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Finalists Announced for East West Players & NMI's Musical Theatre Initiative


This week, East West Players (EWP) and New Musicals Inc. (NMI) are proud to announce the Finalists for their joint initiative to develop a new musical.

The finalists belong to eleven writing teams, with a total of 20 writers. The teams are: Howard Ho and Marc Macalintal (Los Angeles); Zhu Yi, Yoonmi Lee, and Gaby Gold (New York); Khiyon Hursey and Cheeyang Ng (New York); Edison Hong and Tidtaya Sinutoke (New York); Jason Ma (Los Angeles); Boni B. Alvarez and Christopher Porter (Los Angeles); Sam Chanse and Bob Kelly (New York); Timothy Huang; Orlando G. Morales (Seattle); Marcus Yi (New York); and Jeff Liu, Koji Steven Sakai, and Scott Jung (Los Angeles).

We also received submissions from teams of promising young writers and we would like to give Honorable Mention to two in particular - the Pennsylvania team of Gabrielle Harrison (17), Michael Tang (16), and Anna Tang (12); as well as to Thirdy Saruca, a 16-year-old student living in the Philippines.

"We received four times the number of proposals we were expecting ," says Snehal Desai, EWP's Associate Artistic Director. "Submissions arrived from all over the world. It's been very difficult to decide which musicals to go forward with; there were many compelling projects and extremely diverse and talented creative teams to choose from."

East West Players and New Musicals Inc. will be nurturing the works over the next year or two through workshops and concert presentations before potentially selecting one for production. "We wish we could produce all eleven of these musicals," admits Elise Dewsberry, NMI's Artistic Director, "but that's unrealistic, of course. However, we do hope to support each of them somehow. We'll be speaking with the writing teams in the next few weeks to talk about next steps for each of them."

From this finalist pool, NMI and EWP will select up to three projects that they will develop through the fall and into the spring of 2017. "Each team will find its own path," says Desai. "It's wonderful to think of all the amazing musical theatre ahead of us. The work ranges from experimental and contemporary to commercial and traditional, and everything in between. But all of it is speaking to the Asian American experience. We can't wait to start sharing these works with our audiences."

New Musicals Inc. has established a growing reputation for creating original musicals directly for producers. They are currently working with Deaf West Theatre, McCoy-Rigby Productions and Northern Sky Theatre. Other recent partnerships include ones with Jeff Marx ("Avenue Q"), Celebration Theatre, The Victory Theatre, Red Mountain Theatre, The Lyric Theatre, UC Irvine, and other regional theatres. This is their second collaboration with East West Players. They last collaborated to create the hit musical, "Imelda," about a decade ago.

East West Players, the longest continuously-running theatre of color in the country, produces artistic works and educational programs that foster dialogue exploring Asian Pacific experiences. EWP is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary season.

For further information about the East West Players and New Musicals Initiative, or to follow the progress of these works, email or subscribe at

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