Opera America

My wonderful collaborator Julia was one of eight composers award a Discovery Grant for Female Composers by OPERA America to support further development of REB+VoDKa+ME! We are so excited and honored that our show has been recognized in the opera world, especially in the company of friends and colleagues. We can’t wait to dive back into our theatrical Tumblr over the next year! Check back here for more updates as planning gets underway…

Read a little bit more about both the organization and the grant:

OPERA America draws on resources and expertise from within and beyond the opera field to advance a mutually beneficial agenda that serves and strengthens the field through programs in the following categories: creation, presentation and enjoyment. The association provides members with an array of publications and online resources, regional workshops, an annual conference and network-specific services such as conference calls, listservs and direct contact with staff with expertise in opera production, administration and education. OPERA America provides members with tools to maximize the effectiveness of financial and human resources, expand the scope of repertoire and programs, and extend their reach to new and diverse audiences. Founded in 1970, OPERA America has an international membership that includes nearly 150 Professional Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and over 16,000 subscribers to its electronic news service.

OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program provides financial assistance to identify, support, and help develop the work of female composers writing for the operatic medium, raising their visibility and promoting awareness of their compositions to the field. Funding for this program is provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Program for Commissioning Women in the Performing Arts.

While you wait for more information, you can always tide yourself over by listening to the new complete demo!

REB+VoDKa+DEMO, part 2!

The entirety of (the current draft of) REB+VoDKa+ME is now recorded. Give it a listen!

This combines our two sessions with 24 amazing singers:

Ally Bonino, Jack Brinsmaid, Jackie Colquitt, Jessica Fisher, Holly Gould, Hanako Greensmith, Sam Heldt, Angelina Kelly, Kelsey Lake, Adam Lawrence, Lily Lester, Allison Lian, Evan Maltby, Lauren Marcus, Elexis Morton, Matthew Oster, Sam Paley, Angela Pardini-Gomez, Allison Posner, Katie Rodgers, Daniel Saulle, Libby Servais, Rich Silverstein, and Emily Walton…

Plus our two amazing engineers, Chris Gilroy and Andrew Zinsmeister!

A Decade of Collaboration

Ten years ago today, I sent Julia an email.

We’d written a few songs together at warp speed after grad school that we both liked. So when my friend Jeremy Gold Kronenberg told me he was looking for a short musical to direct for Prospect Theater Company but only had 6 weeks to develop it, I asked Julia if she might want to apply our speed songwriting skills to a full project. We cranked out a 35 minute musical and loved what we wrote together. So when I read an article the next month about a group of high school girls in Gloucester, Massachusetts who were rumored to have made a pact to get pregnant together, I asked Julia if she thought it might be our first full-length musical.

Now we’re getting ready to start our seventh full-length musical next month while we’re out of town rehearsing for the world premiere of another show. And in the intervening decade we’ve been lucky enough to build a network of actors, singers, musicians, directors, designers, and friends to help us explore limitless empathy, terrible decision-making, building legacies, and growing up.

Here’s to what’s to come in the next 10 years of our collaboration!

2018 Interstate 73

Another year, another new project!

I’m proud to be a member of the 2018 Interstate 73 Writers Group and excited to get started on a new project with Julia. We get to join (clockwise from the top) Michael R. Jackson, Eleanor Burgess, Daniel K. Isaac, Emily Feldman, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Gary Winter, and Amina Henry for a year of creating! Read all about them here.

More details about the new project will be coming soon, but for now we’re just basking in the talent we get to observe for a whole year. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Page 73 for including us in this year’s group!

Something New, Something Fun, Something Blue is Something Done!

After a little over five years of off-and-on writing, we now have a first full draft of Something Blue! And we had the honor of hearing it outloud for the first time with some wonderful new friends – director Sash Bischoff and actors Robbie Collier Sublett, Rachel Flynn, and Ryan Everett Wood.

What started as a challenge to write the smallest show we could imagine became a three-person, hushed, complicated, human musical.

We’re already on to rewrites for the next draft, and we’re looking forward to sharing the show sometime very soon!

DGF Writers Alliance Grant

I’m so honored that the upcoming production of The Loneliest Girl In the World has been awarded one of the inaugural Dramatists Guild Foundation‘s Writers Alliance Grants. The grants provide “$5,000 to a nonprofit theatre’s production of a new work and another $5,000 directly to the writer being produced.” According to Playbill, “DGF selected writes whose work ‘pushes boundaries and shows tremendous promise’ and theatres with ‘superlative ethical standards in supporting the livelihoods and careers of writers.'” Julia and I started writing together thanks to our time in the Dramatists Guild Fellows program, and we’re thrilled for their continued support!

A peek at REB+VoDKa+ME!

If you didn’t get to see the NYU workshop of REB+VoDKa+ME in person, take a look at the wonderful production photos by Sub/Urban Photography.


This year brought two back-to-back bicoastal workshops, an international production, a bunch of table readings, a few concerts (big and small), a new look at an old idea, an ultra-productive writing retreat (RIP YIMT), and a wonderful new agent. Best of all, it gave me the chance to work with so many artists I love and respect, including…

Delaney Amatrudo, Robert Ariza, Sash Bischoff, Ally Bonino, Jack Brinsmaid, Liz Lark Brown, Sojourner Brown, Liz Carbonell, Max Chernin, Jackie Colquitt, Adam Cuppy, Jessica Fisher, Tara Forseth, Chris Gilroy, Holly Gould, Lux Haac, Molly Hager, Sean Hagerty, Susan Hammons, Chase Hauser, Sam Heldt, BP Houle, Emily Jenda, Benjamin Kamine, Angelina Kelly, Lauren King Thompson, Tara King, Caitlin Kinnunen, Lindsay Kipnis, Marina Kondo, Kelsey Lake, Adam Lawrence, Lily Lester, Allison Lian, Carl Limbacher, Amy Linden, Ellen Macy, Evan Maltby, Lauren Marcus, Patrick Marion, Megan McClain, Eric William Morris, Matt Morrow, Elexis Morton, Sam Paley, Angela Pardini-Gomez, Allison Posner, Katie Rodgers, Lynne Marie Rosenberg, Keith Rubin, Allie Sandler, Danny Saulle, Geremy Schulick, Charlotte Seelig, Libby Servais, Johnny Shea, Rich Silverstein, Allison Spratt Pearce, Phoebe Strole, Nicole Sumlin, Allie Trimm, Kira Vine, Emily Walton, Sally Wilfert, and Jeremy Yaddaw.

It also made me take a long, hard look at the work I do and be even more conscious of and conscientious about what I put into the world. More than anything, it forced me to re-up on my forever goal to be aggressively empathetic. In the midst of a difficult year culturally and politically, it was a thrilling year of creation.

Here’s to all the 2018 holds!

Back in the studio!

Holly Gould & Allison Lian

Julia and I went back into the studio with the cast of our REB+VoDKa+ME NYU workshop over the last few weeks to record the rest of the score! It was great to extend our time with these amazing students, and we’re so excited to have the whole score recorded. Thanks to Chris Gilroy and Mighty Toad Studios for having us back in Brooklyn. And thanks to Rich Silverstein for guiding us all through this epic score, as always. Be on the lookout for mixed tracks sometime in early 2018!


Back row: Cast members Lily Lester, Jackie Colquitt, Adam Lawrence & Jack Brinsmaid, Lighting Designer Charlotte Seelig, Me, Dramaturg Megan McClain, Director Ben Kamine; Middle row: Cast members Sam Paley, Katie Rodgers, Jessica Fisher, Danny Saulle & Angelina Kelly, and Composer Julia Meinwald; Front row: Choreographer Tara Forseth, Cast members Allie Lian & Holly Gould, Music Director Rich Silverstein; Not pictured: Cast member Angela Pardini-Gomez, Set Designer BP Houle, Costume Designer Lux Haac, Stage Manager Lindsay Kipnis, ASM Tara King, Sound Designer Neal Goleta, and Production Coordinator Brandon Anderson.

The workshop of REB+VoDKa+ME at NYU that performed this past weekend was one of the most intensely rewarding experiences I’ve had as a writer.

It’s been a little over 3 years since I sent Julia links to these two related articles and was like “Don’t think I’m a scary person but could this be our next musical?” and she basically said “You’re not scary and yes.” Two years ago, we started writing the show with director Ben Kamine in R&D Group, led by dramaturg-extraordinaire Megan McClain. A year-and-a-half ago Rich Silverstein came on board when we shared our first 16 songs from the show in public. And five months ago we finished a first draft of the script.

And this weekend the show was given a fully designed and produced workshop staging with a cast of amazing juniors and seniors from the New Studio on Broadway at NYU/Tisch. To call this opportunity a gift is an understatement – we wrote a show that doesn’t exist in a physical space and by not being bound by music stands we were able to learn more than we ever could have imagined about our work.

Much credit for that goes to our amazing creative and design team (partially pictured here) for helping us to develop our own world and our own physical language to make the 90-minutes of the show a complete thought.

And we could never have seen our work as fully as we were able to without the willingness, openness, depth, and hard work of the twelve students in the cast. They navigated this technically, musically, and emotionally complex piece with the kind of grace and heart we couldn’t have imagined when we first had the idea three years ago.

Immense thanks are due to Kent Gash, Sarah Schlesinger, and Brandon Anderson for inviting us into this collaborative process. Be on the lookout for some production photos in the near future!

The Magnificent Seven Demos!

I’m so happy to get to share all 13 of the songs we’ve written so far for The Magnificent Seven as we dive back into finishing a full draft of the show with MTF this year!

Thanks to our magnificent singers (Ally Bonino, Emily Jenda, Caitlin Kinnunen, Marina Kondo, Amy Linden, Ellen Macy, and Emily Walton), our magnificent special guests (Lynne Marie Rosenberg and Keith Rubin), our magnificent band (Geremy Schulick, Carl Limbacher, and Jeremy Yaddaw), our magnificent engineer Chris Gilroy, and our perfect ten MD/collaborator Rich Silverstein for making this all happen.

We can wait to write and record the next batch!

San Diego, part 2

Our week in San Diego came to a close with a reading of the show on Saturday afternoon. It was so wonderful to get to hear the new draft (with four new songs and a bunch of new pages) and to get to know the wonderful people of Diversionary!

Thanks to our cast (L-R in the photo) Lauren King Thompson, Susan Hammons, Allison Spratt Pearce, Sam Heldt, Chase Hauser, and Adam Cuppy; thanks to music director Patrick Marion, who guided these six wonderful actors through more than 20 songs in about that many hours; thanks to stage manager Kira Vine for keeping us together; thanks to the whole staff at Diversionary (Jenny, Sebastian, Skyler, David, and Anthony) for welcoming us and making us feel at home; and big thanks to Artistic Director Matt Morrow for bringing us out and guiding the show towards the spring. We can’t wait to head back and start rehearsals in six short months!

San Diego, part 1

After almost a year of planning, we have finally arrived in San Diego to workshop The Loneliest Girl in the World with Diversionary Theatre!

Julia and I are spending the week here to hear the show, meet the team, and get the lay of the land before our production in the spring. Diversionary has put together such a great group for our week here, with Artistic Director Matt Morrow at the helm with music director Patrick Marion. Perennial favorite (and perennial Tommy) Sam Heldt has made the journey with us to join a cast that includes San Diegans Allison Spratt Pearce, Adam Cuppy, Susan Hammons, Chase Hauser, and Lauren King Thompson.

I’m so excited to spend the week putting the pieces together with these wonderful folks (and the palm trees, sunshine, and hummingbirds)!

Back to the factory!

Julia and I are happy to be back with the Musical Theatre Factory for a second year of their writers group. After a successful year last year finishing our first draft of REB+VoDKa+ME (which we can’t wait to share at NYU in November, see below!) we’re excited to devote this year to getting a full draft of The Magnificent Seven written! Our group includes writer friends old and new, run by the wonderful folks at Beehive Dramaturgy Studio. We can’t wait to journey back to 1996 Atlanta!

Choreomania goes uptown

About 5 years after writing our first song for it, Julia and I are finally going to get to work on Choreomania!

We’re joining the inaugural class of The Collective, a new program in the 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Dance Center Music Theatre Development Lab. The Collective brings together performance makers from across the spectrum – writers, composers, directors, choreographers, and hyphenates of the above – to explore new works of music theatre and dance. After spending so many years primarily behind music stands, we’re thrilled to get to begin to imagine a work in an environment that encourages us to consider movement as an integral part of the storytelling process. It’ll challenge us in the most exciting way!

Choreomania will explore the Dancing Plague of 1518, in which hundreds of people spent the summer dancing uncontrollably and inexplicably in the streets of France. The event is now understood to be the earliest recorded instance of mass hysteria (thanks to the invention of the printing press.) It’s about the search of explanations to the unexplainable, the fear and allure of the unknown, and the power of a crowd.

Give our first song, “I’m Moving” – sung by Frau Troffea, the dancing plague’s originator – a listen while we get ready to dive into the 16th century!