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O'Neill's Music Theater Conference begins

Published June 20. 2013 4:00AM

Over its 35 years, the O'Neill's National Music Theater Conference, led by Artistic Director Paulette Haupt, has helped develop nearly 115 new musicals - among them, "Nine," "Avenue Q" and "In the Heights."

The three musicals chosen from the 176 submitted for the 2013 conference are an eclectic lot - each utterly distinctive.

The selections are:

• "Broadcast," with book and lyrics by Nathan Christensen and music by Scott Murphy

The show is set a century ago but deals with questions that bedevil us today. It's about new technology and whether it helps people connect or has the exact opposite effect. In this case, the emerging technology is radio.

Shows at 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, 8 p.m. Wednesday, and 7 p.m. June 28

• "The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes," with book and lyrics by Christopher Dimond, and music by Michael Kooman

The title character wakes up to find his life has turned into a musical - and he's not happy about it. The show, according to the press release, "is intended for people who love musical theater, and their spouses who hate it."

Shows at 8 p.m. June 29, 3 p.m. June 30, 8 p.m. July 3, and 7 p.m. July 5

• "Goddess," with book, lyrics, and music by Mkhululi Mabija and Michael Thurber

The goddess here is a jazz-club singer named Nadira who is beautiful and sultry. The action - which all takes place in modern-day Africa, albeit in a fictive city - focuses on Nadira and the men who love her.

Shows are at 8 p.m July 6, 3 p.m. July 7, 8 p.m. July 10, and 7 p.m. July 12

- KRISTINA DORSEY

Performers at this year's conference include Hunter Foster, who played Bobby Strong in "Urinetown" and was Tony-nominated for his turn as Seymour in the "Little Shop of Horrors" revival, and Wesley Taylor, who just finished a run as Bobby on NBC's "Smash." Foster will appear in "Howard Barnes," while Taylor will be in "Broadcast." Tickets are $28. Call (860) 443-1238 or visit theoneill.org. The O'Neill is located at 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford.

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