Are you tired out from the onslaught of summer theatre festivals? Still got enough to juice for a closing song and dance number?

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The New York Musical Theatre Festival throws open its doors on Monday, September 13th with an Opening Gala -- a dinner reception, performance and opening night party (at the China Club) apparently featuring their Honorary Gala Chair, Brian Stokes Mitchell of Ragtime and Kiss Me Kate fame.

So what is it? According to their press material it "will be the premiere international festival for contemporary musical theatre. Dedicated to discovering new works, new artists and creating new stars, NYMF will do for musical theatre what Sundance does for independent film: celebrate its diversity, creativity and future." A kind of Fringe NYC for new musicals. Only with a higher profile.

It's a three-week festival with 67 events, 19 different venues, 31 premiering musicals and 14 concerts. It will include a musical theatre film festival, new musicals by the likes of Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Disney's Pocahontas, Wicked) and Avenue Q's Marx and Lopez, a Musicals and Television series running at the Museum of Television and Radio, panel discussions from professionals working in the industry, and even a series of cabarets.

With musical theatre being the cornerstone of modern Broadway (and arguably, what keeps it afloat) it makes sense to finally launch a large-scale push to lure in new talent and give them the attention and encouragement they need. Check out the Staff and Founding Producers page on their website to see just what kind of industry fire-power they've got sponsoring them.

Gothamist is particularly interested in attending, and maybe checking out some of the film screenings. NYMF will give us an opportunity to finally get to see The American Astronaut, a brilliant low-budget "sci-fi, musical-western comedy" that's still trying to find its way to DVD. Or even, perhaps, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter.

I mean, sure West Side Story's great, but can it really compete with Caligula -- The Ancient Glam Epic?

www.nymf.org for more info.