Goodspeed & Johnny Mercer Foundation Establish First Ever Writers Colony Dedicated to Musical Theatre

December 14
10:01 AM 2012

Goodspeed & Johnny Mercer Foundation Establish First Ever Writers Colony Dedicated to Musical Theatre

Goodspeed Musicals begins its 50th Anniversary Season with the announcement of a major new four-week residency program for musical theatre writers. The Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals is the first of its kind in the country as it is dedicated solely to the creation of new musicals. In partnership with the Johnny Mercer Foundation, Goodspeed will proudly offer established and emerging writers the unique opportunity to research, develop, and create new musicals.Michael Price, Executive Director of Goodspeed Musicals, says of the ground-breaking initiative, "Goodspeed Musicals' unique focus is musical theatre so it is fitting that we are finally able to realize the long-held dream of establishing a home for the creators of new musicals. Thanks in part to our expanded campus and our good fortune in finding such a perfect partner in the Johnny Mercer Foundation to help fund it, this safe haven for artists will launch in 2013."

The Writers Colony is a unique, long term residency program devoted exclusively to musical theatre writing. It will provide a sanctuary for composers, lyricists, and librettists to embark on new musical theatre work or to devote a substantial amount of time to a work-in-progress in an environment rich with creative energy. For four weeks each year, 14 to 20 writers will be immersed in this stimulating environment with the singular purpose of allowing the writers to write.

At Goodspeed Musicals, writers will find the freedom to work without the distractions of daily life, while receiving the support and encouragement needed to develop their works in progress. Each project will be assigned a creative mentor drawn from the highest levels of musical theatre professionals. The Writers Colony will afford the artists unlimited access to research materials in the Scherer Library of Musical Theatre, one of the most extensive musical theatre libraries in the U.S.; composition time in Goodspeed's music studios; and collaborative exchange with their peers through a series of informal salons for presenting and sharing their work. Throughout the residency, members of Goodspeed's artistic staff and professionals from the Johnny Mercer Foundation will be on site to offer guidance and support for the writers. Each year, writers will be invited by Goodspeed's panel of industry leaders to participate in this prestigious program. A select group of participants have been invited for the inaugural residency and will be announced at a later date.

John D. Marshall. Jr., Chairman of The Johnny Mercer Foundation, notes that "The Johnny Mercer Foundation is very excited to be a partner with Goodspeed, because we share a common bond. Johnny Mercer mentored many aspiring writers and performers and had a great fondness for musical theatre. Goodspeed has a long tradition of being an incubator of new musical Theater Productions, and our partnership with them in this new endeavor validates part of our mission "to support the discipline of songwriting."

Goodspeed Musicals is fortunate to be the most recent collaborator to unite with The Johnny Mercer Foundation, which has also joined forces with several outstanding institutions to facilitate their goals. Johnny Mercer Foundation Vice President and Producing Writer in Residence at the colony, Jonathan Brielle, says, "The Johnny Mercer Foundation's educational program at Kaufman Center for 4thgraders, middle school program at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and college level program at Northwestern University make this residency for the working professional in theater the natural culmination of our mentorship programs by collaborating with Goodspeed Musicals, the premiere regional theater in the country. It is quite an honor to help Michael Price and the outstanding Goodspeed artistic staff create this unique experience for the working theater writer."

With the establishment of the Writers Colony, Goodspeed Musicals cements its position as the center for the American Musical, which it supports through producing new and valued musicals from our nation's history; the comprehensive collection and services of the Scherer Library of Musical Theatre; and the educational and outreach activities of its Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre.

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