“I am thrilled to welcome two incredibly engaging and exciting new musicals to the 2021 National Music Theater Conference. These two musicals and their respective writing teams are the kinds of musicals and artists that define exactly what NMTC is all about: undeniable talent, redefining what a musical can do and fostering work for artists who have long gone underrepresented. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with Amy Jo, Georgina, and Robi at the O'Neill this summer.”
- Alexander Gemignani, Artistic Director
Since its founding in 1978, the National Music Theater Conference has developed more than 130 new musicals, including early works of award-winning writers and composers such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt, Michael R. Jackson, Kirsten Childs, Andrew Lippa, Tan Dun, Robert Lopez, Duncan Sheik, Adam Gwon, Steven Sater, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Maury Yeston, and Jeanine Tesori.
Utilizing a hybrid model, the 2021 Conference will focus on collaboration and development through on-campus writer residencies, community building, and mentorship with top professionals across the industry. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, staged readings will not be held. Selected from 289 submissions, the following new musicals will receive direct monetary and developmental support:
In 1900, Kansas is a Dry state – but it looks pretty Wet from where Temperance activist Carry Nation is sitting. Rather than enforce the state’s Prohibition Amendment, government officials are flouting the laws and skimming off the top. Gawd appears one night to show Carry what she needs to do – pick up some friggin bricks and break those big bad bottles herself. She gains notoriety, supporters, and a Very Important Hatchet, all of which aid in her fight to bring Temperance to the masses – whether they like it or not.
AMY JO JACKSON (they/she) is a performer, writer, voice/text director, and Glitter Alien based in New York City. Their first musical, Hatchetation, slated for participation in the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s 2021 National Music Theater Conference, has been developed through She-Collective and Fresh Ground Pepper’s PAL program. The recipient of the 2019 Denovan Residency in Cabaret for their solo piece The Brass Menagerie, AJJ has created concerts and cabarets at venues in NYC and across the country, most notably Feinstein’s/54 Below (multiple solo engagements; producer/host of The Broadway Villains Party and 54 Sings Annie Lennox) and on the high seas with Atlantis Events.
Most recently, they played the Devil in Company XIV’s glittering production of Seven Sins. NYC: Ensemble Studio Theatre; Exit, Pursued by a Bear; Prospect Theatre Company. Selected Regional: Fun Home (SpeakEasy Stage; IRNE nom), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (SpeakEasy Stage; Eliot Norton and IRNE noms), The Little Mermaid (Arkansas Rep), Cymbeline (Opera House Arts), Boeing Boeing (Seven Angels), The Wizard of Oz (Syracuse Stage), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre). As Dialect Coach: Broadway, First National Tour, and Toronto productions of Kinky Boots, as well as many Off-Broadway, regional, workshop, and film/tv credits. Throughout the pandemic, they have appeared regularly in Eschaton, a digitally immersive nightclub, and have performed in readings and events with RedBull, Lost Immersive, The Sappho Project, Playthings Theatre, Now Spinning, and No Exit Theatre Collective. They co-host a weekly podcast called And Almost Starring, which is available wherever you source your pods. BFA, Boston Conservatory.
In the land of Elflán, life and beauty flourish. We meet Adelita, an adventurous and curious young elf eager to find what lies beyond the horizon. When the evil spirit of La Mancha kidnaps her mother and destroys her home, Adelita is forced to travel north to the land of the Hadaseñas in hopes of being reunited with her again. Using fairy tales and mythological themes, Little Duende comments on real-world matters as it explores the border crisis, dual citizenship, and the consequences of a dark family secret.
Georgina Escobar is a queer Mexican playwright and maker of sci-femme narratives, ultra-humanistic mythos, frontera-funk stories, and Latinx futurity plays. She works textually and visually with plasticity, mobility, wabi-sabi, and the Latin American perspective in drama. She is a MacDowell Fellow, a Djerassi Artist, Fornés Writing Workshop fellow, and the recipient of the Kennedy Center Darrell Ayers Playwriting Award (2011). She received the Outstanding Service to Women on the Border award in 2004 for her work as co-producer of the VDAY: Spotlight on the Women of Juárez Campaign starring V (formerly Eve Ensler), Jane Fonda, and Sally Field.
Her work has been featured in the Kilroy’s List, The Texas Review, Los Bárbaros, McSweeney’s Anthology, and New Passport Press. Her plays appear in books including “Scenes for Latinx Actors,” “Lighting The Way”, and “El Fuego: Fueling the American Theatre with Latinx Plays.” She has written articles as a lead contributor for American Theatre Magazine, Industry Magazine, HowlRound, Culturebot, Extended Play, TCG Circle, No Passport Blog, and Café Onda, among others. Her plays have been produced across the USA and internationally in México, the UK, Denmark, and Sweden. Artistic homes and presenters include INTAR (Off Broadway), New York Children’s Theatre, Dixon Place, Clubbed Thumb (EWG), Lincoln Center (Director’s Lab), and Bushwick Starr in New York, Two Rivers (NJ), Milagro (PDX), Aurora Theatre (GA), and the University of Texas at El Paso. Her plays include Then they forgot about The Rest, Stone Heart (Kilroy’s), Ash Tree (Darrel Ayers Award), Sweep, and Species:Human.
Robi Hager is a Mexican-American musical theatre writer and performer. Shortly after moving to the US from Mexico City at the age of fourteen, his passion for the arts grew rapidly and developed into a career choice. He appeared on Broadway in the 2006 Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening, as well as How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Bye Bye Birdie, and Doctor Zhivago. He toured the country with the 2015 Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home and Spring Awakening. Regionally he appeared at Arden Theatre Company in Ragtime, Next To Normal, Parade, and Fun Home. He played the role of Clyde Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde at Theatre Under the Stars.
As a composer, he wrote songs "Quiero Soñar" and “Maduros” along with friend Alex McCabe which appeared in films Top Five and Can You Ever Forgive Me. His solo concert Robi Hager: So Far was part of the Arden’s 2021 virtual season which featured his musical compositions, so far. Robi is the creator of the LGBTQ musical Basic Witches, for which he received a 2018 Barrymore Award nomination for best original score. He is the composer for a new musical called Silueta, inspired by the art of Ana Mendieta, being developed with Power Street Theatre Company in Philadelphia. His most personal project yet is Little Duende, a Mexican musical about courage, love, and family, as it explores the border crisis and the hardships children go through in search of a better life. For more information, visit robihager.com