new voices project | NewMusicalsInc

new voices project

The New Voices Project is supported in part by Walt Disney Imagineering

Mission:  To nurture new  musical theatre writers under the age of 26 by offering them private and public  workshops of their writing.


New Musicals Inc. is proud to announce that three writing teams have been selected to participate in the 2018 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 sixth 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.

“We had another record breaking year for submissions - even more than the record from last year,” explains Elise Dewsberry, Artistic Director of New Musicals Inc., “and we only wish we could support more of these deserving young and talented artists.”

The three teams will receive workshops and feedback with NMI’s resident theatre ensemble, the Academy Repertory Company, and will then have excerpts of their work presented as part of the GOT MUSICAL concert this May.

“Being a part of [the New Voices Project] was an incredibly informative experience.” says Chris Bryon Pratt, NVP 2013 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 Oh (book and lyrics) and Ross Baum (music)
  • Monica Hannush (book and lyrics) and Julian Drucker (music and lyrics)
  • Natalie Stewart Elder (lyrics and book) and John Ervin Brooks (music and book)

The public can see a selection of works from the New Voices Project as part of the GOT MUSICAL concert, currently scheduled to take place Sunday, May 6.

“New Musicals Inc. offers a great opportunity to get the exposure that all young writers so desperately need.” says Santino DeAngelo, 2014 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 Oh graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University in 2016, studying musical theatre and playwriting. At Northwestern, he was the head writer of The Waa-Mu Show, a original student musical for which he was awarded the Craig Carnelia Songwriting Award. At school, Charlie studied songwriting with David Bell and Ryan Cunningham, as well as participating in masterclasses with Jeanine Tesori and Pasek and Paul.

Ross Baum is a 2015 graduate of NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, where he participated in residencies at Goodspeed Opera House and Two River Theater, and was selected as winner of NY City Center’s Sondheim Remix Contest.  Ross also holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University. Charlie and Ross are currently a songwriting team in the second year of the BMI Lehman Engel Workshop.

Monica Hannush is the first-generation American problem child of a Mexican mother and Lebanese father. She graduated from Yale College in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Studies. Upon graduation, Monica was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize for Excellence in the Arts, Yale’s highest prize for creatives and performers. Monica then moved straight to Los Angeles to write musicals and work in entertainment. She’s just another queer purple-haired lady typing away in your favorite West Hollywood coffee shop.

Julian Drucker, originally from New York, took piano lessons from an early age and began writing pop songs in high school. Julian then studied musical theater composition at Yale, where he wrote music and lyrics for three original musicals. Julian received honors in musicianship and keyboard harmony from the European-American Musical Alliance and graduated from Yale with the Selden Memorial Prize, awarded for outstanding musical accomplishment.

John Ervin Brooks was raised in San Antonio, Texas, and has been involved in the arts his whole life. He received his Bachelor of Music in Composition from Baylor University in 2015, and moved to New York to attend NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. He mostly writes comedy, but you know, he can like write other things too.

Natalie Stewart Elder is a musical theatre person from Orange County, California. They got a B.A. in Drama from UC Irvine, and an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU Tisch. Natalie is an alumnus of NMI’s Academy for New Musical Theatre Core Curriculum Program in Los Angeles, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. In their free time, they enjoy trying to think of new “fun facts” to put at the end of their bio.

For information about submissions to the 2019 New Voices Project, please check back in December of 2018.

ABOVE: Music director Bryan Blaskie rehearses for the 2013 New Voices Project with performer Daniel Stewart, as writer Noah Reece video-conferences. BELOW: MD Bryan Blaskie works with singers Daniel Stewart and Jordan Kai Burnett.


The 2018 New Voices Project winners were: Charlie Oh (book and lyrics) and Ross Baum (music); Monica Hannush (book & lyrics) and Julian Drucker (music and lyrics); and Natalie Stewart Elder (lyrics and book) and John Ervin Brooks (music and book).

Excerpts from their work will receive in-house critiques at NMI in the spring of 2018; and will be presented at GOT MUSICAL in May of 2018.


The 2017 New Voices Project winners were: Anderson Cook, Amanda D’Archangelis, Luke Davidson, David Gomez, Cristian Guerrero, Edison Hong,  Jonathan Horn, Oliver Houser, Oscar Jacques, David Lancelle, Ariel Mitchell, Andrew Moorhead, Jude Obermüller, Eliot Rhys, Steven Schmidt, Jackson Teeley, and Marina Toft.

Excerpts from their work received in-house critiques at NMI in the spring of 2017; and were featured at the STAGES Festival in July, 2017.


The 2016 New Voices Project winners were: Rebekah Allen, Ben Boecker, Benedict Braxton-Smith, Claire McKenzie and Scott Gilmour, Blake Dylan Pilger, Alex Ratner and Laurel Durning-Hammond, Marina Toft and Benji Goldsmith, and Zach Spound.

Excerpts from their work were presented as part of the annual GOT MUSICAL concert at the Colony Theatre in Burbank on May 15, 2016 and at the 3D Theatricals Rehearsal Hall in Anaheim on Tuesday, April 26, 2016.  Prior to those presentations, the writers’ work received in-house critiques at NMI with input from Walt Disney magineering Creative Entertainment.


The 2015 New Voices Project winners were: Jacob Combs & Madeline Myers, Bill Nelson and Joseph Trefler, and Michael Finke.  The Merit Award Recipients were: Mark Sonnenblick, Andre Catrini, Sam Chanse and Bob Kelly, and Ben Boecker.

Excerpts from their work were presented as part of the annual GOT MUSICAL concert at the Colony Theatre in Burbank on June 4, 2015; critiqued by NMI staff and members of the staff of Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment; and presented in concert as part of the STAGES Musical Theatre Festival in August, 2015.


The 2014 New Voices Project winners were Danny K. Bernstein, Santino De Angelo, and Zach Zadek.

Excerpts from their work were workshopped at New Musicals Inc. in April of 2014.  After receiving feedback from WDI Creative Entertainment’s Michelle Baron and the NMI staff, the writers were given time to revise their work.

The revised pieces were presented as part of NMI’s annual got musical concert at the Colony Theatre (Burbank) on May 6, 2014.


The New Voices Project began as part of the 2013 STAGES New Musical Theatre Festival.

The 2013 finalists were Chris Byron Pratt, Nick Jester, Amar Biamonte, Ion Constantine, and Noah Reece.

These writers had their work presented as part of the STAGES Festival, and received feedback from a panel including WDI Creative Entertainment’s Vice President of Theatrical Development, Michael Jung, as well as NMI Staff Elise Dewsberry, Scott Guy, and Ross Kalling.

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