A New Director for the New York Musical Theater Festival
There’s a new leading man at the New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF). The organization announced on Wednesday that Dan Markley has been named its new executive director and producer. Mr. Markley succeeds Isaac Robert Hurwitz, a festival founder who stepped down earlier this year to become a consultant on development projects for 20th Century Fox’s new Broadway venture.
Mr. Markley comes to the festival from the nonprofit Nantucket Dreamland Foundation, where he was a management and programming consultant. In New York he was part of a group of producers and investors who developed 37 Arts, a performing arts complex on Manhattan’s West Side. His New York producing credits include several shows on Broadway (“High Fidelity”) and off (“Stomp,” “Shockheaded Peter”).
Perhaps more than any other New York theater festival, NYMF has presented full-length musicals — some serious, some not — that have their sights set on longer and larger New York runs. Since the first festival in 2004, three festival shows — “Chaplin,” “Next to Normal” and “[title of show]” — have made their way to Broadway. Twenty-four of them, including “Altar Boyz” and “Yank!,” have moved to Off Broadway. Mr. Markley said as much as he would like “every person who writes a Broadway show to find the success they aspire to,” the festival’s mission isn’t to have an uptown transfer in the bull’s-eye.
“Finding the next huge Broadway or off Broadway commercial success is not the point,” he said. “We want to find the most high-quality shows that can be produced and performed at the festival and grow the public perception and awareness of the festival.”
He said the festival’s budget will be about $1.5 million, a number that has held steady over the past few years.
“I don’t believe we’re in a renaissance phase of the festival so much as a newly aspirational phase,” he said. “I’d like to get my hands dirty with the programming, and take a fresh look at everything that they have been doing. It’s a great opportunity for transition.”
Mr. Markley plans to keep the festival a summer event, and hopes to have next year’s festival, scheduled for July, return to this year’s hub at the Signature Center on West 42nd Street.
“There are lovely things about using different venues around the city but operationally it’s more positive to have a central location,” he said.