This weekend, Feinstein's/54 Below is launching its New Writers at 54! series of concerts, featuring some of the best up-and-coming talent in the world of musical theater. To get you acquainted with the folks you'll surely be seeing (and hearing) more of in the coming years, we asked the men and women at the helm of a few of the New Writers concerts to introduce the artists with whom they've been working so closely. Take a look at what this roster of directors had to say about their musical muses and then judge for yourself by sampling some of the work you'll see onstage if you take a trip to the after hours Broadway hangout.
More Songs by Eli Bolin — August 2 at 9:30pm
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
"I met Eli some years ago at Ars Nova, and have been a huge fan ever since. His music and lyrics are boisterous and heartfelt, making you laugh just before they pang your heartstrings. That dichotomy is absurd, but so are the experiences of love and yearning, which are a couple of his favorite things to write about. He knows how to empower performers to be virtuosic, so I have no doubt this is going to be a rocking, funny, surprisingly moving evening."
The Songs of Timothy Huang – August 8 at 9:30pm
Directed by Laura Brandel
"I love Timothy Huang so much that I married him, seriously. I met Tim in 2010 working on his concert, and what impressed me about him then was how bold both he and his work are. Tim's writing is aurally striking, his content is current, powerful, and political and he shares perspectives that have never been produced on the American stage. He recognizes the responsibility of sharing the voices of the underrepresented."
The Songs of Sam Willmott — August 10 at 9:30pm
Directed by Sammi Cannold
"I am unbelievably excited about Sam Willmott's work and am thrilled to be celebrating it with him on August 10th. Sam is an incredibly versatile artist — his work spans so many different genres and he somehow manages to achieve excellence in all of them. I believe that Sam is and will be one of the great composer-lyricist-book-writers of our generation, so I'm honored to be working with him and look forward to take part in sharing his work next month."
The Creations of Katie Thompson — August 13 at 7pm
Directed by Benjamin Rauhala
"Eight years ago, I was lucky enough to check out Katie Thompson's starry Birdland show, and remember not only crying laughing at the hilarious storytelling of numbers like 'I'm Not Pregnant,' but also being overwhelmed by the emotional truth and sensitivity of her ballads like 'Your Side' and 'I Know.' Anyone who has ever seen Katie onstage knows that her singing voice is thrilling, distinctive, and cuts right to the soul. Her voice as a writer is even more fascinating and thrilling — filled with self-effacing humor, and often a deeply felt longing. It's a beautiful and distinctly modern voice, and the soulful beauty of her storytelling is powerful and entirely unique."
Ta-Da! The Lyrics of Eric Price — August 13 at 9:30pm
Directed by Haley Bennett
"Eric and I met working on a Hal Prince production, and I'm thrilled we are now collaborating to present his own work as a lyricist. Eric's dexterity as a writer allows him to engage with a wide variety of subject matters and dramatize each in a way that feels timely, accessible, and exciting. He writes of discovery, of learning from those around us, and of aspiring and achieving – his lyrics are equal parts relatable and thought-provoking."
The Songs of Kailey Marshall — August 14 at 9:30pm
Directed by Max Friedman
"Kailey Marshall's voice as a writer-performer is one of the boldest and most exciting voices I've come in contact with. She is unafraid of her pop influence in a really refreshing way, and her lyrical content is so fearlessly personal. She shares her truth in such an accessible, relatable way that people really connect with."
In the Light by Michael Mott — August 19 at 7pm
Directed by Jeff Whiting
"When you collaborate with Michael Mott you know you're witnessing the future of musical theater. Michael and I worked together at Glimmerglass Opera a few years ago (he was an actor) and I'll never forget listening to a few demos of In the Light when I learned he was a writer. I recognized immediately that he has a remarkable superpower – he can write a musical hook that sounds incredibly familiar, and yet, is completely new."
Opening Numbers by Noel Carey — August 30 at 9:30pm
Directed by Max Friedman
"Noel Carey is absolutely bursting at the seams with talent and with amazing ideas. Very few people make me laugh like Noel does, and he has such a unique musicality. As soon as he explained the concept of his Opening Numbers show, I knew right away what a special evening it has the potential to be."
- Katie Thompson
- Michael Mott
- Moritz von Stuelpnagel
- Timothy Huang
- Kailey Marshall
- Eric Price
- Sam Willmott
- Max Friedman
- Benjamin Rauhala
- Jeff Whiting
- Sammi Cannold
- Laura Brandel
- Haley Bennett Eric
- Noel Carey
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