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The Shakespearean Jazz Show (NYMF 2017)
Photograph: Courtesy Tripp ClemensThe Shakespearean Jazz Show

New York Musical Festival guide

Musical theater takes over 42nd Street in this year's edition of the annual New York Musical Festival (NYMF)

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman

How are great musicals born? The New York Musical Festival, formerly known as the New York Musical Theatre Festival, has been one of the genre’s most important midwives since its inception in 2004. Unlike the city’s other major summer theater events, such as the Fringe Festival and Shakespeare in the Park, NYMF is exclusively devoted to musical works. Next to Normal, Altar Boyz, [title of show], Bedbugs!!! and The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World are just a few of the NYMF shows that have gone on to prominent runs on Broadway or Off Broadway. For show-tune fans, the New York Musical Festival offers tantalizing early looks at shows and artists that might be the next big things. Could the best Broadway shows of tomorrow be at NYMF today?

What is the New York Musical Festival?

The New York Musical Festival (NYMF), known until 2015 as the New York Musical Theatre Festival, is a large annual summer showcase for original musical theater, staged in multiple venues in Midtown Manhattan. It began in 2004.

When is the New York Musical Festival?

The 2017 edition of the New York Musical Festival runs from Monday July 10, 2017 to Sunday August 6, 2017.

Where is the New York Musical Festival?

The 2017 edition of NYMF extends to four venues in Hell's Kitchen: the 199-seat Acorn Theatre (at Theatre Row); the 128-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons, as well as a fifth-floor rehersal studio in the same building; and the Green Room 42, an upstairs cabaret space at Yotel New York.

What events does the New York Musical Festival include?

The 2017 edition of NYMF includes 20 full productions, divided into two categories: Next Link Project shows, which are developed with advice and funding from NYMF; and Invited Productions, which are developed independently of the festival. Each full production runs for five or six performances. In addition, this year’s festival features 10 developmental readings of musicals, which are limited to audiences with advanced festival passes. There are also 18 other events, including concerrts, panels, workshops and semistaged productions.

How do I buy tickets for the New York Musical Festival?

Individual tickets to shows and concerts cost $29.75 per show. You can also buy festival passes. A regular NYMF Pass ($119) will get you four tickets and discounts on food, drinks and merchandise. The more expensive festival passes—the NYMF Pass Plus ($289) and the NYMF Pass Premium ($559)—get you more tickets and also give you access to developmental readings that are not open to the general public. A full calendar of events, with links to buy tickets, can be found at the official NYMF website.

What famous shows have begun at the New York Musical Festival?

Of the more than 400 shows that have been featured in NYMF over the years, nearly 100 have had productions after the festival. Of these, three went to Broadway: Next to Normal (which was called Feeling Electric when it was at NYMF), [title of show] and Chaplin. More than 25 NYMF shows have had Off Broadway runs, including Altar Boyz, Bedbugs!!, Yank!, The Blue Flower, Gutenberg! The Musical!, The Great American Trailer Park Musical and The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World.

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