east west players initiative | NewMusicalsInc

east west players initiative

The East West Players Musical Theatre Initiative



East-West Players and New Musicals Inc. are partnering again to create a new musical, and are accepting submissions from Asian-American musical theatre writers to be considered for the project.  We partnered a decade ago to create the hit musical, Imelda, and now we’re coming together in time for East-West Players’ 50th anniversary.

“We’re looking to work together to create an important, powerful piece of theater about the Asian-American experience,” says Snehal Desai, EWP’s Associate Artistic Director.  “The show itself could be large or small, funny or dramatic, realistic or abstract, cutting-edge or traditional, but we’re hoping that it’s contemporary in its message and innovative in its storytelling.  So whether you are working on the next Hamilton, Allegiance, or Here Lies Love, we want to hear from you.”

New Musicals Inc. is hoping to find several teams or projects in the early stages, nurturing several works over the next year or two through workshops and concert presentations before potentially selecting one for production.

Writers who are interested in submitting may choose to submit excerpts from existing musicals, either finished or still in progress, or they may submit samples from their work along with an idea for something brand-new.  “Works which are very early in the process actually have an advantage right now,” says Elise Dewsberry, New Musicals Inc.’s Artistic Director.  “Even if the new work is just a single paragraph and nothing more, we would consider it.  This is an opportunity for our organizations to work together and create something special.”


March 7, 2016: Submissions Open
April 8, 2016: Final Deadline for Submissions
April 20, 2016: East West Players Musical Theatre Initiative Winners Announced

Submission material: Writers will be asked to submit a short biography from all team members.  Writers are encouraged to submit up to three selections, either from a single work, or separate works, for a total of a maximum of 20 minutes of material.  Any one of these “selections” could instead be an idea or treatment - but each team should submit at least one sample of the kind of work the team has done in the past. All submissions will be electronic: script/score submissions will be accepted in PDF format; demo/sound files will be accepted in MP3 format; and we will also accept links to YouTube or Vimeo video files.  The NMI staff will review all submissions and select the winning entries to move forward.



NOTE: In order to make a submission, you will be asked to login to your NMI account, or to create one.


As the nation’s premier Asian American theatre organization, East West Players produces artistic works and educational programs that foster dialogue exploring Asian Pacific experiences.

Vision Statement

  • Continuing the movement to develop, foster, and expand Asian Pacific performance into a major force on the national arts scene in the 21st century
  • National recognition of the organization’s productions and programs
  • Increased opportunities for Asian and Pacific Islander artists on stage and in other media
  • Introducing audiences to the diverse Asian Pacific experiences
  • Educational programs and mentorship in the literary, technical, and performing arts
  • Financial and organizational sustainability and growth


Established in 1965, East West Players has been hailed as the nation’s leading Asian American theater troupe for our award-winning productions that blend Eastern and Western movement, costumes, language, and music. EWP has premiered more than 100 plays and musicals about the Asian Pacific American experience and has held more than 1,000 readings and workshops. Our emphasis is on building bridges between East and West, and one measure of our success is an audience of 56% Asians and a remarkable 44% non-Asian attendance. East West Players was founded by nine Asian-American artists (Mako, Rae Creevey, Beulah Quo, Soon-Tek Oh, James Hong, Pat Li, June Kim, Guy Lee, and Yet Lock) seeking opportunities to take on roles beyond the stereotypical parts they were being offered in Hollywood. EWP continues to provide unique opportunities for Asian-American artists and is committed to advocating for more diverse representations of the Asian-American experience on TV and across all media.

In 1998, EWP Artistic Director Tim Dang led the company’s move from a 99-seat Equity Waiver “black box” theatre into a new 240-seat venue at an Actors Equity Association contract level. EWP’s mainstage is the David Henry Hwang Theater, housed within the historic Union Center for the Arts in downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district, where it serves more than 10,000 people each year. EWP alumni include Mako, B.D. Wong, David Henry Hwang, John Cho, Kal Penn, Daniel Dae Kim, Parvesh Cheena, James Kyson-Lee, Masi Oka, Francois Chau, Jeanne Sakata, Greg Watanabe, Tamilyn Tomita, Dante Basco, Philip Kan Gotanda, Freda Foh Shen, Roberta Uno, R.A. Shiomi, Judith Nihei, Alec Mapa, Wakako Yamauchi, Amy Hill, Sala Iwamatsu, John Lone, and Nobu McCarthy. East West Players has also had the opportunity to work with many respected artists such as actors Danny Glover, Tsai Chin, Lauren Tom, and Nancy Kwan; directors Lisa Peterson and Oskar Eustis; musician Dan Kuramoto; and instructors Calvin Remsberg and Fran Bennett.