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October 10, 2017
Q&A: Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Niko Tsakalakos on NAMT and Their New Musical ‘Fall Springs’

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre will hold its 29th annual Festival of New Musicals on October 19 and 20 at New World Stages. Fall Springs, by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (book/lyrics) and Niko Tsakalakos (music/lyrics), is one of eight new musicals this year.

Tell us about your show!

Fall Springs is a cataclysmic comedy about a geology buff teenager who discovers that her town is on the verge of sinking into the ground.  And then in Act Two, it sinks. It’s part climate change parable, part natural disaster movie, part heartfelt show about wanting to make the world a better place even when the headwinds are great. We want it to be fun, and funny and action packed and weird and a non-preachy way to tell a story about our impact on our environment and how we’re going to have to make some radical changes soon.

Describe the sound of your musical; it's like _____ meets _____:

It's like Urinetown meets Pink: hook-filled songs, indie rock angst, Queen harmonies!

What was the first musical that made you want to make musicals?

Peter:  If we’re being completely honest…..Cats.  I mean, I played that album over and over and over as a kid and did elaborate dance routines to it.  I was totally into the overture.  I recited “The Naming of Cats” at a student poetry reading.   Despite this obsession, I still didn't come out of the closet until college! (The Godspell album was also in frequent rotation.)

Niko: Les Miz. My dad took my brothers to see it, I was too young to go.  They came back completely blown away.  I lived the show vicariously through them and the impact it had on them.  We got hold of the cast album and the sheet music (when I didn't even read notes then) and I remember how moved I was even at that young age by the songs, listening to them over and over again, "Bring Him Home," particularly.

Who is your favorite classic musical theater composer/writer? And your favorite composer/writer working today?

Niko: Bernstein and Sondheim, for sure. Also Kander and Ebb.  Today: Malloy, Manuel, Lopez...

Peter:  Classical: Leonard Bernstein, among others.  And today?  Oh lordy, many many many! But I’ll go with Dave Malloy!

What's one thing you would change about the current state of musical theater?

Niko:  Arbitrary band size limits, recognition of music-industry-standard sound engineering and design and its critical role in the visceral live experience of music and storytelling.

Peter:  I would change the visibility of the microphones on the foreheads of performers.  I just wish the first thought of a show doesn’t have to be “Oh there’s a wet noodle on their face.”

Why is it important to bring your show to NAMT?

Over the last 5 or 6 years of developing the piece, we’ve had some amazing developmental support, had some really fun readings and workshops, and the show has continued to evolve and mature and has found its tone and voice.  And now we need a next step that’s not a 29-hour reading.  We’re really excited about the piece and eager to share it with a bigger audience and hopefully find a partner of some sort to help us get to the next level and a production. NAMT seems like a perfect opportunity for us to share the work with a big group of passionate theater people.

What's next for the show?

Assuming no cataclysmic natural disaster disrupts our NAMT presentation (we’ve already had a hurricane and a blizzard cancel workshops in the past), the sky's the limit!

For more information on NAMT visit:

FALL SPRINGS music & lyrics by Niko Tsakalakos, book & lyrics by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
Director: Stephen Brackett (NY: The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, Buyer & Seller)
Music Director: Emily Marshall (Nat’l Tours of A Chorus Line and We Will Rock You)

Cast includes: Jon-Viktor Corpuz (Broadway: The King and I), Trista Dollison (Broadway: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Alan H. Green (Broadway: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Alyse Alan Louis (Broadway: Amélie, A New Musical, Disaster!), Janine LaManna (Broadway: The Drowsy Chaperone), Ken Marks (Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen), and Will Roland (Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen).

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