Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald will serve as the honorary chair of the New York Musical Festival 2017.
"New musicals are essential to seeing our art form continue to flourish and impact new audiences," McDonald, who will be seen this summer in the West End premiere of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, said. "It's important for artists to support these new works by bringing them to life onstage. In my career, some of the most rewarding endeavors have been those explored alongside the composer, playwright, or director. Their ideas are not only artistic but often have an important message for the audience — one that can have a great effect on our society."
The festival has also announced the initial casting for its summer engagement.
Grace Hightower De Niro will star in I Am, I Will, I Do. Brynn Williams will appear in Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical. Nancy Anderson will head the cast of The Fourth Messenger. Matthew Gumley will star in Happily: The Musical, while Brian Charles Rooney will appear in Miss Blanche Tells All. Milo Manheim and Will Meyers will head the cast of Generation Me. Lauren Patten and Ephie Aardema will star in The Goree All-Girl String Band, with PJ Griffith and Jillian Louis in Georama: An American Panorama Told on 3 Miles of Canvas. Wilson Jermain Heredia heads the cast of Pedro Pan, with Kennedy Caughell and Mitch Jarvis in Killer Wigs From Outer Space. Lesli Margherita, Mac Crumm, Wayne Wilcox, and Jennifer Blood are set to star in Matthew McConaughey Vs. the Devil: An American Myth, while Billy Lewis Jr., Krystina Alabado, Remy Zaken, and Sami Gayle will star in Camp Wanatachi: In Concert. Emily Skeggs will star in The Shakespearean Jazz Show.
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