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Fest selects 19 tuners

Next Link Project includes Sobule musical

The 2006 Next Link Project, the toplining segment of the annual New York Musical Theater Festival, includes a tuner by Jill Sobule, the musician who had a hit in the mid-1990s with “I Kissed a Girl.”

Chosen from more than 300 submissions, this year’s slate was whittled down to 19 offerings by a jury that included musical book writers Thomas Meehan (“The Producers,” “Hairspray”), David Henry Hwang (“Tarzan”) and Marsha Norman (“The Color Purple”), thesps Phylicia Rashad and Anthony Rapp, producer Michael Rego and “Purple” helmer Gary Griffin.

Now in its third year, NYMF has spawned an unusually large number of commercial Off Broadway productions, including “Altar Boyz,” “[title of show],” “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” and “Captain Louie.”

Sobule’s show, “Prozak and the Platypus,” co-written by book writer and lyricist Elise Thoron, played Gotham in an earlier incarnation at the Summer Play Festival in 2004. Plot follows an angry teen and her scientist dad investigating human consciousness.

“Desperate Measures,” by David Friedman and Peter Kellogg, is a Wild West retelling of “Measure for Measure,” while “Smoking Bloomberg,” by David Cornue, Sam Holtzapple, Warren Loy and Chris Todd, centers on a Korean drycleaner out to get revenge on Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the smoking ban that ruined her biz. (Another Gotham-centric title, “Screams of Kitty Genovese,” refers to the New Yorker murdered in 1964 while 38 witnesses did nothing.)

Also on the sked are titles such as “Go-Go Beach,” “Lunch,” “Flight of the Lawnchair Man” and “Oedipus for Kids!”

The Next Link slate will run alongside a group of invited works, yet to be announced, along with other programs related to the fest. This year’s installment runs Sept. 10-Oct. 1.

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