boards and staff | NewMusicalsInc

boards and staff

honorary board

Paul Lazarus
Jeff Marx
Marty Panzer
Hal Prince
Stephen Schwartz
Charles Strouse

advisory board

Thomas E. Backer, PhD.
Susie Chodakiewitz
Susan Dietz
Jeannine Frank
Mark Halloran
Herb Isaacs
Amy Levinson (Millan)
Simon Levy
Ron Parker
Elsa Ramo
Bill Royce
Frank Sheftel
Michael Silversher
Thomas White

board of directors

Ron Barnett   Member Representative
Michael R.  Blaha    President
Paula Brand   Treasurer
Elise Dewsberry
Nancy Eagle
John Mitchell   Vice President
John Sparks
Larry Verbit

John Sparks

Founding Director
John was the founder/co-Director of the Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, Inc. (1979-2002) and has been the Artistic Director of ANMT from 2002 to the present. He founded the Writers’ Workshop at Theatre Building Chicago in 1987 and also served TBC as Artistic Director from 1999 through 2009. Between the two workshops, John has mentored the work of over 250 writers, including Mark Hollmann, composer/lyricist of Urinetown; George Gorham and Dan Sticco, A Change in the Heir; Susan DiLallo and Ken Stone (both Kleban Award winners); and several Richard Rodgers Award winners. Nearly 400 shows written by workshop members have been produced in theatres across the country. Musicals for which John wrote the music, lyrics or book have been produced in Los Angeles and Chicago, including Buddy’s Plane Is Down; Babes In Barns, Hans Brinker, On The Brink and Wanting Miss Julie.

Elise Dewsberry

Artistic Director
Elise has been involved in the development of new works for over forty years: as an actor/singer, as a director, as a dramaturge, and as a writer. While living in Toronto, Elise served as the Assistant Artistic Director of the Muskoka Festival; the Co-Ordinator of the festival’s annual Musical Theatre Writer’s Colony, the Associate Dramaturge of the Canadian Stage Company; the Resident Dramaturge of the Smile Theatre Company; and was the co-founder of Toronto’s Script Lab. Elise spent many years touring Canada with Nine Months – a one-woman musical which she commissioned from writers Carl Ritchie and Stephen Woodjetts. Elise and Carl also co-wrote Any Body Home?, which was produced by the Cordova Bay Theatre in Victoria, British Columbia, and published by Dramatic Publishing. Elise joined ANMT as Associate Artistic Director in 2003; joined Founding Artistic Director John Sparks as Co-Artistic Director in 2010; and became Artistic Director of New Musicals Inc. in 2013. Elise has served as a member of the Selection Committee for the National Alliance of Musical Theatre’s annual Festival of New Works, and is currently a Los Angeles Ovation Award Voter. Elise is also the author and evaluator of the Book Lab and the Outlining Lab, offered online through

Scott Guy

Executive Director
Under Scott’s tenure, NMI has developed over 100 musicals for producers across the country, and over 200 independent musicals by ANMT writers. Scott has produced several NMI musical theatre festivals and multiple seasons of concert readings and concerts. Scott has been actively involved as a writer and producer in both theatre and television.  He has six Emmy nominations, and over 100 produced television scripts for Warner Bros., FOX-TV, Disney, Discovery Channel, PBS, etc.   Upcoming/recent projects:  Disney (musical version of Pirates of the Caribbean); Corday Productions (Days of Our Lives); and Manson’s Girls for Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018.  If all goes according to plan, next year Scott will have productions of The Fish Whisperer, Manson’s Girls, and Der Strunkenwhitenlieder, as well as nearly 30 episodes on three different musical webseries:  The Ghosts of Stowell Hill, Tales from a Darkening Wood, and The Last of Its Kind.  Scott is currently the Executive Director of New Musicals Inc. where he supervises online writers’ workshops, lyric labs, and script consultations.




Jake Anthony

Resident Music Director
Jake works as a composer, vocal coach, and music director in the L.A. area. After receiving an MM in Vocal Performance and Opera Coaching at the University of North Texas, Jake turned towards musical theatre, serving as music director for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Cabaret, Kiss Me Kate, and Side by Side by Sondheim for Dallas area theatres, and Once Upon a Mattress and The Importance of Being Earnest for UNT Theatre. Jake’s L.A. theater work includes Snoopy! at the McCadden Place Theater, as well as the West Coast premieres of Splendora and Songs from an Unmade Bed at Celebration Theatre. As a composer, Jake co-wrote the 15-minute musical Oh God, We’re Gonna Die! with Jeff Marx (co-author of Avenue Q), and the full length shows Now and Then a Hero, with book and lyrics by Larry Johnson, Wanting Miss Julie, with book by John Sparks and lyrics by Patricia Zehentmayr, and New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, with book by Joel Bailey and lyrics by Patricia Zehentmayr. Jake is thrilled to be part of the NMI team, and their constant commitment to the development of new works.

Troy Armand Barboza

Administrative Assistant
is an actor, singer, director, script consultant, and automation technician from Boston. Throughout New England and New York, he’s been involved in dozens upon dozens of productions with people you probably don’t know at places you’ve likely never heard of, except for maybe Ithaca College and the American Repertory Theater. Now that he’s thinking about it though, he was nominated for his performance as Billy Downs in an award-winning production of The Libertine directed by Eric Tucker, Wall Street Journal’s 2014 Director of the Year. That was cool. This performance is dedicated to the Shweiris, his SoCal cousins, for adopting him.

Ron Barnett

ARC Music Director
Ron is a composer living in Los Angeles, where he is Director of Music and Sacred Arts at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glendale. Prior to this appointment, he was for ten years Resident Musical Director and Composer at the Fulton Theatre, a LORT D house in Lancaster, PA. His musical, Around the World in 80 Days, with book and lyrics by Julianne Homokay, premiered at the Fulton Theatre (Lancaster, PA) in March 2007. He wrote music and lyrics for A Christmas Carol, with book by Fulton playwright-in-residence Barry Kornhauser, which received a 2001 Red Rose Award and was published by Dramatic Publishing in 2013.

Joshua Finkel

Director, Performer Master Classes
Joshua is a director, acting coach and actor.  Selected musical credits: Kiss of the Spider Woman (Molina, Broadway/London/Toronto/India/MTG.)   Regional and Tour: Les Miserables(Thenardier), Bark! (Ben, Original Cast/Recording), Little Shop of Horrors (Orin the Dentist), Beauty and the Beast (Lumiere at Cabrillo.) Director/Choreographer: Violet (LA County Premiere Production El Portal Theater, Kelrik Productions), The Fantasticks and A Funny Thing…Forum (Panic! Productions),  The Spitfire Grill (Actors Co-op, Ovation Nomination), Songs For A New World (San Francisco Premiere), Hollywood Revisited (ongoing Internationally) Falsettoland (Phoenix Theatre, SF), Into The Woods (Civic Arts Plaza, Thousand Oaks), Tsarina (The Grove Theater, Upland).  Acting Coach: Joshua runs the Actor MasterClass Series at NMI, teaches at California Lutheran University, Young Americans College,  and at his own Creative Combustion Acting Studio for Actors and Public Speakers of all ages and levels. Fun Fact: Joshua was the Live Action Reference Model for Prince Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.  Upcoming: Joshua’s Director Audition Panel Master Classes will team clients with the top Directors and Casting Directors in Los Angeles, Joshua’s newest workshop for College Bound High School Senior Actors: BA 2 Broadway from Application to Audition to Admission, and Joshua is directing and starring in Hollywood Revisited in Salt Lake City, Sedona, Chicago and Los Angeles.  More info:

Dylan Forehand

Director of Marketing
is an actor from Dallas, TX. He is a recent graduate of Pepperdine University. Recent acting credits in LA include Breaks (Cole) by Lisa Loomer at The Road Summer Playwrights Festival and as an improviser in LA Theatresports at Impro Studio. Some of his acting credits at Pepperdine include The Zoo Story (Jerry), Well (John/himself), The Taming of the Shrew (The Widow). He currently lives in Glendale.

Ross Kalling

Director of Music Curriculum
Ross is an award winning musical director and pianist. He received Dramalogue awards for his musical direction of FATE’s productions of Marat/Sade and Threepenny Opera, and was also pianist/M.D. for the revival of Liz Swados’ Nightclub Cantata at the Odyssey Theatre; and produced the song It Don’t Make a Difference in the Dark for the movie Relative Strangers, coaxing respectable vocal performances out of the stars, Danny Devito and Kathy Bates. He was Musical Director at the prestigious Beverly Hills Playhouse for fifteen years, where he worked with such stars as Doris Roberts, Dorothy Lyman, and Jeffrey Tambor; and such directors as Gene Reynolds and the late Milton Katselas. He was also Founding Director of Music Curriculum at the Academy for New Musical Theatre. He can be seen performing around town in various cabaret or jazz venues, or with his classical trio Cayenne.

Makena Metz

Education and Outreach Coordinator
Makena is an LA native playwright, lyricist, and producer who heartily believes in artists supporting and developing other artists. After graduating from New Musicals Inc.’s Core Curriculum this past spring, her passion for developing new musical theatre and creating a pipeline for young burgeoning artists spurred her to pitch a high school mentorship program and college student discount to NMI, both of which programs she is now coordinating. Makena studied playwriting and theatre directing at Columbia College Chicago (Class of 17′) and is an Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights 2018 Diversity Fellow. She recently attended The Kennedy Centers Playwriting Intensive for their annual summer workshop. Makena has interned for The Jim Henson Company, The Ojai Playwrights Conference, Walt Disney Imagineering, and more. Follow her on twitter @MakenaMetz and find her work on NPX!

Michael Moretta

Technical Co-ordinator - Core Curriculum
is a musical composer and sound designer living in Los Angeles. He briefly studied at East Los Angeles College where he got the chance to sound design for Lend Me A Tenor by Ken Ludwig, Chavez Ravine by Culture Clash, and Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw. His design, plus original music that he composed for Chavez Ravine, made him the 1st place winner of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Wayne Self

Director of New Media
is a bookwriter, lyricist, and composer who lives in Orange County, CA with his partner of nearly 25 years.  A native of Louisiana, Wayne began his songwriting and composition career as a Southern Baptist Minister of Music and later in more progressive churches, including the LGBT-founded Metropolitan Community Church. Wayne has an MFA in Musical Theatre performance and has studied religion at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. He has written two full-length musicals: Wise Up! and Upstairs. Wise Up! premiered in 2011 at Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco to stellar reviews and sold-out audiences. Upstairs premiered in 2013 in New Orleans and has since had productions in Chicago and Los Angeles. Find Wayne on Facebook or at