The Festival of New American Musicals, a two-month musical theater festival, will be held in May and June throughout Southern California, with three performances in local theaters.

Executive producers Marcia Seligson and Bob Klein worked closely with Broadway composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz, of Wicked, Pippen and Godspell fame.

“We decided to create a festival which is not typical to this area, with the purpose of giving composers and writers of this new material an outlet for them to develop their shows,” Seligson says. “We really wanted to have a large educational outreach to create new, young artists.”

Seligson, who has lived in Marina del Rey for 18 years, is the creator of the theater company Reprise, which does revivals of classic musicals. She led it for more than 40 shows and events and it is now directed by Jason Alexander.

Seligson has devoted most of her life to the musical arts and she finds this festival is a way for Los Angeles to showcase the talent in the area.

“Once we began to organize this festival we found that composers, lyricists, directors and performers all lived here and wanted to find a way to highlight the huge amount of musical activity here,” she says.

Local area performances are:

Camila, a tale of a young woman and a priest sentenced to death for falling in love, will run from Thursday, May 15th, to Sunday, May 25th, at Santa Monica College.

Return, a musical based on the true story of Operation Moses, the 1984 secret airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, will run from June 5th to July 20th at the Edgemar Theater.

My Antonia, a new music drama adapted from the Willa Cather novel, will open June 21st at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice.

Information, lafestival.org/.

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