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2023 Writers and Musicals


21 writers of 9 new musicals joined us for 9 sequential week-long residencies to focus solely on writing their musical this past summer.


Hear what they said about their week!


Jun 25 - Jul 2

Robi Hager and Georgina Escobar,

with Lead Support by Liz Armstrong


Jul 2 - Jul 9

Thalia Ranjbar and Kat Cartusciello,

with Underwriting Support by

Paul Feuerman & Bruce Grivetti



Jul 9 - Jul 16

Adam Chanler-Berat and Julian Hornik,

with Lead Support by

The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund


Jul 16 - Jul 23

Coyle Girelli, Ben Thornewill, and Laura Zlatos,

with Lead Support by Liz and Bill Mills


Jul 23 - Jul 30

Arpita Mukherjee, Justin Halpin,

and Jeffrey James,

with Lead Support by Molly McEneny


Jul 30 - Aug 6 

Adam Gwon and Michael Mitnick, with Lead Support by The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund 


Aug 6 - Aug 13

Jae Broderick and André McRae, with Lead Support by The National Foundation for Musical Theatre


Aug 13 - Aug 20

Justin Huertas and Rheanna Atendido, 

with Lead Support by Steve and Paula Reynolds


Aug 20 - Aug 27

Cheeyang Ng, Eric Sorrels and Desdemona Chiang, 

with Lead Support by The Noël Coward Foundation

in honor of Geoffrey Johnson

Click here to see our 2023 Finalists

Robi Hager and Georgina Escobar


June 25 - July 2

LITTLE DUENDE Robi Hager Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Robi Hager
LITTLE DUENDE Georgina Escobar Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Georgina Escobar

Show Synopsis

In the land of Elflán, life and beauty flourish. We meet Adelita, an adventurous and curious young elf eager to find what lies beyond the horizon. When the evil spirit of La Mancha kidnaps her mother and destroys her home, Adelita is forced to travel north to the land of the Hadaseñas in hopes of being reunited with her again. Using fairy tales and mythological themes, Little Duende comments on real-world matters as it explores the border crisis, dual citizenship, and the consequences of a dark family secret.

Peer Advisor: Jason Eagen

Artistic Director, Ars Nova

Robi Hager (Music & Lyrcs | He/Him)

Robi Hager is a Mexican-American musical theatre writer and performer who has appeared on Broadway with “Spring Awakening”, “How To Succeed in Business…”, “Doctor Zhivago” and “Bye Bye Birdie”. His musical LITTLE DUENDE was accepted for the 2021 NMTC at The O'Neill Center and was also selected for the 2021 NAMT festival. His other musical Siluetas was selected the following year for the 2022 NMTC at The O'Neill Center and will be receiving a production in Philadelphia with Power Street Theatre Co. He's the composer of LGBTQ musical Basic Witches, for which he received a 2018 Barrymore Award nomination for best original score. Robi's been commissioned by the Arden Theatre Co. to write a new children's musical based on the legends of King Arthur. For more information visit

Georgina Escobar (Book & Lyrics)

Georgina Escobar is a frontera writer & maker of sci-femme, musicals, and other futurity stories. She is a MacDowell, Djerassi, Fornés, Clubbed Thumb, & La Mama Umbria Writer/Artist. The recipient of the Gotham & Variety Audio Honors award, National Darrell Ayers, the Kilroy's List, & Outstanding Service to Women on the Border Award, her plays have been seen in the US, México, UK, Italy, Denmark & Sweden. She is an O'Neill NMTC Writer (LITTLE DUENDE 2021) & NPC Finalist (STONEHEART 2019). Her work has been performed & developed Off-B'way & regionally at INTAR, New York Children’s Theatre, JACK, Clubbed Thumb, Lincoln Center, Bushwick Starr, Two Rivers, Milagro, Aurora, & more. Her short film MONAH premiered at the Austin Film Festival 2022. Other book-writing credits include VINYL CAFE with Colleen Dauncey & Akiva Romer-Segal and DESAPARECIDAS with Jaime Lozano. 

NIMA AND THE JEN Thalia Ranjbar.jpg
Thalia Ranjbar
NIMA AND THE JEN Kat Cartusciello.jpg
Kat Cartusciello

Kat Cartusciello and Thalia Ranjbar


July 2 - July 9

Show Synopsis

Using ancient Persian storytelling devices as seen in the Shahnameh or One Thousand and One Nights, Nima & the Jen is a new Persian musical about family, redemption, and the longing for culture that comes from being children of immigrants. When Nima’s grandmother (Mandana) passes away, Nima discovers a box of drawings and important documents that date back to Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Her father soon learns of the box’s existence, and destroys its contents. In doing so he conjures the spirit of Mandana in the form of a genie with dementia. Together, Nima and Mandana embark on a journey to put Mandana’s memories back together and uncover the truth of their family’s past, but to do so they must travel back in time to Tehran, 1968. 

Peer Advisor: Timothy Huang

Composer, Lyricist, Librettist, Rhinebeck alum

Kat Cartusciello (Music)

Kat Cartusciello is an NYC-based composer, sound-designer, and multi- instrumentalist. Recent credits include THE TATTOOED LADY (Philadelphia Theater Company); THE DOCTOR IS DEAD (Apple Podcasts), 2.5 BREATHS, (Chain Theater, June 2022), and HEIRLOOM (Winner of Monmouth Film Festival & New York International Film Festival). Original works include THEN SHE RAN w/ Alex Becker: (Theater Accelerator (5/23) Scranton Fringe Festival (10/22), Feinstein’s 54 Below (2/22), New Studio on Broadway (11/21), AMDA (8/21)); VILLAGE SONG (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); and WALKS OF LIFE, (Blindspot Collective/La Jolla Playhouse). She currently has two musicals in development: NIMA AND THE JEN (written with Thalia Ranjbar) and HARDTACK (written with Jessie Field). She is the recipient of the Max Dreyfus ASCAP Award and the Betty Green Fischoff Troupers Scholarship. She received her MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts (May 2021), and her BA (Music) from Columbia University (Departmental Honors) in 2016.

Thalia Ranjbar (Book, Lyrics)

Thalia Ranjbar is a Persian- Salvadoran- Canadian multidisciplinary artist based in NYC. Recent directing/choreography credits include SPARKS (TheatreNOW), ALL WE KNOW OF LOVE & FIRE (Brick Theater),THE TALK (New York Theatre Festival, nominated for Best Short), and THEN SHE RAN (New Studio on Broadway). Original works include WHERE DO WE BEGIN? (Spriet Theater, 2019) and VILLAGE SONGS (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, 2022). In 2022, Thalia earned the distinction of Master of Fine Arts from NYU and shortly after was 1 of 12 global participants in the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project. Thalia’s theatrical writing has been presented by 54 Below, Lincoln Centre, Don’t Tell Mama, and the Emerging Artists Theatre.Thalia is also a passionate teaching artist and has a fierce belief in the importance of arts education for children. Presently she teaches at Classic Stage Company and the Washington Heights Choir School.


Adam Chanler-Berat
and Julian Hornik


July 9 - July 16

ASSISTED Adam Chanler-Berat  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Adam Chanler-Berat
ASSISTED Julian Hornik Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Julian Hornik

Show Synopsis

Richard has a play to make! Embarking on a docu-theater project set in the memory care unit of an assisted living facility, playwright Richard grows closer and closer to his interview subjects; as his work progresses, he faces destabilizing truths about himself and the facility he has become enmeshed in. This meta-theatrical musical fantasia is a mediation on aging, dignity, and performance as a means of palliative care.

Peer Advisor: Anika Chapin

Director of Artistic Development, Signature Theatre, DC

Adam Chanler-Berat (Book | he/him)

Adam Chanler-Berat is known for his performances in the original companies of Broadway’s NEXT TO NORMAL, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, SAINT JOAN, and AMELIE as well as Off-Broadway in ASSASSINS, RENT, FLY BY NIGHT, and FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE among others. As a writer, he is proud to be a member of the Civilian's 2022-23 R&D group. Adam was a 2020 Rhinebeck Writer in residence where he met his current collaborator, Julian Hornik. Adam’s play with music, CONTRA, has been workshopped at Ars Nova, was a finalist for Space on Ryder Farm 2018, and a semi-finalist for the 2020 O’Neill Festival New Music Theater Conference. He was a writer-in-residence with Barrington Stage (2021) as well as New York Stage and Film (2022) working on a play with music called AFTER PETER with composer Grace McLean. His 2023 Rhinebeck Residency project, ASSISTED, was also a finalist for the 2023 Ground Floor cohort at Berkeley Rep. 

Julian Hornik (Music & Lyrics)

Julian Hornik is a composer/lyricist and librettist whose work has been performed at, amongst others, the Kennedy Center, New York City Center, Ars Nova, Carnegie Hall, the Yale School of Drama, and every Gay Men's Chorus in the country. He has developed shows with The Civilians, Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat, Vineyard Arts, Orchard Project, Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project, the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, and Stanford University. Film and TV include SHARE (HBO), and animated series HELLUVA BOSS. Recipient of the Lucille and Jack Yellen Award and the Sammy Cahn Award from the ASCAP Foundation, and a Jonathan Larson Grant finalist; he is a 2022 Bryan Gallace Fellow with SPACE on Ryder Farm. 

REINCARNATION BLUES Laura Zlatos  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Laura Zlatos
REINCARNATION BLUES Coyle Girelli  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Coyle Girelli

Laura Zlatos, Coyle Girelli,
and Ben Thornewill


July 16 - July 23

Show Synopsis 


Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Michael Poore, Reincarnation Blues tells the story of Milo, who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times to be with his one true love — Death herself, or Suzie, as he calls her. As the oldest soul in the universe, Milo has blown nearly 10,000 chances to reach perfection and earn a place in the cosmic soul. He has five chances left to get it right, and if he doesn’t, the universe will crumble. Meanwhile, Suzie is fed up with ushering souls into the afterlife and wants nothing more than to live a life of her own, a life with Milo.

Peer Advisor: Brian Hill


REINCARNATION BLUES Ben Thornewill  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Ben Thornewill

Laura Zlatos (Book)

Laura Zlatos is a Pittsburgh-born, Brooklyn-based playwright and librettist. Her plays include THE BLUE WHALE (2021 Marsha A. Croyle Award; 2019 Dr. R.J. Rodriguez Emerging Playwrights Contest), THE EVEN MORE LAMENTABLE TRAGEDY OF LAVINIA (2020 Women are Funny Prize), HAPPILY AFTER EVER (2017 Woodward/Newman Drama Award; 59E59 Theaters; Edinburgh Fringe; Bloomington Playwrights Project; The Advocate’s “Top 10 NY Theater of 2016,” Honorable Mention), and the musicals A PROBLEM WITH THE PATTERSONS (music/lyrics by Andre Catrini) and REINCARNATION BLUES (music/lyrics by Coyle Girelli and Ben Thornewill). Laura was a Playwriting Fellow with Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company and a Resident Playwright with the Exquisite Corpse Company. She was a finalist for the Princess Grace Award, the Jerome Fellowship, and a 3x semifinalist for the O’Neill Playwrights/Music Theatre Conferences. MFA: Playwriting, Columbia University; MA: Performance Studies, NYU.

Coyle Girelli (Music & Lyrics)

Coyle Girelli is a New York City based British recording artist, singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist. Formerly fronting alternative rock bands Your Vegas and more recently The Chevin, he released his debut solo album “Love Kills” in late 2018 and Sophomore album “Funland” in 2022 and has a new album coming out in late summer 2023. He has written many songs for many other artists including BTS, Macklemore, Robin Schulz and Westlife and co-wrote songs for award winning, record breaking French musicals Robin Des Bois (2013) and Les Trois Mousquataries (2016). His immersive theatrical show TRUE LOVE FOREVER (in collaboration with Third Rail Projects) opens in NYC in fall 2023. He is currently working on several other new musicals including CHOREOMANIA (book by Donna Di Novelli), REINCARNATION BLUES (music/lyrics with Ben Thornewill book by Laura Zlatos) and MIRACLE OF THE SUN (music/lyrics/book with Michael Malih).


Ben Thornewill (Music & Lyrics)
Ben Thornewill is the lead singer and pianist of indie rock veterans Jukebox The Ghost. He has released seven albums with JTG, two solo albums, and recently toured as a backing musician for Sting. When he isn’t touring the world he is scoring films and commercials, writing musicals, recording new albums, developing podcasts, and turning names into music.  



Justin Halpin, Jeffrey James and Arpita Mukherjee


July 23 - July 30

A SONG FOR WHAT COULD BE Justin Halpin Jeffrey  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Jeffrey James & Justin Halpin

Show Synopsis

When one retired and one emerging songwriter are paired to write a song together for a charity album, they can’t see eye to eye on anything. But during their first short meeting, they inspire in each other a spark of something they never expected. As they embark reluctantly on this collaboration, they find themselves pulled into directions they had never imagined. The most surprising pull is the one they feel towards each other. They don’t know where they are headed or if the choices they make will continue to inspire them. They question the role of the artist, and what is art really for - these questions are at the heart of A Song for What Could Be.

Peer Advisor: Kurt Deutsch

 SVP, Warner Music Entertainment & Theatrical Ventures

SONG FOR WHAT COULD BE, A, Arpita Mukherjee.jpeg
Arpita Mukherjee

Justin Halpin and Jeffrey James (Music & Lyrics)

Justin Halpin and Jeffrey James began composing for stage and screen in 2018 with multiple new works. Their first musical, Chaining Zero, had a full developmental production at Kent State University in 2021. Their follow up, the new musical A Song For What Could Be, gave a sold out concert performance under the direction of Arpita Mukherjee at Green Room 42, in New York City. The duo finished in the top 5 of the 2021 Fred Ebb Award, and were semi-finalists for NMTC.  As Nashville based songwriters, Halpin and James are responsible for writing or collaborating on songs featured in 250+ film, television and advertising placements. They’ve had songs recorded by artists and DJ’s across 6 continents, and worked with brands including Xbox and Ford. 

Arpita Mukherjee (Book)

Arpita Mukherjee is a NYC based director and writer who recently made her Broadway debut as the resident director of THE KITE RUNNER. Arpita was the Co-Book Writer and Associate Director on MONSOON WEDDING, THE MUSICAL at St. Ann's Warehouse. Arpita previously directed BOLLYWOOD KITCHEN by Sri Rao (Geffen Playhouse), HOUSE OF JOY by Madhuri Shekar (San Diego Rep), and EH DAH: QUESTIONS FOR MY FATHER by Aya Aziz (Next Door @ New York Theatre Workshop).  Arpita has developed work at the Public Theater, WP Theater and O’Neill Theater Center, amongst others. She is a 2021 Resident Director at the Drama League, a 2018 - 2020 Women’s Project Lab Member and a 2018 Eugene O’ Neill National Directing Fellows and an alumni of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Arpita directed “Running”, a film written by and starring Danny Pudi and co-wrote the screenplay for the Disney+ Hotstar film "Gulmohar" with director Rahul Chittella. Arpita is currently developing projects for WIIP, AMC, and a Netflix feature directed by Mira Nair, with music by Pharrell Williams. Arpita is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Hypokrit. 

THE BOZOS Adam Gwon  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Adam Gwon

Adam Gwon and Michael Mitnick 

July 30 - August 6

THE BOZOS Michael Mitnick  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Michael Mitnick

Show Synopsis 


The Bozos is about Katie, a 12th grader with Down syndrome who asks her best friend, one of the most popular boys in school, to the Last Chance Dance. Katie and her group of friends have been tight since fifth grade. Katie was almost never made to feel different. But as her friends grew older and now set their sights on what’s next, forging dreams – Katie wonders what’s next for her. No matter – the Last Chance Dance is going to be the best night of her life. Unfortunately, everything spirals out of control as the pressure of graduation reveals uncomfortable truths and the friends maneuver to a new understanding of the world ahead of them.

Peer Advisor: Rick Boynton

Creative Producer of Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Adam Gwon (Music & Lyrics)

Adam Gwon’s musicals have been produced on six continents in more than half-a-dozen languages. Off-Broadway: SCOTLAND, PA (Roundabout - Drama Desk nomination, NYT Critic’s Pick), ORDINARY DAYS (Roundabout, Keen Company revival - Drama League Award nomination) OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES (Westside Theatre, NYT Critic’s Pick); Regional: STRING (Village Theatre), CAKE OFF (Signature Theatre - Helen Hayes nomination, Bucks County Playhouse), CLOUDLANDS (South Coast Rep), THE BOY DETECTIVE FAILS (Signature), BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma); West End: ORDINARY DAYS (Trafalgar Studios). Honors: Kleban, Ebb, Loewe, Richard Rodgers Awards, 2ST Donna Perret Rosen Award, Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, ASCAP Adamson Award, MAC Wallowitch Award. Recordings: ORDINARY DAYS, Audra McDonald's GO BACK HOME, ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE, THE ESSENTIAL LIZ CALLAWAY, OVER THE MOON: THE BROADWAY LULLABY ALBUM. 

Michael Mitnick (Book)

Michael Mitnick is a playwright and songwriter. Theatre works include SCOTLAND, PA (New York Times Critics’ Pick, The Roundabout Theatre Company), FLY BY NIGHT (Drama Desk-nominated Best Musical, Playwrights Horizons), MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES (The Geffen Playhouse), SEX LIVES OF OUR PARENTS (Second Stage), THE SIEGEL (South Coast Repertory), SPACEBAR: A BROADWAY PLAY BY KYLE SUGARMAN (The Wild Project), as well as THE HAPPINESS TRILOGY: (LOCAL), ED, DOWNLOADED (The Denver Center), and BABS THE DODO (Washington Ensemble Theatre). His music and lyrics have been sung on Broadway, at Lincoln Center, The Guggenheim, Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, and on HBO. Films include “The Current War” (dir. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon), “The Giver” (dir. Phillip Noyce), “The Staggering Girl” (Cannes Film Festival Selection) and “O Night Divine” (both dir. Luca Guadagnino). Michael graduated from Harvard University and has an MFA in Playwriting from The Yale School of Drama. He was raised in Pittsburgh and lives in Brooklyn.


Jae Broderick and André McRae


August 6 - August 13

Show Synopsis

Based on the true story of June & Jennifer Gibbons, the famously silent twins, Jenny & June tells the story of their struggle to be heard. Born in Wales to parents from Barbados, they were a mystery for much of their lives, speaking only to each other. However, they lived amazing inner lives as incredible artists and writers. Locked away in their room, they built entire worlds within their silence. In the summer of 1981, now restless teenagers, they found an outlet in petty crimes and ultimately arson. They were caught and placed in Broadmoor Mental Institution indefinitely, a sentence that was widely seen as unjust. A decade later, on the day of their release, Jennifer passed away under mysterious circumstances. With her death, their final pact was fulfilled - that one must die so the other could live.

Peer Advisor: Anika Chapin

Director of Artistic Development, Signature Theatre, DC

JENNY AND JUNE André McRae.jpeg
André McRae
JENNY AND JUNE Jae Broderick Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Jae Broderick

Jae Broderick (Book & Lyrics)

Jae Broderick is a writer/director/actress/composer hailing from St. Catherine, Jamaica. Her work centers the lives of women and people of color outside of time and in defiance of dominant narratives. Musicals: FORA (Eugene O’Neill Theater Center Residency, New York Musical Festival); JENNY & JUNE (BMI Industry Showcase, Eugene O’Neill Semi Finalist). Jae is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, Actors' Equity Association, The Dramatists Guild and the BMI-Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theater Workshop, as well as the author of “DeConstructing Criticism”, a toolkit for creatives which provides templates, strategies, and practices for receiving and dissecting criticism and feedback. 

André McRae (Music)

André McRae, a native of Philadelphia PA, is the proud winner of the Oxnard Gold Award in the American Traditions Competition. He is a graduate of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (B.M., M.M., Artists Diploma in Opera). Other credits: RAGTIME, SHOWBOAT, SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE and GODSPELL, PORGY AND BESS. Featured soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and the Broadway Concert Series Encores! at the New York City Center. André is a proud member of the prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Advanced Workshop, the Dramatist Guild, AEA and AGMA. Musicals: CHASING THE WIND (Eugene O’Neill Semi-finalist, NAMT finalist), JENNY & JUNE (Eugene O’Neil Semi-finalist).

WE'VE BATTLED MONSTERS Justin Huertas  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Justin Huertas
WE'VE BATTLED MONSTERS Rheanna Atendido  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Rheanna Atendido

Justin Huertas and Rheanna Atendido


August 13 - August 20

Show Synopsis

When you’re the youngest sibling in a family of secret warriors who for generations have protected Seattle from monsters and demons, living up to your Lola’s expectations is, in a word, daunting. Adarna’s mistakes were cute at first, but when they begin to cost her family more than she ever imagined, she must decide what she would sacrifice to save them. Loosely adapted from the 16th century Filipino epic poem Ibong Adarna, playwright Justin Huertas returns to his "Lizard Boy" roots with a sweet and intimate actor-musician musical adventure.

Peer Advisor: Natasha Sinha

Associate Artistic Director, Playwrights Horizons

Justin Huertas (Book, Music & Lyrics | he/him)

Justin Huertas (he/him) is an award-winning playwright, composer, lyricist, and actor best known for his original musical LIZARD BOY (Seattle Rep, Diversionary Theatre, NAMT Festival, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Hope Mill Theatre Manchester, Edinburgh Fringe, OCR streaming everywhere). His performance as Trevor has earned him regional theatre awards in Seattle, San Diego, and SF/Bay Area. He and Steven Tran composed original music for the podcast MARVEL’S SQUIRREL GIRL: THE UNBEATABLE RADIO SHOW! Other works include THE MORTIFICATION OF FOVEA MUNSON based on Mary Winn Heider’s novel (The Kennedy Center), LYDIA & THE TROLL co-created and directed by Ameenah Kaplan (Seattle Rep), and WE’VE BATTLED MONSTERS BEFORE with Rheanna Atendido (ArtsWest).


Rheanna Atendido (Dramaturg |she/her)
Rheanna Atendido (she/her) is a Filipino-American singer-songwriter and theatre artist bouncing between Seattle and New York. Playwright/composer credits include: BREAKUP BENCH, CULTURAL ESSAY, UNSTABLE CONNECTION, INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN (Book-It Repertory), SONYA'S CHICKENS (The 5th Avenue), MARY AND VIC GET AN ELECTRIC KICK (ArtsWest) and PABITIN (co-commissioned by The 5th Avenue & Village Theatre).



Cheeyang Ng, Eric Sorrels 
and Desdemona Chiang


August 20 - 27

Show Synopsis

In the world of Traditional Chinese Dance, Li Feng Yi is the best of the best. But when a life-threatening injury ruins her career, Feng Yi goes on a journey to heal her body, mind, and soul. Meanwhile, Dr. Zhao is a renowned practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but she is haunted by her painful past. Connecting these two women across space and time is Feng Huang, the Chinese Phoenix — an embodiment of beauty and grace. This groundbreaking musical will weave breathtaking sequences of Chinese dance with a rare look at both Western and Eastern medicine. Upon revealing that Feng Yi and Dr. Zhao are the same person separated by 30 years, The Phoenix asks — Who do you become when the thing that defines you is taken away? When you are broken, how do you heal?

Peer Advisor: Rick Boynton

Creative Producer of Chicago Shakespeare Theater

THE PHOENIX Cheeyang Ng  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Cheeyang Ng
PHOENIX Desdemona Chiang  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Desdemona Chiang

Cheeyang Ng (Music)

Born and raised in Singapore, Cheeyang Ng is an award-winning singer-songwriter who writes at the intersection of queer, Asian and immigrant stories. They have performed at Lincoln Center with Carole King and Carnegie Hall with Vocalosity and won multiple vocal awards in Singapore, Taiwan and China. They are the first Singaporean to headline a concert at Joe's Pub and Millennium Stage at Kennedy Center. Musicals-in-development: Eastbound (Village Beta, 2020 NAMT); MĀYĀ (2022 Amas, 2021 NAMT); The Phoenix (Goodspeed Mercer Grove). Harold Wheeler MUSE Award; Princess Grace Award; Eric H Weinberger Librettist Award; ASCAP Foundation Lucille & Jack Yellen Award. MFA: NYU. BMus: Berklee. @cheeyangmusic

THE PHOENIX Eric Sorrels  Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
Eric Sorrels

Eric Sorrels (Lyrics)

Originally from Tennessee, Eric Sorrels is an award-winning songwriter, librettist, and singer. He performed as a professional chorister for several years in New York City. Currently based in North Carolina, Eric continues to develop musicals with Cheeyang Ng while also working as an actor, music director, and pop songwriter. In development: MĀYĀ (2022 Amas, 2021 NAMT); The Phoenix (Goodspeed JMF Writer’s Grove). 2019 Johny Mercer Songwriter’s Project, Eric H Weinberger Librettist Award; ASCAP Lucille & Jack Yellen Award. BA: UT Knoxville. MFA: NYU. @eric_sorrels

Desdemona Chiang (Book)

Desdemona Chiang is a Taiwan-born American director and writer based in Seattle, WA and Ashland, OR. She works in a variety of genres, including new plays, Shakespeare, and musicals. Her stage adaptation of Amy Tan’s novel THE BONESETTER’S DAUGHTER received its world premiere in the summer of 2022. Her TV pilot MADE IN USA has been developed with the Sundance Episodic Intensive, The Orchard Project, The Writers Lab US, and is currently part of the Sundance Institute x The Asian American Foundation fellowship. She will be shooting a short film adaptation of the pilot as part of the AFI DWW+ program. Awards: Princess Grace, Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, Drama League. MFA Directing: University of Washington

2023 Finalists



ESPERANZA RISING: Jimena Caballero, Emma Cordray

FAR FROM THE TREE: Robert Maggio, Kristin Maloney, Justin Warner

FLOPHOUSE: Justin Anthony Long, Joanna Burns, Joël René Scoville

HEREVILLE: THE MUSICAL: Lizzie Hagstedt, Robby Sandler

IN THIS LIFE: Kendrah Butler-Waters, Cynthia Grace Robinson

THE OTHER SIDE: Keah Brown, Stacey Luftig, Mark Sonnenblick

PRIME DAY: James Harvey

THE PRYCE ACADEMY: Mazin Elsadig, Philip McKee

TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN: Joriah Kwame, Juliette Reilly

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