The 2012 ANT Fest cast of Ludo's Broken Bride sings "Save Our City".
The 2012 ANT Fest cast of Ludo's Broken Bride sings "Save Our City".
(© Marielle Solan)

The New York Musical Festival (better known as NYMF) is back this summer with 18 new, fully produced musicals and a slew of concerts, readings, and events. Here are five songs from the mainstage productions that really caught our ear:


1. "I Ain't No Man" from Dust Can't Kill Me
Despite the suggestive title, this show is not based on the story of Zyrtec. Rather, it's a new folk musical (the title comes from a Woody Guthrie song) about a group of lost souls surviving through the dust bowl of the Great Depression. Fans of Anaïs Mitchell's Hadestown might also enjoy this new musical by Elliah Heifetz and Abigail Carney, which employs an unabashedly American sound to tell an epic story. Just try to get through the above song without getting goosebumps.


2. "Broken Bride" from Ludo's Broken Bride
Like the aforementioned Hadestown and American Idiot, Broken Bride started its life as a concept album. Alt-rock band Ludo released the eponymous EP in 2005, gaining a cult following for its driving rock sound and imaginative lyrics. The songs rely heavily on gothic imagery, which adapters Stacey Weingarten and Dana Levinson have translated into a wild stage show about time travel, dinosaurs, and zombies. Bring a hunger for rock and adventure to this one.


3. "Gonna Be" from Single
This invigorating pop anthem comes from Nat Bennett and Karen Bishko's Single, the story of a pop star turned divorce lawyer going through a break-up of her own. An earlier iteration of the show was presented in NYMF 2010 under the title Therapy Rocks. Retooled and revised, Single promises to be one of the highlights of the festival. Bishko's pop prowess is evident from the above song, but she's also a performer, having opened for the British boy band Take That during the their 2007 European tour.


4. "Woah Woah Woah (A Tale of Sodom)" from The First Church of Mary, the Repentant Prostitute's Fifth Annual Benefit Concert, Revival, and Pot Luck
If you've ever wanted to hear the Old Testament's most infamous tale of sexual deviance and divine rage told through an infectious Motown melody, this is your song. "Woah Woah Woah" sounds suspiciously like the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back," but did you ever stop to consider the lyrics of that song? They very well could have been sung by Lot as he wistfully reflected on his salty wife. This variation, which brings the property back to its biblical roots, is just a small part of Geoff Davin's raucous musical comedy, set during a religious revival led by a charismatic preacher named Adamenses Huckster.


5. "Parking Lot Queen" from The Last Word
Reminiscent of the rock-and-roll showstoppers found in musicals like The Rocky Horror Show and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, this song introduces us to Earlene Floyd, Cleveland's parking lot queen and the antagonist of Brett Sullivan's The Last Word. With a plot inspired by Joni Mitchell's song "Big Yellow Taxi," the show follows Jay, a man trying to stop Earlene from paving over his family restaurant, appropriately named Paradise. Sullivan is a London-based film director who has produced the live tapings of the Les Misérables 25th anniversary and Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall.