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Producer’s debut musical to open at ‘dream venue’

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Jenny Waxman

Jenny Waxman’s dream of seeing her name in Broadway lights has been given a major boost – a musical she has written has been chosen for the prestigious New York Musical Festival (NYMF).

The July festival has a reputation as the birthplace of musicals that go on to success on Broadway. In its 15 years, 105 of the festival’s 447 productions have gone on to be performed on the Great White Way or in a theatre close to it.

For a 29-year-old law student from Hamilton, Ont., that’s exciting company.

“This is a great way to launch the life of a musical play,” said Waxman. “I’m very excited to be part of it.”

Waxman’s play, Leaving Eden, tells the story of the first man’s first wife. According to the festival’s news release: “In the beginning, God created man and woman; Adam and Lilith. Lilith has some questions, Adam has some rules, and in a modern metropolis, Eve must deal with a mess of her own creation. Leaving Eden is a punk-rock creation myth that asks: Is there wisdom in the Garden? And will we have to leave Eden to really know?”

Lilith “wanted equality, but God and Adam didn’t see her that way,” said Waxman, who wrote the book and lyrics for the two-hour play.

The show’s music was composed by Sheridan College theatre student Ben Page, son of former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page (although Waxman didn’t know it when she and the younger Page started working together).

Leaving Eden marks Waxman’s first entry in NYMF, and her first big step toward a career as a Broadway producer or performer’s agent.

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She said success will be measured by what happens after that run. “We will feel we were successful in this if there is a next step for this play,” she said.

“One day this was just a whim, but now it’s a reality,” she said. “This is a start, and everyone starts somewhere. Even the people I admire weren’t those people when they started.”

The musical will get a one-week off-Broadway run during the festival, playing five times from July 16-21 at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre.

“This really is a dream venue,” she added. “I can’t believe my first venue is going to be even close to Broadway. The calibre of writers, producers and performers involved in this festival is just incredible.”

“I really wanted to be a producer, but I had nothing to produce,” she explained. “That’s when this idea started to take shape.”

While Waxman’s career aspirations may involve being behind the curtain, she also has the talent to be a force in front of it. She was the lead in this year’s annual musical at Georgetown University’s law school in Washington, D.C., where she is currently studying.

She performed in last year’s Tony Awards ceremony and has appeared several times in Hamilton theatre camp productions. She was also invited to sing at New York’s iconic Sardi’s restaurant.

“That was pretty surreal, singing in front of all these caricatures of my theatre idols,” she said.

Waxman performed frequently in shows at New York University, where she acquired a bachelor of fine arts degree and a master of arts degree in theatre production and management before moving on to law school.

“I enjoy performing, but I really think my skill set is hosting a dinner party and being able to get all the right people together,” she said. “I’m lucky I can do this because I have an incredible support system.”

“Now I’m on my third degree in pursuit of my passion and I’m one-third of a lawyer,” she quipped. “Frankly, law school is the most academically challenging thing I’ve done so far.”

For more information, visiti NYMF.org.

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