Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Jersey Boys—these are the giants of Broadway, the ones that sell out every show for years. But even these powerhouses once started as half-formed ideas in the back of someone’s mind. With more than 20 full productions, the New York Musical Theatre Festival offers the exciting opportunity for theatergoers to get a first glimpse at what could develop into the next big thing. The festival counts [title of show], Altar Boyz, and Next to Normal among its alumni, and more than 70 of the shows that have debuted at NYMF in the past eight years have gone on to have successful runs in the U.S. and around the world. This year, you’ll find shows about the Lindbergh baby (Baby Case), Occupy Wall Street (Zapata!), and a medical student who brings the dead back to life with disastrous results (Re-animator The Musical). Small venues afford the audience an intimate experience, and at just 25 bucks a pop, it won’t even burn a hole in your wallet.

Mondays-Sundays, noon. Starts: July 9. Continues through July 29, 2012