Stewart Alden, Ben Holtzman, Angela Jeffries, Erica Lustig, Celeste Rose, Jacob Watson, Brook Wood, and Noah Zachary are the eight finalists who will take part in the grand finale of the New York Musical Theatre Festival's 8th annual Next Broadway Sensation competition, to be held Friday, October 11, at New World Stages. Over 200 hopefuls auditioned for a spot in this year's competition.
Additionally, for the second year in a row, the finalists will take part in a special NYMF/ASCAP Foundation Songwriter Showcase Contest, which will be held on October 10, also at New World Stages. During this event they will work with prominent musical-theater composers, including John Bucchino (A Catered Affair), Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days), and Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk (The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown), to prepare and perform one of their songs.
The finalists were chosen from a mix of audience and online votes and a panel of judges that included Ryan Scott Oliver (35MM), casting director Michael Cassara, producer/general manager Jamie Cesa, and ASCAP's Director of Musical Theatre Michael Kerker. The grand finale will be judged by casting director Daryl Eisenberg, producer Tom Smedes, and Tony Award winner Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone). The winner will receive a solo concert at 54 Below and performance opportunities throughout the festival's 2014 season.