Theater Now New York, one of the nation’s leading producers of original short form musicals, has selected 10 new musicals to be presented in its SOUND BITES X Festival of 10-Minute Musicals. The festival will take place on May 8th at 7pm at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center (129 W 67th St, New York). For tickets www.TNNY.org
Now in its tenth year, the SOUND BITES Festival of 10-Minute Musicals is a fast-paced evening featuring a diverse lineup of stories and styles from emerging writers. Shows presented in past years of the festival have gone on to be licensed through Music Theatre International and produced around the world. Theatre Now’s Managing Director Colleen Harris describes the event as “an incredible opportunity to experience the future of musical theatre, with both traditional and genre-bending shows that showcase the next generation of writers.”
The cast & creative team are set for the new musical, BIG ASS SECRET featured in SOUND BITES X
Jimmy is an average high school teenager with one massive secret and today might finally be the day he tells someone. Big Ass Secret is a coming-of-age musical that celebrates young love, authenticity, and Queer joy. The show is a finalist in Theatre Now’s Sound Bites Festival to be presented May 8th, 2023 at Merkin Hall.
In a time when so many states are implementing “don’t say gay” laws and eradicating discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, it’s more important than ever for young people’s Queer identities to be visible and validated on stage, screen, and in the media. Big Ass Secret is a beacon of hope for young LGBTQ+ people finding the courage to live an authentic life.
Leading the cast as JIMMY is Joe Montoya (they/he), a NYC-based actor/writer and graduate of Pace University’s BFA Musical Theatre program. Selected Theatre includes: Crutchie in Newsies! (Arena Stage), Tobias in Sweeney Todd (Hangar Theater), Manny in Manny & Diego: Back to You (Turn to Flesh Prod.), Des (Odysseus) in Our Own Odyssey (FuerzaFest NYC). Currently, Montoya is writing both a forthcoming musical as well as a play retelling Leonardo DaVinci’s final years through a Queer, comedic lens, The DaVinci Boys. Much love to Chris, Mom & Dad. Besos y brazos. For more info: JoeMontoyaOfficial.com / @jo_shortstack
Gage Thomas is cast as TIMOTHY. Gage recently graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a MA in Asian and Oceanic Performance. He is interested in Pasifika arts and culture and hopes to open his own theatre company one day that works towards the development and creation of new work by and for the Pacific Islander community.
Nicole Abarca Powell is cast as OLIVIA. Nicole (she/her) is thrilled to be a part of Big Ass Secret! In NYC, you may have seen her as Mystica in Unmarried Man (The PIT) or Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice: The Musical (SheNYC Arts). Favorite regional credits include: In the Heights (Carla), Next to Normal (Natalie), Urinetown (Little Sally), and Proof (Catherine, Top Performance Honor of the Year- Los Angeles Times). She would like to thank Justin and Josh for inviting her to be part of this show! Nicole is a proud alum of Gettysburg College and the National Music Theatre Institute. You can find Instagram pictures of her dog Maple at @nicoleabarcapowell and tweets about reality tv at @MyCouchHasADent.
Cast as TYLER is Marcus Antonio. Marcus was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He studied at Wright State University for Musical Theatre. Credits: Aida, Sister Act, Sweat, If/Then, Drowsy Chaperone, Spelling Bee, Addams Family, Mamma Mia!. He is proud to make his debut performance in NYC.
Rounding out the cast as BANITA is Beatriz Coronel, a talented performer born in Quito, Ecuador graduated from AMDA and is currently a lead performer in the Disney musical production, Encanto. Beatriz is also the lead singer in The True Story of Little Red at Teatro SEA. She has been a part of musical groups such as Forzavu and Feedback, her very own rock band. Beatriz has collaborated with several Ecuadorian artists and gained nationwide recognition in 2015 when she appeared on The Voice Ecuador. She also played the role of Ilse in the main production of Spring Awakening at the prestigious Teatro Nacional Sucre. With her sweet and powerful voice, Beatriz Coronel continues to push the boundaries of music and performance, leaving a lasting impression on everyone who experiences her talent. @beatrizcmusic
Josh Walden (Director/Choreographer of Big Ass Secret, they/them) was the Associate Director/Associate Choreographer for the Tony Nominated Broadway Revival of Ragtime and was a choreographer for Disney+’s Encore. Director/Choreographer credits include Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Fulton Theatre), 42nd Street (Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre), A Chorus Line (Maltz Jupiter Theatre), Legally Blonde (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse), On the Town (Capital City Theatre) and Fallen Angel (New York International Fringe Festival). Other Choreographer credits include productions at the Kennedy Center, Drury Lane Theatre, The Muny, Sacramento Music Circus, Signature Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Gateway Playhouse and Des Moines Metro Opera. As a performer, they were seen on Broadway in 42nd Street, La Cage aux Folles, A Chorus Line and Ragtime and Off-Broadway in Cagney, Seussical and The Awesome 80’s Prom. Josh graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. www.thejoshwalden.com @thejoshwalden
Big Ass Secret has book, music & lyrics by Justin Anthony Long. Long also serves as musical director. A Queer writer, songwriter, and actor, Justin’s debut pop song, “Gone Forgotten Year,” was an Official Selection of the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, Austin Under the Stars, and Cannes World Film Festival. His Queer coming-of-age short musical, Big Ass Secret, was a Finalist in the 2022 Hollywood Short + Sweet Festival. Additional writing includes Cookie Soireé (Theatre Now/Music Theatre Int’l), Welcome to Shoofly (ASCAP/DreamWorks MT Workshop), City of Dreams (NY Times, USA Today, IndieWire), The Jewel Box (Austin Film Festival 2nd Rounder, WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Quarterfinalist), “The CBS Song” (CBS Sketch Comedy Showcase), and Benjamin Franklin & the Legend of the Vajra (LiveReadLA Winner). Justin is a member of ASCAP, The Dramatists Guild, and Actors’ Equity Association. When he isn’t writing, Justin is probably somewhere enjoying a cortado, avoiding the news, or seducing his lover. @justinanthonylong
Orchestrations & music production are by Noah Prizant. Noah is an avid music producer, songwriter, instrumentalist and coincidentally also a second-year medical student. While he has written and produced pop music for many years, he has recently begun to explore the world of theater and film, including producing and orchestrating “Journey to Namuh”, a musical short film performed by The Miracle Project. You can find his original music as ‘Noah Prince’ on all platforms.
SOUND BITES X is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support is provided by Music Theatre International and A.R.T/NY. Theatre Now is an artist service organization dedicated to the development, production, publication, and circulation of short and long-form musicals, by providing ongoing support for writers and their work in order to nurture voices and forms that push the boundaries of musical theatre.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at www.tnny.org/sound-bites-x. For more information about Theatre Now New York, visit www.tnny.org