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New Voices Project 2021 Finalists Announced

The New Voices Project is offered to a select group of young musical theatre playwrights, composers and lyricists under the age of 26.

New Musicals Inc. has announced that three writing teams have been selected to participate in the 2021 New Voices Project, a musical theatre development program hosted by New Musicals Inc. in Los Angeles (with support from Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment), now in its ninth year.

The New Voices Project is offered to a select group of young musical theatre playwrights, composers and lyricists under the age of 26, who receive workshops, readings, and concerts of their work.

The three teams chosen for the 2021 season will receive a virtual workshop/concert with NMI in April, and will receive feedback from the NMI staff and a representative from Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment.

"Being a part of [the New Voices Project] was an incredibly informative experience." says Chris Bryon Pratt, former NVP winner. "Having my material performed then dissected gave me a very clear picture of what I can improve on as a writer. I think workshops such as the New Voices Project are so monumental to young aspiring writers because the panel gives fabulous critical feedback."

The teams chosen to participate this year are:

  • Charlie Romano and Harold Hodge Jr.
  • Clare Bierman and Erika Ji
  • Dylan Schifrin

"New Musicals Inc. offers a great opportunity to get the exposure that all young writers so desperately need." says Santino DeAngelo, former NVP winner. "The New Voices Project was my first chance to have my writing scrutinized by industry professionals and, throughout the course of the project, they really helped to shape the professional standards that I hold myself to today."

Additional information about this year's New Voices writers:

Charlie Romano is a Latino/Italian American composer from the Chicago area and a recent graduate from Yale College. As a composer/lyricist he's written Call Me from the Grave (2020, 2021 O'Neill Semifinalist, 2020 NAMT Semifinalist). He's also written music for Onward and Upward, Video Rental Store, AlakaZoom!, and Puppet Pioneers with Will Wegner, and The Ballad of Elisa Lam with Garrett Bell (BMI Workshop). Currently, Charlie is working on Tita, a new musical about his Panamanian-immigrant grandmother. Charlie is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where he collaborates with Julian Deroyce Bliss.

Harold Hodge Jr. is a New York-based Director and Playwright of politically charged theater. As a Black man that was raised in Japan, in a bi-racial/military family, he uses his unique multicultural lens to explore the stories of marginalized voices with a particular interest in the stories of people of color. Some recent credits include Fancy Maids, (Outstanding Play Winner at The Rave Theater Festival, published by StageRights), Petty in Pink, and Crossroads.

Clare Fuyuko Bierman is a playwright and lyricist raised in a Japanese-Jewish home with some rabbits, a snake, and a bunch of finches. Writing credits include Greenwich, 1957 (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Emma and the West (Virginia Voices New Musical Theater Showcase), Death and Taxes (HARP Theatricals), and The Very Furious Kugel (Open Door Playhouse). An LA native, she is currently pursuing her MFA in Musical Theater Writing from New York University.

Erika Ji is a Chinese-American cross-genre composer based in New York City. Her work has been featured around the world by the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, the Nadia Boulanger Institute, the Musical Theatre Factory at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, the Tisch Fringe Festival, Catalyst Artists, SheNYC Arts, the 52nd Street Project, and the Cesar Franck Hall at the Schola Cantorum de Paris. Erika is a Tisch Fellow at the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Dylan Schifrin is a composer, lyricist, librettist and playwright based in Los Angeles, CA. He is a Yale University graduate (Class of 2020) with a B.A. in Musical Theater Composition through the Shen Curriculum for Musical Theater. He has studied dramatic writing under Donald Margulies, Michael Korie and Marsha Norman, as well as composition under Scott Frankel and Jeanine Tesori. Dylan's work has been distinguished by the Blank Theatre Company, the California Playwrights Project, the National YoungArts Foundation (2016 Finalist in Playwriting), and the Foundation for New American Musicals. He is currently a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, Bookwriting Basics.

"We received so many amazing submissions this year," says NMI Executive Producer Scott Guy, "We wish we could take on a record number of teams in live workshop and concerts. But with these difficult digital times limiting our resources, we've decided instead to give out a number of additional Merit Awards. We don't yet know exactly how we will be able to support these additional teams, but at the very least, we hope to reach out to other musical theatre developers across the country to introduce them to these amazing young writers."

The Merit Award Recipients are: Erin J. Reifler and Zonia Tsang Lok Sze; James Pecore; Jordan Paul Clarke and Francesca Forristal; and Thomas Blakeley, Makena Metz, and Devin Weitz.

New Musicals Inc. seeks to encourage and enable writers, producers, directors, and dramaturgs to take a more collaborative and strategic approach to the creation of new works right from the start, before the pen even hits the page. This initiative hopes to foster the creation of exceptionally well crafted new musicals, that are intentional and intelligent in design. NMI strives to pave the way for the development of new musical theatre that is imaginative, inspiring, and impactful in today's world.

For information on New Musicals Inc., or the New Voices Project, visit

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