Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

University of the Arts' Polyphone Festival of New Musicals Now Accepting Applications for 2023

The Polyphone process supports creators of new musicals with a paid opportunity to make their work, while giving over 100 students on-the-ground training.

University of the Arts' Polyphone Festival of New Musicals Now Accepting Applications for 2023

The Polyphone Festival of New Musicals is currently accepting applications for musicals for its 2023 Festival. Applications are due Friday, August 5, 2022 at 11:59PM. For full details, please visit

The Polyphone Festival of New Musicals is an internationally recognized festival for the development of new musical theater at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. For the last eight years, they've brought professional composers, librettists, directors, choreographers, designers, and music directors from the field to the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at UArts to work with student casts and creative teams on musicals in progress.

The Polyphone process supports creators of new musicals with a paid opportunity to make their work, while giving over 100 students on-the-ground training in new musical theater development. They give adventurous new musicals the time and space to develop, free from the pressures of commercial interests, producing theaters, or reviews.

They have traditionally programmed 4 musicals each year, cast from around 150 auditioning students and workshopped over a 7-week process. The final presentations have been off-book, staged concert productions with a small band and full lighting and sound design. Their process has allowed creators to make changes throughout the rehearsal period and work their musical on its feet for the first time.

They define a musical as a performance in which music is a primary mode of storytelling. This can include ensemble-based, devised, experimental and/or operatic work as well as more traditionally-structured book musicals.

They are looking for full-length, original musicals that are in development with a cast of 7 or more named or significant characters. (A cast of 10-15 is ideal. Past cast sizes have ranged from 7-23 performers.) While adaptations are welcome, they favor either radical adaptations or original stories rather than more traditional stage adaptations. Authors must have proof of underlying rights for any adaptations based on existing works not in the public domain.

Polyphone is especially motivated to program voices and stories that are traditionally underrepresented in the musical theater canon. They seek to deconstruct and unsettle the ways in which they develop new work. They acknowledge that they have employed industry-standard structures that uphold the white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy, and they seek to actively use this moment to free ourselves from those oppressive standards by reimagining and redefining the process of new musical development. If you find the limitations of this application process do not offer adequate access for you, your voice, and your story to reach us, please contact Artistic Director Maggie-Kate Coleman at


1. Artistic Fee.
2. (for Non-Philadelphia artists) Housing is provided during weekend rehearsals as well as the tech/production process, and reimbursement of transportation is provided.
3. Paid professional director, music director, and choreographer as needed.
4. Student cast, band (3-5 musicians) and creative assistants.
5. Dramaturgical, logistical, and technical support from the festival creative leadership and the UArts community.


1. The musical should be in development and have a cast requiring 7 or more performers for stage musicals (A cast of 10-15 is ideal).
2. The musical should have a completed first draft (electronic copies only in PDF form, no hand-written scripts will be accepted) and must have been read at least once in a reading, workshop, or concert setting.
3. The musical should have a piano/vocal score, lead sheets, or the equivalent in time for callbacks in October.
4. Authors, Directors, and Music Directors of Stage Musicals must be available for rehearsals in Philadelphia on Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays starting February 2023, with tech and performances scheduled early April 2023. A complete production calendar will be provided at time of acceptance. For Non Philadelphia-based artists, bus travel and housing will be provided for weekend rehearsals, tech, and festival weeks. There is no housing for the full rehearsal period.
5. Artists that will be enrolled undergraduate students in the spring 2023 semester are not eligible with the exception of UArts students.

Please Note:

Polyphone is a hybrid educational and creative opportunity. Polyphone guest artists are asked to play the role of educator and artist during the rehearsal period, under the guidance of the Artistic Director, Dean of the Brind School, and UArts Faculty and Staff.

Polyphone Festival performances employ limited physical production, but full lighting and sound support using primarily handheld mics (wired and wireless). Bands are limited to 3-5 musicians. There is no projection or video support for Polyphone stage musicals.

Polyphone directors and MDs will be selected with input and the needs of Festival authors in mind, but they cannot guarantee that they will accommodate the hiring of attached directors, music directors, or other creative personnel associated with shows.


Complete the online application form that can be found at

DUE FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 2022 11:59pm
Authors may apply with no more than two musicals, each as a separate application.

If you have any technical issues with the application form or process, please contact Associate Producer Lindsay Cram at


Artistic Director Maggie-Kate Coleman will hold TWO question and answer sessions via Zoom before the application deadline:

THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2022 at 1pm Eastern
MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022 at 7pm Eastern
Please complete the following google form to register for the Q&A session of your choice. The reservation form can be found at

About University of the Arts

University of the Arts' mission is simple: to advance human creativity. Established in 1876, UArts believes creativity is the most essential skill for success in today's society and has educated generations of groundbreaking artists, performers, designers and creative leaders for 145 years.

After being granted university status in 1987, University of the Arts became the largest institution of its kind in the nation, offering programs in design, fine arts, media arts, crafts, music, dance, theater and writing. It now features 22 undergraduate arts majors, 13 graduate programs and the nation's first PhD program in Creativity. UArts is also home to innovative centers across disciplines, including the Center for Immersive Media, Lightbox Film Center, Philadelphia Art Alliance and Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery. Learn more about UArts at

Join Team BroadwayWorld

Are you an avid theatre goer in Philadelphia? We're looking for people like you to share your thoughts and insights with our readers. Team BroadwayWorld members get access to shows to review, conduct interviews with artists, and the opportunity to meet and network with fellow theatre lovers and arts workers.

Interested? Learn more here.

More Hot Stories For You

Black-Jewish Cookbook Author Michael Twitty Comes To Philly Next MonthBlack-Jewish Cookbook Author Michael Twitty Comes To Philly Next Month
August 18, 2022

On September 22, James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Twitty will appear at a book talk and signing at Philadelphia's Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History (The Weitzman) in support of his new book: “Koshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew.”

Local Theatre Artists Produce Philadelphia Premiere Of LARRY'S LATE SHOW For 2022 Philadelphia Fringe FestivalLocal Theatre Artists Produce Philadelphia Premiere Of LARRY'S LATE SHOW For 2022 Philadelphia Fringe Festival
August 17, 2022

Producer and actor Chelsea Cylinder and director Julianne Kastner present the Philadelphia premiere of Larry's Late Show, running September 16th-18th as part of the 2022 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. 

Opera Philadelphia's Festival O to Return in SeptemberOpera Philadelphia's Festival O to Return in September
August 17, 2022

Excitement is building for the return of Opera Philadelphia’s Festival O after a three-year hiatus.  Festival O22 kicks off Wednesday, September 21, with the company premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s The Raven, a monodrama inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and Noh theater, presented in an immersive audience experience co-produced with Philadelphia’s Obvious Agency.

Temple Theater to Present GROUP PROJECT in SeptemberTemple Theater to Present GROUP PROJECT in September
August 17, 2022

GROUP PROJECT is a new work written and directed by Lindsay Goss in collaboration with a cohort of Temple University theater students. GROUP PROJECT will be performed live and in person from September 8 to 18, 2022, at The Randall Theater.

Philadelphia Theatre Company Hires Married Couple Taibi Mager and Tyler Dobrowsky as Artistic DirectorPhiladelphia Theatre Company Hires Married Couple Taibi Mager and Tyler Dobrowsky as Artistic Director
August 17, 2022

Philadelphia Theatre Company has announced a new duo on their artistic leadership team. Taibi Mager and Tyler Dobrowsky are a married couple who will assume the role of artistic director together.