Nine New Musical Theater Works Head to Rhinebeck Writers’ Retreat for Developmental Summer Residences


Rhinebeck Writers Retreat will welcome the writing teams of nine new musicals in development for in-person residencies this summer. The weeklong retreat series begins June 27 in the Hudson Valley.

Writers include contestant Tony Beth Malone, Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls and Broadway alumna Lynne Shankel; Jonathan Larson, grant recipients Avi Amon, Sara Cooper, Ty Defoe and Anna Jacobs; and Dramatists Guild Fellows Nolan Doran, David Gomez and John-Michael Lyles.

The full list of participating teams is:

  • Avi Amon, Ty Defoe and Nolan Doran with Lesson, a fantastic queer reinvention of the meeting between Beethoven and Mozart
  • David Gomez and John-Michael Lyles with Aim for the moon, about a forbidden love story between boxer Mercy Wheatley and poet Federico García Lorca
  • Noel Carey and Scott Weinstein with That’s all people, a double between the host and his most beloved character
  • David Darrow and Kira Obolensky with Four measures, based on the “21 Gram Theory” and experiments to prove the weight of the human soul
  • Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson with Mexode, on the slaves of the United States who traveled south on the Underground Railroad
  • Sara Cooper and Lynne Shankel with Perpetual sunshine and the ghost girls, on factory workers poisoned by the United States Radium Corporation
  • Amisho Baraka, Art Hooker, Justin Merrick, Gregory Thompson and Anasa Troutman with Union: The Musical, about the 1968 sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Anna K. Jacobs and Anna Ziegler with A house without windows, on the disappearance in 1939 of the former child prodigy Barbara Newhall Follett
  • Beth Malone, Erin Ortman and Emily Saliers with Starstruck, a modern queer tale of Cyrano, located in Idaho.

All writers’ costs are covered by donors, including an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature , the ASCAP Bart Howard Fund, and the Noël Coward Foundation. The main individual support comes from Liz Armstrong, Rick Farrar and Jeff Zadroga, Liz and Bill Mills, Steve and Paula Reynolds and Alex Robertson.

UPDATE JULY 13, 2021

The writers of Union: The Musical are unable to attend the retreat; Kate Leonard and Daniel Mertzlufft to fill the residence with their musical Fashion show, about three high school students pretending to be a fashion house.

To learn more about the selected writers and their works, visit


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