Dallas Theater Win

Homegrown musical may be on the eve of greatness with New York coup

Homegrown musical may be on the eve of greatness with New York coup

"On the Eve" at Theatre Three in Dallas
Next stop: New York City. On the Eve will be one of the eight new musicals showcased at the NAMT festival in October. Photo by Jeffrey Schmidt

Locally written sci-fi musical On the Eve, which raked in critical accolades during its developmental stagings in Dallas, has scored a spot in the National Alliance of Musical Theatre's 2015 Festival of New Musicals, to be presented in New York City in October.

Chosen out of more than 200 submissions, On the Eve joins seven other new works, including one penned by pop star Duncan Sheik, whose Tony-winning 2006 musical Spring Awakening is returning to Broadway in the fall.

Written by Dallas actor Michael Federico and composed by Shawn and Seth Magill of local band Home by Hovercraft, On the Eve imagines a dystopian future where words are secret and sacred, and you can time-travel via hot-air balloon. (Marie Antoinette shows up too.) It first got a staged reading in 2011, then a workshop production at Fair Park in 2012. Theatre Three scooped it up for its mainstage season in 2014.

"Lee Trull and Kevin Moriarty from Dallas Theater Center approached us after they saw the show at Theatre Three in 2014, and offered to sponsor On the Eve for NAMT festival submission," says Shawn Magill, co-composer and Home by Hovercraft keyboardist. "We submitted last year and made it to the second round. This year DTC graciously offered to sponsor the show again and we re-submitted with minor revisions. We were extremely excited to find out we are in the finals, and are so grateful for the love and support from the Dallas theater community."

The NATM festival has served as a launching pad for many musicals, including Broadway hits Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Drowsy Chaperone. Commercial and regional producers from around the country will attend the showcase, giving On the Eve national exposure and a possible future life outside of Dallas.

When submitting the show for the festival, Federico outlined what he hoped NAMT's inclusion would do:

"While the show is represented clearly on the page, its aesthetic, at times dizzying pace and unique play between text and music truly come to life onstage... Even in small pieces, a live performance of the show paints a clear picture of the powerful effect it can have (and has had) on audiences of all types and ages — how, by the end, they might sing and dance and cheer and cry along with the performers. NAMT offers another vital step in the growth of On the Eve and enables us to show people even a glimpse of its full potential."