New York Youth Symphony Now Accepting Applications For Musical Theater Composition Program

By: Aug. 21, 2018

New York Youth Symphony Now Accepting Applications For Musical Theater Composition Program

Now entering its 56th season, the New York Youth Symphony (NYYS) is launching a Musical Theater Composition (MTC) program, to be led by newly-appointed director Anna K. Jacobs. In a partnership with the Harlem School of the Arts, this new program aims to diversify the world of musical theater by creating opportunities for young composers to have their compositions workshopped and performed by both peers and professionals. In weekly seminars, students between the ages of 12 and 22 will learn about key songwriting tools, explore the relationship between music and language, discover the power of writer and performer collaborations, and foster an artistic community.

They will discover the world of professional musical theater through visits from Broadway producers, directors, choreographers, designers, composers, actors, and musicians. Guest speakers and artists include Ryan Driscoll, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Michael R. Jackson, Raymond J. Lee, Alyse Alan Louis, Sam Pinkleton, Lynne Shankel, Jason Vasey, Paloma Young, and more. Students will also have the opportunity to see a live concert and a Broadway musical to illustrate the foundations learned throughout the program. The season will culminate in a student-led performance at one of NYC's iconic cabaret venues, Joe's Pub. Young composers and lyricists are encouraged to apply at

Ms. Jacobs has been a teaching artist for the Lincoln Center Theater Song Writing In The Schools workshop, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, as well as the NYMF/ASCAP Musical Songwriting Workshop. Her works have received recognition with multiple awards and nominations. "I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the NYYS team! I look forward to working with the students, and bringing their musical theater visions to life."

The MTC program adds to five existing NYYS programs - Orchestra, Chamber Music, Jazz, Composition, and Apprentice Conducting. The MTC program will be the sixth, and will further a strategic initiative to expand the impact of the NYYS within the music community. NYYS Board President Melissa Eisenstat is "extremely excited to add this program to the New York Youth Symphony. It is a very necessary next step to expanding the opportunities and access provided by the NYYS to music students aged 12 to 22."

"In launching this new program we seek to open opportunities for students who might otherwise be unable to explore and develop their talents. Anna brings exceptional industry and educational experience in the genre to the program, and we are thrilled to have her leading this effort", says NYYS Executive Director Shauna Quill. Auditions for the Musical Theater Composition program will be held in September. Applications are being accepted now. For more information on how to apply visit

Anna K. Jacobs is a Brooklyn-based composer/lyricist and sometimes-librettist. Her musicals include POP! (Yale Rep, Pittsburgh City Theatre, Studio Theatre, etc.; book & lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman), HARMONY, KANSAS (Diversionary Theatre; book & lyrics by Bill Nelson), ANYTOWN (George Street Playhouse; book by Jim Jack), TEETH (O'Neill Musical Theater Conference; co-book & lyrics by Michael R. Jackson), ECHO (The Gallery Players), STELLA AND THE MOON MAN (Sydney Theatre Company/Theatre of Image; written by Richard Tulloch & co-composed with Adrian Kelly), and the short musicals CAGE MATCH and MAGIC 8 BALL (Prospect Theatre Company; w/ Sam Salmond & Michael R. Jackson). She also wrote music and lyrics for the soon-to-be-released KAYA: TASTE OF PARADISE, a movie musical commissioned by the New York Film Academy and featuring Okieriete Onaodowan (screenplay by Jerome Parker, directed by Paul Warner). Currently, she and playwright Anna Ziegler are collaborating on a new musical for Barbara Whitman Productions and Grove Entertainment that's about catfishing. Anna was recognized for her work as a composer/lyricist with the prestigious Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award. She's a former Sundance Fellow and Dramatists Guild Fellow, and has been an Artist in Residence at Ars Nova, New Dramatists, Musical Theatre Factory, Goodspeed, and Barrington Stage Company. Anna holds an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU-Tisch and is on faculty at The New School. For more information visit

Guest Artist/Speaker Bios:

Ryan Driscoll is a Broadway music copyist, and has prepared the orchestra music for such shows as Come From Away, Bright Star, Gigi, First Date, Fun Home, Tuck Everlasting, Allegiance, The Scottsboro Boys, and Big Fish among many others. He has worked with composers and orchestrators such as Marvin Hamlisch, Stephen Flaherty, Andrew Lippa, Larry Hochman, August Eriksmoen, and Bruce Coughlin. Mr. Driscoll holds a BM and MMA in Vocal Performance from NYU Steinhardtholds a Bachelor and Master of Music in Vocal Performance and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Vocal Pedagogy all from NYU Steinhardt, where he is also currently Visiting Music Assistant Professor of Vocal Performance.

Carmen Ruby Floyd has performed in 6 Tony Award winning musicals including Disney's The Lion King as Shenzi, Avenue Q as Gary Coleman and The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess with Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis. In her fourth show, After Midnight, the Associated Press said "Carmen Ruby Floyd never sings a word in her song (Creole Love Call), but her eyes and heavenly voice will make you melt". Ms. Floyd stepped into the iconic role of Matron "Mama" Morton in the long running musical Chicago and just finished her sixth Broadway run in Hello, Dolly as the understudy for Ernestina and Dolly Levi herself. Off Broadway mentions include Second Stages Crowns as Yolanda, Cabin in the Sky (Encores) and her Carnegie Hall debut in historic Showboat. Proudly she has sung several times, both on Broadway and in private performances for President and Mrs. Obama, and former President Bill Clinton. Carmen now sings around the world for star and friend Vanessa Williams.

Michael R. Jackson holds a BFA in playwriting from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts' Dramatic Writing Program and an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from the Tisch School's Musical Theatre Writing Program. As a songwriter, he has seen his work performed at Merkin Hall, The Barrington Stage Company, The Laurie Beechman Theater, The Triad, Ars Nova, Joe's Pub, The Metropolitan Room, The Bruno Walter Library at Lincoln Center, and ACT in Seattle. He wrote book and lyrics on the musical Only Children with composer Rachel Peters courtesy of the Tisch School of the Arts Undergraduate Drama Department at NYU. He is currently at work on a new musical called A Strange Loop, for which he is writing book, music, and lyrics as well as writing book and lyrics for a musical adaptation of the 2006 indie film Teeth, with composer Anna K. Jacobs.

Raymond J. Lee originated the role of Ralph in Groundhog Day on Broadway. Other Broadway credits: Honeymoon In Vegas, Anything Goes, Mamma Mia! Off-Broadway: Two Gentlemen of Verona (The Public), The Wild Party (Encores!). Regional: Tiger Style! (La Jolla), Stuck Elevator (A.C.T.), Nerds (PTC), Great Wall (Village Theatre). TV: "Billions," "Red Oaks," "Smash," "The Jim Gaffigan Show," "Fame," "Succession." Film: The Greatest Showman, Ghost Town, The Mikado Project. Ray's voiceover work includes The Guardians Brothers on Netflix, audiobooks, and several animated shows.

Alyse Alan Louis Broadway: Amélie (original cast recording), Disaster!, Mamma Mia! Off-Broadway: A New Brain (Encores! Off-Center/original cast recording); The Civilians' Pretty Filthy (Abrons Arts Center/original cast recording); Academia Nuts (NYMF/The Signature). Regional: Amélie (Center Theatre Group and Berkeley Rep); The Rocky Horror Show (Bucks County Playhouse); Nerds (Philadelphia Theatre Co.); Spring Awakening (Olney Theatre Center); Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol? (City Theatre PA).

Sam Pinkleton's Broadway credits include Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (Tony Nomination - Best Choreography); Significant Other; Amélie; Heisenberg; and Machinal. Opera: Trouble in Tahiti (Dutch National Opera). Off-Broadway/regional: BAM, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club, TFANA, Berkeley Rep, American Repertory Theater, Kansas City Rep, Theatreworks USA, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and McCarter Theatre. Mr. Pinkleton is a collaborating artist with The Civilians, Pig Iron Theatre Company, and The Dance Cartel. He directed Runaways for City Center Encores, which is currently being reprised by the The Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park.

Lynne Shankel is an award-winning orchestrator and arranger living in the New York City area. Lynne was recently the music supervisor/arranger/orchestrator for ALLEGIANCE starring Lea Salonga and George Takei on Broadway. Her diverse musical background has led her to write orchestrations and arrangements for everyone from Chita Rivera, the New York Pops and Raul Esparza to Tony Award winner/Bon Jovi member David Bryan and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. She has been music director/arranger for Broadway productions such as Cry-Baby, and Company, as well as off-Broadway production such as Altar Boyz, Once on This Island, and The Extraordinary Ordinary. She also collaborated with lyricist Jon Hartmere to provide the new songs for that production which are featured on her new album, Bare Naked. Proud graduate of the University of Michigan.

Jeanine Tesori's Broadway credits include Fun Home, Violet, Caroline, or Change, Shrek The Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Twelfth Night (Lincoln Center Theater) and John Guare's A Free Man of Color. Ms. Tesori also collaborated with Tony Kushner on Mother Courage starring Meryl Streep at the Delacorte. Her opera credits include A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (libretto, Tony Kushner; Glimmerglass) and The Lion, the Unicorn and Me (libretto, J. D. McClatchy; Washington National Opera). Her songs are featured in the Netflix revival of "Gilmore Girls." She is the artistic director/co-founder of A Broader Way, an arts empowerment program for girls from underserved communities; the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center; and a lecturer in music at Yale University and Columbia University. Ms. Tesori is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Jason Veasey is a New York based performer who thrives on creating new work. Over the years he's had the opportunity to work with some of the most original and exciting new composers, lyricists and writers out there. Micheal R. Jackson, Joe Iconis, Randy Blair and Tim Drucker, Micheal Friedman are just some examples he's had the pleasure to work with. On the more "established" front he has appeared in the Broadway and National touring companies of The Lion King, as well as regional productions of The Bomb-itty of Errors, Beauty and the Beast and Five Guys Named Moe.

Beth Williams: Prior to launching Grove Entertainment in 2014, Beth Williams helped launch Key Brand Entertainment in the United States, where she served as its COO & Head of Production and subsequently the CEO - Theater Division for Broadway Across America for six years. During her tenure, Broadway Across America was a producer of more than 40 new Broadway productions including Pippin, Big Fish, Million Dollar Quartet (New York, US Tour, London), Hands on a Hardbody, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette, Promises, Promises starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth and Harry Connick, Jr. In Concert On Broadway.

Prior to joining Key Brand, Ms. Williams produced Grey Gardens on Broadway in partnership with East of Doheny; was the President of Production for Clear Channel Theatrical where she was a producer of The Producers - The New Mel Brooks Musical, Hairspray, Sweet Smell of Success, Fosse (Broadway, US Tour, London) amongst others, and started a successful family division where she produced and toured Nickelodeon's Rugrats - A Live Adventure, Blue's Clues Live, The All That Music and More Festival and Dora the Explorer Live! Prior to producing, Ms. Williams worked as a conductor and pianist on Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, and Dreamgirls.

Paloma Young (Costume Designer) Broadway: Peter and the Starcatcher (Tony Award), Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (Tony Nomination), Bandstand (Drama Desk Nomination) Off-Broadway: Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, Kazino (Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk Nomination); The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters, Fly By Night Playwrights Horizons; Wildflower, Second Stage Uptown; Recall, Colt Coeur; Permission, MCC; Here's Hoover!, Les Freres Corbusier; Brooklyn Babylon, BAM NextWave. Regional: The Tempest (magic by Teller, music by Tom Waits), ART/Smith Center Las Vegas (Elliot Norton Nomination); Troublemaker, or the Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright and You, Nero, Berkeley Repertory Theatre; Hoover Comes Alive! and A Current Nobody, La Jolla Playhouse. Ms. Young has also worked regionally at Dallas Theatre Center, South Coast Repertory, Arena Stage, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theatre, Hand2Mouth and Mixed Blood among others. MFA UC San Diego. Website:

About the NYYS:

The New York Youth Symphony is internationally recognized for its award-winning and innovative educational programs for talented young musicians. Founded in 1963 as an orchestra to showcase the metropolitan area's most gifted musicians, ages 12-22, its programs have since grown to include Chamber Music, Jazz, Composition, Musical Theater Composition, Apprentice Conducting, and the First Music commissioning program.


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