2022 WRITER TESTIMONIALS

a sanctuary for development of new musicals

We were thrilled to welcome these incredible 16 writers who worked on 8 new musicals at a beautiful house in the Hudson Valley. 

Many thanks to our donors who make it all possible!

Zeniba Now Jay Adana THE LOOPHOLE Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.jpg

Zeniba Now
& Jay Adana


THE LOOPHOLE

“Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat is a creative sanctuary designed by experts in the development of new musicals. They make you feel like the whole crazy endeavor you’ve taken on might not be so crazy after all. RWR offers a form of support to artists that is completely rare and utterly enjoyable. THE LOOPHOLE is so fortunate to have won this residency, our story is forever changed.”

-Zeniba Now

 

“Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat gave us the time and space to breathe new life into our show. We were able to dream big and really define the show we were interested in creating away from outside pressure. When you’re so tangibly supported and surrounded by possibility it’s so much easier to conjure hope. I’m deeply grateful.”

-Jay Adana

Joel Perez  Benjamin Velez LOST CITY RADIO Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.png

Joel Perez & Benjamin Velez

LOST CITY RADIO

“Wednesday I hiked to the top of the mountain, and in the delirium of being out of breath (while soaking in the breathtaking vistas of wild green all around), I was able to crack the nut of our protagonist’s most important song. The hike itself was so generative that I went back and did it again the next day, ascending with vague ideas and returning with cold, hard, lyrics in hand. I definitely don’t have that experience every day! I couldn’t recommend it more highly to other artists.”

-Benjamin Velez

 

“I can’t think of a more inspirational, supportive, and restorative place than the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. Kathy and her team set us up for success to dig into our musical. After a thoughtful conversation with a mentor at the start of our residency, we wrote new pages, honed in on some character arcs, and developed some new songs. We're so excited to continue to develop Lost City Radio with all that we discovered during the residency.”

-Joel Perez

Jasmine Joshua Heather Ragusa HERE AND THEIR Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.jpeg

Jasmine Joshua & Heather Ragusa

HERE AND THEIR

“We solved many structure and music “problems” we’d been trying to solve for three years. Sometimes you need to create the illusion for yourself that the world has stopped spinning for a moment to catch your breath and find your footing again, especially after all that the world has been through in the last few years. Rhinebeck did that for us.”

-Heather Ragusa (she/her)

 

“Our show had just had a very intense workshop experience beforehand and it was such a gift to be fully taken care of so that we could focus on our work, just the writers. There were so many epiphanies that could only have come to us in the peaceful quiet of the lake where we could finally be still and listen to ourselves and our instincts.”

-Jasmine Joshua (they/them)

Paulo K. Tiról Noam Shapiro ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.jpeg

Paulo K. Tiról & Noam Shapiro

ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD

“Rhinebeck Writers Retreat allowed us to share a space that energized us creatively, gave us room to discover, and allowed us to comb through the score line by line, have difficult conversations about the work, and deepen our artistic friendship. An added bonus was the unprecedented warmth, generosity, and genuine interest Noam and I received from RWR’s Executive Director and board chair — a total honor, in an industry where there is a dearth of AAPI representation and new work is an uphill climb.”

-Paulo Tirol

 

“The impact cannot be overstated. We entered the week with drafts of scenes and left with a full book musical. Paulo’s and my time at Rhinebeck allowed us to go deep into the our show and then zoom out to look at the piece as a whole. At a time when residencies are shutting down and literary pipelines are backed up, Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat’s support for new musicals—providing a generous stipend; covering the costs of transportation, food, and lodging; assigning a professional mentor to each project — is unparalleled and transformative.”

-Noam Shapiro

Rona Siddiqui

SALAAM MEDINA: TALES OF A HALFGHAN

Rona Siddiqui SALAAM MEDINA Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.jpeg

“It has been difficult to set time aside to work on my show. [But] being out of the city, into nature, and accountable to my peer advisor, my mind jumped into action. All the ideas that had been floating around in the back of my mind flowed out with ease. By the end of the week, I had a new draft of the show that feels ready to be seen. I could not have gotten it there without the support of Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.”

-Rona Siddiqui

Tidtaya Sinutoke Lily Ali-Oshatz Naomi Matlow DEAR MR. C Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.jpeg

Tidtaya Sinutoke, Lily Ali-Oshatz & Naomi Matlow

DEAR MR. C

“As a working class artist, the opportunity to invest in my work while being financially supported was a life changing experience. Being a New York theatre artist in this pandemic has been such a dark time for so many of us... I feel that we discovered the heart and soul of our piece in a deeper way."

-Lily Ali-Oshatz

 

“Rhinebeck Writers Retreat felt like one of the biggest gifts a writer could receive. Our musical’s trajectory will always be defined as ‘before’ and ‘after’ our experience at Rhinebeck.”

-Naomi Matlow

 

“As an immigrant, I decided to write this musical to share an authentic immigrant story from my own experience, in the hope of helping others touched by similar experience. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to dedicate, create, develop and share DEAR MR. C to America. Thank you for believing in this musical and us.”

-Tidtaya Sinutoke

Shayok Misha Chowdhury Laura Grill Jaye HOW THE WHITE GIRL GOT HER SPOTS AND OTHER 90s TRI

Shayok Misha Chowdhury
& Laura Grill Jaye


HOW THE WHITE GIRL GOT HER SPOTS AND OTHER 90s TRIVIA

“We really needed time away from the hustle of our city lives to settle into the patience that writing a musical requires. Our musical asks risky questions about the pleasures and pitfalls of belonging to racial categories. Untangling those questions take time. Rhinebeck Writers Retreat was that rare gift of unfettered time.”

-Shayok Misha Chowdhury

 

“Our time at RWR was instrumental in answering big questions about our show. We had the time and space to explore, edit, and find the best solution... all while surrounded by nature. The experience was both productive and restorative.”

-Laura Grill Jaye

Lisa DeSpain David Simpatico THAT HELL-BOUND TRAIN Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.jpeg

Lisa DeSpain & David Simpatico

THAT HELL-BOUND TRAIN

“Untethered from expectations, deadlines, pressures, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat created a safe space where David and I could delve deeply into exploring and pushing the creative boundaries of THAT HELL-BOUND TRAIN. We emerged with a clear and united vision on the steps needed to complete the score, how to shepherd the work through an upcoming developmental workshop.

-Lisa DeSpain

 

“We were able to go through our entire piece with a fine-tooth comb, word by word, line by line, measure by measure to make sure that we never deviated from taking the story forward in some way. It gave us the undisturbed blessing of time and focus to make sure we remained on the same page from the first downbeat to the final period. Too many new pieces discover too late that the author and composer stop telling the same story at some point; but Rhinebeck Writers Retreat gave us the gift of time that allowed us to ensure we told the same story, now, before we put it in front of the public.”

-David Simpatico