Florida Festival of New Musicals

WINTER PARK — The fine art of musical theater is about to be put into the spotlight when the Winter Park Playhouse launches the 4th annual Florida Festival of New Musicals. It runs from June 24-27 and will showcase six new musicals currently in development, giving the Central Florida audience an opportunity to see them before they get professionally produced.

The 4-day event will showcase these six never-before-produced musical works, while each show’s writers, producers, directors and composers will be on hand to meet with patrons , discuss their work and get feedback. Since the festival will present several shows per day, only the first act of each musical will be fully read and sung concert-style, without staging, by varying casts featuring professional actors and musicians.

“Audiences will have the unique and exciting opportunity to see musicals in the early stages of development,” the Playhouse noted in a news release. “The Festival has been created to advance and elevate the original American art form of musical theater by fostering the development of new musicals and the artistic growth of writers and composers.”

This year, the Playhouse received 40 new musicals submissions, up from 29 applications at the last festival. In fact, the Playhouse has steadily increased its submissions every year since the Festival was launched in 2017.

Which Shows Got Chosen This Year?

This year, the six featured musicals will be:

  1. The Golden Door

Book by Michelle Van Doeren and Andrew Swensen     Lyrics by Andrew Swensen     Music by  Scott Anderson (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Golden Door tells the story of hope and courage as we face injustice, and the story of preserving dreams and ideals as we confront painful  realities. It follows five young people traveling from Europe to Ellis Island in 1903, and the story of a contemporary Arab-American girl reading the diary of the protagonist 100 years later. The Golden Door explores how dreams lift us one person at a time and how cruelties wound us one person at a time, teaching us that great dreams require great courage.

2. The Lost Girl

Music & Book by Ben Bonnema (New York, NY)     Lyrics & Book by Arianna Rose (Miami Beach, FL)

Set in 1909 London against the backdrop of the Suffragette Movement, The Lost Girl is about integrating our past into our present and deciding who we want to be moving forward. Shaken by the death of her husband, Wendy tells her daughter Jane the Neverland stories as escapism. But each sibling begins to experience strange and vivid memories, forcing the question—could it all be real? With a lush orchestral score, The Lost Girl is an unapologetically feminist piece about reclaiming the right to have adventures at any age.

3. Love, Always

Book by Bill Connington   Music and Lyrics by Michael Cooper (New York, NY)

Two actors play twenty-two roles in this romantic musical that travels backwards over the course of 100 years. Relationships may change, but the most important thing is Love – always.

4. Tangled Webbs

Book and Lyrics by Gary Brumburgh     Music by Ron Creager  (Gallatin, TN)

 Tangled Webbs is a zany, light-hearted musical spoof of daytime soap operas set during TV’s early heyday. The story takes place in the conservative, fictional town of Willowcrest during the “Camelot” summer of 1963. The saga centers around the virtuous, much-admired Webb family — their friends, their foes, their fate.

5. What Have They Done with Lolana Lamour?

Book & Lyrics by Bryan Leys     Music by Mary Feinsinger (New York, NY)

 Welcome to Beverly Hills where con-women, gangsters and scoundrels meet up in the grand foyer of the mansion owned by screen legend Lolana Lamour. When a desperate real estate agent comes calling, she triggers a series of wild events involving the movie star’s wacky maid, her officious personal assistant, a visiting burglar and a frozen corpse   All this is complicated by the arrival of three New Jersey gangsters looking to meet the star. Plots and counterplots are hatched resulting in competing Lolana Lamours, screwball romantics, and a runaway wheelchair. What have they done with Lolana Lamour?  You’ll find out!

6. Zack Hill and The Rocket Blaster Man Adventure

Book by Werner Treischman         Music & Lyric by Thomas Tierney (New York, NY), Based on the Comic Strip Zack Hill by John Deering and John Newcombe

Zack Hill follows the struggles of Zack, a 9-year-old boy who yearns for a normal home. Jan, his widowed mother, runs a boarding house full of eccentric characters – Mrs. Belmont, a cranky older woman who menaces Zack with a hairbrush; Mr. Grumbine, an ominous hermit; and Vince and Carl, bachelor pals with polar-opposite personalities. When Jan is confronted with a financial crisis that may force her to sell the house, Zack is determined to “Save the Day.” Even though his solution backfires, Zack finds his dream of home was closer than he thought.

The Playhouse Is Now Looking for Actors

The Playhouse is looking for actors and is accepting video audition submissions for its 2022 Spring Series of musicals. Videos can be submitted between Tuesday, June 15 and Tuesday, July 20. Callbacks will be held in person on Aug. 17. For the list of productions and a detailed character breakdown with vocal ranges, visit  www.winterparkplayhouse.org , then click on “Get involved” and “Auditions.”

Video Audition requirements are as follows:

  • 16-32 bars of an up-tempo and a ballad.
  • A one-minute comic monologue.
  • A digital headshot and resume.

Submit auditions to auditions@winterparkplayhouse.org.  Videos must either be in MP4 format or accessible through a Dropbox, Google Drive or YouTube link. If a password is required, send that as well.

The Winter Park Playhouse is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization and is affiliated with Actors’ Equity Association, the professional union of stage actors and stage managers, and the National Alliance of Musical Theatres.

Where Can Audiences See This Unique Festival?

The 4th Annual Florida Festival of New Musicals will be held at The Winter Park Playhouse from June 24-27. Tickets are $10 per show and a 6 show “Festival Fun Pack” is available for $50. The Playhouse is at 711 Orange Avenue Winter Park, FL 32789.

Presenting sponsors for The Florida Festival of New Musicals are Dr. Judith Marlow and Gordon Blitch, the Orange County Government through through the Arts and Cultural Affairs Program, Winter Park Community Redevelopment Agency, the State of Florida’s Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs Program and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and United Arts of Central Florida home of OrlandoAtPlay.com and UAArtsEd.com.

To buy tickets or for more information call the box office 407-645-0145.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book When I Woke Up, You Were All Dead. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.

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