2021 Writers Grove Bios
Book by Preston Max
Allen & Jessica Kahkoska
Music & Lyrics by Preston Max Allen
PRESTON MAX ALLEN (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a playwright, composer, and lyricist whose work has been featured at the New Amsterdam Theatre, Lincoln Center, New York Musical Festival, Signature Theatre, Musical Theatre Factory, Feinstein's/54 Below, Joe's Pub, Laurie Beechman Theatre, York Theatre, Gallery Players, and Second City Chicago. Preston conceived and wrote book, music, and lyrics for We Are The Tigers (Album now streaming; L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation winner for Best Lyrics/Composition, nominee for Best Production), Never Better (NYMF Developmental Reading Series), and The Rage: Carrie 2, An Unauthorized Musical Parody (Jeff Nominee, Best New Musical). His play Modern Gentleman was featured as part of the 2020 PRIDE PLAYS Festival (dir. Blayze Teicher). Additional projects include music/lyrics/book for Agent 355 (dramaturg/co-book Jessica Kahkoska, Marion Fellowship Award Winner), music/lyrics for A Very Netfl*X Christmas Musical: Now Streaming Live! (book by Edward Precht), book/lyrics for Franklin Pierce: Dragon Slayer (composer Will Buck), music/lyrics for Bradical And The Pink Socks, and music/lyrics for The Hunted: Encore (LA Webfest Outstanding Score). Preston is a member of the Ars Nova Play Group (2019/20), graduate of the Second City Chicago Comedy Studies Program, and an alum of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. Above all, he is the proud father to his cat, Hero.
JESSICA KAHKOSKA (Book) is a writer and dramaturg/researcher. Her projects include Agent 355 (with Preston Max Allen, New York Stage and Film), In Her Bones (2020 Colorado New Play Summit, Denver Center for the Performing Arts), The Death Of Desert Rose (with Elliah Heifetz, 2019-2020 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat), NIA (dir. Sarah Wansley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Wild Home: An American Odyssey (with Notch Theatre Company, Red Line Arts-In-Society Grant, 2020 NEA ArtWorks Grant recipient), Letters To The President (dir. Michael Bello, The Great Hall at Cooper Union), and Of Spacious Skies (dir. Scott Levy, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College). Her writing has been additionally developed and presented at Ars Nova ANT Fest, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab, New York Theatre Barn, Chautauqua Theater Company, Musical Theatre Factory, Village Theatre, Phoenix Theatre Company, and the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition. Dramaturgical work includes new play/musical development Off-Broadway (Safeword., We Are The Tigers) and regionally (the Athena Project, Creede Repertory Theatre). Curatorial/multidisciplinary projects include "Call An Elder/Tune-in Tuesday concerts" (collaboration with Laura Nova, the NYC Department for the Aging), "Healing, Reconciliation, and the Taylor Collection Santos Story” (with Anita Rodriguez and Miguel Gandert, 3x3 Collaboration from Isolation, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College). BA: Northwestern University, MBA (in process): State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz.
ALIEN OF EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY (AOEA)
Book by Rotana
Music & Lyrics by Rotana Tarabzouni & Hayley Gene Penner
ROTANA TARABZOUNI (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a Saudi Arabian performance artist, singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, she moved to Los Angeles five years ago to pursue music after quitting her job at Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world. She is currently working on her one woman show/musical, Alien of Extraordinary Ability (named after her immigration status), and her debut album which just released her latest singles “Sin Again” and “Stuck in America.” Rotana describes herself as an initiator, an erotic being, and a liberator. As an artist that reckons daily with the experience of “other,” she is determined to give movement, sound, beauty and witness to that experience. After premiering her one woman show at FORM, a world renowned festival featuring artists and poets like Aja Monet and Florence and The Machine, she received the attention of publications like GQ noting that Rotana “delivered one of the most spine-tingling performances of the entire FORM festival.” She has also collaborated with brands including Fendi, Miu Miu, Lucky Brand, and more. Rotana has been named one of BBC’s 100 most powerful women and covered by GQ, LA Weekly, Huffington Post, Vice Arabia, Vogue Arabia, NPR, and AJ+. Her performances have spanned cities globally including Paris, Abu Dhabi, Los Angeles, New York, and at the Sundance Music Festival. Straddling a profound love for her home and the determination to be free, Rotana’s music speaks to the journey of self-realization in the face of Saudi tradition, God, sexuality, family and the immigrant experience.
AT BUFFALO: A NEW MUSICAL
Book, Music & Lyrics by Dr. Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, Khalil Sullivan & Joshua Williams
DR. AMMA Y. GHARTEY-TAGOE KOOTIN (Book, Music & Lyrics) Born to Ghanaian immigrants in Tuskegee, Alabama and raised in Kansas, “Dr. Amma” is a scholartist*, writer, performer, and producer who transforms historical material about black identity into performances for the stage and screen. Named a 2019 TED Fellow, she bridges the worlds of academia and arts/entertainment—having worked for A&E® Networks/The History Channel, National History Day, Inc., and as a professor. Her current projects are an historical musical about black performers in the 1901 World’s Fair entitled, At Buffalo, and a book about the relation between laughter and the American slave experience, entitled Laughing after Slavery: The Performances and Times of Laughing Ben Ellington. Her hyper-collaborative creative research projects have garnered numerous fellowships and awards including a 2019 MAP Fund Grant, an Innovative Seed Grant (CU-Boulder), a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, etc. She is also a co-recipient of a 2020 Honorable Mention for the National Council on Public History’s Outstanding Public History Project Award for her co-direction of [the Georgia Incarceration Performance Project]. Her educational work for the History Channel's Peabody award-winning documentary Save Our History: Voices of Civil Rights received a 2006 Beacon Award. The History Channel also selected Dr. Amma to join the ranks of Ang Lee and Gloria Estefan as one of 37 extraordinary immigrants/children of immigrants whose stories are currently featured at Ellis Island’s Museum of Immigration. Dr. Amma holds an A.B. in Afro-American Studies from Harvard University and an M.A./Ph.D. in Performance Studies from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
KHALIL SULLIVAN (Book, Music & Lyrics) Inspired by the expressive freedom and creativity birthed in the Harlem Renaissance, the blues and folk traditions of the African American working class, and the vocal and songwriting stylings of Tracy Chapman, Michael Jackson, and Bobby McFerrin, Maryland native Khalil Sullivan Muhammad is a musician, scholar of popular music and popular performance. He is also the Band Leader, Composer, and Lead Vocalist for the six-piece ensemble MAD NOISE, which received the distinction of being selected by the U.S. State Department's American Music Abroad (AMA) program to take part in a diplomatic music tour to Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea in December 2015. The ensemble has won several awards in the SF Bay Area, including Best Band in the Bay (SF Bay Guardian, 2011, 2012, & 2013), Best Hyperliterate Busking Outfit (SF Weekly, 2011), Best Local Band (Daily Californian, 2011); and have performed at a variety of local music clubs, venues and alternative spaces including Yoshi’s (SF), Great American Music Hall (SF), Hotel Utah (SF) The Uptown (Oakland). In his spare time, he also plays guitars for San Francisco, CA-based punk band, The Truants. Sullivan Muhammad holds an A.B. in English (Theatre minor) from Princeton University.
JOSHUA WILLIAMS (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a writer, theatre director, teacher, translator and scholar. In 2007, New York Magazine named him "a star of tomorrow" on the basis of his forthcoming novel, Bird in Blue. His plays have been produced or developed at Theatre Intime, Princeton University, the Capital Fringe Festival, UC Berkeley, CU Boulder, the New York Musical Theatre Festival, CAP 21, Ars Nova's ANT Fest, SUNY Buffalo, the Rhinebeck Writers' Retreat and Play Ground San Francisco/ Thick House. His play Ornithology was recently commissioned by EST/Sloan. He was a 2012-2013, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 member of the PlayGround San Francisco Writing Pool and had three of his short plays read at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and one published in The Best of PlayGround. In 2011, he directed the North American premiere of Ebrahim Hussein's Kinjeketile at UC Berkeley. Currently a visiting professor of English at Brandeis University, Williams’ academic research concerns the political figure of the animal in East African theatre and performance. His articles, essays and reviews have appeared in ASTR Online, Theatre Journal, The Johannesburg Salon, Theatre Survey, African Theatre, Performance Research, Africa is a Country, HowlRound, Brittle Paper and The Los Angeles Review of Books. Williams holds an A.B. from Princeton University in Comparative Literature with certificates in African Studies and Creative Writing, an M.A. from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, also in Comparative Literature, and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Jorge Miguel Rivera-Herrans
JORGE MIGUEL RIVERA-HERRANS (Book, Music & Lyrics) Jorge “Jay” Rivera-Herrans is a class of 2020 graduate of the University of Notre Dame from Dorado, Puerto Rico. After spending his high school years preparing to study medicine in college, Jay switched from his Pre-Med major to a major in Film, Television, and Theatre to pursue his dreams of becoming a playwright. After receiving pushback for his sudden change, Jay teamed up with Professor Matt Hawkins to write and develop a musical titled My Heart Says Go about a med school dropout who runs away to California to chase his dream of being a singer/songwriter. The musical debuted to a sold out run at the University of Notre Dame. My Heart Says Go is now in development with Apples and Oranges Arts as well as The Goodman Theatre. On top of playwriting, Jay also enjoys acting. He played Usnavi in the South Bend Civic Theatre’s production of In The Heights, Melchior in the University of Notre Dame’s production of Spring Awakening, and Indigo in Notre Dame’s production of My Heart Says Go (at the time titled Stupid Humans). He also received a callback for the role of John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton in Hamilton and was brought by Hamilton Casting to New York City, where he attended two days of dress rehearsals and met the touring cast. Some notable accolades include the 2018 BroadwayWorld award for Best Actor in a musical in South Bend for his role as Usnavi in In The Heights, as well as another nomination for the same award for his role as Melchior in Spring Awakening. Jay is currently in the process of writing his second major project, EPIC, a musical adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey. He recently received the first-ever Career Launch Fellowship with Show Shepherd, a New York-based musical theatre consulting firm that specializes in the development of new pieces.
Book by Ty Defoe
Music by Avi Amon (& Nolan Doran)
Lyrics by Nolan Doran (& Avi Amon)
AVI AMON (Music & Lyrics) is a Turkish-American composer, sound artist, and educator. Recent credits include: The Copper Children with Shariffa Ali (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Stew with Zora Howard and Colette Robert (Soho REP), The Fisherman dir. Zoey Martinson (HBO Films), The Black History Museum (HERE Arts), SALONIKA (Berkeley REP) and The White City with Julia Gytri (Yale Institute, O’Neill NMTC), and several sound installations in a 100-year-old grain silo in Buffalo, New York (w/ Torn Space Theater, featured at the Prague Quadrennial). Avi’s work has also been developed or presented by Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ars Nova, Atlantic Theater, BAM, The Civilians, Edinburgh Fringe, JACK, Juilliard, Lincoln Center, La Mama, Playwrights Center, Prospect Theater, and Spoleto Festival USA, among others. In development: Heroine’s Guide with Claire Kiechel (Spotify/Gimlet), Rated Black with Kareem Lucas (Woolly Mammoth), Inshallah/Mashallah: a 3-D-audio opera re-imagining of the 1,001 Nights (Target Margin Theater), and scores for several films. He is a Jonathan Larson Grant and New Music USA Grant winner, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, and has been an Artist in-residence with Princeton, Exploring the Metropolis at JCAL, Hi-ARTS, Judson, New Dramatists, and Weston Playhouse, among others. Avi is the resident composer at the 52nd Street Project and teaches a variety of collaborative art-making courses at NYU Tisch.
NOLAN DORAN (Music & Lyrics) is a Collaborative Theatre Artist (writer, director, and producer) who creates new works across theatre and film and is a 2019-2020 Dramatist Guild Foundation Musical Theatre Writing Fellow. In addition to The Lesson, his recent works include, My Eclectic Life (HERE), Woody – A New Fairy Tale (Main Street Musicals winner), The Spectrum (Azalea Film Festival winner), The King (L.A. Indie Film Festival winner) and music for Ayodele Casel’s While I Have the Floor (Spoleto Festival). Broadway and Off-Broadway credits: Co-Producer and Assistant Director for, Head Over Heels with songs of the Go-Go’s, Associate Director for Michael Moore’s The Terms of My Surrender, Assistant Director of the star-studded one-night concert Stronger Together: Hillary on Broadway and Assistant Director of Jamboree starring Sutton Foster and Jonathan Groff at City Center. Recently, Doran was Executive Producer alongside Liesl Tommy, Halle Morse, Julie Boardman and Jennifer Mudge for Broadway For Biden’s In Our America concert starring Glenn Close, Jennifer Hudson, Samuel Jackson John Water and over 150 Broadway stars; Executive Producer of Artists For Change for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; Producer for #Arts4America in collaboration with Arts For Biden-Harris; Co-Producer of The Secret Life of Bees; Executive Producer of The Golden Girls Musical Parody – Pride Edition for World Pride at HERE and is the Co-Producer of The Museum of Broadway coming in 2021. Doran holds an M.F.A. from The Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU Tisch. Check out his channel on Broadway on Demand, or visit nolandoran.com.
TY DEFOE (Giizhig) (Book) is from the Oneida and Ojibwe Nations and is an interdisciplinary artist, actor/writer, and Grammy Award-winner. Ty aspires to an interweaving approach to artistic projects with social justice, indigeneity, indiqueering, and environmentalism. Ty’s global cultural arts highlights: the Millennium celebration in Cairo, Egypt; Ankara, Turkey, International Music Festival; and Festival of World Cultures in Dubai. Awards: Global Indigenous Heritage Festival Award, a Robert Rauschenberg Artist in Residence, Jonathan Larson Award, TransLab Fellow, Cordillera International Film Festival Finalist. Works authored & created: Red Pine, The Way They Lived, Ajijaak on Turtle Island, Hear Me Say My Name, Trial and Tears, River of Stone, Wind Changes Direction (Crystal Bridges at The Momentary). Ty is co-founder of Indigenous Direction (with Larissa FastHorse), core member of All My Relations Collective, showing GIZHIBAA GIIZHIG | Revolving Sky at Under the Radar's Incoming at the Public Theater. Degrees from CalArts, Goddard College, + NYU Tisch. 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: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and made his Broadway debut in Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, Dir. Anna Shapiro. Lives in NYC + loves the color clear. He|We|
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Kalani Queypo & Kyle Puccia
KYLE PUCCIA (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a Platinum selling songwriter, composer and musician. His co-write, "Kids In Love," debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Kyle earned a Swedish Grammy nomination in 2018 and his songs have charted on Billboard's Top 40 Hot Dance Club Play & Top 10 UK Commercial Pop Charts. Kyle has composed dozens of scores for Microsoft and T-Mobile commercials and he's garnered song placements on such TV shows/films/brands as HBO, World Of Dance, Pretty Little Liars, Legacies, The Titan Games, Love Island, Siesta Key, The Vineyard and Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List. He's music-directed and/or created vocal arrangements for TV's Lucifer (Netflix), LA workshop productions for Rock Of Ages and Romy & Michele's High School Reunion, The Musical.
KALANI QUEYPO (Book, Music & Lyrics) Before moving to Los Angeles, Kalani trained in New York City, and was featured on stages all over the country such as the Goodspeed Opera House, Arena Stage, Trinity Repertory Company, Mark Taper Forum, The Wilma, and The Ordway. He can be seen in the Oscar-nominated Terrence Malick film, The New World, Steven Spielberg’s Emmy-winning Into the West and Slow West (Sundance GRAND JURY PRIZE). Television credits include Jamestown (three seasons series regular), Saints & Strangers, Fear the Walking Dead, Mad Men, Nurse Jackie, Bones, and Hawaii Five-0. Kalani is currently filming the new CBC series, Trickster. A short film written and directed by Kalani, Ancestor Eyes, screened at nearly 40 festivals and won 14 awards including the Rhode Island International Film Festival’s Directorial Discovery Award.
SALAAM MEDINA: TALES OF A HALFGHAN
Book, Music & Lyrics by Rona Siddiqui
RONA SIDDIQUI (Book, Music & Lyrics) is an award-winning composer/lyricist, orchestrator and music director based in NYC. She is the recipient of the 2020 Jonathan Larson Grant and the 2019 Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award, and was named one of Broadway Women's Fund's Women to Watch. Her show Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan, an autobiographical comedy about growing up bi-ethnic in America, had a developmental workshop at Playwrights Horizons November 2019. She has also received the ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award, the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award, and the ASCAP Foundation/Max Dreyfus Scholarship. She performed her concert Rona Siddiqui: Halfghan on a Mission at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her musical One Good Day (book & lyrics by Liz Suggs) was selected for the ASCAP/Dreamworks Musical Theatre Workshop with Stephen Schwartz in L.A. and was named one of the Best New Musicals of 2014 by the Festival of New American Musicals. Rona composed the music for an original 20-minute musical about Afghanistan, The Tin, which was selected to be part of the Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival in 2012. Her musical Treasure in NYC (book & lyrics by Laura Kleinbaum), an immersive musical adventure for autistic children, has been produced at The Cell. She is honored to be part of the 2020/21 MTF Maker and Ars Nova Vision Residencies. She has been commissioned to write songs for Wicked's 16th Anniversary Commemoration, Flying Free, Broadway Inspirational Voices, The Civilians, Pittsburgh CLO, the NYC Gay Men's Chorus, MuseMatch, 52nd St. Project, and the web series Amateur Dicks. She has been a featured songwriter in concert venues such as 54 Below, Joe's pub, and New York City Center. Original scores she has written for plays include Middletown, The Vagina Monologues, The Good Person of Szechuan, The Clean House, and Love Song of J Robert Oppenheimer. Rona music directed the Off-Broadway Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop for which she received an Obie along with the cast and creative team (Playwrights Horizons), Bella: An American Tall Tale (Playwrights Horizons), and Who's Your Baghdaddy: Or How I Started the Iraq War (St. Lukes Theatre). She has orchestrated for Broadway Records, Broadway Backwards, NAMT and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. She received her Masters from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
SOVIET REBEL GIRL
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Andy Roninson
ANDY RONINSON (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a composer-lyricist and orchestrator. 2019 Larson Grant Recipient, '19-'20 Dramatists Guild Fund Fellow, 2017 Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project participant. BMI Musical Theatre Workshop: Harrington Award for Creative Excellence, Robert B. Sherman Scholarship. Creator, host, and co-writer of the podcast Take A Ten, which featured a new ten-minute musical every month. Four episodes published and licensed by MTI, and one episode published and licensed by Concord. Awards for episodes include Best Musical (2x) at TNNY's Sound Bites Festival, the City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting, and the top prize at the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Short Playwriting Festival.
Book & Lyrics by Isabella
Music by Tidtaya Sinutoke
TIDTAYA SINUTOKE & ISABELLA DAWIS Thai-born, NYC-based composer Tidtaya Sinutoke and Filipina-American lyricist/bookwriter Isabella Dawis received the 2020 Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award for Half The Sky (www.halftheskymusical.com), the story of an Asian American woman climbing Mount Everest. Half The Sky was recently adapted into an episodic radio play for the 5th Avenue Theatre’s 20/21 Digital Season. Isabella and Tidtaya’s chamber musical Sunwatcher, about Japanese female astronomer Hisako Koyama, is in development with the Civilians’ R&D Group. Their work together has been showcased and supported by the 5th’s First Draft program, Theater Mu, Theater Latté Da, the O'Neill Center, New York Theatre Barn, the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lotte Lenya Competition Songbook, and Broadway Buskers. Isabella and Tidtaya recently served as mentors for the American Theatre Wing’s High School Musical Theatre Songwriting Challenge.
Tidtaya is a recipient of the Composer-Librettists Studio at New Dramatists, Johnny Mercer Songwriter Projects, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence, MTF’s MAKERS Cohort, the Jonathan Larson Grant and the Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award. A proud member of ASCAP, Dramatists Guild, and Thai Theatre Foundation. MFA: NYU.
Isabella’s playwriting has been supported by the Bushwick Starr, the 24 Hour Plays, Central Square Theater, New England Conservatory, and the Schubert Club. 2019-2020 Rockwell Scholarship, Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts. B.M. summa cum laude piano performance, University of Minnesota; Classical Voice, New England Conservatory.
UNTITLED NEW MUSICAL
Book by Jake Bernstein
Music & Lyrics by Jonathan Brielle
JAKE BERNSTEIN (Book) is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author. He was a senior reporter on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team, which broke the Panama Papers story. In 2017, the project won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. Bernstein was an executive producer on the The Laundromat, a Netflix film based on his book, Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers, Illicit Money Networks, and the Global Elite (Henry Holt, 2017). He earned his first Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for National Reporting, for coverage of the financial crisis. He has done radio, television, and podcasting, including three highly-rated This American Life episodes. Bernstein has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Guardian, The New York Review of Books, and Vice, and has appeared on the BBC, NBC, CNN, PBS, and NPR. He was the editor of The Texas Observer and is the coauthor of Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency (Random House, 2006).
JONATHAN BRIELLE (Music & Lyrics) on Broadway: wrote the music and lyrics for Foxfire with Jessica Tandy (Tony Award) Hume Cronyn, and Keith Carradine; Off-Broadway: Himself and Nora (book, music, lyrics); Outer Critics Best Musical Nomination, Minetta Lane Theatre 2016; Circle Repertory Company, NY: dozens of scores as Composer in Residence; Regional: Himself and Nora: American Theater Group, James Joyce Center, Ireland and The Old Globe; Nightmare Alley (book, music, lyrics): Geffen Playhouse; 40 Naked Women, A Monkey and Me (book, music, lyrics) The Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Conference. Las Vegas: Enter The Night (book, music, lyrics) Stardust Hotel 12 years; MadHattan (book, music, lyrics) New York, New York Hotel; US Tours: Rugrats, Live! (Executive Music Supervisor); Goosebumps, Live! (Producer, Music) TV: Wonderama (music, lyrics); Charitable Organizations: Executive Vice President of the Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF), creating programs in New York, Newark, Los Angeles, Miami and Atlanta. Writer/Producer in Residence of the Johnny Mercer Writers’ Grove at Goodspeed Musicals and oversees the JMF Songwriting Project at Northwestern University. Jonathan is the former National Projects Director of the Songwriters Guild of America and is the founder of a new platform featuring new Broadway bound musicals with Forever Free musical theater education for grades K-12: www.valamusicals.com.
UNTITLED NEW MUSICAL
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Zack Zadek
Project Created/Conceived with Sammi Cannold
ZACK ZADEK (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a Brooklyn-based composer/lyricist and songwriter with Warner/Chappell. He is a two-time MacDowell Fellow, UCross Fellow, VCCA Fellow, Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellow, and was named by Playbill as “a contemporary musical theatre writer you should know.” Zack won the Weston New Musical Award for his book, music, and lyrics to Deathless (dir. Tina Landau) which was produced at Goodspeed Musicals in 2017. His work has been developed and presented at The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Signature Theatre, Roundabout, The 5th Avenue Theatre, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, The Playwright’s Center, The Lark, Vineyard Arts Project, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Mitten Lab, Johnny Mercer Writers Colony, NYMF, and in the UK at The London Theatre Workshop and Edinburgh Fringe. Zack received the inaugural New Voices award from Disney/NMI and is a two-time Kleban Prize finalist, three-time Jonathan Larson Grant finalist, and is a founding member of Musical Theatre Factory. As a songwriter he has co-written and released records with artists on every major label group. He currently holds commissions from Mike Bosner, Arena Stage, and Ars Nova/Jill Furman and is a writer-in-residence at SPACE on Ryder Farm, The Orchard Project Greenhouse, The Civilians, and Ars Nova.
SAMMI CANNOLD (Concept) is a director who is one of Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 in Hollywood & Entertainment, class of 2019. Recent theater credits include Evita (New York City Center), Endlings (New York Theatre Workshop, A.R.T.), Ragtime on Ellis Island, Violet on a moving bus (A.R.T.), and Allegory (La Jolla Playhouse WOW). Upcoming projects include Carmen (Lincoln Center w. MasterVoices), a documentary film, two feature films, and a limited series. Associate director credits include the Broadway production of Natasha, Pierre... (dir. Rachel Chavkin). Sammi has also served as an Artistic Fellow at the A.R.T., a member of Cirque du Soleil's Creative Cognoscenti, and a Sundance Institute Fellow and developed work with Playwrights Realm, The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, New York Stage and Film, Cirque du Soleil, and Nickelodeon. She holds a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. from Harvard University.