Pairing Young Talent with Experienced Writers

"The fact that such a program exists within the walls of a university is nothing short of extraordinary.  Allowing students to experience a new musical workshop, to develop the skills necessary to thrive in such a setting, and to make connections with artists currently working in the field will certainly give them a significant advantage as they make the difficult transition from students to professionals.”
          - Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond, Writers of Golden Gate and dani girl

 

About New Musicals

Over the last several years Millikin’s School of Theatre and Dance has been developing an innovative program known as the New Musicals Workshop.This exciting workshop offers students and faculty opportunities to collaborate with professional writing teams as they develop new musicals intended for commercial production.

The collaboration provides our students with a valuable first-hand look into the process of developing and rehearsing a new musical from the ground up, while providing the writers with a safe laboratory environment where they may access our student talent pool, facilities and departmental resources.  Student performers, production managers, stage managers, dramaturgs, and accompanists all have opportunities to benefit from this unique experience.  The professional relationships cultivated through this collaboration are mutually beneficial to students entering the professional market and to working professionals already established in the industry.

The New Musicals Workshop at Millikin University has grown in a relatively short time to be one of the few university programs in the country recognized by the Broadway community as an opportunity for established writers to develop new musicals destined for Broadway and beyond.

"Our experience was exhaustive, exhilarating, and extraordinary.  We're grateful to NAMT and the Millikin University New Musicals Workshop for this wonderful opportunity to water and fertalize our bastard!"
          -Marc Acito and Amy Engelhardt, Writers of Bastard Jones

Membership in National Alliance for Musical Theatre

Millikin's membership in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) has been a key element to the success of this program.  The introductions made available through their annual new musicals festival have enabled us to host some of the most promising writing talents in the industry.  The New Musicals Workshop has also been the recipient of the NAMT Writers' Residency Grant for three consecutive years. 

History of the Initiative

January 2014

  • The Legend of New York by Ryan Cunningham and Joshua Salzman 
  • New Musicals Workshop; Writing team residency
  • NAMT Writer’s Residency Grant
  • University Fellowship Grant

November 2013

  • String by Adam Gwon and Sarah Hammond - Presented on the Millikin Mainstage - the first fully staged production.   

January 2013

  • Bastard Jones by Marc Acito and Amy Engelhardt (2012 O'Neill and Richard Rodgers Finalist)
  • New Musicals Workshop; Writing team residency
  • NAMT Writer’s Residency Grant
  • University Fellowship Grant

January 2012

  • The Grid by Marissa Michelson (2011 Larson Award Winner) & Frank Terry
  • New Musicals Workshop; Writing team residency
  • NAMT Writer’s Residency Grant

Fall 2011

  • Ordinary Days by Adam Gwon (2011 Kleban Award Winner)
  • Staged concert in memoriam of September 11th produced with permission of Rogers & Hammerstein

Spring 2011

  • Golden Gate by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond
  • Produced in full as part of the Department of Theatre and Dance’s 2010-2011 mainstage season

January 2011

  • String by Adam Gwon (2011 Kleban Award Winner) and Sarah Hammond
  • NAMT Writer’s Residency Grant
  • New Musicals Workshop; Writing team residency
  • In May 2011 Sarah and Adam received the Loewe Award in musical theatre from New Dramatists for String

January 2011

  • Getting There by Ben Morss and Les Hunter
  • New Musicals Workshop; Writing team residency

Fall 2011

  • Golden Gate by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond
  • Semester-long class workshop in preparation for full production in spring 2011
  • September and December: Writing team residencies

January 2010

  • Golden Gate by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond (2010 Larson Award Winners)
  • New Musicals workshop; Writing team residency
  • Staged readings and feedback sessions in Decatur & Chicago

January 2009

  • Trails by Jeff Thomson and Jordan Mann (2008 Larson Award Winners)
  • New Musicals workshop; Writing team residency
  • Staged readings and feedback sessions in Decatur & Chicago
  • Dani Girl by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond
  • New Musicals workshop; Writing team residency
  • Staged readings and feedback sessions in Decatur & Chicago

January 2008

  • Collaboration with Theatre Building Chicago
  • Workshops of three new 30 minute musicals High Five: Music by Elizabeth Doyle, Book and Lyrics by Laurel Haines and Nan Hoffman; Damage Control: Book by Steve Delchamps and Greg Silva, Music by Greg Silva, Lyrics  by Steve Delchamps; Inconvenient War: Book by Barbara Georgans,Lyrics by Francesca Peppiatte, Music by Karena Mendoza
  • Staged readings and feedback sessions in Decatur & Chicago

January 2007

  • Collaboration with the Academy for New Music Theatre
  • Workshops of the new musicals The Snow Job, The Perfect Feet, and Squeak
  • Staged readings and feedback sessions in Decatur & Chicago

New Musicals Chronology

Year

Show

Writers

Awards

 2014

The Legend of New York

Ryan Cunningham
Joshuah Salzman

Jonathan Larson Grant Recipients
Drama Desk Award Nomination

2013

String *

Adam Gwon
Sarah Hammond

Kleben Prize Recipients
Frederick Loewe Award Recipients

2013

Bastard Jones

Amy Engelhardt 
Marc Acito  

 

2012

The Grid

Marissa Michaelson
Frank Terry

Jonathan Larson Grant Recipients

2011

String

Adam Gwon
Sarah Hammond

Kleben Prize Recipients
Frederick Loewe Award Recipients

2011

Getting There 

Ben Morss
Les Hunter

 

2010

Golden Gate

Michael Kooman
Chris Dimond

Jonathan Larson Grant Recipients

2009

dani girl

Michael Kooman
Chris Dimond

Jonathan Larson Grant Recipients

2009

Trails

Jeff Thompson Jordan Mann

Jonathan Larson Grant Recipients

 * Produced on the Millikin Mainstage

New Works Submissions

"This was one of the most helpful and inspiring experiences we've ever had at such an early point in the process of writing a show, which was largely due to the professionalism and openness of the students we were working with." 
          - Marisa Michelson and Frank Terry, Writers of  The Grid

We are interested in experiences where we can serve the development of new work with artistry and resources provided by Millikin faculty and students. Millikin has designed the workshop to develop new works on a continuum from first drafts to fully realized productions, depending on the needs of the writers. We’re looking for a good fit in terms of material, development trajectory, and the needs and expectations of the writing team. Writers with a relationship to our program or recommended by other NAMT members are encouraged to submit work for review.

To have your work considered, please send the following:              

  • A cover letter that describes desired next steps in terms of the development needs and projected trajectory dates, if applicable
  • A script, score, and sample CD sent electronically to ALL of the following emails lbales@millikin.edu or kwlong@millikin.edu

The best time to submit is late spring and early summer; submissions will not be returned.

Resources

Facilities and Resources

One of the major advantages to having a program such as the New Musicals Workshop rooted in a university program is the ability to offer writers resources to which they may not have regular or affordable access.  Connecting emerging writers with our students and faculty offers mutually beneficial opportunities for artistic growth in a safe and focused environment. 

Available resources

  • Artistic staff, including director, music director, dramaturg, musicians, stage managers and designers
  • Administrative support
  • Technical support 
  • Rehearsal studios and practice rooms
  • Variety of performance venues
  • State of the art recording studio
  • Housing
  • Access to actors, singers, and dancers from our student body