It's a festival dedicated to a true American art form - the musical theater.
The New York Musical Theater Festival, also known as NYMF, was established in 2004 with a mission to nurture the development of new work.
"We are looking to find the best and most diverse new musicals being created not just in America but all over the world," says Jen Bender, Director of Programming and Artist Services at NYMF.
This year’s festival will feature 22 full productions, 13 special events and concerts and 11 readings. Actor John Tartaglia, best known for his Tony nominated turn in "Avenue Q," is taking a back seat to performing and helming the new musical "Claudio Quest.” The show is set inside the world of a video game and follows a super hero and his friends as they fight off killer eggplants and even a love-starved platypus.
"What ‘Avenue Q’ was to children's television, ‘Claudio Quest’ is to video games.” Tartaglia says. “We're lovingly parodying this world, but obviously also taking you on a wonderful, original journey.”
Also on tap for this year's festival: "The Calico Buffalo.” Based on the children's book by EJ Stapleton, the show explores the themes of tolerance and acceptance. Actor Jennifer Apple plays the villainous role of Amaruq - in the musical - the leader of the wolf pack.
"I feel like everybody will appreciate the humor and the jokes,” Apple says. “But the heart - there's so much heart.”
Over the years. NYMF has given birth to more than two dozen Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, including the Pulitzer winning "Next to Normal," and "Altar Boyz." In a day and age where getting a show up and running seems to take more than just a village, Bender says that NYMF is vital for the future of the musical.
"This is really something for shows that are early on in development, wanting to be seen on their feet for the first time, but not wagering $20 million on their success," she says.