don't fit the usual mold. Perhaps you're looking for feedback, but don't want structured classes. Or your dialogue is finished, but your score isn't finished. Or you want to hear just a section with actors, but don't need a whole reading right now. We've designed something we call The Sandbox, where you get to play for a full year, determining your own pathway. You tell us your goals, and we'll help get you there.

Check out more info online. Or just give us a call at 818-506-8500 ... or send us an email at admin@nmi.org and we'll figure out something that suits your specific needs for your new musical.

Members of the Academy Repertory Company prepare
for a concert reading of a new musical


The first developmental production by the new 4x10 Ensemble was a rousing success!

City of Light, the new musical by Gabrielle Wagner Mann, Jan Roper, and Julie Weiner, was presented by ANMT's 4x10 Ensemble as a developmental production from September 19 through October 5, at NMI and at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.

The production was directed by Alison Kalmus, with music direction by Jan Roper and with Ross Kalling at the piano. Starring Lauren Byrd, Jesse Durant, Jillian Easton, Dirk Etchison, David Zack, Alex Gonzales, Sara Gonzales, Jen Losi, Mindy Montavon, Josh Bednarsky, Deb Snyder, Richard Lewis Warren, and Steven Schwadron.

This production launched the first season for the 4x10 Ensemble, which was created by ANMT Founding Director John Sparks with the express purpose of presenting developmental productions of musicals written by members of the Academy for New Musical Theatre. Three more productions are planned for the 2014-15 season - so stayed tuned for dates and details!

Bookwriter Gabrielle Wagner Mann, actress Jillian Easton (Juliette), lyricist Julie Weiner, and composer Jan Roper

The Max Factor Factor

Jessica Howell (Alice); Jeff Scot Carey (Lance); Jeffrey Christopher Todd (Hoyt); and Jessica Snow Wilson (Clara)

We are still basking in the joy of our summer production of The Max Factor Factor by writer members Adrian Bewley, Joe Blodgett, and Chana Wise. Great performances, great reviews, great audiences. We're grinning with pride. We thank all of you who bought tickets, and sympathize with those who missed this tremendous celebration of a musical.

And we are thrilled to have won SIX Scenie Awards from StageSceneLA including: Best World Premiere Musicals of 2013-14; Best Production, Musical; Best Ensemble Cast Performance-Musical; Best Direction of a Musical Intimate Theatre (Michael A. Shepperd); Best Choreography Intimate Theatre (Palmer Davis); and Best Musical Director (Bryan Blaskie).

We had an amazing cast and crew including: Alex Boling, Jordan Kai Burnett, Jeff Scot Carey, Everjohn Feliciano, Jessica Howell, Heather Olt, Kevin McIntyre, Kevin Michael Moran, Stefan Rich, Trevor Shor, Jessica Snow Wilson, and Jeffrey Christopher Todd. Directed by Michael A. Shepperd, music directed by Bryan Blaskie, and choreographed by Palmer Davis.

See excerpts from the rave reviews in a separate article, to the left.

THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR takes place in 1936: the golden age of Hollywood, when two rival movie studios are in a heated battle for survival when their opposing leading men, Lance Grant and Hoyt Baxter, fall in love. Reminiscent of screwball comedies of the past, this tuneful new musical tells the story of two movie stars who suddenly find themselves having to navigate a dizzying world of artifice, backstabbing, lavender weddings, double-crossing starlets, and a moral crusader from the Legion of Rectitude, making it increasingly more difficult to hold on to the one real thing each has ever found.

Bookwriter Adrian Bewley, Lyricist Chana Wise, and Composer Joe Blodgett outside the theatre

Our favorite alien musical of the summer

One of our other joys this summer was presenting the winner of our 2013 Search for New Musicals, It Happened in Roswell, by Terrence Atkins and Jeffery Lyle Segal. It was a silly romp of a developmental production, complete with cardboard props on sticks and subtitles to some of the goofier lyrics. Oh, and some tap-dancin'. And a flying saucer...on a stick.

It Happened in Roswell is an Intergalactic musical about a clueless tabloid reporter looking for one big story falling for an overly emotional alien girl. What's the reporter supposed to do...get the story? Or the girl? A wonderful, heart-warming, goofy story set in the 1950′s...in Roswell, New Mexico.

The show had a lovefest of a cast featuring: Amy Bloom, Carrie Madsen, Emma Sperka, Nathan Ondracek, Julie Tolivar, Rory Dunn, Emerson Boatwright, John McCool Bowers, and Matthew Herrmann.

Written by Terrence Atkins and Jeffery Lyle Segal; Directed by Terrence Atkins and Scott Guy; Music directed by Ron Barnett; Choreographed by Susie Young. Produced by Gavin Atkins. Associate produced by Amy Francis Schott.

We already miss the show dearly, and are in talks about what to do next with it. Let us know if you're in the market for a warm, family-friendly alien musical.

Julie Tolivar as the alien

A very special Conference

Paul Gordon and John Caird flanked by actors from the reading of LITTLE MISS SCROOGE

Wow, even WE were impressed by the attendees and panelists who gathered together for our fifth biennial Conference on the Biz of the Musical Theatre Biz the weekend of July 18-20. Our best attendance yet, turning the NoHo Arts Center into a bustling, buzzing hive of networking and insiders-tip-sharing.

Here's a partial list of our panelists:

- Michael R. Blaha - Entertainment Lawyer, Producer

- David Bryant - Broadway Producer, A Tale of Two Cities, A Time to Kill

- Karyl Lynn Burns - Producing Artistic Director, The Rubicon Theatre

- John Caird - Director, Les MisÚrables; Writer, Jane Eyre, Daddy Long Legs

- Cate Caplin - Award Winning LA Director/Choreographer

- Ken Davenport - Tony Award-winning producer of Kinky Boots

- Sheldon Epps - Artistic Director, Pasadena Playhouse

- Paul Gordon - Lyricist/Composer of Daddy Long Legs, Tony nominated lyricist/composer of Jane Eyre

- Dana Harrel - Creative Executive Director, Walt Disney Imagineering

- Daniel Henning - Founding Artistic Director/Producer, The Blank Theatre Company

- Michael Jackowitz - Broadway Producer, How to Succeed..., Tuck Everlasting, The Hawaiian Goddess Project

- Randy Johnson - Writer/Director, A Night with Janis Joplin; Original Producer, Always, Patsy Cline

- Tim Kashani - Producer, Apples & Oranges Entertainment

- Michael A. Kerker - ASCAP Director of Musical Theatre

- Brendan Milburn & Valerie Vigoda - Striking 12, Sleeping Beauty Wakes, Beautiful Poison

- Heather Provost - Broadway, film, and television producer

- Cheri Steinkellner - Tony nominated bookwriter of Sister Act

- Michael Weiner & Alan Zachary - First Date, Second Hand Lions

"I would recommend this event to anyone with a dream, a vision, a story and a desire to make it happen on stage. At this conference you get first hand experience of the collaborative, family nature of musical theater. It's a nurturing yet honesty-filled weekend full of realistic advice plus warm enthusiasm for all dreamers."
--Wendy Pini

"NMI is a treasure for Los Angeles artists who want to create a musical and be among those who actually do it."
--Simon Levy

"It was very inspiring and helpful to hear advice from theatre professionals."
--Richard Castle

For more pix and info on the Conference, CLICK HERE

GETTING REAL with Sheldon Epps (Pasadena Playhouse); Tim Kashani (Apples & Oranges); and Broadway producer Ken Davenport


NMI's prolific and well-loved collaborators Chana Wise and Carl Johnson will be travelling to New York this week with their family musical Mary Marie which has been selected to be part of the prestigious National Alliance of Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals. We have presented Mary Marie ourselves several times throughout its developmental life at New Musicals Inc. We chose it as part of our 2011 STAGES Festival in North Hollywood, and our summer concert reading series at the NoHo Arts Center in 2012. In 2013 it was included in the Rubicon Theatre's Plays in Progress series in Ventura, CA. And now it's off to New York, where it will receive two showings performed by stellar Broadway talent including Emerson Steele, Kevin Earley, and Mamie Paris, and directed by Daniella Topol.

Although its title character is a 13-year-old girl, the musical Mary Marie was written to be a family show, along the lines of Little Women or The Secret Garden. 'The musical revolves around family relationships and living up to familial and societal expectations,' says Chana, 'We think the show especially appeals to anyone who has ever had a daughter, or who's ever been one.' Mary Marie was adapted from the book of the same name written by Eleanor H. Porter, who wrote for both juvenile and adult markets. Although now largely unknown to today's readers, Mary Marie was listed as one of the top ten best-selling novels in the U.S. for the year 1920..

NAMT's Festival Committee writes: 'The committee was excited to find a such a compelling show that speaks to multiple generations with a small cast led by a 13-year-old girl. We know that our audience will find it as charming and moving as we did!'

We wish Mary Marie and Chana and Carl the best of luck next week, and hope they come back with suitcases filled with offers and adoration.

P.S. "ANMT at NAMT" -- say that three times fast. Yet another reason we changed our name to New Musicals Inc.

New Musicals Inc.
The Academy for New Musical Theatre

5628 Vineland Avenue
North Hollywood, CA  91601