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Open to read some special birthday messages:

Happy birthday, John! Thank you for being such a champion of the craft of musical theater writing. I greatly appreciate your mentorship and your belief in my work.

~~ Cindy O’Connor

Many happy birthday wishes to a true gentle man - a scholar, a teacher, a mentor, a mensch. Wishing you a wonderful birthday, and years & years ahead that are healthy and full of adventures and joy.

~~ Robin Share

Thank you for being my mentor and teacher. You have changed my life!

~~ Judy Freed

Jim and I appreciated all your great comments from as far back as Lehman Engel. I loved your support for "Dali"!

~~ Alice Lunsford

You hold a special place in my heart. It's because of you that I ever composed any musical theatre at all. Coming to the world of musical theatre as a singer/songwriter, I learned most of what I know from you. And that resulted in my composing 5 musicals. They would not have had a glimmer on this earth stage without you. Your belief in me has taken me miles. And will continue to do so. Wishing you great health, continued creativity and collaboration and the fruition of your fondest dreams.
with love,

~~ Sandy Shanin

Happy birthday John. Thanks for everything you've taught me and all the great criticism and ideas you've shared. You are one of a fabulous kind! Much love,

~~ Jan Tranen

I have wonderful memories of many great conversations at NAMT meetings and your work with Midwest Musicals. All the best on your 80th birthday.

~~ Bridget McDonough

Craft. I was thirsty for it, I needed it, and thanks to your work, I was able to study it from here, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (a place I know you visited long ago)! NMI made my writing fundamentally better, and I will always be grateful for it. I am so glad I was able to meet you when I came down to LA to visit HQ!
Yours, with love and admiration,

~~ Marissa Kochanski

Happiest of Birthdays John!
It seems to be year of 80s .. you are the 7th person I know who is turning 80.
Congratulations and all best wishes!

~~ Bernard Garbo

Happy birthday John!! You have been such a guiding light in our lives. Jan and I owe a tremendous debt of thanks to you. I hope you have a fabulous birthday!! We love you.

~~ Jay Schwandt

Happy Birthday!!! I am so grateful for your mentorship and friendship! Thank you for teaching me and championing my work. Love,

~~ Marian Partee

Happy Birthday to one Broadway Baby from another!!!

~~ Joel Rothman

Mentor, teacher and inspiration to so many, including me!

~~ Mark Adamczyk

Thank you for your time, support and sage advice.
Ajay & I are extremely grateful to have met you and wish you a VERY happy birthday and many more to come xxx

~~ Sumerah & Ajay Srivastav

Happy 80th you lovely, legendary and insightful man! Keep doing what you love! Many hugs, x

~~ George Stiles

Impossible to believe you’re 80! Except that your accumulated wisdom and insight suggests 180. Have a great day, a great time, a great big gin. And thank you for the many years of support you’ve given to Mercury and all it’s members. Love and all good wishes - xx

~~ Francis Matthews

You cannot be 80! It has been a pleasure getting to know you through MMD and I wish you the happiest of birthdays and many happy returns.

~~ Sean Gray

Thank You for bringing so much creative provocation, caring support, sparkling insight and artistic wisdom to so many MMD writers over all your years of commitment to the Company. We have absolutely loved and appreciated you being on the Board, running events, mentoring members and being our friend, so on behalf of MMD I'm giving you a Huge Happy Birthday Hug from all your UK fans. Thank you too for welcoming me into the MMD Family with such generosity. So much love and many happy returns, Emily and MMDxxx

~~ Emily Gray

John--working with you, learning from you, and creating art alongside you was one of the great joys of my life. Thanks for giving me my very first professional directing gig for Beach Wars and then the chance to get my hands (albeit for only a moment) on The Nervous Set. Thanks, to, for the stories, the advice, the mentorship, and the musicals! Most importantly, however, thanks for (not) being a Narrow-minded, Small horizoned, Partisan, opinionated, Bigoted reactionary mule.

~~ Josh Penzell

Wishing you a wonderful birthday! Thank you for all of your support and inspiration throughout the years.

~~ Grace Jasmine

Thank you, John, for all you’ve taught me about musical theatre. I’m may be a slow learner, but I’ve learned a lot from you in the past forty years.

~~ Brad Beaver

I wish you all the birthday good wishes that your heart desires and hope you have a wonderful day filled with music and fun!

~~ Johanna Drew

Happy Birthday to our dear musical maven and mentor. Beloved by so many, I can't even BEGIN to imagine the size of this card.

~~ Susan DiLallo

John! I am wishing you a wonderful birthday and covid free year! I miss you and NMI and the gang but glad that I can wish you well on an E card!!! xoxo

~~ Gabi Wagner

Thank you for all your wisdom and guidance!! Much love to you on your 80th!!

~~ Linée Ferguson

John: Congratulations, you ol' codger! I love that you are now one of my favorite octogenarians. xox

~~ Sheilah Rae

Happy 80th birthday, John, thank you for all you have done for musical theatre.

~~ Ken Pedersen

Happy birthday John! And thanks so much for all of the help and support you have given all of us in NMI over the years! Wishing you a happy 80 more!

~~ Bill Johnson

Happy birthday John! Thank you for all of your inspiration and wisdom. May your best years be ahead!

~~ Mara Hitner

What a tremendous milestone. 80 years is nothing to shake a stick at. Well, maybe a cane but definitely not a stick. I'm grateful I had the opportunity to not only meet you but to sit under your instruction as I learned to navigate the world of musical theatre. Your work with so many has not and will not be in vain. It lives on John. Thank you and Happy Birthday! Now keep movin!

~~ James A. Goins

John, Thanks for your wisdom, enthusiasm, humor and humility in sharing your mastery of the musical. Happy Birthday!

~~ Greg Beattie

Save this space for me. Fabulous Birthday Comment to come! Wait. Wait. Here it is: "Welcome to the Eighties. You make us feel young!" Love ya!

~~ Lita Grier

Many more happy, productive years, John!

~~ Susan Padveen

Happy Birthday, you young whipper-snapper.

~~ Harriet Belkin

Hey John,
I didn’t want to write Dear John—anyway—much love on your 80th.
“There was a star danced, and under that was I born” —Shakespeare
Thank you for shining your star on all us Artists.
Much Love,

~~ Denis McCourt

Happy Birthday John!
It's been so long since my days on the TBC board. I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

~~ Arla Lach

Happy Birthday! Your wonderful organization has brought so much joy to my life.

~~ Jane Wong

Happy birthday to a great mentor, great talent, and even better human being!

~~ Pat Byrnes

Happy Birthday from Wilmette. I am so grateful to you and to your friendship all the way back to the musical theater conference with Chris Grady. I hope your days are bright and full of wonderful musical theater. With Love from Illinois,

~~ Kyle Dougan

John, You have Sparked up our lives and our musicals! Thank you for your guidance and patience over the years. May your show run for many more seasons!

~~ June Finfer

What an honor to be sharing this wonderful day with you. You are a very gifted and talented man whom I have admired through the years. I wish you many more wonderful years in the arts and to have your heart filled with music and love.

~~ Yolanda Mendiveles

Dear John, You 'sparked' inspiration and creativity in me, and for that I am eternally grateful. You are FANTASTIQUE!!! Thank you John Sparks!!!!! Happy Birthday, and many more!!!

~~ Rhonda Lageyre

John, Creating new musicals with New Tuners under your guidance are among my happiest theatrical memories. So many fun and productive years at The Theatre Building and that wonderful week at the Beverly Arts Center with Cashel Byron. Happy 80th Birthday, Music (Theatre) Man!

~~ Doug Long

With fond memories of TBC's Writer's Workshop and your kind guidance and encouragement. Happy Birthday!

~~ Roger Griffin

John: Everyone will congratulate you on your talent and knowledge. And rightfully so. But I want to say how honored I am to know you as a real person with humanity, goodness and generosity of spirit. With love...

~~ Herb Isaacs

John, you are such an amazing human being, mentor and presence in my life. Thank you for your gifts, your generosity and for being a kind witness in my journey to find my voice. You truly have sprinkled sparks of light on my path. Thank you. I wish you love, light , fun and peace. Happy birthday dear John!

~~ Natalja Aicardi

Being 80 ain’t hard—every day after is a gift. Fond regards,

~~ J. Linn Allen

Happy, happy birthday John! I hope you feel so loved and celebrated today, because you are so worth celebrating! I am so grateful for you and the profound impact you've had on my life. Your mentorship and encouragement gave me the courage to call myself a writer, pursue my dreams, and become the person I was meant to be--and I am only one of the hundreds of lives you have touched. The world is full of beauty, music, stories, and art because of you--both those you have created yourself, and those you have mentored into being. THANK YOU for who you are and what you do. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

~~ Jenny Stafford

Thank you for your Musical Guidance. Hope your dreams continue to come true.

~~ Anthony Marciona

Thank you, John, for creating a world of musical theatre for literally any aspiring composer. With hundreds of writers behind you have made your long life more worthwhile than you can imagine!

~~ Anton Chesnokov

Not only do I want to wish you a happy 80th birthday dear John, but I want to thank you for believing in me and encouraging me throughout the years. Your support has always been invaluable

~~ Edward Auslender

Here's to memories, music-making, wishing on stars, and blowing out 80 candles on your birthday cake -we're wishing with you - Joan and Paul

~~ Joan Mazzonelli

Happy 80th, John!

~~ Dan Wessels

Happiest of Birthdays, John! Thank you for all that you have done for the Musical Theater community. Your notes on my work in particular have always been insightful and illuminating. You are a blessing on the theater world.

~~ Stephen Nolly

Every contact I reach out to on East Coast knows the great John Sparks. You are the best!

~~ Marilyn Haese

Dear John! At four years your senior (remember the day you challenged that? I was thrilled), I can tell you that the eighties are not so bad. The great thing is giving up what doesn't please you any more. Not that I have given up on Morality Play, which still has the possibility of life. So do you and I. Thank you for all you taught me, and long life to you! Love,

~~ Janet Burroway

Happy birthday John! I hope you have a wonderful day filled with particularly great cake!

~~ Makena Metz

Happy Birthday to an ICON of our industry! Thank you, John, for the way you give yourself above and beyond as a mentor to others, while staying in the game yourself as a writer. You are the REAL DEAL, and I am privileged to know you. Now how in the heck are you 80 years old? You continue to impress me! Sending you much love and gratitude, John. xoxo

~~ Jan Roper

I'll never forget my exit interview from NMI's Core, when you started commenting, for an unexpected duration, about my pencil. Hopefully I've made a more interesting impression on you since then. Thanks for years of sage wisdom, fine directorial work, and endless enthusiasm for musical theatre.

~~ Michael Shapiro

John, I hope your 80th is your best birthday ever and you have many great birthdays to come! You are a very wise man and teacher and I learned so much from you. I wish I could see you to give you a big birthday hug!

~~ Barbara Georgans

Happy birthday, you delightful human being!

~~ Laura Toffenetti

John! I consider going through the introductory workshop with you to be the absolute backbone of any musical theater knowledge I possess. Your enthusiasm was infectious, you got me excited about songs and ideas in a whole new way, and I still find myself quoting you all the time. Thank you for being you, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

~~ Kellen Blair

Happy Birthday, John! It's been about ten years since I took the workshop in Chicago, and I am now circling back around to the work via "writingmusicaltheater.com". I remember feeling incredibly inspired by your teaching, grateful that you spent your time and energy flying across the country, and personally invested in. I am now grateful that there are classes online that I can take that don't require me to choose between the stability of my job and pursuing my passion. From one teacher to another, thank you, thank you for everything you do. And happy birthday!

~~ Rachel Anne Williams

John, with your deep knowledge and guidance you have enhanced the growth of musical theater community, in general, and for me in particular, widening my skill range to better apply to my writing projects, dramatic or otherwise. Happy 80th birthday to a man who's lived a full and appreciated life!

~~ Cynthia Gallaher

Happy birthday, John! I still remember your talk on the first day of the Core Curriculum. Musical theatre makes life worth living - that really resonates with me! I’m so grateful for the opportunity the NMI has given me to enter the musical theatre writing world. Thank you again.

~~ Lalit Sritara

John, thank you so much for your incredible service to writers, composers, and the field of musical theater. I'm grateful to you for your mentorship and guidance, and my entire NMI experience!

~~ Jennifer Rosenfeld

Here’s to many reprises in a life devoted to our beloved musical theatre art. Greetings from New Zealand. Happy Birthday, John.

~~ Xavier Vidal

The world became a better place on June 24th, 1941! Much love to you, John,

~~ Patricia Zehentmayr

John, thanks for your wisdom and encouragement! It has been invaluable!

~~ BK Wells

Happy birthday, John! I loved learning from you and writing with you, and wish you all the best!

~~ Richard Plotkin

Having a great time at NMI, John! Thanks for all your hard work!

~~ Dav Wright

John -- I am so grateful for your deep sense of commitment to the theater community and your mentorship to so many artists in the Los Angeles Basin. I learned of NMI through Stephen Nolly who is now in the celebrated Writers on the Verge Program of NBC which launches careers placing artists onto TV writing staffs. Through Stephen, I leaned about this wonderful community. I am grateful to have been held through all of Covid with this precious space.

~~ Celeste Wolfe

Happy Birthday John, and thanks for all that you've done to make me a better writer!

~~ Wayne Self

John, thank you for your talent and friendship and infectious love of this art form! Happy birthday!!!

~~ Adrian Bewley

Ever since I met you, I felt like I was at the right place and the right time in my life with musical theater...thank you for being such a wonderful guide...i could feel the passion of musical theater in your heart, and you're such a beautiful spirit. Wishing you an amazing 80th John..keep shining always.

~~ Joelle Sahar

Happy Birthday wishes from:

Sam Aaron
Mark Adamczyk
Joel Adlen
Laura Agyeman
Natalja Aicardi
Jan Alejandro
Matt Alexander
J. Linn Allen
Abel Alvarado
Finn Anderson
Jake Anthony
Tommy Antonio
Heidi Appe
Rebecca Applin
Chris Arias
David Arnold
Stewart Arnold
Illuminated Arts
Joseph Atkins
Richard Atkinson
Edward Auslender
Berton Averre
Joel Bailey
Kim Barger
Grace Barnes
Janet Barnet
Ron Barnett
TaNisha Barnett
Homer Barrera
Charlotte Bash
Marci Baun
Greg Beattie
Brad Beaver
Sara Beil
Harriet Belkin
Aidan Bell
Jeanette Bent
Bill Berry
Johanna Besterman
Michael Betteridge
Adrian Bewley
Karen Bishko
Kim Bixler
Michael Blaha
Kellen Blair
Thomas Blakeley
Bryan Blaskie
Joe Blodgett
Matt Board
Helen Bonney
Ralph William Boone
Ben Boquist
Maureen Borillo
Sophie Boyce
Katie Brady
Scott Bramley
Paula Brand
Sylvia Brando
Jackie Brenneman
Clayton Briggs
Chris Brindle
Simone Ibbett Brown
Steve Brown
Weslie Brown
Michael Bruce
Ralph Brunson
Ellen Burgin
Christopher Burrett
Janet Burroway
Pat Byrnes
Orlando Byron
G. Victoria Campbell
Sol Carlile
John Sterling Carter
Richard Castle
Ronnie Cavalluzzi
Leslie Caveny
Cheryl Ceprati
Alan Chambers
Ruth Chan
Olga Chandler
Alan Chapman
Julian Chenery
Anton Chesnokov
Simone Chiappi
Lawrie Chiaro
Susan Chodakiewitz
Joe Church
Ross Clark
Jordan Clarke
Keith Clements
Michael Clulow
Bill Coe
Deborah Cohen
Aaron Coleman
Elizabeth Coleman
Stephen Coleman
Tim Connor
Lettice Cook
Rich Cook
Lewis Cornay
Marisa Cornford
Martin Coslett
Larry Cousineau
Jill Craddock
Beverly Crain
Catherine Cutts
Chris Czornyj
Stephen Daltry
Dan David
Orlando De La Paz
Antonio De Mesa
Elise Dewsberry
Susan DiLallo
Barbara Dixon
Eric Dodson
Peter John Dodsworth
Alan Doggett
Ronan Doherty
Noelle Donfeld
Ellen Dostal
Kyle Dougan
Benjamin Draper
Anthony Drewe
Johanna Drew
Kaye Dunham
Marylou Dunn
Geoff Eales
Julian Eaves
Chris Edgar
Charli Eglinton
Natalie Elder
Paul Elliott
Joan Enguita
Maria Haïk Escudero
Narda Fargotstein
John Farndon
Kate Ferguson
Linée Ferguson
Joshua Finkel
June Finfer
George Finley
Celia Cruwys Finnigan
Isabelle Fisher
Alan Fleishman
Cathy Forde
Karole Foreman
Spencer Frankeberger
Judy Freed
Alison Freeman
Koina Freeman
Yvette Freeman
Constance Froment
Tanis Galik
Cynthia Gallaher
Bernard Garbo
Mark Garcia
Kenneth Gardner
Terry Gardner
Mary Garrison
Barbara Georgans
Ron St. Germain
Wendy Gill
Ben Ginsberg
Mitchell Glaser
Gordon Glor
Elizabeth Godber
James Goins
Matthew W. Goldsby
Helen Goldwyn
Howard Goodall
Joel Goodman
Vin Goodwin
Kath Gotts
Peter Grand

Emily Gray
Sean Gray
Gary Greenfield
Michael Greenspun
Kirsty Greenwood
Lita Grier
Roger Griffin
Sarah Grochala
Randy Guiaya
Gareth Gullick
Scott Guy
Marilyn Haese
Kath Haling
David Hall
Joel Hall
Kristen Halstead
Evelyn Halus
Elin Hampton
Ollie Hancock
Jon Hare
Michael Harold
Joyce Harris
Tom Harris
Lanny Hartley
Matthew Harvey
Doug Haverty
David Haworth
Richard Healey
Nicola Henry
Andi Hicks
Mara Hitner
Howard Ho
Richard Holland
David Hollingsworth
Morgan Hollingsworth
Rodney Hom
Rhiannon Hopkins
Teresa Howard
Grace Howarth
Adam Howell
Gustav Hoyer
Shopland And Hughes
Anna Hurkmans
Scott J Hurley
Thea Iberall
Robert Intriligator
Herb Isaacs
Erika Ito
Matthew Jackson
Bonnie Janofsky
Jamison Jaramillo
Lori Jaroslow
Grace Jasmine
Henry Jenkinson
Carl Johnson
Evan Johnson
Julienne Johnson
Neville Johnson
William Johnson
Tina Johnson-Marcel
Ruth Spencer Jolly
Connor Jones
Ian Lloyd Jones
Kincaid Jones
Laurel Jones
Barb Jungr
Trevor Justice
Ross Kalling
Owen Kalt
Chaz Kao
Sandy Kasten
Filippa Kaye
Arthur Kegerreis
Ellis Kerkhoven
Jeff King
Marissa Kochanski
Julia Koyfman
Scott Kriloff
Raymy Krumrei
Eugene A. Kuish
Jon Kull
Jason Kuller
Arla Lach
Rhonda Lageyre
Peter Lake
Emer Landers
Penny Lane
James Lark
Benjamin Larson
Eric Law
Helen Leaf
Bomi Lee
Matthew Levine
Ilya Levinson
Kansley & Lidert
Tom Ling
Anna Littler
Doug Long
Rickey Long
Alice Lunsford
Sandra-Mae Luykx
Marc Macalintal
Laser Malena-Webber
Gabi Wagner Mann
Anthony Marciona
Dan Margules
Toby Marlow
Helena Marsh
Richard Marsh
Kevin Mathie
Francis Matthews
Jason Mayland
Joan Mazzonelli
Coco Mbassi
Denis McCourt
Jeffrey McCrann
Bridget McDonough
Meg McGrady
Katherine Mckeon
Kellan Meador
Virginia Mekkelson
James Melvin
Yolanda Mendiveles
Paul Mendoza
David Merriman
Anthony Merryweather
Makena Metz
Kevin Meyer
John Mitchell
Karen Moloney
Lucy Moore
Marilyn Moore
Ann Moore-Miller
Eliza-Jane Morris
Mark Morris
Benji Mowbray
Frank Mula
Brian Murphy
Craig Murray
Shonagh Murray
Michael Mussman
John Myatt
Raphael Nemes
Steve Newman
Barbara Nicholls
Stephen Nolly
AJ O’Neill
Jude Obermüller
Cindy O’Connor
Jan O’Connor
Michael O’Dell
Grant Oldin
Stephen Oles
Phil Olson
David Orris
Nigel Osner
Geraint Owen
Sachi Oyama
Susan Padveen
Angela Parrish
Marian Partee
Claire Partin
Greg Pasqua
Pamela Paul
Rebecca Peacock
Susannah Pearse
Ken Pedersen
Chuck Pelletier
Josh Penzell
Lia Peros
Lee Perry
Ramon Pierson
Lori Pike
Fred Pinto
John Piraino
Richard Plotkin

Ross Plotkin
Carla Porter
Alex Poulton
Andrea Press
Erik Przytulski
Kevin Purcell
Catherine Pybus
Harley Q
David Rackoff
Amanda Rafkin
Joss Holden Rea
Kristen Rea
Sheilah Rae
Annabel Mutale Reed
Sarah Reilly
Bryon Richards
Shaye Poulton Richards
Faye Rigopolou
Danielle Roderick
Hillary Rollins
Jan Roper
Jennifer Rosenfeld
Gabriel Rotello
Joel & Jeri Rothman
Barbara Rottman
Michael Roulston
Angie Rupert
Shawn Ryan
Joelle Sahar
Joyce Salter
Rachel Victor Sampson
Ramon Sanchez
Dusty Sanders
Lynn Sanders
Jonathan O’Neill & Isaac Savage
Luke Saydon
Nathan Scalise
Jeffrey Scharf
Dylan Schlosberg
Jay Schwandt
Nicola Scott
Weston Scott
Lisa Sedares
Wayne Self
Sandy Shanin
Michael Shapiro
Robin Share
Anna Shields
Amir Shoenfeld
Andrew Siddle
Paloma Sierra
Joysee Sikorski
Elizabeth Simko
Rebecca Simmonds
Stephanie Singer
Molly Siskin
Jeremy Siskind
Shawnn Slaughter
Leslie Sloan
Caroline Slocock
Christopher Smith
Duncan Smith
Freya Smith
Jonathan Smith
Josh Sneesby
Michael Somerville
Sahara Spain
Tim Spencer
Lalit Sritara
Sumerah & Ajay Srivastav
R. C. Staab
Jenny Stafford
Sergei Stern
Anthony Stevens
George Stiles
Ishan Mahabir Stokes
Ken Stone
Vikki Stone
Isabel Storey
Karen Strahan
Melissa Strauss
T Sutcliffe
Todd Syswerda
Clifford Tasner
Julia Taylor
Annemarie Lewis Thomas
Billy Thompson
Laura Toffenetti
Jordan Toopes
Jan Tranen
Eden Tredwell
Robert Tripolino
Cheryl Tsieprati
Michael Turnblom
Charlie Turner
Richard Tuttobene
Errikos Vaios
Sissy Van Dyke
Brenda Varda
Nicole Vardon
CJ Ver Burg
Larry Verbit
Trudi Veremu
Xavier Vidal
Miranda Walker
Michael Walsh
Linda Walton
Lucy Wang
Sue Warford
Ralph Warman
Simon Warne
Colin Ross Waterson
Laura Watkins
Melanie Watson
Helen Watts
Damian Wayling
Julie Weiner
Stacey Weingarten
Terri Weiss
Peter Welkin
BK Wells
Pamela Wells
Daniel Wessels
Monica Whittington
Jeffrey Whitton
Scott Wilkinson
Natasha Sutton Williams
Rachel Anne Williams
Georgia Winters
Richard Winzeler
Chana Wise
Paul Wolf
Celeste Wolfe
Randi Wolfe
Jane Wong
Brian Woodbury
Igor Woods
Davern Wright
Sheila Wurmser
Megan Wygant
Peter Wynn
David Yoon
Ed Zanders
Vincent Zayek
Patricia Zehentmayr
Kat Zimmerman
Joely Zuker

Mark Adamczyk
Natalja Aicardi
Edward Auslender
Ron Barnett
Elise Dewsberry
Linée Ferguson
Joshua Finkel
Randy Guiaya
Scott Guy
Evelyn Halus
Marissa Kochanski
Gabi Wagner Mann
Anthony Marciona
Marian Partee
Lia Peros
Andrea Press
Sheilah Rae
Jan Roper
Joel Rothman
Joelle Sahar
Dusty Sanders
Wayne Self
Lalit Sritara
Daniel Wessels
Monica Whittington

Vocal Arrangement:
Ron Barnett