About the Festival

The Winter Park Playhouse has jumped into the national spotlight as it launches the 2nd Annual Florida Festival of New Musicals, a nationally-recognized festival new to the state and the nation. The Festival has been created to advance and elevate the original American art form of musical theatre by fostering the development of new musicals and the artistic growth of writers and composers. The festival will run August 23-26, 2018.

The Florida Festival of New Musicals is a 4-day event that will showcase six brand new, never-before-produced musical works and brings together writers and composers with patrons, press, producers and directors. The first act of each selected musical will be fully read and sung concert-style, without staging, by varying casts of professional actors and musicians.

The festival is led by Playhouse Artistic Director Roy Alan. It is only one of its kind in the region, similar to musical theatre festivals featuring new works that take place in New York City, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. It provides a unique insight into how a new musical comes to life.

New musical submissions from writers and composers around the country were accepted between September and December 2017 for the 2nd Annual Festival. Each submitted application was read, evaluated and critiqued by a panel of industry professionals. The panel made their final selection of six musicals in May 2018. Along with members of the artistic community, the general public is encouraged and invited to attend and be engaged in this unique and exciting theatrical experience. 

Featured Musicals

Festival tickets are on sale now!

Tickets are $10 per new musical 
or $50 for a 6-show Festival Fun Pass.


Diamond and the North Wind 

Book by Jeffrey Haddow / Lyrics by Jeffrey Haddow & Thomas Tierney / Music by Thomas Tierney (New York, NY) 

 In Diamond and the North Wind, the beautiful and mysterious North Wind befriends a poor stable boy and takes him on flying adventures, teaching Diamond valuable life lessons that help him prevent the greedy real estate tycoon, Tobias Blunt, from destroying the last livery stables in New York City and turning its horses into glue.


Extended Stay 

Book by Jenny Stafford / Lyrics by Jenny Stafford and Scotty Arnold / Music by Scotty Arnold (New York, NY)

 Owen is full of dreams but short on ambition. Years ago he stopped at an Extended Stay hotel in Indiana--and hasn’t left yet. Plagued by both fear and ennui, Owen finds himself stuck in every sense of the word. However, when Emma arrives, she too is desperate to pull herself out of her own “stuckness” and excel at her job at the front desk--where she is instructed to evict Owen. Joined in their shared anxiety, they struggle to help each other crawl up out of their dark pasts. When Owen’s adventurous childhood friend Ethan arrives, though, he offers Emma a new life. Each in the newly-formed triangle struggles to figure out how to move forward from pasts that threaten to swallow them whole. 


How to Marry a Divorced Man

Book & Lyrics by Bryan D. Leys / Music by Clare Cooper (New York, NY)
Based on the book by Leslie Fram


Layla Diamond, a rock and roll reporter in her late 30s, decides it’s time to settle down. Following the advice of her daffy mother, she adopts what she thinks is her best option: a divorced man. She sets her sights on a charming sports agent with a needy ex and two obnoxious children. Frustrated, she tries setting up the needy wife with a new boyfriend which backfires. While trying to fix her Divorced Man’s problems, Layla makes one miscalculation after another, adopting false identities, causing multiple mix-ups, and turning her marital quest into a hilarious farce.


Miss Isabella Rainsong and Her Traveling Companion

Book, Lyrics & Music by Ross D. Martin (Fulton, MD)

While waiting out a storm in an Amtrak train station, a disheveled Traveler shares the story of his three-year journey as the traveling companion of Miss Isabella Rainsong – a captivatingly beautiful black guitar. Miss Isabella Rainsong and Her Traveling Companion is filled with stories and songs born out of the shared experiences of this unlikely pair as they encounter folks along the way while riding the rails all across America. Filled with Magical Moments, this "one-guitar show" takes you on a journey of discovery about the power of music to redeem even the darkest and most broken heart. Perhaps someday, when you need it most, Miss Isabella will choose you as her traveling companion...


Somewhere Between

Book, Lyrics & Music by Alan Becker (Vashon Island, WA)

Somewhere Between is about blazing your own trail in life – and dodging the path your loved ones try to put you on. This intimate two-act chamber musical tells a modern coming-of-age story with humor and some surprising twists, in a small American town like the one where the author grew up, focusing on the characters’ lives, loves and the lessons they learn. The magic is in the music, as the audience is swept into the story by the memorable tunes and clever evocative lyrics, from heartfelt solos to intricate ensemble counterpoint and lush jazz harmonies with a style of “Sondheim meets Manhattan Transfer.”


The Stranger from Seville

Book & Lyrics by Victor Kazan / Music by Kevin Purcell (Melbourne, Australia)

Set in the Yucatán on the eve of the Mexican Revolution, in a world of both unimaginable wealth and abject slavery, The Stranger from Seville tells the poignant story of star-crossed lovers - a free-spirited young Mexican woman and a gifted young artist newly arrived from Spain - whose blossoming romance is thwarted at every turn by the self-seeking actions of those around them. Inspired by the setting, elements of gypsy rumba, flamenco and regional ‘trova yucateca’ music styles contribute to the fabric of the show’s classic Broadway score. 

Creator Bios



Book by Jeffrey Haddow / Lyrics by Jeffrey Haddow & Thomas Tierney / Music by Thomas Tierney (New York, NY)

Jeffrey Haddow (Book, Co-Lyrics) is a 2009 winner of the BMI Harrington Award for Creative Excellence. He wrote the book and lyrics for Sense & Sensibility The Musical (composer, Neal Hampton), world premiere, Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He co-authored the musical revue, Scrambled Feet, two year run Off-Broadway and the play Chekhov in Yalta, world premiere, the Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Distinguished Playwriting). Current project: A musical adaptation of The Year of Living Dangerously (with Thomas Tierney). Jeffrey is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. Contact: haddow@aol.com

Thomas Tierney (Music, Co-Lyrics) composed Eleanor - An American Love Story at Ford’s Theatre in Washington and many other U.S. theatres and Narnia, based on The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (London and New York). Other shows: Jungle Queen Debutante (New York’s NAMT Festival), Off-Broadway’s Pets!, The Dream Team at Goodspeed Opera, Tommy Tune’s one-man show Ichabod and, recently, The Year of Living Dangerously. Also: six shows for Theatreworks/USA and AT&T’s theme for Disney’s EPCOT. He has performed his own music at Lincoln Center and at the White House, and has won numerous ASCAP awards. Contact: twinsun@att.net




Book by Jenny Stafford / Lyrics by Jenny Stafford and Scotty Arnold / Music by Scotty Arnold (New York, NY)

Jenny Stafford (Book and Lyrics) is a bookwriter, lyricist, and playwright. Her lyrics have been heard on Broadway (Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour), as well as off-Broadway and across the country. Her work has been featured at the Lincoln Center Songbook Series (The Lyrics of Jennifer Stafford), Prospect Theatre Company, The National Alliance for Musical Theatre Songwriter Salon, the New York Musical Theatre Festival, 54 Below, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, and numerous other NYC venues. Awards include the Reva Shiner Comedy Award, finalist status for the Yale Institute for Music Theatre, the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, and the Ronald M. Ruble New Play Competition, as well as second prize in the McLean Drama Company Playwriting Competition and the Paulette Goddard Award. She’s been an Artist in Residence at Village Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, CAP 21, the Ross Ragland Theatre and the Berkshire Playwrights Theatre. Dramatists Guild member; MFA NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Scotty Arnold (Music and Lyrics) is a founding member of the Musical Theatre Factory. Music: Mortality Play (NAMT Songwriter’s Showcase, Joe's Pub, Yale Institute for Music Theater, Ars Nova), That Time We Found a Sasquatch in the Woods (Merry-Go-Round, MTF), Trivøya Gold (NYU Steinhardt, MTF, Adelaide Raleigh Productions), Lost & Found (Nautilus Music Theater Company, NYU). His play Oscar & Richard & Joe, a contemporary riff on R&H's Allegro, received a sold-out performance at Ravinia. After receiving its premiere at the Music Theater Company in Illinois in 2013, his short musical Tereshkova was brought back for an encore performance. He is currently a writer-in-residence at CAP 21, where he is developing a new musical with Jenny Stafford and Shelley Butler. While pursuing his writing, he has worked on the music teams of over 30 new musicals including Fun Home, Here Lies Love, Murder Ballad, The Last Goodbye, Giant, The Total Bent, The Band's Visit, and American Idiot. BA: SCU, MFA: NYU; also: ANMT (CA) and New Dramatists (NY). He has completed residencies at Space at Ryder Farm, New York Stage and Film, and CAP21. Proud member: Dramatists Guild, ASCAP. www.scottyarnold.com




Book & Lyrics by Bryan D. Leys / Music by Clare Cooper (New York, NY)

Bryan D. Leys (Book & Lyrics) provided the book and lyrics for Broadway's Hell's Belles; Carolina Rising (2018 TRU Voices New Musicals selection) Audience Favorite Award, Barter Theater Appalachian Festival; Kid DakotaVienna; The Forgotten Film of Dorian Gray (Michael Stewart Award winner); The White Witch of Rosehall; Acting; and Fortune and Fate. His musicals, Hoodwinked and Midsummer Nights, are available through Samuel French. Murder on Broadway is available through Miracle Or 2 Licensing. Bryan's plays include Moonshadow (2017 TRU Voices New Plays selection); The Second Life of Gideon Finn; A Long Night in The Short Reign of Didius Julianus; The Drama Department and Shakespeare in Bermuda. Bryan's play, Two Superheroes Walk Into a Bar, was performed at the Secret Theatre (NY) in January 2018. BFA in Drama; MFA in Playwriting and Directing. www.bryanleys.com

Clare Cooper (Music) is a singer/songwriter/keyboardist who performs as a solo artist, band member, and musical director. A graduate of Berklee College of Music as well as the New School's Creative Arts Therapy program, she is a winner of the Songwriter's Guild of America President's Award and Abe Olman Scholarship, and has released two CDs, "Northern Drive" and "Valentine." She is the composer of musical comedies How To Marry A Divorced Man and Black Crook, with books and lyrics by Bryan Leys. Theater credits include musical director for Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding, Jaws! The Musical and 2014 Fringe Festival favorite Urban Momfare and Assistant Musical Director for Memphis.




Book, Lyrics & Music by Ross D. Martin (Fulton, MD)

Ross Martin (Book, Lyrics, & Music) started singing about the same time he started talking and added the guitar when it seemed his only option for impressing girls. He grew up doing community and school theater and choirs. When he realized that he cared more about the parody of The Music Man he wrote for his med school talent show than passing his medical boards, he knew something had to give. After delivering babies for a few years, he flipped his career to consulting in health IT to make more room for writing, eventually penning five (unproduced) screenplays and four(ish) musicals. More at www.rossmartinmd.com.




Book, Lyrics & Music by Alan Becker (Vashon Island, WA)

Alan Bruce Becker (Book, Lyrics, & Music) took a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has studied directing under Bartlett Sher, Robert Moss, Doug Hughes, and Daniel Sullivan. He directed numerous productions at his black-box theater in Los Angeles. On European tours, he played both brothers in Shepard’s True West, Charlie Fox in Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow, and Jerry in Albee’s Zoo Story. He received acclaim in New York for roles as varied as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Emile in South Pacific, and several award-winning new plays with the New York Drama Project. In his hometown of Seattle, he has worked at the Rep, the Children’s Theatre, Intiman, and Annex. His newest film Soldier (as writer/ director/ actor) has so far won Best Dramatic Short, Audience Choice, and Best Director at its first two festivals. SAG, AEA and DG Member.




Book & Lyrics by Victor Kazan / Music by Kevin Purcell (Melbourne, Australia)

Victor Kazan (Book & Lyrics) has worked in the entertainment industry for fifty years. Born in London, he carved a distinguished reputation as a writer and director in British theatre and television before taking up residence in Australia in the early 1980s. Since then, while continuing to undertake directing engagements, he has worked primarily as a screenwriter and lyricist in Europe, USA, Canada, Africa, Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. Among his Australian screenplays is the popular, feel-good movie Dalkeith, which screened at the London Film Festival.

Kevin Purcell (Music) is a multi-award winning international conductor, musical director and composer/songwriter. He is the Principal Conductor of Australia’s national symphony: the Australian Discovery Orchestra (ADO). Most recently, Kevin was the initial Musical Director for the first UK/Eire national tour of Wicked. He has worked extensively over the years for the Really Useful Group and Cameron Mackintosh as musical director in London’s West End and South East Asia, most notably with the original London production of Cats.

Festival Hotel Partner

Doubletree by Hilton Orlando Downtown 

Stay with our Festival hotel partner, the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando Downtown, for $89/night + tax. This rate is available August 17 – 27, 2018.

Enjoy their well-decorated guest rooms, suites and executive rooms with flat-screen TVs, generous work surfaces, comfortable Sweet Dreams® beds and complimentary internet access. Lobby bar, dining and Starbucks offered as well, and it is all less than 10 minutes by car from The Playhouse!

To book this Winter Park Playhouse rate, click here. If you prefer to book by phone, please call our box office at (407) 645-0145 to obtain the discount code.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando Downtown is located at 60 S. Ivanhoe Road, Orlando, FL 32804. The hotel can be contacted directly by phone at (407) 425-4455.
To learn more about the property, click here.