composers & librettists

WILL ARONSON (composer) is the recipient of a Fulbright grant, an ASCAP Frederick Loewe Scholarship, and a Baryshnikov Fellowship, and last year was named by the Dramatists’ Guild as one of “50 to Watch.” Current projects include The Trouble With Doug (2008 Goodspeed Festival of New Artists), and the Korean musical My Scary Girl, which was awarded first prize by the selection committee of the Daegu International Musical Festival, and recently ran at Barrington Stage Company’s Stage 2. Other work includes music for Mary Testa’s Sleepless Variations and Sybille Pearson’s play Next (lyrics by William Finn). Aronson holds a B.A. in music from Harvard University and an M.F.A. from Tisch/NYU.

alan cancelinoALAN CANCELINO (composer) is a NYC based composer working in many styles of music. In collaboration with Jenne Wason, his recent shows include Bingo City, developed in the BMI Musical Theater Workshop under moderator Maury Yeston and featured on Theatre Row in a New York Musical Theater Festival 2005 showcase directed by Leigh Silverman. And the daring new musical drama The White Rose which has had readings and workshops under the direction of Leah C. Gardiner at The Public Theater in NYC, Wright State University in Ohio, and presented in concert form at the inaugural New York Musical Theater Festival in 2004 at The Tank. He also collaborated with Wason on the relationship musical The Terrifying Prospect of Marriage and All It Entails! which premiered at The Player’s theatre in New York. Other collaborations and more recent works include the short musical Party Lines by Winter Miller which premiered in the 2006 Ignite festival at the Ohio Theatre in SoHo. And music for the Edward Albee award winning play Kansas Faust by Anne Phelan.

In early 2007 he scored the Japanese film Sight Unseen and is currently working on a cabaret show What's The Point?! with Hector Coris that premiered February 2008 in NYC for a limited run and ran again in September and was also presented at the 2008 Harvest International Theatre Festival in Montreal. The show was also produced by the Know Theatre in Cincinnati. Alan has recently started writing anew musical Flake of Snow in collaboration with lyricist Mark Garcia and is happy to announce his show The White Rose will have another reading at the York Theatre in March 2009.

Aside from theatre, Alan is slowly inching his way back into film scoring which was his concentration at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he was a recipient of the Chick Corea prize for a promising young composer.And as a pianist had the privilege of studying and performing with Maestro “Slava” Rostropovich. He is working on a recording of original ballads and a collection of piano ensemble pieces. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and an alumnus of the Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop at BMI. His work has been seen at The Public Theater, New Dramatists, NYMF,BMI, The Tank,Theatre Row,The Laurie Beechman and regionally at the National Gallery in Canada, Player's Theatre, The Know Theatre and many more.

ADAM COHEN (composer) is a graduate of the Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts. He has composed the scores for Oh Manhattan! (performed at Rose’s Turn in 1997), Sodom (produced by Horse Trade Theater Group), The Apple and Other Slip-ups (produced at Pendragon Theatre, Cragsmoor Playhouse and Rose’s Turn), RumpleStiltSkin (produced at Little Village Playhouse) and The Hadleyburg Project (produced at the Metropolitan Playhouse). Adam has worked as a composer for Independent Film Channel, Bravo and American Movie Classics. Adam is the founder and executive director of Little Village Playhouse (LVP), a not for profit theatre group in Pleasantville, NY. Recent LVP directing credits include: First Lady Suite, Sweeney Todd, Floyd Collins, Bernarda Alba, Pacific Overtures, Saturn Returns, Gorey Stories, Anyone Can Whistle, and The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show.

david hilderDAVID HILDER's (librettist) plays and musicals include The Insidious Impact of Anton (Finalist, Lark Playwrights Week); Shake the Santa (GrooveMamaInk); an Atrainmusical (with composer Jess Klein, Neighborhood Playhouse); Gikh-kaa (Raw Impressions Dance Theatre); I Have Something to Tell You (with composer Gihieh Lee, Raw Impressions Musical Theatre); Maps with composer Gilles Chiasson (Clear Space Productions, Dixon Place’s WARNING: Not for Broadway Festival, Raw Impressions Musical Theatre); Leave the Room (Finalist, Lark Playwrights Week and Abingdon’s Wolk Award); Bay Orchard High (Expanded Arts, Cullen/Dumas Productions); Dinner Party! (EST, Smatterfest, Particle Wave Theatre); One for the Books (the intentional theatre group, EST); and, naturally, others. David is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and the O’Neill Center’s National Theater Institute.

brad howell houghtonBRAD HOWELL HOUGHTON (composer) has written over a hundred songs for a variety of theatre projects. Selections from his musical Believe have been performed and recorded by a handful of Broadway talents, including Tony Award winner Sara Ramirez (Spamalot), former Miss America Kate Shindle (Legally Blonde) and Max von Essen (Dance of the Vampires, Les Miz). Max’s performance was recorded and released on Jay Records as part of NEO – Celebrating Emerging Writers in Musical Theatre, a benefit for York Theatre. Other benefits and concerts that have featured Brad’s work include The Genie Awards Gala Honoring Rob Marshall, The BMI Smoker Showcase, New Stages for York Theatre, and the New Mondays series at The Duplex. In addition to Believe, Brad has also composed music for the 10-minute musical On the Way to the Cleaners with book and lyrics by Ryan Cunningham (I Love You Because…). He also contributed an opening number and several other songs to the Off-Off-Broadway revue Journeys (Firsthand Theatre) and provided incidental music for the play Through a Naked Lens (Wings Theatre). Brad is currently working on the music, lyrics and book for three projects as well as composing music for Robyn (book and lyrics by Jessie Nelson) and Only Human (book and lyrics by Gwynne Watkins). Brad is an alumnus of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, the Genesius Guild’s Revolutionary New Writers Group and a member of The Dramatists Guild.

noel katzNOEL KATZ (librettist) wrote book, music and lyrics to Such Good Friends, which premiered in 2007’s New York Musical Theater Festival, winning three NYMF Awards and two Talkin' Broadway Citations, including Best Musical. His 2003 wedding to casting director Joy Dewing was actually an original musical at the Soho Playhouse, with singing bridesmaids, preacher, parents, etc. and got full-page coverage in The New York Times. His Gilbert and Sullivan-esque backstage mystery, Murder at the Savoy, sold out at the 50th Edinburgh Festival, got five stars from The Scotsman, and has since been produced three mores times in Great Britain. His other musicals include Area 51, On the Brink, The Christmas Bride, The Pirate Captains, The Heavenly Theatre and many others: thirteen produced musicals in all.

In the world of improvisation: He’s done the scores for a variety of Second City revues, including We Built This City on Rent Control, A Time For Heroes and Hoagies and Generation F’d. He’s utilized song improvisation teaching at Fairleigh-Dickinson University, Circle-in-the-Square and National Dance Institute. Now playing at The People’s Improv Theatre is M.C. Hammerstein, an all-improvised musical utilizing structures he created. His professional career began as musical director of Hollywood’s Off the Wall, accompanying the then-undiscovered Robin Williams.

Noel’s songs have been heard at CBGB, Bound For Broadway at Merkin Hall, last year’s NEO concert at the York, and, next month a touring show in England, A Stage Kindly. Two cabaret acts have been devised from his work: Spilt Milk, and Lunatics & Lovers. He set music in a wide array of styles to Shakespeare’s words for the play, Couplets, and scored productions of La Ronde, Thieves’ Carnival and Cloud Nine. His music for Diary of a Scoundrel accompanied the 2006 production at Julliard.

Awards include the Telly, Videographer and 20th Anniversary Telly for his video musical comedy, The Making of Larry for TD Waterhouse; the Seymour Brick Playwriting Prize, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival Award for Outstanding Lyrics.

mitch kessMITCH KESS (composer), a Bronx native, is a composer/lyricist/playwright whose first rock musical, The Last American: The Mind Viewing Machine was produced at Baby Jupiter. Part 2: The Universal Mind, was produced by Dixon Place at the Vineyard Theater. A concert version – uniting both parts – was produced by The Public Theater at Joe's Pub before Tom O' Horgan, Broadway director of Hair & Jesus Christ Superstar directed its latest incarnation in 2003. Mitch's latest political rock musical The Deciders is the third part of a trilogy beginning in 2004 with Saddamn The Musical Parts 1 and 2. A Village Voice Choice and featured in the Sunday New York Times, Saddamn‚ was produced by the 92nd Street Y at the Makor and performed to standing room only crowds at the Medicine Show Theater. The music of The Deciders has reached New York audiences from political rallies in Union Square Park to downtown and uptown rock clubs. The Deciders was one of the hits of the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival. Mitch has performed with numerous bands and as a singer-songwriter. He studied guitar with Dave Van Ronk. Bass player for The Deciders, Mitch plays in a wide range of styles some of which you will hear in the show.

LESLIE KRAMER’s (librettist) play with music, Pearl’s Gone Blue received a staged reading at Dixon Place’s Warning: Not for Broadway musical theater festival. Her short musical, Give Me Space, was produced at Raw Impressions Musical Theater and at Ensemble Studio Theater as part of the Sloan Foundation’s First Light Festival. Other plays which have received staged readings in New York and around the country include Tennessee Descending, One Dead Soldier, the musical Ophelia and the Players, and her adaptation of The Metamorphosis. Her short plays include Milking Time and In Bed with the Military. Leslie is a graduate of The Yale School of Drama and has worked extensively with the 52nd Street Project.

rachel rubin ladutke

RACHEL RUBIN LADUTKE (librettist) is a native New Yorker residing in Weehawken, NJ. Her plays have received notice in national competitions, including Jane Chambers, Long Beach Playhouse New Works Festival, Y.E.S. Festival, Moondance, Pittsburgh New Plays Competition and the Larry Corse Competition. Excerpts have been published in numerous monologue and scene collections from Smith & Kraus, Meriwether, and others. Her short play Pool of Tears was published by Brooklyn Publishing. Rachel is a member of the Dramatists Guild, and The Theater Project in Cranford, N.J. From 2002 to 2008, she served on the Board of the International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP). She is the editor of Seasons, the ICWP quarterly newsletter, and of Insight For Playwrights, a monthly marketing newsletter for playwrights. She holds a B.A. from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and an M.A. in Theatre from Hunter College. She also attended the National Theatre Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center. Belles of the Mill, a musical for which Rachel wrote the book (adapted from her own historical drama), was named a “Best of the Fest” selection with its 2002 workshop in the Midtown International Theatre Festival. She is currently working on a contemporary comedy, The Wickham Way.

melissa liMELISSA LI (composer) is a folkrock singer-songwriter who has been performing in the Boston area for the last 8 years and has played at countless numbers of clubs, theaters, festivals, and universities all over the country. Also an accomplished filmmaker, Melissa holds a B.S. in Film Production from Boston University and has competed over six documentaries, ten films, and an award-winning music video. In 2007, Melissa, along with her collaborator Abe Rybeck, was awarded a grant from the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation for her talent in music composition. Her first musical, Surviving the Nian, produced by The Theater Offensive, ran at the Boston Center for the Arts from April 14 - May 5. Most recently, she has been touring the United States with a transgender slam poet under the moniker Good Asian Drivers, and released her critically acclaimed debut album, 2 Seconds Away. Currently, she is a full-time touring performer living in New York City.

MICHAEL MAIELLO (librettist) is the editor of Intelligent Investing at Forbes.He has two plays (Night of Faith and Waiting for Death) published by and his musical Principia (created with composer Andrew Recinos at Dixon Place in 2003) was part of the 2003 New York International Fringe Festival and has been published as part of the anthology Playing With Canons edited by Martin Denton and published by the New York Theatre Experience.

KEN MCCARTHYKEN MCCARTHY (composer) holds an M.F.A. in Theatre and Music Composition from Penn State University. He is currently a composer/lyricist in the BMI Music Theatre Workshop, where he is developing his new musical, Prophet$.




daria polatinDARIA POLATIN’s (librettist) plays include Guidance, Eggs in a Basket (Princess Grace Award Finalist, Wasserstein Prize nominee), Ninja: the Musical (with Joe Iconis, Theater Row Workshop), The Ideal Home (optioned by MTV Networks), Skye Blue (Electric Pear Productions Workshop), Here and Now (Reading with Kathleen Chalfant, New York Theater Workshop), La Fête, D.C. (EST), A Fair Affair (Kennedy Center/ACTF) as well as plays with Naked Angels Lab and The Hen and Chickens Theatre, London. TV: The Ideal Home (pilot, MTV Networks), Spah (developed with Diorama Films), as well as work with NBC, CBS, and Oxygen. Daria has also written for film and young adult fiction. Royal Court Playwriting Residency, P73 Playwriting Fellowship Semi-Finalist, former member of Youngblood. M.F.A. Columbia.

scott ritterSCOTT R. RITTER (librettist) is a writer, actor and painter living in NYC. He has an M.F.A. in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts. He is currently writing the book and lyrics for a new original musical.

owen robertsonOWEN ROBERTSON’s (librettist) musical Saving Anne (music by Jay Gaither) has been produced and workshopped in London (Greenwich Theatre’s Musical Futures), Ann Arbor, MI (Performance Network) and Chicago (Theatre Building Chicago). He wrote the libretto for Elevator with composer Memrie Innerarity (Golden Fleece Ltd.) and participated as lyricist/bookwriter for Raw Impressions Music Theatre Marathon 2006. His play Ticket to Ride (NY International Fringe Festival) was voted Best of Fest by NY and with actor Michael D Brown he co-wrote Michael’s one man play The Women in My Soul which was produced at the inaugural Midtown International Theatre Festival. His musical Connect/Disconnect, written with Swedish composer Jan-Erik Saaf, was workshopped at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and will be produced at the June Havoc Theatre during this summer’s New York Midtown Festival. Owen studied musical theatre writing at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

JEFFREY DENNIS SMITH (composer) wrote music for Lightning Man (NYU Workshop), Lucila's Story (NY Fringe), and Science Fair (Prologue Children’s Theater Chicago).His dance scores have been heard at Tisch Dance, FAB! Festival, and (upcoming) Cool New York 2009 Dance Festival. Jeff is a graduate of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch.

mark weiserMARK WEISER (composer) is currently a headlining performer at Sweet Caroline's Dueling Pianos in Times Square, and has spent the last four years as a featured entertainer with Carnival Cruise Lines. This past December, he became the highest scoring contestant EVER on Fox's Don't Forget the Lyrics! When not rockin' the mic, he develops new rock n' roll theater, including his rock n' roll fable The Cure which has just been invited to participate in the 2009 New York Musical Theater Festival.

pia wilsonPIA WILSON (librettist) is a member of the 2008 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater. Her full-length drama, Tree of Life, received a 2007 workshop production at The Red Room Theater. The River Pure for Healing was part of the 2008 Resilience of the Spirit play festival. Short plays and one-acts: Dressed In Your Dreams (Stagecrafter's New Works Play Festival); Do You Proud (Eclectic Theater Company's "Got a Minute?" play festival); Whatever and Delicately (Groove Mama Ink; The Looking Glass Theatre's Spring 2008 Writer/Director Forum); The Rooster Never Crows (OneHeart Productions). In 2003, Pia's short story, Dressed In Your Dreams, was published by The Summerset Review. Her short film, Blinding Goldfish, was shown at the New Zealand Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the Trenton Film Festival in New Jersey.