We just got the word from Time Out New York’s Adam Feldman that the New York Musical Festival (formerly the New York Musical Theatre Festival) has closed its doors after 15 years. Playbill backs it up, although there is not as yet a mention on the festival’s web site.
NYMF was instrumental in developing numerous popular musicals over the last decade and a half, but more importantly, they were helpful to ME at a pivotal point, for that was where I got in the back door and was able to present my revue Travesties of 2012. This was at a juncture when I was figuring out how to grow my vaudeville shows from scrappy, backroom rooster fights into something larger, with (ostensibly) more mainstream appeal. The process started with a long run of a full stage show at Theater for the New City in 2008, and continued with a 15th anniversary extravaganza at 45 Bleecker in the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival. After Travesties, the stepping stones led to directing Angie Pontani’s Burlesque-a-pades at the Soho Playhouse and the Kraine, Trav S.D.’s Bathing Beauties at Coney Island USA, and finally I’ll Say She Is in 2014 (revived with Amanda Sisk as director in 2016). I’d first worked with ISSI’s Noah Diamond on the NYMF show, incidentally. Our mutual friend West Hyler is artistic director there, and the failure at this time strikes me as unfortunate for the selfish reason that I am back in the saddle and planning ambitious new musical shows.
The reason for the folding of course is the perennial one: money. But we needn’t despair at the atrophy of the arts. New festivals still seem to be cropping up all over the country all the time. Still we don’t like to see people with dreams fail, even in the most ephemeral of industries and art forms. Farewell, NYMF!