ABOUT US

The Foundation for New American Musicals is one of the most exciting opportunities anywhere for young writers to develop.

-Grant Gustin (The Flash)

Throughout the history of this quintessentially American art form, musicals have not merely entertained, but often given voice to serious themes, challenging assumptions and changing minds.

The Foundation for New American Musicals supports the creation of new content and provides a voice for the next generation of creative talent. Embracing four powerful disciplines – story, song, dance and visuals – musicals have uniquely and memorably inspired deeper empathy and understanding across cultures, ethnicities and generations.

Today musical theatre has earned a top spot in the cultural conversation. But while there are many opportunities for performers and technical teams to learn and grow, there are very few introducing and developing promising writers, composers and lyricists from high school through post-college.

The cornerstone of all FNAM programs is to open up opportunities for talented young people to create art that translates their experiences beyond time and place.

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The first step is the Foundation’s educational PATHWAY Program, which has launched the first-in-the-nation musical theatre writing courses taught in high schools, with a special emphasis on students in underserved schools and communities. FNAM has just brokered an unprecedented partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District, Santa Monica College and the University of Southern California to coordinate curricula across schools and education levels.

The Foundation also offers an annual contest for high school and college age writers to receive intensive mentorship, cash awards and a public presentation of their work with a cast of Equity actors and a top musical theater director, with SHOWSEARCH.

FUTUREFEST offers performers a spotlight with annual shows in New York and Los Angeles featuring high school and college-age singers performing songs from new musicals for influential audiences.

Bringing the full creative process to life, the Foundation’s MUSI-CAL showcases emerging Southern California musical theatre writers’ works-in-progress in a historic supper club in front of a dynamic audience that experiences a behind-the-scenes opportunity to see, offer feedback and celebrate musicals in different stages of development.

For nine years the Foundation has provided intense education, hands-on guidance from professionals already at the pinnacle of the field and continuing showcases of new creators’ work.

We’ve had the fortune to be assisted by such inspiring advocates for great musicals as STEPHEN SCHWARTZ, DARREN CRISS, STEPHEN SONDHEIM, RITA WILSON, JOEL GREY, KRISTEN BELL and many others.

During its history, FNAM has presented 260 shows and 1700 performances at 83 venues from Santa Barbara to San Diego for audiences totaling over 1.75 million people.

BOARD LISTING

C. Jay Cox is a writer and director. His first screenplay, The Thing in Bob’s Garage, was optioned by Norman Lear. Since then he has written projects for Bette Midler, Antonio Banderas, Walt Disney, Columbia, New Line and Paramount Pictures. His first produced feature script, Sweet Home Alabama, starred Reese Witherspoon and held the record for the best September opening for over 10 years. His directorial debut, Latter Days, won the HBO Award for Best First Narrative Feature at Los Angeles’ Outfest, in addition to numerous other awards at festivals from Fresno to Brazil. C. Jay also writes for television, writing original scripts such as The Makeover for Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Michael Donovan is one of the top casting directors in Greater Los Angeles, winning six Artios Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Casting. He casts shows for live theatre, movies, television, special events and national tours. Additionally, he has cast over 1,000 commercials. Michael also teaches, most notably at UCLA. He is on the Board of Camp Bravo and Associate Artistic Director for Reprise 2.0!

Noelle L. Hicks has had a life-long passion for the arts. As a board member with the Foundation since its initial incarnation as the Festival of New American Musicals, Noelle is delighted to support the next generation of musical theatre creators. Most recently she has been a Broadway angel for Dangerous Liaisons and Dear Evan Hansen. Noelle is also an advisory board member for the USC Dramatic Arts MFA Program in Contemporary Musical Theatre.

Marty Iker, Treasurer, is an innovative marketing, branding, and post-production executive. He is President/Creative Director of MI Creative Group after nine years as Vice President/Marketing & Advertising at Warner Bros. and twelve years as a broadcast station executive. At Warner his unit developed breakthrough brand identities and produced all on-air promotion, video presentations, electronic graphics, and radio and television commercials, and now he provides those services to the industry at large. Marty has a B.A. in Theatre from Grinnell College, and an M.S. in Telecommunications from Indiana University. He is particularly interested in encouraging the use of new technology, new forms and new media in the creation of the next generation of musicals.

Richard Israel, Vice President, is an award-winning director in multiple media. Most recently he served as the theatrical coordinator for the multiple Emmy-award winning HBO series BIG LITTLE LIES, directing all of the on-screen Avenue Q sequences. Recent LA directing credits include West Side Story and Rent for McCoy/Rigby Entertainment, where he also directed the multiple Ovation award winning Floyd Collins. In addition to his West Coast work, Richard has directed the original Fat Mike/Jeff Marx/Soma Snakeoil musical Home Street Home at the prestigious O’Neill Theatre Center. Intimate theatre highlights include 110 In The Shade (Ovation Award for Best Musical), The Burnt Part Boys, and the world premiere of Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins. He is the recipient of many awards including the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Career Achievement Award for Directing. Richard is on the musical theatre faculty at AMDA-Los Angeles and is on the executive board of Reprise 2.0.

Co-Founder Bob Klein is a musical theatre aficionado with exceptional experience in entertainment marketing. He founded KLEIN &, contributing significantly to the marketing of film, TV, cable and the Internet, as well as guiding arts organizations like the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His marketing campaigns range from the movies Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Planet of the Apes to the launch of cable networks NICKELODEON, SHOWTIME and FX. In 1996 he cofounded Reprise! with Marcia Seligson to revive major musicals for the Los Angeles audience. In 2006 they began planning the Festival of New American Musicals to showcase new works, creators and performers. In 2011 in response to the growing musical theatre Renaissance and the reduction of funding for the arts, Bob founded the Foundation for New American Musicals with a mission to educate, mentor and showcase the next generations of creators of musicals for stage, screen, TV and social media.

Melissa Lilly has created strategic marketing and communication campaigns for top non-profit organizations such as Los Angeles Philharmonic, LACMA, Public Television and Radio, San Francisco Symphony, Women in Film, American Conservatory Theater, Sundance Film Festival, Independent Film Channel, and global brands such as SKYY Vodka, BMW, Louis Vuitton, Mercedes and many more. She specializes in cause marketing and corporate social responsibility platforms, developing and promoting multi-faceted partnerships.

Deirdre Marlowe, Secretary, devotes much of her FNAM time to The Pathway as a Teaching Artist, program administrator, and grant writer. Marlowe was a 10-year member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. While she has written lyrics and music, her expertise is book writing. She is currently collaborating on her seventh show.

Marcia Seligson, Co-Founder, has theatre in her blood. In 1996 she co-founded REPRISE! Broadway’s Best, and served as the Producing Artistic Director presenting more than forty events. In 2008 she was a co-executive producer of the Festival of New American Musicals presenting more than 150 events from Santa Barbara to San Diego to over 1,000,000 people. Marcia has co-produced shows which have been on Broadway and the West End. One, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, became a movie. She is on the Board of the Blank Theatre and Producing Artistic Director of REPRISE 2.0!

Christopher Sepulveda is a film and theatre producer based in Southern California. He most recently worked on the Tony award-winning Broadway production of An American in Paris, in addition to its first national tour and West End premiere with Apples and Oranges Studios and with Deaf West Theatre on the hit Broadway revival of Spring Awakening – which he’d previously produced in Los Angeles. Ovation Award-winning production of The Color Purple (Best Musical), 2011 Ovation nominated production of Take Me Out (Best Production), Los Angeles resident premieres of Altar Boyz and Haram Iran (GLAAD Media Award Nom) among others. FILM: Followed, Manson Family Vacation, GBF, He’s Way More Famous Than You, Somewhere Slow, Exquisite Corpse, and others (all with Logolite Entertainment).

Linda Shusett has had previous experience in developing and producing for motion pictures, but her heart has always been with musical theatre. She serves as Co-Executive Producer for FNAM including co-producing past joint workshops with ASCAP. Linda currently produces the bimonthly MUSI-CAL showcase at Rockwell Table & Stage. Linda co-produced Ovation Award nominated Hoboken to Hollywood as well as other live musical events/concerts.  Her love for all styles of music is evident: she has performed in musical theatre, cabaret, and as a member of the Canaligators, a Venice rock n’ roll band.

Tegan Summer, President, has worked in Los Angeles, New York, and London. He received Ovation and NAACP nominations for Theatre 68’s The Knights of Mary Phagan, and an NAACP award for Robey Theatre Company’s For the Love of Freedom. Tegan wrote/directed Loretta Young’s Centennial Tribute TV series and The Nicholas Brothers Tribute with Dick van Dyke and Debbie Allen. He produced/wrote/directed ‘In Person’ – a screen project featuring Malcolm McDowell, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, and others.  He wrote book and lyrics for Marilyn! A New Musical, which had a sold out run at the Alex and will premier in Las Vegas in 2017, is working on The [Untitled] Nicholas Brothers Musical, and on the film franchise The Mystery of Casa Matusita.  Tegan is CEO of Prospect House Entertainment, on the Board of Glendale Arts, and the Executive Committee of ‘Reprise 2.0.’ He graduated from American Academy of Dramatic Arts NYC.