Early summer in New York City often means a slowdown in new theater options. Most Broadway openings take place in the fall or the spring, and "festival season" doesn't generally begin until the middle of August (at least).
Seeking to fill a niche, the New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF for short) began several months earlier than usual last year and kicked off in July rather than early autumn. For its 10th anniversary, the Festival is repeating the gambit and kicks off tonight with some big-name Broadway talent.
As the Daily News reports, this summer’s three-week Festival has 24 full productions, special events and readings. Anthony Rapp (“Rent”) stars as a struggling writer in “The Water Dream.” Susan Blackwell, who was in the NYMF production of “[title of show]” and continued with the production to Broadway, plays a disgraced Olympian-turned high school coach in “Volleygirls.” And “Memphis” Tony nominee Chad Kimball takes on the title character — played by Christian Slater in the 1997 film — in “Julian Po.”
Several Broadway musicals got their start at earlier versions of NYMF, including Pulitzer Prize-winner "Next to Normal" and (as mentioned) cult classic "[title of show]".
For more information, head just west of the Theater District to the NYMF hub at the Signature Center (480 W. 42nd St.).
The festival runs through July 28. Tickets are $25 at nymf.org or at 212-352-3101.