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New Musicals Initiative

About the Intiative

Each year, Penn State Musical Theatre commissions writers to visit the Junior BFA class to meet, share work, and discuss important issues. These high-profile NYC writers leave and begin to write a musical utilizing those young artists. They return the following Fall to deliver a first draft of a musical inspired somehow by the now Senior students and their visit with them.

The writers are then in residence at Penn State throughout the year workshopping and developing the musical along with our Penn State artistic team. The project culminates in an NYC concert at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below and a full concert reading on campus. Possibilities exist for the show to continue on at Penn State into production and then professional co-production with a Regional or NYC Theatre.

Read about our New Musicals Initiative in American Theatre Magazine

Our Musical Theatre students work, perform, and engage with Musical Theatre writers

Current Commisions

LOVE IN HATE NATION

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Joe Iconis

  • Commissioned January, 2016
  • Development at Penn State 2016-2017
  • Concert at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below January, 2017
  • Reading at Penn State April, 2017
  • Reading at Musical Theatre Factory in NYC October, 2017
  • Full production at Penn State February, 2018
  • World Premiere production at Two River Theater November, 2019

World Premiere Production Official Trailer

Typographic logo of the play
Typographic logo of the play

THE LAST DAY

Music by Mike Reid; Lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger
Book by Sarah Schlesinger, John Simpkins and Mike Reid

  • Commissioned January, 2017
  • Development at Penn State 2017-2018
  • Concert at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below January, 2018
  • Reading at Penn State April, 2018
  • Full production at Penn State June, 2019
  • Currently being developed for film and documentary

Watch an interview with Grammy winning composer Mike Reid

THE LUCKY BOY

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Kirsten Childs

  • Commissioned January, 2018
  • Development at Penn State 2018-2019
  • Concert at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below January, 2019
  • Reading at Penn State April, 2019
  • Reading at Musical Theatre Factory in NYC October, 2017
  • Full production at Penn State February, 2020
  • Development concert at New York Theatre Barn September, 2020
Typographic logo of the play
Typographic logo of the play

DUST AND EMBERS

Book, Music, and Lryics by Sam Salmond

  • Commissioned October, 2018
  • Development at Penn State 2019-2020
  • Concert at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below January, 2020
  • Reading at Penn State April, 2020
  • Album demo recording Summer, 2020

NOSTALGIA NIGHT

Music and Lyrics by Matthew McCollum
Book by Sofya Levitsky-Weitz

  • Commissioned January, 2020
  • Development at Penn State 2020-2021