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2023 Eligibility & Guidelines

Applications are closed for 2023.  Applicants will hear by early April if they are continuing to the final round.

To be eligible, your application should meet all these criteria:

  • All writers of musical theatre are welcome to apply. If any writers have questions about the application process or the program itself, please email

  • You apply with one musical, which can be at any stage of development (but the musical can’t be licensed by a major licensing house). Even if your musical has had a full production, you can apply to do rewrites.

  • If the project is not wholly original or in the public domain, you must have rights for all levels of production, and you’ll be asked to provide documentation such as a letter from the rights holder proving that you have the rights, when you apply.

  • All members of the writing team should be in residence the entire week, Sunday to Sunday. In the application, you indicate which weeks your team is available. If your application reaches the finals in early April, you can update us about any changes in your availabilities at that time, and if it is difficult for every member of your team to stay the entire week, we will look for creative solutions to any impediments.

  • A musical can only be submitted twice to Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.

  • Music must be original, not from a pre-existing source.

  • There is no smoking allowed in the writers' home.

  • All members of the writing team must be at least 21 years old by June 24, 2023.

Required Title Page Credit:

If you are selected, there is an agreement we sign. We ask for no money from our writers, and we pay for housing, food, supplies, train travel from NYC to Poughkeepsie, air travel reimbursement up to $1000, and a stipend of $550 to each writer. The only thing we require is a title page credit on all future readings, showcases, productions, and publications as follows: “Title of musical was developed, in part, at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.”

Guidelines to review before preparing an application:

  • Please be sure to read the eligibility and other application requirements carefully, as we are unable to follow up if your application is incomplete.

  • You will be applying as a team, with one person designated as the “Primary Contact," who will be responsible for communicating all information to the rest of the team.

  • The application requires 4 songs. If 4 songs aren’t yet completed from your musical, you will include other songs by the composer, but at least 2 of the 4 songs must be from the submitted musical.

  • The application requires 25 sequential pages of the musical. This can be the first 25 pages or any 25 pages. If you don’t have a first draft, you can submit a detailed outline of the musical you want to work on plus a 25 page excerpt from another play or musical by the bookwriter.

  • We want to consider all applicants no matter what their living arrangements require (i.e. one writing partner has a child and a caregiver). If your application is selected, we will work with you to meet those needs.

  • We don't discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation. If a writer requires wheelchair access, we will provide accessible housing for the entire team in one location, upon request.

  • For some weeks, we host a “Meet the Writers” event on the last night of the residency, which is a fun, informal gathering where writers talk about their show and share a few songs with the public. If you are selected, we can decide together if you are interested in participating in this event.

  • If you are a solo writer, please note that our readers have historically given preference to collaborating teams, because of our value in bringing writers together for intensive work. Use the "Background and Artistic Goals" statement to make your case for your need for a week alone to work.

  • Only writers can apply. We find that a one-week retreat best meets the needs of a writing team, rather than their work with collaborators such as directors and choreographers.  

  • The Early deadline for applications is Monday, February 13th at 6:00pm EST, and there is no fee. The Final deadline is Monday, February 27th at 6:30pm EST, and there is a $30 fee. If the fee poses any problem for you, email

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