The Foundation is committed to supporting the work of southern California musical theatre writers. Through our Pathway, ShowSearch and Musi-Cal programs, FNAM has provided a showcase for dozens of musicals at every stage of their development process. Several of these musicals have continued on their journey to local, regional and off-Broadway productions. FNAM is proud to have been a part of the development of these musicals:
DARLING GRENADINE by Daniel Zaitchik
DARLING GRENADINE is a seriocomic musical about Harry, a fanciful jingle composer, and his precarious relationship with his girlfriend Louise, his brother Paul, and his Labrador Retriever (…also named Paul). Told with a rich contemporary score and a wink to the classic MGM musical, DARLING GRENADINE explores the friction between romance and reality, bitter and sweet, serving something magical, moving and boldly new.
Songs from DARLING GRENADINE were first presented at Musi-Cal in the Spring of 2015. The show continued its development path at the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, and at the National Music Theater Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. The show was given a developmental production at the Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre, followed by a staged reading in January 2018 at the Roundabout’s Underground Reading Series. DARLING GRENADINE premiered at the Marriott Theatre in Chicago in Summer 2019, and opened off-Broadway at the Roundabout Underground on February 10, 2020. The show closed on March 11, 2020 due to Covid-19.
EMOJILAND by Keith Harrison and Laura Schein
EMOJILAND is an electric ensemble piece about a diverse community of archetypes who take one another at face value: a smiling face dealing with depression: a princess who doesn’t want a prince: a skull dying for deletion; a nerd face too smart for his own good; a face with sunglasses who can’t see past his own reflection; and a police officer and construction worker who just want to work together. When a software updated threatens to destroy life as they know it, Emojiland faces the most fundamental question a society – and a heart – can face: Who are we? And who matters?
Songs from EMOJILAND were presented at Musi-Cal in Summer 2015, Spring 2017 and Spring 2018. EMOJILAND was presented at the New York Musical Festival in 2018 and opened off-Broadway at The Duke on 42nd Street on January 19, 2020. The show closed on March 11, 2020 due to Covid-19.
PASSING THROUGH by Eric Ulloa and Brett Ryback
Set amidst the rich sounds and diverse tapestry of the American landscape, PASSING THROUGH tells the incredible true story of a young man who journeys on foot from Pennsylvania to California, collecting stories as he goes. But when his trek brings to light an unresolved family crisis, he must use the lessons he’s gathered to finally confront his past. It’s a brand new American musical about the healing power of fellowship and forgiveness.
PASSING THROUGH first presented songs at Musi-Cal in the Fall of 2016, and returned in the Fall of 2019 for a return engagement. PASSING THROUGH was given a workshop production at the Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre in the Summer of 2019.
Music & Lyrics by Cinco Paul, Book by Bekah Brunstetter
From the writers of DESPICABLE ME and THIS IS US comes a new musical, A.D. 16, which imagines what would happen if a teenage Mary Magdalene got a crush on the boy next door—teenage Jesus. With a book by Bekah Brunstetter (Cake, Be a Good Little Widow) and music & lyrics by Cinco Paul (Bubble Boy), A.D. 16 boasts an R&B-flavored score that evokes the best of TLC, Tony! Toni! Tone!, En Vogue, Prince and more. A touching and hilarious coming-of-age story, A.D. 16 asks the question: what if your first crush was REALLY perfect?
Songs from A.D. 16 were presented at Musi-Cal in Summer 2016 and Spring 2017. The show was presented in concert at 54 Below in NYC in Fall 2017, and went on to be presented at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals in Fall 2018.
INTO LIGHT by Jimmy Marino
If you had the chance to speak with the love you lost, what would you say? When a man wakes up to find his deceased significant other in his bedroom looking alive and well, the two of them have a chance to reconcile and move forward. Into Light examines love and loss through the lens of these two former partners during their final conversation. Taking place in real time and set to a touching score, this ten-minute musical has been performed around the country and adapted into a short film, garnering praise for its intimacy, hopefulness, and honesty.
INTO LIGHT was presented at FNAM’s ShowSearch in 2017, and was the winner in the college-age category. The musical was adapted into a short film in 2019, and was an official selection in the California International Shorts Film Festival and the Pasadena International Film Festival.
BITTER STREET by Gary Cearlock
In summer 2020, Los Angeles reported over 66,000 homeless people. These numbers continue to rise at an alarming rate. Gary Cearlock’s new musical, BITTER STREET aims to raise awareness about the many reasons for homelessness – all of which need exploring if the problem is ever to be solved. He especially hopes that people will learn to give others the benefit of the doubt. As the musical makes clear, not everything is as it seems.