The ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Fest Returns To The Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts

Composers/lyricists for Despicable Me, Tangled, Anastasia and top studio executives offer career advice for aspiring music creators.

By: Apr. 18, 2024
The ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Fest Returns To The Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts
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The ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Fest returns for a second year to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts from May 14 - 21. This year's Fest, which is geared to aspiring musical theatre writers, will focus on music for film and TV animation, and features award-winning composers and top executives from film and TV animation studios.

With support from the Gary Geld Musical Theatre Foundation, the event showcases opportunities for musical theatre songwriters and composers, whose ability to craft music that establishes mood, develops characters and advances narratives is essential for animation. Sessions will cover the lifecycle of a song from pre-production to screen, the art of collaboration, how a work can journey from stage to screen and vice-versa, what studios look for when hiring and working with composers and lyricists, and more.

Fest attendees will hear from accomplished ASCAP composer members including Glenn Slater (Tangled, Sister Act: The Musical), Heitor Pereira (Puss in Boots, Despicable Me franchise), Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (lyricist and composer, Anastasia), plus Michelle Lewis (The Loud House, Doc McStuffins), Future Vega (Doug Unplugs, Fast & Furious Spy Racers), Jeannie Lurie (Mira, Royal Detective, Kinderwood, Cleopatra in Space), Layla Minoui (Vampirina, Ridley Jones), Vidjay Beerepoot (Superkitties, Minnie's Bow-Toons), and Raye Zaragoza (Spirit Rangers).

Panel discussions with music executives from some of today's biggest film and TV animation studios offer an inside look at how film and TV studios make decisions and work with music creators. Executives will talk about how they work with composers and lyricists on their animated projects; the specific steps it takes to bring a project to life, from music cues to final master; and present a mini-workshop with the opportunity for previously selected songwriting teams to write a song based on an assigned brief.

On Friday, May 17, Fest attendees will be treated to an evening of performances and interviews celebrating the life and impact of the legendary Howard Ashman, the lyricist who defined animated movie-musicals for an entire generation with his songs for such beloved films as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. 

Esteemed ASCAP member Gary Geld was a successful pop songwriter, record producer and musical theatre composer. Geld's major songwriting credits include “Sealed with a Kiss,” “Hurting Each Other” and “Save Your Heart for Me.” Purlie marked his Broadway debut in 1970, followed by Shenandoah. Both shows received multiple Tony nominations.

The inaugural 2024 ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Librettist Workshop will also take place at The Wallis, from May 18 - 21. Applicants previously selected for the workshop will present and receive feedback on the musical book and songs from their original musical from a panel of composers, producers and librettists. This workshop is generously funded by the Kenward Elmslie estate.

The panels and workshop sessions are free and open to the public. Reservations are required for all events and are available at TheWallis.org/ASCAPFoundation. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills.

Below is the program schedule. For more information, visit https://www.ascapfoundation.org/musicaltheatrefest24.  

Tuesday, May 14

11:00 AM 

Coming Soon!

2:00 PM

How the Team Works to Make the Dream Work

Panelists: Studio executives Alexandra Nickson (SVP of Music, Dreamworks) and Vivian Buff (Director of Music, Dreamworks)

Wednesday, May 15

11:00 AM

Untangling a Thriving Career: In Conversation with Glenn Slater

Panelist: Glenn Slater (composer)

Moderator: Michael Kerker

2:00 PM

Musical Journey to the Past: A Conversation with the Creatives Behind Anastasia

Panelists: Lynn Ahrens (lyricist) and Stephen Flaherty (composer)

Moderator: Kevin Bannerman

Thursday, May 16

11:00 AM

One in a Minion: The Singular Vision of Heitor Pereira

Panelist: Heitor Pereira (composer)

Moderator: TBA

2:00 PM

ASCAP's Music Creators Roundtable 

Panelists: Composers Jeannie Lurie, Layla Minoui, Vidjay Beerepoot, Future Vega and Raye Zaragoza

Moderator: Michelle Lewis 

Friday, May 17

7:30 PM 

Part of Our World: Celebrating the Life & Lyrics of Howard Ashman

Howard Ashman was the brilliant lyricist behind many of Disney's most beloved songs of all time. This musical tribute will celebrate Ashman's unparalleled talent and contributions to musical theatre, from the charming standards of The Little Mermaid to the unforgettable ballads of Beauty and the Beast and the doo-wop sci-fi satire of Little Shop of Horrors.

Saturday, May 18

3:00-5:30 PM

The ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Librettist Workshop

MUSICAL PROJECT #1 - Salem

Librettist: Kira Stone

Sunday, May 19

3:00-5:30 PM

The ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Librettist Workshop

MUSICAL PROJECT #2 - Esperanza Rising

Librettists: Jimena Caballero & Emma Cordray

Monday, May 20

10:00 AM

Songwriting for Animation Challenge (Part 1)

3:30 PM

Songwriting for Animation Challenge (Part 2)

Panelists: Studio executives Joe D'Ambrosia (EVP & General Manager, Sony Pictures Television - Kids) and Jay Stutler (Vice President of Music for Walt Disney Television Animation)

7:00-9:30 PM

The ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Librettist Workshop

MUSICAL PROJECT #3 - Black Box 

Librettist: Paul Hodge

Tuesday, May 21

7:00-8:30 PM

The ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Librettist Workshop

A Storied Evening with the Icons

This evening will feature a 90-minute roundtable discussion with distinguished librettists.

Panelists: to be announced



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