Festival of New American Musicals Closing Party

Darren Criss, Kristen Bell, John Stamos, Drew Carey, Rita Wilson Expected at Festival of New American Musicals Closing Party


Updated Sept. 11 & Nov. 5: Read about the concerts that took place to benefit the Festival of New American Musicals below.

Supporters of the musical theater in Los Angeles have something to be gleeful about this summer.

Not only will Darren Criss be special guest at the Sept. 10 Festival of New American Musicals closing party, but some of the most accomplished film, TV, theatrical and songwriting talents are also scheduled to come and preview their new musicals. Criss plays Blaine Anderson of the Dalton Academy Warblers on TV’s “Glee.”

Kristen Bell, Rita Wilson, John Stamos, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Amanda McBroom, Graham Phillips, James Carpinello, Sophie B. Hawkins, Nolan Gerard Funk, David Burnham, Desmond Child and David Zippel are all expected. Drew Carey and Wayne Brady, along with Jeff Davis and Chip Esten, will create a short musical, in keeping with their TV show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” On the piano: Brad Ellis of “Glee,” Michael Orlando of “American Idol,” Michele Brourman and Jerry Sternbach.

And just to list some of their credits, Winokur, Stamos and Carey performed in August in the Hollywood Bowl production of “Hairspray,” Desmond Child is a member of the “Songwriters Hall of Fame,” and while one might not expect Bell of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “You Again” and “Veronica Mars” to sing, I saw her brilliant take on a Cole Porter tune last March at a benefit for the Alzheimer’s foundation.

Between June and September, the Festival will have presented 35 productions throughout Southern California, two of which I had the great pleasure of seeing:  “Rocket Science” and the ASCAP Songwriters Showcase, both featuring incredible young talents and described in separate stories on this site.

The closing party, to be held in the gardens of voice-coach-to-the-stars Eric Vetro, will celebrate the festival’s success. Tickets are $200 for adults; $150 for teens 18 & under.

More details about the Festival of New American Musicals closing party can be found on the website for the Festival of New American Musicals here.

Top photo: Darris Criss, (photo: courtesy of the Festival of New American Musicals) 

Bottom photo: Kristen Bell, from her March performance at “A Night at Sardi’s,”  described in my LA Times story  (photo: Alex J. Berliner/ ABImages)


Note: Darren Criss did not appear at the Sept. 10 closing party as expected due to Hurricane Irene causing filming delays in New York, but he more than made up for his absence with a private one-hour concert on Dec. 4.

Read my Sept. 11 LA Times story to see the incredible singing talents who did come to perform at the Sept. 10 event and see a more detailed story about the event here on this website. For an album of photos from the closing party, click here


ASCAP New Songwriters Showcase of Tomorrow’s Award-Winners

Richard Rodgers Award-winning “Rocket Science” Musical Premieres in Los Angeles 

Hollywood’s Top Young Talents Honored at Variety Power of Youth

Charity-Minded GLEE Cast: Darren Criss, Matthew Morrison, Jayma Mays and More

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Festival of New American Musicals Closing Party

Published Sept. 3, 2011; Updated Sept. 11 & Dec. 5 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA