The founder of this amazing festival kept finding that the musical works predominantly published and performed was overwhelmingly white and male, but knew that our world is a rainbow of ages, genders, ethnicities, and powerful stories that don't fit into the mold set by the shows typically seen at the Tony's each year.
This festival was founded in 2020 by Kelly Bidstrup Graham, a local musician, writer, and director, who had seen the terrible lack of opportunities available to Colorado musical theater composers. Most new musicals tend to be-self funded readings or full productions, limiting who gets their voice heard to those with resources and money. The CO New Musical Festival seeks to change that!
The works highlighted in this year's festival are truly diverse and a number celebrate queer voices and stories. So many of these stories are based on true events and common queer experiences and the festival seeks to have these incredible voices shown to the audiences here in Colorado. These queer voices encompass not just the stories being told, but a number of the production and creative staff making this event happen.
Celebrate our Queer narratives!!
57 Bus (Mainstage)
Scarlet Heel (Showcase)
Chosen One (Showcase)
This year, the festival is performing staged readings of the following shows, plus a showcase night of individual songs and scenes from submitted works:
1st Mainstage - 57 Bus, by Ryan M. Luévano
57 Bus is inspired by a true event that took place on a bus in Oakland, California in 2013, when an 18-year-old agender high school student’s skirt was set on fire by another student. The musical explores how the lives of these two children are changed forever. After being the victim of this “hate crime” Skylar is left to decide if the cost of self-expression in an intolerant world is worth the freedom of living as your true self.
The other student John Michael is seen as an attacker, however, given his background, and ultimate fate by the court, audiences must determine if he is perhaps also a victim. In the end, John Michael must decide to accept the consequences of his actions and find a way to rise against society’s expectations and emerge out of his circumstances better than before.
57 BUS is a refreshingly honest look at the impact of intolerance on children and the power of understanding to achieve peace and ultimately break down the cycle of hate.
2nd Mainstage - Rocky Mountain High, Book & Lyrics by Kia Beth Kofron & Cooper Kofron, Music by Mark Hollman & Drew Gasparini
Math + Meatheads ÷ Marijuana = Mayhem
Rocky Mountain High (RMH) is the battleground for the high-stakes competition between brains and brawn. Jon, the math-minded new principal struggles to fund academics. But it’s rampantly clear there’s only one game in small-town Gridiron, Colorado. The 99-0 football team, coached by arrogantly delusional fellow alum, Bork Hill, just needs to win one more “big game” in their brand, spankin’ new, climate-controlled stadium, so he can trade-up to an insanely lucrative pro coaching career. Tensions mount when their dream girl, Mary Jane Calhoun (MJ), makes a surprising return home with a high school-aged son.
A Kiss For My Daughter by Mitch Samu
This Year by Elle Tyler
Sincerely Stacy by Andrew Funderburk
ComPlex by Megan Allen, Music by Dan Formidoni, Scribed by Tara Tioaquen, Alex Brazil, & Lexie Tatum
You Go On by Matthew Gittins
Gossamer's People by Loretta Moore
Ballad of Johnny West by Jaime April & Jason Moon
Passages by Patrice Le Blanc
Naked by Germaine Shames & Tareq Abuissa
Scarlet Heel By Preston Adams & Kelly Bidstrup Graham
Foodies by Michael Kaplan & Jeff Mar
The Chosen One by Eli Cohen
Please donate today, any amount large or small, and come see these amazing works this July at McIlvoy Park in Olde Town Arvada! All performances are at 6 pm.
Showcase Night - Monday, July 12th
Rocky Mountain High - Monday, July 19th
57 Bus - Monday, July 26th
- Zachary Vaughn
Your donation matters
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more