2021 Writers and Musicals
18 writers of 9 new musicals will join us for 9 sequential week-long residencies to focus solely on writing their musical. One team is in residence each week.
Click below to learn more about the writers and their musicals!
June 27 – July 4
Avi Amon, Ty Defoe, and Nolan Doran, with Lead Support from Alex Robertson
July 4 - July 11
David Gomez and John-Michael Lyles, with Underwriting Support from Molly McEneny
July 11 – July 18
Noel Carey and Scott Weinstein, with Underwriting Support from Paul Feuerman and Bruce Grivetti
July 18 – July 25
David Darrow and Kira Obolensky, with Lead Support from Steve and Paula Reynolds
July 25 – August 1
Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson, with Lead Support from Rick Farrar and Jeff Zadroga
August 1 – August 8
Sara Cooper and Lynne Shankel, with Lead Support from The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund
August 15 – August 22
Anna K. Jacobs and Anna Ziegler, with Lead Support from Liz and Bill Mills
August 22 – August 29
Beth Malone, Erin Ortman and Emily Saliers with Lead Support from Liz Armstrong
Avi Amon, Ty Defoe & Nolan Doran
June 27 - July 4
“In order to know anything, we must relearn everything…”
THE LESSON is a fantastical queer reimagining of two of history’s most-loved musical titans: A revolutionary Beethoven and an established Mozart, whose paths and hearts collide in an alt-universe, futuristic Vienna. A hybrid of theater, film, concert, and dance party, THE LESSON is a meditation on the purpose of artistic expression, the control of ideas and information by the government, and the influence of family on who we are. It’s a lesson that will change their lives, and the world, forever.
AVI AMON (Story, Lyrics & Music) AVI AMON is a Turkish-American composer, sound artist and educator. Recent credits: THE COPPER CHILDREN (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); STEW (Soho Rep); THE FISHERMAN (HBO Films); THE BLACK HISTORY MUSEUM (HERE Arts); SALONIKA with Julia Gytri (Berkeley Rep); and several sound installations in a 100-year-old grain silo in Buffalo, New York (Torn Space Theater and Prague Quadrennial). Upcoming: MLIMA’S TALE (St. Louis REP); HEROINE’S GUIDE with Claire Kiechel (Spotify/Gimlet); CUPIDS with Zoey Martinson (Tribeca Films); RATED BLACK with Kareem Lucas (Woolly Mammoth); and INSHALLAH/MASHALLAH: a 3-D-audio opera re-imagining of the 1,001 Nights (Target Margin Theater). He is a Jonathan Larson Grant and New Music USA Grant winner, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, and has been an Artist in-residence with The O’Neill, THEatre ACCELERATOR, Goodspeed Musicals, and Weston Playhouse, among others. Avi is the resident composer at the 52nd Street Project and teaches at NYU Tisch.
TY DEFOE (Story & Book)
Ty Defoe (Giizhig), Oneida and Ojibwe Nations, is a writer and interdisciplinary artist. Ty aspires to an interweaving approach to artistic projects with social justice, indigi-Queering, and environmentalism. Awards: a Robert Rauschenberg Artist in Residence, Jonathan Larson Award, and Grammy Award winner. Works created and authored: FIREBIRD TATTOO, RIVER OF STONE, RED PINE, THE WAY THEY LIVED, AJIJAAK ON TURTLE ISLAND, HEAR ME SAY MY NAME, TRIALS AND TEARS (w/Dawn Avery), THE LESSON (w/ Avi Amon and Nolan Doran), among others. Ty is core member of All My Relations Collective, GIZHIBAA GIIZHIG | REVOLVING SKY (Under the Radar Incoming! The Public Theater). Movement Direction: MOTHER ROAD, Dir. Bill Rauch (OSF), MANAHATTA, Dir. Laurie Woolery (OSF + Yale Rep), and Choreographer for Tracy Lett’s THE MINUTES (Broadway). Netflix show: UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, and Young Jean Lee’s STRAIGHT WHITE MEN (Broadway), Dir. Anna Shapiro. Degrees from CalArts, Goddard College, + NYU Tisch. Lives in NYC + loves the color clear. SDC/AEA/Dramatist Guild Council Member. He|We, tydefoe.com
NOLAN DORAN (Story, Lyrics & Music)
Nolan Doran’s love for collaboration has led him to roles as a writer, director, and producer creating new works across theatre, live music and film. Recent Credits: Theatre Barn’s New Works Series & Choreography Lab, THEatre ACCELERATOR, The Johnny Mercer Writer’s Grove at Goodspeed, and a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow. Original works: MY ECLECTIC LIFE(HERE), WOODY – A NEW FAIRY TALE (Main Street Musicals winner), and THE KING (L.A. Indie Film Festival winner). Broadway & Off-Broadway: BROADWAY FOR BIDEN, HEAD OVER HEELS, Michael Moore’s, THE TERMS OF MY SURRENDER, THE GOLDEN GIRLS MUSICAL PARODY – PRIDE EDITION and The Museum of Broadway coming in 2022. Nolan holds an M.F.A. from The Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU Tisch. www.nolandoran.com @nolandoran.nyc
David Gomez & John-Michael Lyles
SHOOT FOR THE MOON
July 4 - July 11
SHOOT FOR THE MOON takes place in Harlem, 100 years ago. It explores a forbidden gay love affair between Mercy Wheatley, a Black prizefighter, and Federico García Lorca, a celebrated Spanish poet who is studying abroad at Columbia University. While they’re falling in love amidst the Harlem Renaissance, they’re forced to overcome cultural barriers, the cut-throat boxing world and Mercy’s impending wedding. It’s a sweaty and surreal musical that leaves you wondering: how hard would you fight for love?
DAVID GOMEZ (Book, Lyrics & Music)
David Gomez is a Chicane theatre artist who hails from Kansas City, MO. David is currently developing SHOOT FOR THE MOON with John-Michael Lyles through support from the Dramatist Guild Fellows Program, and as one of Musical Theatre Factory’s MAKERS for 2021. Upcoming projects include the lyrics to MISS HAVISHAM’S WEDDING, the libretto for SUGARPLUM, and the score to LAUNDRY DAY: A MUSICAL MURAL. In NYC, his music and lyrics have debuted at 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, Don’t Tell Mama, and Birdland. David received an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU in 2016. David is invested in continuing the tradition of rancheros y corridos which use lyrics and music to celebrate Latine stories.
JOHN-MICHAEL LYLES (Book, Lyrics & Music)
John-Michael Lyles is a Harlem-based, multi-hyphenate creative currently involved in the Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellows class of ’21 and Musical Theater Factory’s 2nd MAKERS Cohort. Writing credits include: additional music for the Second Stage production of Young Jean Lee’s WE’RE GONNA DIE & theme music for THE GREAT GAY DADCAST. He is amidst collaboration with David Gomez on SHOOT FOR THE MOON, a sweaty & surreal new queer musical set in the Harlem Renaissance. His music has been featured at 54 Below, Joe’s Pub and Don’t Tell Mama, to name a few. @jmlyles1 | www.john-michaellyles.com
Noel Carey & Scott Weinstein
THAT'S ALL FOLKS!
July 11 – July 18
It’s been two years since animator Mel Mars sold off his most famous cartoon character, Sly Fox. Late one night, as Mel struggles to come up with the next big idea to revitalize his flailing career, he’s interrupted by an improbable visit from his old animated friend. What started as a one-man work session devolves into a two-handed bender as the pint-sized, cartoon miscreant forces Mel to reckon with his past. Blending live theatre and animation, THAT’S ALL FOLKS! is a new musical comedy about loss and creation, childhood and death, and the healing power of art.
NOEL CAREY (Book, Lyrics & Music)
Noel Carey is an actor/composer/lyricist based in New York. Off-Broadway: IS ANYONE ALIVE OUT THERE? (book/music/lyrics w/ Julia Mattison, produced by Audible at the Minetta Lane Theater), OLAY LIVE: THE ROAD TO GLOW (book/music/lyrics w/ Julia Mattison, New World Stages). Regional: MURDER FOR TWO (First National Tour, Marriott Theatre, The REV), MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET (TUTS, The REV, Engeman Theatre). Television: BROOKLYN SOUND (co-creator, 2016 Streamy Award--Best Indie), OLAY Musical Commercials (music/lyrics w/ Julia Mattison, PureWow Entertainment). Musical Theatre Development: THE SHOWMEN (music/lyrics, Musical Theatre Factory, The PiTCH), THAT’S ALL FOLKS! (book/music/lyrics w/ Scott Weinstein, The PiTCH). Noel is a graduate of Emerson College and a member of the BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop (2013 Harrington Award).
SCOTT WEINSTEIN (Book & Lyrics)
Scott Weinstein is an award-winning director and writer based in New York and Chicago. His work as a director has been seen at major regional theaters around the country and he recently won the Joseph Jefferson award for his Actor-Musician, chamber style re-conception of RAGTIME with Griffin Theatre, where he is an ensemble member. Scott was the Associate and Resident Director for the Broadway National Tour, Las Vegas and Chicago productions of the hit musical MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET. He has developed new work at Pittsburgh CLO, The American Music Theatre Project, The Marriott Theatre, Route 66 Theatre, The Rev and others. Graduate of Northwestern University and proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. www.ScottGWeinstein.com
David Darrow & Kira Obolensky
July 18 - July 25
Based on the “21 Grams Theory” and the bizarre experiments conducted by Dr. Duncan MacDougall in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1907, this new musical follows a young nurse’s search for purpose as she aids an eccentric doctor in his peculiar experiment to weigh patients as they die to prove the human soul has weight.
DAVID DARROW (Lyrics & Music)
David Darrow is a Brooklyn and Twin Cities-based actor, composer, and playwright. He has performed Off-Broadway and around the country at American Conservatory Theater, The Guthrie, Baltimore Center Stage, Theatre Latte Da, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Florida Repertory Theater, Project Y Theater (Innovative Theater Award: Best Featured Actor), and others. David has also written and co-written several musicals (THE PASSAGE, JONAH AND THE WHALE, THE GREAT WORK, THE BOY AND ROBIN HOOD) which have been produced or developed at The NAMT Festival, Apples and Oranges, Village Theater, Greater Boston Stage Company, Trademark Theater, and 7th House Theater. David has held artist residencies at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Everwood Farmstead and he is a graduate of Albright College.
KIRA OBOLENSKY (Book)
Kira Obolensky's plays have been produced Off Broadway, in Los Angeles, in Prague and Terezin, and in such locations as homeless shelters, prisons, tribal colleges, chemical dependency centers and immigrant centers. She has received awards and fellowships for her work, including the Kesselring Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and most recently a Mellon Foundation National Playwright Fellowship, which put her in residence with the award-winning theater Ten Thousand Things. Her novella, “The Anarchists Float to St. Louis”, won Quarterly West’s Novella prize; and her short stories have most recently appeared in The Brooklyn Review. She attended Juilliard’s Playwriting Program, Williams College and is a core writer at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. She teaches at Spalding University’s low residency writing program and at the University of Minnesota.
Nygel D. Robinson
Brian Quijada & Nygel D. Robinson
July 25 - August 1
Inspired by the estimated 4,000-10,000 enslaved people in the Southern part of the United States who pursued their journey to freedom into Mexico instead of looking North, this under told chapter of the Underground Railroad is an exploration of Black and brown bodies standing together against oppression, and a unique take on the American border story.
BRIAN QUIJADA (Book, Lyrics & Music)
Brian Quijada is an actor, playwright, and composer and Co-Artistic Director of The WildWind Performance Lab at Texas Tech University. His hip-hop solo show WHERE DID WE SIT ON THE BUS? has been produced at Victory Gardens, Teatro Vista (Jeff Award), Ensemble Studio Theatre (Drama Desk Nomination), Boise Contemporary, 1st Stage, City Theatre Pittsburgh, and most recently, a digital production at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Drama League Nomination). His plays have been developed at The Kennedy Center, Pittsburgh CLO’s Spark Festival, Victory Gardens’ Ignition Festival, New Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Festival, and The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Musical Theatre Conference. Commissioning institutions include Seattle Repertory Theater, A.R.T., 1st Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Kennedy Center. He is a proud member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre.
NYGEL D. ROBINSON (Book, Lyrics & Music)
Nygel D. Robinson is a singer, actor, writer, and multi-instrumentalist based in New York City. Select musician theatre credits include Larry in the workshop and Lincoln center concert version of BEAU: THE MUSICAL, Jesus in GODSPELL (St. Michael’s Playhouse), and Actor/Musician in THE ALL NIGHT STRUT (Milwaukee Rep). Nygel is the co writer of the new musical concept album MEXODUS alongside Brian Quijada.
Sara Cooper & Lynne Shankel
& THE GHOST GIRLS
August 1 - August 8
PERPETUAL SUNSHINE & THE GHOST GIRLS is an all-woman+ throughcomposed musical theatre piece about the capitalist exploitation of workers’ bodies and rights in the face of a national public health crisis. Featuring an original 1920s-2020s mashup score, the show is based on the true story of the women who worked in the factories and were knowingly poisoned by the United States Radium Corporation, and who fought back, changing United States labor laws forever.
SARA COOPER (Book & Lyrics)
Sara Cooper is a Playwright-Lyricist. Recent highlights: Commercial musical adaptation of a TBA movie, lyricist (currently in development); PERPETUAL SUNSHINE & THE GHOST GIRLS, 5X15, Beck Center/Baldwin Wallace (2021), NAMT 15-Minute Musical Challenge winner (2020); Barrington Stage Company Spark Grant (2020); HoT, Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Grove, Goodspeed Musicals (2020), New York Theatre Barn New Works Series (2020; WINDOWS and BREAKFAST, Lowbrow Opera Collective (2021, 2020); POLYANNA, TV pilot, Grand Jury Prize, BOLT, Barnstorm Media (2020); THE MEMORY SHOW, New Bard, London (2016), Transport Group, The Duke on 42nd Street (2013), WaterGateMedia, Seoul (2012-2013), Barrington Stage Company (2010), NAMT (2010); ELEVATOR HEART, Moxie Arts (2019), University of San Francisco (2018), Tisch New Musicals (2016); FAULT LINES, The Kennedy Center (2018), American Opera Initiative Fellowship, Washington National Opera (2017). Jonathan Larson Grant, American Theatre Wing (2014). MFA Graduate Musical Theatre Writing, Tisch NYU. Dramatists Guild, ASCAP. http://saracooper.weebly.com
LYNNE SHANKEL (Music)
Lynne collaborated with lyricist Jon Hartmere to provide new songs for BARE: THE MUSICAL in 2012. Her composition has also been featured in the original musical MAYA which was commissioned by Teach For India. In 2016, Lynne wrote original music was The Old Globe’s production of RED VELVET. In 2017, Lynne released her critically acclaimed double album Bare Naked on Yellow Sound Label. Current projects include POSTCARD AMERICAN TOWN (New York Theatre Barn New Works Series 2019; Winner of SDSU New Musicals Initiative 2020); HoT (Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony 2020, New York Theatre Barn New Works Series 2020, Dixon Place, 2019); PERPETUAL SUNSHINE AND THE GHOST GIRLS (1st place winner NAMT 15 Minute Musical Competition) and SOLD!, a collaboration with contemporary dance choreographer Ann Yee. Lynneshankel.com
Anna K. Jacobs
Anna K. Jacobs & Anna Ziegler
A HOUSE WITHOUT WINDOWS
August 15 - August 22
Barbara Newhall Follett was the child prodigy author of a celebrated novel about a young girl who runs away from her family and vanishes into nature. Twelve years after its publication, on December 7, 1939, Barbara walked out of her apartment with $30 and a light overcoat, and was never seen or heard from again. She was twenty-five years old. A HOUSE WITHOUT WINDOWS is a meditation on the mystery of Barbara’s disappearance, the ways in which art imitates life and vice-versa, and what can happen when the life that seemed promised never materializes, especially to those for whom the line between reality and fantasy is already gossamer-thin.
ANNA K. JACOBS (Lyrics & Music)
Anna K. Jacobs is a Jonathan Larson and Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award-winning composer, lyricist, and book writer. Her stage works include POP! (Yale Rep, Pittsburgh City Theatre, Studio Theatre; book/lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman), TEETH (NAMT, O’Neill; co-book/lyrics by Michael R. Jackson), ANYTOWN (George Street Playhouse; book by Jim Jack), HARMONY, KANSAS (Diversionary Theatre; book/lyrics by Bill Nelson), ECHO (Musical Theatre Factory), and STELLA AND THE MOON MAN (Sydney Theatre Company/Theatre of Image; play by Richard Tulloch, co-composed by Adrian Kelly). She also penned the screenplay for THE REAL GEMMA JORDAN (University of Nebraska-Lincoln; music/lyrics by Rob Rokicki), and music and lyrics for the movie musical KAYA: TASTE OF PARASIDE (NY Film Academy; screenplay by Jerome A. Parker). Currently, Anna is working on commissioned projects for Barbara Whitman Productions/Grove Entertainment and California Center for the Arts. MFA: NYU-Tisch. www.annakjacobs.com
ANNA ZIEGLER (Book)
Anna Ziegler’s plays include the widely produced PHOTOGRAPH 51 (West End, directed by Michael Grandage and starring Nicole Kidman; named the number one play of 2019 by the Chicago Tribune; winner of London’s WhatsOnStage Award for Best New Play; just released on Audible; soon to be released as part of Bloomsbury's Modern Classics series), THE LAST MATCH (Roundabout; Old Globe; Writers Theatre), THE WANDERERS (Old Globe and upcoming at The Roundabout in 2022) and ACTUALLY (Geffen Playhouse; Williamstown; Manhattan Theatre Club; Trafalgar Studios and many more; L.A. Ovation Award winner for Playwriting for an Original Play). Bloomsbury/Oberon Books has published a collection of her work entitled ANNA ZIEGLER: PLAYS ONE. She is developing TV and film projects at HBO Max, Apple and Scott Free Productions.
Beth Malone, Erin Ortman
& Emily Saliers
August 22 - August 29
Where the universe meets Sawtooth, Idaho, Cyd DeBerg, on a mission to save her sliver of sky, crusades for International Dark Sky status stirring up a political firestorm and attracting the attention of journalist Roxanne Cooley. Roxanne's magnetism knocks Sawtooth out of its orbit including Cyd’s right hand man, Chris. In Cyrano fashion, Cyd begins a courtship on his behalf, but when words come too easily and feel uncomfortably true, Cyd is forced to concede the world as she knew it. Cyd and Roxanne are upended by the mysterious universe, truths hidden in darkness, and a collision course of love.
BETH MALONE (Book)
Pre-pandemic Beth was in the midst of reprising her role as Molly in THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN with The Transport Theater Group, where she became an Outer Critic Circle Honoree for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. Malone played the Angel in the Tony-winning Broadway revival of ANGELS IN AMERICA. She was nominated for a 2015 Tony Award and Grammy for her role of "Alison" in FUN HOME. She's in the original cast of RING OF FIRE, THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES and BINGO!. Film: "The Comedian", co-starring opposite Robert DeNiro and Edie Falco, Hick with Eddie Redmayne, "Brittany Runs A Marathon" opposite Jillian Bell and "God Committee" co-starring Kelsey Grammer. Malone recurred on CBS’ "Braindead" and ABC’s "The Baker and the Beauty". She guest starred on "All Rise", "Bluff City Law", "Bull", "The Good Wife", "Reno 911", "Judging Amy", "Laying Low", "What's On?", and "One Minute Soaps". She is the author and star of the critically acclaimed one-woman show "Beth Malone: So Far". Beginning in March 2020, while quarantining in Colorado, Beth began collaborating with Erin Ortman and Indigo Girl, Emily Saliers on her long procrastinated musical libretto, STARSTRUCK.
ERIN ORTMAN (Book)
Erin Ortman, co-book writer is a New York City based director and teaching artist. She is currently directing Broadway-bound JEANNETTE: A NEW MUSICAL, book by Lauren Gunderson and score by Ari Afsar, as well as a new musical by Beth Malone and Emily Saliers of The Indigo Girls. Erin’s recent work includes the new musical ONE THOUSAND NIGHTS AND ONE DAY, by the award-winning team Jason Grote and Marisa Michelson, which played to sold-out houses and won the Time Out NY four-star Critics Pick and REAL, by playwright Rodrigo Nogueira, which was selected by American Theatre Magazine as a “must see”. Additionally, her unique directorial approach was documented in a featured piece in Howlround by Martha Steketee. Her extensive concert work includes SNOW CHILD, a new musical by Georgia Stitt and Bob Banghart at SubCulture and the BACKSTAGE BROADWAY SERIES at The Sheen Center, with guests Vanessa Williams, Kelley O’Hara and Raul Esparza. Additional directing and developmental work include collaborations with LAByrinth, Ars Nova, New Georges, Pipeline, Pan Asian Rep, Houses on The Moon, The Weston Playhouse, The York, Dixon Place, The Ensemble Studio Theatre and NYSAF, among others. She serves as a frequent guest director and teaching artist at The Juilliard School, The National Theatre Institute and New York University. Erin holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, a MFA in Directing and Devising from Sarah Lawrence College, is a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and SDC. www.erinortman.com
EMILY SALIERS (Lyrics, Music)
Emily Saliers is a founding member and one half of the Grammy award winning duo Indigo Girls. Indigo Girls have toured worldwide and sold over 15 million albums since being signed to Epic Records (Sony) in 1989. She holds a BA in English from Emory University. In addition to her work with Indigo Girls, Emily co-owned the restaurant Watershed in Decatur, Georgia whose chef won the James Beard award for Best Chef, Southeast U.S.A. Emily is co-author of the book A SONG TO SING A LIFE TO LIVE: MUSIC AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE written with her father, Professor Don Saliers. She has written soundtrack music for film, including the Sundance short film ONE WEEKEND A MONTH, among others. She teaches a songwriting workshop in Nashville, TN every year and released her first full length solo album, MURMURATION NATION, in 2017. Indigo Girls co-founded Honor the Earth, an Indigenous environmental and cultural justice organization with Native American activist, Winona LaDuke. Indigo Girls have been active in issues such as sensible gun legislation, immigration policy, LGBTQ rights, and environmental justice. They are members of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Emily is currently working on a musical with Broadway’s Beth Malone and director Erin Ortman as well as a musical with the Elliot/Larsen Musicals team. Her newfound love of musical theatre has become an obsession. Emily adores her family, dogs, good food, and the sea.