June 20-23, 2024

Presenting Sponsors: Dr. Judith Marlowe & Gordon Blitch

The Florida Festival of New Musicals has been created to advance and elevate the original American art form of musical theatre by fostering the development of new musicals and the artistic growth of writers and composers.

The 4-day event will showcase six new musical works and bring together writers and composers with patrons, press, producers and directors. A one-hour version of each selected musical will be fully read and sung concert-style, without staging, by varying casts of professional actors and musicians.

Audiences will have the unique and exciting opportunity to see musicals in the early stages of development and provide feedback about the new musical after the reading.

The Florida Festival of New Musicals will be held June 20-23, 2024 at The Winter Park Playhouse, 711 Orange Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789.

Festival Schedule, call 407-645-0145 for assistance

Tickets are $10 per show or $50 for a 6-show "Florida Festival Fun Pass." All festival tickets will go on sale at 11 AM on March 19, 2024.

Please call the box office (407) 645-0145 to purchase a Festival Fun Pass. Single show tickets may be purchased online using the links below.

Carolina Rising

Book & Lyrics by Bryan Leys (New York, NY)
Music by Kevin Kuhn (New York, NY)

This kickin' new country western musical follows a woman's journey from local troublemaker to passionate activist, while balancing her feelings for two very different men. Inspired by a true story, the hero, Crystal Ann McKay, won't be bowed or broken. She's a firebrand who learns that "Yankee don't mean enemy" and teaches that "country don't mean dumb."

Carolina Rising incorporates an original score featuring country, bluegrass, blues and gospel numbers.

Developed with the support of the Theater Resources Unlimited TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series

RATED: Adult Audiences — Mature themes, occasional strong language

Cheer Wars

Book & Lyrics by Gordon Leary (New York, NY)
Music by Karlan Judd (New York, NY)

Halle Bolingbroke is all but guaranteed to become the next captain of the New London Lady Leopard Varsity Cheer Squad. It's her senior year, she's been cheering all of her life, and her mom, Doretha, is both the former captain and current coach. Halle isn't feeling all that cheerful about her mother's brand of cheering, though, so she has taken a job at the local truckstop diner. Doretha will stop at nothing to maintain her cheer dynasty, but when her old rival, Nuella Percy, resurfaces with her cheerleading machine of a daughter, Charmain, the two women face off in a quest for captain hood, power, and cheer itself.

Cheer Wars is inspired by Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 and the true story of Wanda Holloway.

RATED: General Audiences — Mature themes


Book & Lyrics by Michael Kaplan (Morro Bay, CA)
Music by Michael Kaplan (Morro Bay, CA) and Jeff Mar (Cambria, CA)

A coming of middle-age musical comedy. A fussy eater who hates vegetables is mistaken for the guest of honor at a Food and Wine Festival. When he becomes infatuated with the woman running the festival weekend, he has to try and play the part of the honored guest as best as possible, despite the challenges involved.

RATED: Adult Audiences — Mature themes, strong language throughout

In Emily's Words

Adapted from Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights

Book, Music & Lyrics by Jessy Tomsko (Astoria, NY)

This original musical tells the story of English novelist Emily Brontë as she writes her magnum opus: Wuthering Heights. Emily's imagination knew no bounds, and in spite of having seen very little in the world, she was able to craft a sweeping melodrama that has left a legacy nearly two hundred years after her death.

RATED: General Audiences — Family friendly

Julie Bunny Must Die

(newly revised / remastered)

Book, Lyrics and Music by Ned Wilkinson (Winter Park, FL)

Cartoonist Adam Chase wants only to create and sell his independent comic book "Julie Bunny: International Spy" but his real life situations and his imaginary characters threaten to knock him off course. Will these stumbling blocks stop him from success? Will help arrive in time? This whimsical musical marries reality and fantasy, while exploring what it takes to bring art to life.

RATED: General Audiences — Mild language

Promise You'll Shoot Me

Book by Michael Rogers (Montclair, NJ) and Bill Wandel (Howell, MI)
Music by Bill Wandel (Howell, MI)
Lyrics by Michael Rogers (Montclair, NJ)

The Kevorkians, a secret club of senior citizens living at the Four Seasons Retirement Home, have botched their attempt to dispatch one of their own. Failing in their promise to end each other's suffering, the group is at their wit's end when swashbuckling Eddy bursts onto the scene and situational comedy ensues. In the end, the Kervorkians navigate the curve balls of old age and by embracing hope, friendship and love, they learn that the golden years really can be golden.

RATED: Adult Audiences — Mature themes including euthanasia

About the Festival

As a professional, year-round musical theatre largely focused on producing lesser-known and new musicals, The Winter Park Playhouse believes wholeheartedly in the importance of fostering the development of new works. Thus the Playhouse created and launched The Florida Festival Festival of New Musicals in 2017.

The purpose of the annual international festival is to advance and elevate the original American art form of musical theatre by fostering the development of new musicals and the artistic growth of writers and composers.

The Florida Festival of New Musicals is a 4-day event that showcases six brand-new, never-before-produced musical works and brings together writers and composers with patrons, artists, press, producers and directors. The first act or one-hour version of each selected musical will be fully read and sung concert-style, without staging, by varying casts of professional actors and musicians.

The festival is led by Playhouse Artistic Director Roy Alan. It is the only one of its kind in the region, similar to musical theatre festivals featuring new works that take place in New York City, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. It provides a unique insight into how a new musical comes to life. Along with members of the artistic community, the general public is encouraged and invited to attend and be engaged in this unique and exciting theatrical experience.

New musical submissions from writers and composers around the country are accepted each year from July to September. Each submitted application is read, evaluated and critiqued by a panel of industry professionals. The panel makes their final selection of six musicals in early spring.

For more information on submitting works or auditioning for the 2025 Festival, please check back after July 1, 2024.

Festival Sponsors

The Winter Park Playhouse is deeply grateful to the following sponsors for their generous support to help make the Florida Festival of New Musicals possible!


Dr. Judith Marlowe and Mr. Gordon Blitch


Roger & Jean Blauvelt

Bill & Carrie Frye

Leah & Stephanie Golub

Bob Green

Ellen Guenette

Jackie Hansen & Greg Hambleton

Cris Heceta

Ron Hirsch & Betty Reid




Stan & Ginnie Maminski

Doug & Joann Marks

Judith Sanborn & Chuck Wohlust

Gerry Shepp

Keith & Patricia Sigmon

The Printers

The Park Press

Rollins College [Parking Sponsor]




Festival Hotel Partners

  • Comfort Suites Downtown Orlando
    2416 N. Orange Avenue, Orlando 32804
    (407) 641-1280

    per night plus tax

    Comfort Suites Only about 10 minutes away from the Playhouse by car, this property has a fitness room, heated outdoor pool, continental breakfast, and in-room kitchenette amenities.

    Please call the front desk to book directly. Mention the Winter Park Playhouse Festival and the code LTWPP to get the rate. If they don't see the rate, ask for Lynn Winjum in Sales.

  • Park Plaza Hotel
    307 S. Park Avenue, Winter Park 32789
    (407) 647-1072

    $169 per night plus tax for a Standard Queen
    $199 per night plus tax for a Balcony Queen
    $229 per night plus tax for a King Suite

    Park Plaza This quaint boutique hotel on beautiful Park Avenue is located just a half-mile from the theatre, with a plethora of downtown Winter Park's shopping and dining options within walking distance.

    To make a reservation, call and ask for the Winter Park Playhouse Festival rates. If there are questions, please ask for the General Manager Pia Brenan.

  • Springhill Suites by Marriott Winter Park
    1127 N. Orlando Avenue, Winter Park 32789
    (407) 960-4624

    per night plus tax

    Comfort Suites This newly built suite hotel is just a 5-minute drive from the theatre and within walking distance of the Winter Park Village shops and restaurants. The special rate includes a full breakfast bar in the morning.

    Click here to book the Festival rate. To receive this rate, you must book through the link provided by May 16, 2024.