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2024 Writers Grove

2024 Writers Grove


Book by Christine Toy Johnson | Music by Jason Ma | Lyrics by Jason Ma & Christine Toy Johnson

Melis Aker

CHRISTINE TOY JOHNSON (Book & Lyrics) is a Tony honored, Obie, Rosetta LeNoire, JACL, and Asian American Arts Alliance award winning writer, actor, and advocate for inclusion. Her written work has been produced and/or developed by the Roundabout, Village Theatre, O’Neill Center, the Abingdon, Greater Boston Stage Company, Ars Nova, Barrow Group, Prospect Theatre, National Women’s Theatre Festival, Weston Playhouse and more, and is included in the Library of Congress’s Asian Pacific American Playwrights Collection and published by NoPassport Press, Rowman & Littlefield, Applause Books, and Smith & Kraus. Additional awards include the 1st annual Alvin Epstein Memorial Prize for Solo Performance in 2022 for her new play with music, “A Little More Blue”, and 25 competitive grants in support of her work. She is the co-director (with Bruce Johnson) and Executive Producer of the multiple award-winning documentary feature “Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story” and Executive Producer/Screenwriter/Lyricist (with composer Michael Mott) of the movie musical short “Riding Out the Storm”. Treasurer of the Dramatists Guild and host of the Guild’s podcast "Talkback" on Broadway Podcast Network. Co-founder of AAPAC (Asian American Performers Action Coalition). Alum of BMI, The Writers Lab, and Sarah Lawrence College. As an actor, Christine has appeared on Broadway (THE MUSIC MAN, GREASE!, CHU CHEM), Off-Broadway (MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, PACIFIC OVERTURES, CRANE STORY, FALSETTOLAND, BALANCING ACT, PHILIP GOES FORTH, NYSF), National tours (COME FROM AWAY, FLOWER DRUM SONG, BOMBAY DREAMS, and CATS), in regional theaters across the country (including the Guthrie, Williamstown and the Huntington) and over 100 television and film appearances (most notably as “Sherry Yang” on Marvel’s “Iron Fist”, ‘Linh Gaad” on “The Americans”, “You”, “Law and Order: SVU”, ‘Bull” and more). Insta/Threads: @CToyJ Details: www.christinetoyjohnson.com

Jacinta ClusellasJASON MA (Music & Lyrics) is the son of an immigrant family and a grateful descendant of a long line of those who were able to persist, overcome, and succeed on their way to becoming Americans. In addition to writing, he's an actor who has performed extensively on Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, in regional theaters, and in many international venues. Jason is the ASCAP Foundation’s 2017 recipient of the Cole Porter Award for his work as a composer/lyricist and the 2021 recipient of the Harold Adamson Award for his work as a lyricist. He wrote the book, music and lyrics for GOLD MOUNTAIN, which received its world premiere production in the fall of 2021, presented by the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The Utah State Legislature awarded a special citation to the production, honoring “its portrayal of the dreams and daily lives of the Chinese railroad workers…” and "increasing the appreciation of what it means to be American.” GOLD MOUNTAIN was also performed as a key commemorative event for Utah's 2019 Spike 150 anniversary celebrations, presented in a 2017 concert at The Times Center in New York City by the National Asian Artists Project in partnership with Prospect Theater Company, and selected for the 2016 ASCAP/ DreamWorks Musical Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles. Recently, Jason wrote original music for Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of TWELFTH NIGHT, creating songs and sounds based on the cultural, racial, and ethnic identities of the performing company. He's currently working on music and lyrics for a new, original musical BROKEN GROUND with librettist/co-lyricist Christine Toy Johnson, a work commissioned by Village Theatre, now in development.


Book by Tom Ling & Jacob Dorrell | Music by Josh Kemp | Lyrics by Tom Ling & Jacob Dorrell

Patrick Lundquist

TOM LING (Co-Book & Lyrics) is an actor and writer from Watford, UK. His work includes: THE LITTLE BIG THINGS, his West End debut and the first musical to open at Soho Place; TECHIES: THE MUSICAL, 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Sell-Out; THE CEREAL CAFE, professionally workshopped at The Other Palace and finalist of the 2021 Stiles and Drewe Award; THE TERRIFIC TREEVILS: MUSICAL IN A BOOK, Watford Palace Theatre; ANIMAL FARM, British Youth Music Theatre. Tom was part of the 2019 Johnny Mercer Foundation's Writers Grove at Goodspeed and their 2020 Songwriters residency. 

Peter SeibertJACOB DORRELL (Co-Book & Lyrics) is a writer and producer. He is assistant to Adam Speers, Executive Producer of Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, the award-winning producing and general management arm of the world’s largest live-theatre company. Prior to this he was Head of Culture and Events for the London HQ of global advertising agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty. A masters graduate from Guildford School of Acting, Jacob developed THE CEREAL CAFE with co-writer Tom Ling, having been selected by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s scheme at The Other Palace to workshop the piece in 2017. The production went on to have a second workshop in 2019, and was selected as a Stiles & Drewe Award finalist in 2021.

Peter SeibertJOSH KEMP (Music) is a writer, filmmaker & composer/lyricist from Nottingham. He is Co-founder of Chatterbox Films and his musical feature BREAKING THE HABIT, is due to be shown internationally at film festivals. The soundtrack for BREAKING THE HABIT was the 6th most pre-ordered album in the UK, eventually placing at #3 in the soundtrack charts. Josh has written/arranged music for BBC, Framework, Skaraborgs Musical & Film Academy and HBO, five top #10 EPs (iTunes charts). He was most recently lyricist for BYMT’s musical production of the hit TV Show, EDUCATING YORKSHIRE and composer/librettist for their workshop production of George Orwell's, ANIMAL FARM.


Book by Ianne Fields Stewart | Music by Jonathan Brielle | Lyrics by Sam Salmond and Jonathan Brielle | Directed by Jeff Calhoun

Ianne Fields Stewart

IANNE FIELDS STEWART [they/she] (Book) is a multi-hyphenate creative working at the intersection of art, activism, and pleasure. Their work spans across many fields including: theatre, film, dance, creative writing, arts administration, and social justice. She is dedicated to creating art, facilitating spaces, and influencing organizational practices that allow Black queer and trans people to radically luxuriate in our own joy. To put it simply, she wants to make their people feel good. The 2022 toast honoree of The League of Professional Theatre Women's, NY Audiences have most recently seen Ianne performing at Lincoln Center with Sydnie L. Moseley Dances. Ianne has worked consistently in productions at NYC venues such as: Joe’s Pub, Dixon Place, La Mama, and many more. Ianne was personally requested by Sara Ramirez (And Just Like That) to play their love interest in an interracial polyamorous couple of color in the 3-Time Emmy-Nominated web series The Feels. Other Film/TV Credits include: Dash & Lily (Roberta), The Bold Type (Chloe Blair), and Pose (Pretty Bartender). Media credits include: The New York Times, BBC News, Vogue.com, Out Magazine, Forbes.com, NBC, MSNBC, The New York Public Library, Buzzfeed LGBT, Playbill.com, Broadway.com, GLAAD, Inside Edition. 

Jonathan Brielle

JONATHAN BRIELLE (Music & Lyrics) His first Broadway credit was writing music and lyrics for Foxfire starring theater legends Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy (who won the Tony) and Keith Carradine. Subsequently, he became Composer in Residence of the prestigious Circle Repertory Company in New York, providing scores for some of New York’s top playwrights. His recent credits include his slightly autobiographical show, A Monkey and Me, Stories I Never Told My Mother (book, music, lyrics) Axelrod Performing Arts Center, in which he starred with Tovah Feldshuh and Veanne Cox; Himself and Nora (book, music, lyrics), Minetta Lane Theater; James Joyce Center Dublin, March 2024; Nightmare Alley (book, music, lyrics), Geffen Playhouse; and A Monkey and Me (book, music, lyrics), Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Conference. His Las Vegas shows include book, music and lyrics for Enter The Night (Stardust) and MADhattan (New York, New York). For television, he is the music director and composer for Wonderama on the Tribune network and is the founder of Vala Musicals, a streaming platform for new shows and forever free musical theater education. At this year’s JMF Writers Grove at Goodspeed, Jonathan will be working with Black transfeminine poet, Ianne Fields Stewart on A Complicated Woman with two-time Tony-nominated director Jeff Calhoun.

Jeff Calhoun

JEFF CALHOUN (Director) Broadway: Disney’s Newsies (Tony Award Nomination for Best
Director), Bonnie & Clyde, Jekyll & Hyde, Grey Gardens, Deaf West’s Big River (Tony Award Nomination for Best Revival of a Musical), Brooklyn, Annie Get Your Gun, Grease (Tony Award Nomination for Best Choreography), Tommy Tune Tonite, and The Will Rogers Follies. Tours, Off-Broadway, and International: Between The Lines (Drama Desk Nomination), Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 (US National Tour, London, and Australia) and Disney’s High School Musical 1 & 2. Mr. Calhoun is an Associate Artist at The Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. He also serves on the Latin American Board of Directors for Covenant House and recently directed A Night of Covenant House Stars (2020 and 2021) on AmazonPrime. Currently, Jeff is working on an original musical for Deaf West entitled ELEPHANT SHOES. Twitter and Instagram: @thejeffcalhoun


Book & Lyrics by Sophie Boyce | Music by Veronica Mansour

Sophie Boyce

SOPHIE BOYCE (Book/Lyrics/Story) Based in NYC and London, this year Sophie has been Winner of the Eugene O’Neill National Musical Theatre Conference, Finalist for the Kleban Prize for Lyricism, Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Award, Write Out Loud and ‘Best of the Fest’ at the New York Theatre Festival. Sophie has an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU and prior to all of this, was a member of the Writers Room for the UK television series, ‘Skins’, as well as Founder/Director of the acclaimed UK Musical Theatre Program, Spirit YPC, which under her direction attracted over 100 million online viewers to their online performance videos. Past works: F You Future Alice. Current works: The Forty Elephants, The Dark Lady.

Veronica Mansour

VERONICA MANSOUR (Music/Story) Based in NYC and LA, this year Veronica has been one of four writers selected for the DreamWorks Theatricals, MTI & NBCUniversal Emerging Writers Program, nominated for a Marvin Hamlisch International Music Award, a Write Out Loud Contest winner, recipient of the Vanguard Theater New Works Festival Commission, and both a finalist and selected writer for the National Music Theatre Conference. Veronica is an accomplished cellist and vocalist, having performed with and for many artists such as Kristin Chenoweth, Todd Rundgren, Chloe Agnew, and Philip Glass before pursuing her MFA in Graduate Musical Theatre Writing at NYU. Past works: CYRANO, An Old Family Recipe. Current works: LIGHTHOUSE, The Dark Lady.


Book by Trey Ellis & Matt Williams | Music & Lyrics by Masi Asare & Jimmy Vivino

Trey Ellis

TREY ELLIS (Co-Book) is a two-time Emmy and Peabody winning filmmaker, American Book Award winning novelist, NAACP Image award winning playwright, essayist and Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Most recently, he was an Executive Producer and Interviewer for the Emmy-winning HBO documentaries True Justice: Bryan Stevenson's Fight for Equality and King in the Wilderness. His screenplay Holy Mackerel! is one of the highest ever rated on Franklin Leonard’s Black List.com. He is currently developing this project as a limited series for the FX network with Shaka King and starring Samuel L. Jackson. Some of his other screenplays include the Peabody Award-winning The Tuskegee Airmen for HBO and Good Fences for Showtime, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for the PEN award for Best Teleplay. His works have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is the author of the novels, Platitudes, Home Repairs and Right Here, Right Now, as well as the memoir Bedtime Stories: Adventures in the Land of Single-Fatherhood. His essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, GQ and Vanity Fair and he has contributed audio commentary to NPR’s All Things Considered. His first play, Fly, was commissioned by the Lincoln Center Institute and continues to be performed around the country including Washington, D.C.’s Ford’s Theater, the Pasadena Playhouse and the New Victory Theater in New York. His second play, Kansas City Swing, was produced at the Spencer Theater at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and the Tony-winning Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He is currently in rehearsals for a musical on the life of Dorothy Dandridge for which he wrote the book and is co-writer of the lyrics. A night of the music from the musical was performed at Carnegie Hall this summer.

Matt Williams

MATT WILLIAMS (Co-Book) is best known as the creator and Executive Producer of the hit series Roseanne and the co-creator and Executive Producer of Home Improvement. Williams started his television career when he joined The Cosby Show during its premiere season and worked as a writer/producer on the show for three subsequent seasons. He also co-created the series A Different World. During his time with The Cosby Show, Matt’s work was nominated for Emmy and Humanitas Awards and won a Peabody Award for Outstanding Achievement in Television Writing.

In 1989, Williams formed the bi-coastal production company Wind Dancer Films with principals Carmen Finestra and David McFadzean. Williams’ projects under the Wind Dancer banner include the television programs Carol & Company, Soul Man, Buddies, and the PBS children’s program Ready Jet Go! In film, Matt wrote or produced Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, Firelight, Where the Heart Is, What Women Want, Bernie, and The Keeping Room.

Matt has directed numerous productions in regional and Off-Broadway theatres. He directed the world premiere of Robby Benson’s musical Open Heart at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Along with Daryl Roth Productions and his partners at Wind Dancer, he co-produced the stage production of Camping with Henry and Tom. He and Wind Dancer co-produced The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin at Playwrights Horizons.

Matt is a founding board member of The New Harmony Project and the Cherry Lane Theatre and is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program. He lives in New York with his wife, actress Angelina Fiordellisi, who is the Artistic Director of the Cherry Lane Theatre.

Masi Asare

MASI ASARE (Music & Lyrics) is a composer, lyricist, and playwright. Broadway: PARADISE SQUARE (lyrics, Tony nomination). Off-Broadway: NOTES FROM NOW (music/lyrics), Prospect Theater Company; MONSOON WEDDING (lyrics), coming to St. Ann’s Warehouse May 2023, with performances in Doha during the World Cup in Nov 2022. Commissions: Theatre Royal Stratford East, Barbara Whitman/Grove Entertainment, Toulmin Foundation/Victory Gardens, the Stacey Mindich “Go Write A Musical” Lilly Award. In development: THE FAMILY RESEMBLANCE (book/music/lyrics), developed at the O’Neill Center and Live & In Color; RISHVOR (book/music/lyrics), GARDEN OF STARFLOWERS (book/music/lyrics), DELTA BLUE (music/lyrics). Masi’s secret agent musical SYMPATHY JONES (music/lyrics), and Marvel superhero play MIRROR OF MOST VALUE have collectively had over 90 productions. A past Dramatists Guild Fellow, Masi received the inaugural Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award for a woman composer of musicals, the Holof Lyricist Award and Haupt Composition Prize from the O’Neill Center; a Lilly Award; and an emerging artist grant from the Theater Hall of Fame. In 2021, she was named a "Woman to Watch on Broadway" by Broadway Women's Fund. Masi holds degrees from Harvard and NYU Tisch School of the Arts and is on the theatre faculty at Northwestern University. masiasare.com 

Jimmy Vevino

JIMMY VIVINO (Music & Lyrics) aka Jimmy V has always considered himself “a blues man with a job”. Although best known for serving 26 years as Conan O’Brien’s musical director, guitarist and bandleader, his experience in the music business predates that by 20 plus years. Jimmy has produced, lead bands, and recorded with a countless number rock and roll and blues artists for five decades including the likes of Hubert Sumlin, Warren Haynes, Bob Weir, Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Johnnie Johnson, Son Seals, Shemekia Copeland, Levon Helm, Phoebe Snow, Dion, Laura Nyro, Bob Margolin, Lowell Fulson, John Sebastian, Joe Louis Walker and Al Kooper to name a few. When not producing, recording, or touring with other artists, Jimmy still tours the country and the world with his own band and is due to release a new blues album later on this year. 


Book, Music, & Lyrics by Dylan MarcAurele

Dylan MarcAureleDylan MarcAurele (Book, Music, & Lyrics) is a New York-based writer. He won the 2023 Richard Rodgers Award, was a 2020-21 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, and was a 2021 Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist. Composing credits include bluegrass pop musical tragicomedy LEWIS LOVES CLARK, interactive dark comedy TEA WITH G (reading dir. Scott Schwartz), and family musical THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN TOYS (“This score could compete with a lot of far more famous holiday attractions...You might want to catch this show just to hear MarcAurele’s tunes.”—Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune). An avid fan of popular culture, he wrote book, music, and lyrics for the queer horror parody musical MEG4N (prod. Jim Lanahan & Tim Drucker) and the hit satire THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK: THE PARODY MUSICAL, created the 28,000-follower Instagram account @RHONYmusical as featured twice on WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN, and is working on another project in collaboration with Bravo television. He has composed songs for several youth musicals available for licensing through Broadway Licensing and Theatrical Rights Worldwide, including MILEY CHASE: THE SCIENCE ACE, 57th NATIONAL MATHLETE SUM-IT, and THE MYSTERY OF CUSTODIA. B.A. in Music, Harvard University, ’16.


Book, Music, & Lyrics by Greg Alexander, Clifford Lee Johnson III, & Jane Kelley

Greg Alexander

GREG ALEXANDER (Book, Music, & Lyrics) is the Director of Education as well as a member of the B Street Theatre Core Acting Company. Main stage credits include: The Play That Goes Wrong, Popcorn Falls, Holmes and Watson, The House On Haunted Hill, and One Man, Two Guvnors. Recent Family Series credits include: The Flying Machine, The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Carol and Treasure Island. His directing credits include History Extravaganza IV, Every Brilliant Thing and Alice in Wonderland. Writing credits include Going West: The Story of the Transcontinental Railroad, Alice in Wonderland, and The Golden Harp: Myths & Mayhem in Ancient Greece. As Director of Education, he oversees workshops in schools, hospitals, community centers, and correctional facilities, as well as class offerings with B Street’s Conservatory and Studio for Young Actors. Greg lives in Sacramento with his wife Sean and their Westies, Quincy Magoo & Finnegan Hooligan. 

Clifford Lee Johnson III

CLIFFORD LEE JOHNSON III (Book, Music, & Lyrics) is a producer and theater consultant who specializes in producing and developing new plays and musicals. Between 2009 and 1993, he was the Director of Musical Development at Manhattan Theatre Club. Among other things, he has been a critic for BACKSTAGE, served as a dramaturg at the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, and consulted during the creation of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. His vocal group Rudy’s Jukebox has performed all across the country and will become the vehicle for a theater piece about “maturity” in the next few years.


Jane Kelley

JANE KELLEY (Book, Music, & Lyrics) is the author of many middle-grade children’s novels and non-fiction books. Her first novel, Nature Girl (Random House 2010), is a humorous adventure story beloved by readers everywhere. Other novels have received multiple awards, including The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya, which was chosen as a Best Book of 2014 by the Cooperative Children’s Book Council. Jane was selected to be Children’s Writer in Residence by Thurber House, where she taught workshops to children and adults. She has been an active member of the Society for Children’s Writers and Illustrators. In 2018, she was the SCBWI-WI mentor for a middle grade novelist. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in theater. She has taught workshops for adults and kids all over the country, including the Wisconsin State Reading Association Convention, Untitled Town Festival in Green Bay, WI, Children’s Choice Awards in Pittsburgh, and in a yurt in Vermont. After raising her daughter in New York City, she and her husband now live at the edge of a magical woods in Fairy Chasm, Wisconsin. 


Book by Lynn Rosen & Pia Wilson | Music & Lyrics by Rona Siddiqui 

Lynn Rosen

LYNN ROSEN (Co-Book) is an internationally-produced playwright and TV writer. Her plays have been produced/commissioned by: Contemporary American Theatre Festival (CATF), New Georges, San Francisco Playhouse, Red Bull Theater, WP, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Theatreworks Silicon Valley, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Centerstage Baltimore, Studio Theatre (D.C.), Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Working Theater among others. Her new play THE OVERVIEW EFFECT, developed at New Dramatists, had its world premiere at the 2023 Contemporary American Theatre Festival. She is currently commissioned by Theater Masters for her all-female three-hander THE USHERS, and by Theatreworks Silicon Valley for HOW TO BUILD A REVOLUTION, a new musical which received a 2023 NAMT grant as well as a 2023 Johnny Mercer Writers Grove Residency at Goodspeed. Lynn is co-writing the book for HTBAR with playwright Pia Wilson, music and lyrics by Rona Siddiqui. Lynn co-created the award-winning comedic webseries DARWIN, directed by Emmy-winner Carrie Preston and Greg Ivan Smith, and she is creator/writer of the upcoming comedic webseries GASBAG. She recently sold two TV pilots to a major network and has more in the pipeline. Lynn is a recent New Dramatists alum, and she is a co-founder of The Pool, a playwright-run, pop-up theater model now in its fourth playwright-empowering incarnation.

Pia Wilson

PIA WILSON (Co-Book) wrote the audio component in the Harriet Tubman Monument in Newark, New Jersey, performed by Queen Latifah. The audio can be found on Audible as Monumental: Harriet Tubman and Newark's Liberation Movement. Pia is also a 2023 Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Grove participant, Newark Creative Catalyst grant recipient, Newark Arts Community Grant recipient, Traveling Master for Dramatist Guild Foundation, resident with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Sundance fellow, and member of the 2008 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater. Her plays have been produced by AD Players, Crossroads Theatre, Workspace Collective, Drew University, Yendor Theatre Company, Adelphi University, Horse Trade Theater Group, and The Fire This Time play festival. Her Webby Award-winning fiction podcast, IF I GO MISSING THE WITCHES DID IT, starring Gabourey Sidibe, is available wherever you get your podcasts and was listed as one of the Best New Podcasts of 2021 by Variety and Mashable. She has also written episodes for Audible’s TILL TODAY podcast, a nonfiction companion to the movie about Mamie Till Mobley and her son Emmett. In television, Pia was a staff writer for NatGeo’s GENIUS ARETHA and BET’s SACRIFICE.

Rona Siddiqui

RONA SIDDIQUI (Music & Lyrics) Grammy-nominated artist Rona Siddiqui is a composer/lyricist based in NYC. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant and 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, has had a concert at 54 Below and development at Playwrights Horizons (dir. by Raja Feather Kelly). Other musicals include One Good Day, Hip Hop Cinderella, and The Tin. She is the recipient of the ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award, the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award and ASCAP Foundation/Max Dreyfus Scholarship. Commissions: A More Perfect Union (Arena Stage), Kirdle & Miffins: Curiosity Saved the Cats (Keen Teens), Untitled Play (Noor Theatre Company). Residencies: Musical Theatre Factory's Makers Residency, Ars Nova's Vision Residency. Music Direction: A Strange Loop - Broadway (Obie Winner and Grammy nominee), Bella: An American Tall Tale - Off Broadway, Who's Your Baghdaddy, or How I Started the Iraq War - Off Broadway. Orchestration: Monsoon WeddingAn Untitled New Play by Justin Timberlake, numerous albums - Broadway Records, Broadway Backwards. Faculty member: BerkleeNYC, New York University.


Book by Christian Thompson | Music & Lyrics by Maria Wirries | Additional Lyrics by Christian Thompson

Christian Thompson

CHRISTIAN THOMPSON (Book & Additional Lyrics) is a biracial multi-hyphenated artist from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. One half of the musical writing team, Thompson & Wirries. Commissioned by Penn State, he wrote the book for the new musical “In-Gauged”, which had its world premiere in NY in Jan. 23’. Chosen playwright for Foster’s Residency in 21’. His pilot “R. Derby”, was selected in the 2021 Catalyst Content Festival. In addition to writing, Christian has been seen on stages across the globe. Some credits include: Wicked (National Tour), Ain’t Too Proud (OBC), and Rent (20th Anniversary Tour). BFA in Musical Theatre from Penn State, 15’.

Maria Wirries

MARIA WIRRIES (Music & Lyrics) is queer, witchy, hippy, punk gal living in NYC and is a graduate of the musical theatre program at Penn State. She was most recently seen in the Off Broadway revival of the smash hit, Kinky Boots. Before that she was with the Broadway company and First National Tour of Dear Even Hansen. Her other theatre credits include the world premiere of the Off Broadway show Penelope Or How The Odyssey Was Really Written, the Broadway revival workshop of Once on This Island; The Artist Series Hot and Cole, and Penn State MT’s Be More Chill. Maria has a huge appreciation for new work and has performed newly commissioned pieces and readings all over New York City by composers and artists Andrew Lippa, Alex Sage Oyen, Alex Rybeck, James Grant, Dick Hyman, and Sheridan Seyfried. At Penn State, she also participated in a commission project of a new theatre piece written by Mike Reid and Sarah Schlesinger as well as participating in the world premier of Love in Hate Nation, a Joe Iconis musical. She and writing partner Christian Thompson were commissioned by Penn State to write a musical as a part of the New Musicals Initiative at the university which debuted at 54 Below in January of this year. They were also the writing team selected to attend the writers retreat at the Paramount Theater Company in Chicago in 2022. Maria performs around NYC with her band playing her original music at venues like Rockwood Music Hall, Mercury Lounge, 54 Below, Queerchella Music Festival, and more.


Book by Zeniba Now | Music by Jay Adana | Lyrics by Jay Adana & Zeniba Now

Zeniba Now

ZENIBA NOW (Book & Lyrics) is an award-winning musical storyteller and artscientist from Los Angeles, CA. Her work aims to inspire magic and possibility in human consciousness. Millions have enjoyed her performances online and on stage. As a writer of original musicals, her work has been produced by PBS, The Public Theater, St. Louis Rep, and Woolly Mammoth. She is the winner of the 2020 Richard Rodgers Award, 2021 Vivace Award, 2021 Jonathan Larson Grant, a Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellow, an Independent Film School Lab member, an Alumni Residency Writer for #BARS at The Public, and West High’s Funniest Senior. You can listen to her music on the streaming service of your choice, check out her videos on Youtube or Tiktok, and sign up for notifications for stage musicals, stand-up comedy, concerts, and more at www.zenibanow.com @zenibanow 

Jay Adana

JAY ADANA [she/her] (Music & Lyrics) is loud and shy. The Loophole (Playwrights Horizons, Public Theater Studio, music and lyrics), The Jordan & Avery Show (The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, book, music and lyrics), The Woodsman (New World Stages, lyrics), Notes From Now (59E59, contributed music and lyrics), Fingerpaintings (Playwrights Horizons Downtown, music and lyrics), LeFay (Musical Theater Factory, book and lyrics), The Last Tiger in Haiti (Berkeley Rep/La Jolla Playhouse, contributed music and lyrics). Currently developing The Jordan & Avery Show as a musical movie. 2020 Richard Rodgers Award, 2021 Vivace Award, 2018 Jonathan Larson Award, 2019 Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellow. Work featured by PBS, The American Theater Wing, Joe’s Pub, and The Dramatist Magazine. Residencies: Public Theater #BARS residency writer under Jeanie O’Hare, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, SPACE on Ryder Farm. Education: #BARS workshop founded by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, Acting BFA SUNY Purchase Conservatory. www.jayadana.com @jayadanaflow


Book, Music, & Lyrics by Deepak Kumar & Jord Liu

Deepak Kumar

DEEPAK KUMAR [he/him] (Book, Music, & Lyrics) is a South Asian-American playwright, lyricist, composer based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His work prominently features Asian-Americans grappling with the messiness of their identities. His theater work has been produced with the O'Neill Theatre Center (NPC '22), the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival of New Musicals (NAMT '22), Village Theatre, Musical Theatre Factory, the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO), PACE University, Faultline Theater, Underscore Theatre, and Shotgun Players. He is currently on commission from Arena Stage and Audible Theatre. When Deepak is not writing plays and musicals, he moonlights as a computing researcher. 


Lord Liu

JORD LIU [she/her] (Book, Music, & Lyrics) is a theater maker and musician based in San Francisco, CA. Jord’s first show, “Baked! The Musical,” (co-created with Deepak Kumar) premiered at the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival 2020, where it won awards for Best Lyrics, Best Lead, Best Supporting, and Best Ensemble. Since then the show has been accepted into NAMT 2022 and VOFNM 2023. She has done residencies with Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Village Theatre, and SFBATCO’s Creator’s Lab. Her work has been produced by theaters in NYC, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco. Jord works at the Exploratorium in San Francisco creating new exhibits. 


Book & Lyrics by Sam Woof | Music by Rudy Percival & Sam Woof

Sam Woof

SAM WOOF (Book, Music, & Lyrics) is a theatre-maker based in London. Their work focuses on blending text and music across a range of theatrical forms.  

As writer/director, credits include ‘Sex with Friends and Other Tiny Catastrophes: A Chamber Musical’ (North Wall Arts Centre, Musical Theatre Review’s Edinburgh Fringe Special Award), ‘Fine Thanks: A Verbatim Musical’ (Savoy Theatre) and ‘Don’t Shoot the Albatross’ (Vaults Festival). Assistant director credits include ‘Enron’ (Oxford Playhouse), ‘Something in the Air’ (Jermyn Street Theatre), ‘Top Hat’ (The Mill at Sonning) and ‘The Swell’ (Orange Tree Theatre). Sam is the artistic director of GOYA Theatre Company and the resident assistant director at the Orange Tree Theatre. They have a master’s degree in theatre directing from Birkbeck College London and a double first from the University of Oxford.

They currently have two musicals on tour in the UK: ‘Four Felons and a Funeral’ (The Other Palace et al.) and ‘Actually, Love’ (Omnibus Theatre et al.).

Rudy Percival

RUDY PERCIVAL (Music) is a composer-songwriter and creative producer. His music is rooted in narrative and melodrama, and he specialises in creating new theatrical work.  

Rudy is the writer and composer of 'Between,' (Silk Street Theatre, 2021), which was selected to feature on the National Student Drama Festival's ‘Hub,’ and was shortlisted for ‘SLAM Soaps’ at the Boulevard Theatre, London. He is also the composer and arranger for the critically acclaimed theatrical adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's 'The Mozart Question' (Barn Theatre Cirencester, 2022): featured by The Guardian’s Observer in their “10 best shows of 2022,” and nominated for a UK Theatre Award. Additional credits include composition, arrangement and sound design for ‘Turning the Screw’ (New Wimbledon Theatre, 2022), and sound design for ‘Deeper and Deeper’ (Above the Stag Theatre, 2022).

Rudy co-produced 'A Little New Music' (The Phoenix Arts Club, 2022), a cabaret championing the work of ten new musical theatre songwriters, including his own songs, 'To Know You,' and 'Where Next?'. Other standalone songs include ‘Marry Me,’ written for a live performance installation at the Van Gogh House in Brixton (2022), and ‘Don’t You Remember?’, which premiered at the Angela Burgess Recital Hall (2022).

Rudy holds a master’s degree in composition from the Royal Academy of Music, and a bachelor’s degree in composition from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His is the recipient of the 2017 Environmusic Composition Prize, the 2019 and 2020 Henry Wood Scholarships, a 2020 coLABorate grant, and a 2023 Help Musicians ‘Record and Release’ grant.


Book, Music & Lyrics by Benjamin Scheuer

Benjamin Scheuer

BENJAMIN SCHEUER (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a songwriter, playwright, and performer. He is the recipient of the Kleban Prize for Lyrics.  A MOUNTAIN FOR ELODIE, written and performed by Scheuer, premiered at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, directed by Olivier Award-winner Polly Findlay.

For his solo-show THE LION, directed by Sean Daniels and developed at Goodspeed, Scheuer won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, and an Off-West End Award for Best New Musical. Scheuer’s album Songs from THE LION was released in 2016, along with four music videos (directed by Academy Award-winner Peter Baynton) which won prizes including Best Commissioned Film at the Annecy Film Festival, and two consecutive Public Choice for Best Music Video at the British Animation Awards. 

London’s Old Vic commissioned and produced Scheuer’s short solo piece WATER FROM DUST.

For the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Scheuer and Carlos Acosta made the film Empty Stage, “a dazzling short film--a dance lover's dream,” (Huffington Post) accompanying the eponymous song of Scheuer’s. Scheuer produced the song with Grammy Award-winner Robin Baynton. 

Scheuer is the author of two songs-turned-into-children’s-books: Hibernate With Me and Hundred Feet Tall, both illustrated by his wife, Jemima Williams. Published by Simon & Schuster USA, the books have also been translated into French, German, and Welsh. 

With playwright Melis Aker, Scheuer has adapted Hundred Feet Tall into a musical, developed at Goodspeed. The show is being workshopped by London’s Old Vic with director Katy Rudd. 

With Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Star Catcher) Scheuer is writing TREASURE, a musical about Peter Roget, creator of the eponymous Thesaurus. Originally from New York, Scheuer lives in London.


Book, Music, & Lyrics by Marcus Perkins Bejarano & Kim Jinhyoung

Marcus Perkins Bejarano

MARCUS PERKINS BEJARANO (Book, Music, & Lyrics) is a Bolivian-American storyteller from Dallas, Texas, who is currently based in New York City. He has co-written book, music, and lyrics for TWO NIGHTS AND THREE DAYS (O’Neill NMTC Selection) and REFRESH (Without Walls Festival), which was produced as part of HALL PASS by Blindspot Collective in collaboration with La Jolla Playhouse; co-written lyrics and additional book for WAIT…ING (O’Neill NMTC Semifinalist); contributed music and lyrics to the virtual musical THIS GOLDEN DAY (Live & In Color); and co-written music and lyrics for “The Diagnosis,” a viral song featuring characters from the video game GENSHIN IMPACT that has garnered millions of views on YouTube (HoYoFair). Marcus’s work has been performed in such venues as Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, Two River Theater, and Lincoln Center, among others. A graduate of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he also has degrees from Princeton University and Stanford Law School. 

Kim Jinhyoung

KIM JINHYOUNG (Book, Music, & Lyrics) is a storyteller who has co-written book, music, and lyrics for TWO NIGHTS AND THREE DAYS (O’Neill NMTC Selection) and REFRESH (Without Walls Festival), which was produced as part of HALL PASS by Blindspot Collective in collaboration with La Jolla Playhouse; written book and music and co-written lyrics for WAIT…ING (O’Neill NMTC Semifinalist); and written music for WHERE IS JESUS’ DICK (Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture residency), SHH-MAN (Seoul Youth Art Institute residency), and WONDERHUMAN (Seoul, South Korea). Kim has also written music and lyrics for the short film THE HUMAN (“Best Musical” at the New York International Film Awards), contributed music and lyrics to the virtual musical THIS GOLDEN DAY (Live & In Color), and co-written music and lyrics for “The Diagnosis,” a viral song featuring characters from the video game GENSHIN IMPACT that has garnered millions of views on YouTube (HoYoFair). Kim’s work has been performed in such venues as Feinstein’s/54 Below, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, Two River Theater, and Lincoln Center, among others. Kim is a graduate of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. 


Book by Jennifer Paz | Music by Anthony Fedorov | Lyrics by Anthony Fedorov & Jennifer Paz

Jennifer Paz

JENNIFER PAZ (Book & Lyrics) Manila born, Seattle grown. Jennifer recently completed the Unlock Her Potential year-long mentorship program (2022) with showrunner-producer Brian Yorkey, receiving one-on-one mentorship on several of her projects. She is also a writer at On the Page® with Pilar Alessandra. Jennifer was awarded the 2022/23 NAMT Writers Residency Grant to support a developmental reading of PROUD MARYS with East West Players. 

She won the Inaugural Outstanding Screenplays 2021 TV Pilot Competition (out of 870 submissions) for her original pilot, PROUD MARYS, as a top selection from Judge Susan Soon He Stanton (Emmy® Award-winning, Peabody Award-winning, and WGA Award-winning writer on HBO’s "Succession").

Her other works have placed with the Oscar-qualifying HollyShorts 2021 ("Micro Blade"), Stage 32 TV Comedy 2021, ScreenCraft Comedy Competition 2021, and Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship 2022 with "Proud Marys," WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Fall 2021 ("Mama Bares"), and Outstanding Screenplays Shorts Competition 2023 ("Flooding the Zone").

Her works have been invited for developmental readings with CINEMA SALA, programmed by Marie Jamora (dir. OWN's "Queen Sugar," FOX’S "Cleaning Lady," "Grease" Rise of the Pink Ladies") and FIL-AM ARTS with support from DCA (Department of Cultural Affairs, the City of LA, programmed by Executive Director Giselle "G" Tongi (HERE LIES LOVE, Producer/Cultural Laison).

Broadway, tours/regional select: MISS SAIGON (Kim, 1st National, Helen Hayes Award nom, various regional, Ovation Award-Winner), LES MISERABLES (Broadway, joined 10th Anniversary cast), David Henry Hwang's FLOWER DRUM SONG (pre-Broadway, Mark Taper Forum), CINDERELLA (5th Avenue Theatre), THE LAST FIVE YEARS (Ovation Nom, East West Players), JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (North Shore Music Theatre, Ordway Center, Sacramento Music Circus, 5th Avenue Theatre, Broadway Asia Tour - Tokyo).

Jennifer is known as the voice of Lapis Lazuli on the GLAAD Media Award-winning, Peabody Award-winning, and Emmy Award-winning cult series "Steven Universe," "Steven Universe: The Movie Musical," and "Steven Universe Future" Epilogue Series (Hulu, MAX, Amazon Prime).

A passionate champion for social justice, pro-female, pro-BIPOC stories, and mental health advocacy for our youth, Jennifer enjoys writing rebellious, quirky, and subversive women of color-led stories trying to figure out their stuff.

Anthony Fedorov

ANTHONY FEDOROV (Music & Lyrics) is a singer-songwriter, producer, and actor. Born in Yalta, Crimea (former USSR), Anthony immigrated to the United States with his family at nine years old. As an infant, a tumor was discovered blocking his airways, and he was pronounced clinically dead for a short time before undergoing an emergency tracheotomy. Breathing through a tube until age four, Doctors predicted he would never be able to speak. He went on to compete on "AMERICAN IDOL" Season Four, finishing as 4th place Finalist.  

Off-B'day and regional credits include RENT revival (Roger, New World Stages, dir. Michael Greif), THE FANTASTICKS (Matt, Jerry Orbach Theatre), LOVE ACTUALLY, LIVE (The Wallis), and JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (Lyric Theatre, 5th Avenue Theatre, Ordway Center, North Shore Music Theatre, Broadway Asia - Tokyo).

Anthony has taught his interactive educational course featuring his original music at the prestigious Carpenter Charter School in Studio City, California.

Song placements and commissions include Hulu’s "Future Man," The Ellen Degeneres Wildlife Fund, “Tet’Emcombo” (award-winning short "The German King" and "The German King" series) co-written with producing partner Latin Grammy® Award Winner Jeeve Ducornet, "Strong is Who You Are" in "PINK AND BLUE: Colors of Hereditary Cancer," SoCal Gas Safety Dance campaign (Stafford Agency), and "Our Story is One" for the Bahá?í International Community.

Anthony has also provided original music for campaigns including Mom Demand Action ("Enough is Enough" - https://www.facebook.com/TheVFCProject/videos/1851812365124896/) and for the Mona Foundation ("The Power of a Girl" - https://vimeo.com/594856653).

A proud member of BMI, Anthony is signed with Reel Muzik Werks Publishing.


Book, Music, & Lyrics by April Dae Okpwae

Jennifer Paz

APRIL DAE OKPWAE (Book, Music, & Lyrics) is a performer, playwright, composer, lyricist & community organizer who utilizes comedy to highlight the diversity of black identity while exploring the intersectionality of religion in racial, economic, & gender inequities. Her 15- character solo show, I’mma Do Me, satirically exposes the impact of poverty in America & has won several awards including Best Emerging Actress at United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC and Best Short Play at Atlanta Black Theatre Festival. Her concert credits include Poetic Theatre Production’s Feeling Good as Ritual, Musical Theatre Factory’s 4X15, and Maestra’s & Parent Artist Advocacy League’s Motherhood Concert. She is a 2022 Dramatist Guild Foundation Musical Theater Fellow and was recently commissioned to create a new musical for Playwrights Horizon’s Sounstage series. Her music(al) video, Be Soft Be Pretty, from her latest musical in development, Queens of Solomon, is a 2021 Hip Hop Film Festival Official Selection. As a community organizer & nonprofit leader for the past 15 years, April Dae has worked in black & brown communities throughout New York City and Detroit, MI conducting performance-based development workshops. She is a founding board member of BlackCount, an arts-based voter education, engagement, & advocacy organization. Born & raised in Detroit, April Dae received her BFA from SUNY Purchase performing in television, theatres, & universities throughout the country. She is a mother, wife, believer, and celebrator of blackwomandom. 


Book & Music by Sarah Kaufman & Shane Dittmar | Lyrics by Sarah Kaufman | Additional Lyrics by Shane Dittmar

Sarah KaufmanShane Dittmar

SARAH KAUFMAN & SHANE DITTMAR [They & Them] (Book, Music, & Lyrics) are a disabled, nonbinary writing team who make musical theatre that is inclusive of and accessible to the disabled community. They & Them were selected for the BMI Musical Theatre Writers Workshop and the Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project. They were finalists in the 2022 Write Out Loud songwriting competition, and recipients of the 2022 Danny Award for Original Song. The 10-Minute Musical they wrote for the Prospect Musical Theatre Lab - The Velociraptor’s Very Good Day, a piece about dinosaurs and Autistic joy - was also selected for the 2023 SoundBites X Festival by Theatre Now New York, and the Sam French Off-Off-Broadway Short Play Festival. Their flagship project is a D&D-inspired fantasy musical podcast called The Reality Shaper that they are currently developing. A song from the project called “The Non-Binary Song” went viral online, and their self-produced pilot episode of the podcast has been downloaded over 4500 times and has over 200 5-star reviews.


Book, Music, & Lyrics by Cheeyang Ng

Cheeyang Ng

CHEEYANG NG (Book, Music, & Lyrics) Born and raised in Singapore, Cheeyang Ng (they/them) is an award-winning singer-songwriter who writes at the intersection of queer, Asian and immigrant stories. They have won multiple vocal awards across Asia, including Singapore, Taiwan and China. They have performed around the world, including Lincoln Center with Carole King and Carnegie Hall with a cappella group Vocalosity. They are the first Singaporean to headline a concert at Joe's Pub, Feinstein’s/54 Below and Millennium Stage at Kennedy Center showcasing their original music. Their songs have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and London.  

Musicals in development include EASTBOUND (2022 Village Theatre Beta Production) with Khiyon Hursey, M?Y? (ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop with Stephen Schwartz, 2021 NAMT) with Eric Sorrels and THE PHOENIX (Rhinebeck, Goodspeed Mercer Grove) with Eric Sorrels and Desdemona Chiang. Upcoming: Rhinebeck 2023, Musical Theater Factory Makers Cohort III, AFI Short Film Score ‘Made in USA’. Select credits: Princess Grace Award, Harold Wheeler MUSE Award, Eric H Weinberger Librettist Award, ASCAP Foundation Lucille & Jack Yellen Award. MFA: NYU. BMus: Berklee. www.cheeyang.com. @cheeyangmusic

“An extraordinary writer as well as a glorious singer” – Jason Robert Brown

"Fresh and interesting. Musically is where the heart of [Maya] lies." – Stephen Schwartz


Book, Music, & Lyrics by Oliver Houser

Oliver Houser

OLIVER HOUSER (Book, Music, & Lyrics) Winner of the inaugural Stephen Schwartz Award, the ASCAP Foundation Sammy Cahn Award and a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship, Oliver Houser (he/him) is an intersex musical theater artist who is passionate about creating original life-affirming work. Having survived a near-death experience during birth, Oliver is inspired to harness the power of storytelling and music to help illuminate to others the gift of life, and the beauty and innocence of our shared humanity. Oliver has headlined at the Kennedy Center and presented his musicals at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Village Theater, London's Other Palace Theatre, the NAMT Conference and beyond. Oliver’s original musical, XY, inspired by his journey to embrace his identity as an intersex man, was optioned by the Tony Award-winning producers of Broadway’s COME FROM AWAY and MEMPHIS, and was one of three finalists for the 2022 Relentless Award, the largest prize presented to an unproduced musical. Oliver has developed work at the Ucross Foundation, the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, the Goodspeed Writers Grove and more. He is a Larson Grant finalist, and his work was a finalist for the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference. Oliver is an alum of the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, the BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop and the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project. www.oliverhouser.com