American Idol season-three alum Jon Peter Lewis will be spending the summer in Manhattan, as his musical, Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera, has been chosen from hundreds of candidates to be one of 10 shows produced for the New York Musical Theatre Festival’s “Next Link Project” in July.
Lewis wrote the book for Deep Love with Ryan Hayes and Garrett Sherwood, and has directed multiple productions. Lewis and Hayes, who competed on season four of The Voice in 2013 as the duo Midas Whale, star in the show, with another competitor from The Voice, Amy Whitcomb.
The festival has been an incubator for hit shows, with three productions graduating to Broadway: Next to Normal, [title of show] and Chaplin. Some 24 festival finalists have been produced off-Broadway, including Altar Boyz, The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Fat Camp.
“For the last five years, we’ve been workshopping the show,” Lewis tells Billboard. “It evolves every year. We take the lessons learned from each production, and apply them to the following run.” The Idol finalist, who says he is passionate about music as well as storytelling, explains that the festival production will add “some dynamic choreography and dancing.”
Hoping that this new production “will put us on the radar with some of the more influential people in the commercial theater community,” Lewis tells Billboard what lies ahead: “We have to put on a show in New York from top to bottom. We have to handle all of the logistics, including casting and all aspects of production.”
While heavily involved in Deep Love, Lewis is not ignoring his recording career. Two weeks ago, he released a new EP, roughcuts. The six-song set includes some material he has been “sitting on for years,” along with new songs. “They are in their roughest and rawest forms, like first drafts out of my brain. It’s likely that some will be recorded again in different versions and some may end up as Midas Whale songs. Others will remain in their rough and raw state.” roughcuts is a digital-only release, available on iTunes.