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Core Curriculum Participants Info Page

Xander T Ambrose (He/Him/His)

MUSIC

Xander Ambrose (he/him/his) is a musical theatre composer hailing from the northern suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Xander enjoys combining contemporary elements of electronic, rock, and experimental styles with the classical tradition of musical theatre storytelling, featuring a distinctive flourishing piano style. His first full-length musical entitled 'dreamscape' which is in-progress now will be workshopped at UCLA this academic year. He currently attends the university as a third-year Theatre student in the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts degree. Xander loves to play piano, beatbox, and finds creative inspiration on his walks with his family's dog, Millie.

I am so excited to be afforded the opportunity to audition for the Core Curriculum sequence. While this application is early in my career, I decided to try my hand at auditioning! I am applying because I am seeking mentorship and training for musical theatre writing and will work enthusiastically to make new theatre come to life.

IN PERSON

Los Angeles   California

Patricia Baer (She/Her)

BOOK

Since pursuing my B.A. in Theatre at the University of Minnesota, I’ve been inching closer to my urge to create musicals by doing work in many areas of musical theatre... except writing. My background includes work in stage management/assistant directing, arts marketing, and as an artist instructor working with children ages 3-14. More recently I had been working as a project manager in healthcare research, but embarked on a sabbatical this year to explore writing children’s literature and reconnect to my creative side.

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Marshfield   WI

Ron Barnett

MUSIC

IN PERSON

Glendale   CA

Adrian Bewley

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Studio City   CA

Sierra S Blanco (She/her)

BOOK

Sierra Blanco is a winner of the 2020 National Endowment for the Arts/American Theatre Wing’s Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. She is a winner of Stephen Sondheim’s National Young Playwrights Competition, winner of NYC Write A Play Competition, Winner Writopia WorldWide Plays Competition, and an Invited Guest Playwright to the Eugene O’Neill’s Young Playwrights Festival. Scholarships Include The National Music Publishers 2020 & The Michael Perelstein Discover Your Passion Scholarship for Playwriting and Musical Theater Composition, Finalist for Andrew Lloyd Webber Training Initiative Scholarship in Musical Theater Composition. Her play “The Smallest Heroes” was published by YouthPLAYS in 2020, and her play “Bang!” Published in the anthology A Decade of Shared Stories. Sierra is a member of The Dramatists Guild, BMI, AEA and MENSA. (Taking Gap year SUNY Purchase Playwriting/Screenwriting program 2021/22)

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Monterey   CA

Anton Chesnokov

MUSIC

Master's degree at Lomonosov Moscow State University
Faculty of Composition and Arrangement at Moscow College of Improvised Music (currently studying - 3rd term)
I am occupied as both analyst and musical teacher. Also I have experience of writing my own original musical and music takes the majority of my time

I am a really motivated writer and surely will apply all my talent and creativity to the assignments and collaborative process. I hope the need for using online mediums of communication won't be the wall between me and Core Curriculum.

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Moscow

Katherine Cowell

LYRICS

Hi, I'm Katherine! (She/Her)

I joined NMI's Core Curriculum in pursuit of a dream I've had for a long time—to write a kick-ass comedy musical someday. My background is in film, advertising, and sketch comedy. I got into musical comedy while writing live and digital musical comedy sketches for my sketch teams. You can see some of them at katherinecaseycowell.com (my YouTube). Once I started creating musical material I couldn't stop, so I came to NMI to learn how to do it right.

Excited to meet you all and grow as a lyricist at NMI : )

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Seattle   WA

Kiarah N Davis (She/Her)

MUSIC / LYRICS

hello, my name is Kiarah Davis. I am a recent Musical Theater graduate of UCLA's TFT program. I have been studying musical theater i.e acting, dancing, and singing, and have found a new passion for the music side of musicals. I have been working on a few musical ideas that uses melodies as a certain ear worm for the audience that can trigger past experiences throughout the musical, creating more emotion through the audience as it is following the character. I am looking forward to hopefully strengthen the more practical side of creating a new work, specifically musicals from the ground up, using new music and incorporating different genres as well.

I am a hard worker and very eager to learn the ropes of developing ideas into full projects. I am also very excited to work and connect with people who are also interested in making new musicals. I believe that musicals are one of the most effective way to make social change and make an audience feel connected to many characters through the words and music. It offers a lot of substance into the surface level world we may find our self in. I also think new work is just refreshing because in this day in age there is a lot of content being reused, which is okay but I also love to see what new trends great minds can create.

IN PERSON

Temecula   CA

Katherine Glover (she/her)

LYRICS

Katherine Glover is a writer, playwright, lyricist, and research addict. Her first musical, Us Against Us (with composer Ben Emory Larson), explores the feminist antipornography movement of the 1980s, and was a semifinalist for the 2019 O’Neill National Music Theater Conference. Other historical plays include Sex, War, and Syphilis, a comedy about WWI government action to protect soldiers from syphilis, and Ronald Reagan: Time Traveler, which is more historically accurate than it sounds. Katherine won a 2013 Ivey Award for playwriting, she was a 2015 Br!nk playwright with Renaissance Theaterworks in Milwaukee, and she was a selected writer for Nautilus Music-Theater’s nationally recognized Composer-Librettist Studio in 2017. She spent ten years as a freelance journalist and has a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and a founding member of the Playwright Cabal.

IN PERSON

Los Angeles   CA

Sarah Rose Horton (She/her)

LYRICS

I am so excited to have discovered this program! As a hobby songwriter/lyricist and avid musical theater fan, it’s been a lifelong dream to collaborate to write a musical. What I bring to the table: A music education honed by 15+ years in choirs and self-taught ukulele; a self-designed BA titled Writing for Performance: Storytelling through Theater, Film and Music from Western Washington University (2011-2015); a devotion to character-driven story (instilled by a screenwriting intensive at the Film School in Seattle); a certificate in Editing from the University of Washington (and what is songwriting if not constant editing?); and a love of wordplay.
In March of 2020, driven to isolation by the pandemic, I wrote and produced a music video, Paris if it Kills Me, wherein cancelled travel plans inspired my character to recreate Paris in her own living room. I have also written two songs (Mind’s Island and Continua) for Yesterday’s Analog Earth Band (on Spotify). In addition to these published works, I have a proverbial sock drawer (i.e. folder on my phone) filled with songs in varying degrees of completion (and seeking more than ukulele accompaniment).
You meet me at a crossroads: I am a travel professional looking for a way out, and a lyricist longing for a way in. That is why I am leap-out-of-my-seat, cry-happy-tears-of-joy thrilled to discover that the Core Curriculum exists. This challenge is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I can’t wait for the opportunity to meet you and prove myself.

Because I live in Seattle I would be joining the course via video. However, I would happily fly down to collaborate in person.

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Seattle   Washington

Erika Ito

MUSIC

Hi everyone!

My name is Erika Ito. I’m a Japanese composer.

I was born and raised in Tokyo. I moved to the US to and obtained bachelor's degree in film scoring from Berklee College of Music in Boston, and started working as an orchestrator / pianist for musical theater shows in New York City.

I moved to the Netherlands to attend master's program in composition at Amsterdam Conservatory. After graduation, I started working on cruise ships as an interpreter / pianist, and visited nearly 50 countries.

Currently I’m based in Tokyo, making music for video games, films, TV, and commercials. My website is www.erikaito.com

I love musical theater since I was a child, and making music for musical theater is one of my dreams. I’ve never studied song writing, so I’m really excited that I found this Core Curriculum. I’m looking forward to get to know other writers and collaborate to make new musical theater!

Thank you very much!

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Tokyo

Jeff Kasanoff

LYRICS

I'm a writer currently working as a creative executive in Hollywood. But I am very passionate about musical theater. This has long been a hobby I have pursued in school, where I wrote and produced two short film musicals, and afterwards, on my own and in a songwriting course. I would love the opportunity to take this passion to the next level and btgin putting my work out there in the world.

IN PERSON

Los Angeles   CA

Trip Kennedy

Trip Kennedy

LYRICS / BOOK

My name is Trip Kennedy
I am a past member of the BMI Lehman Engel Workshop for composers and lyricists.
In 2000 I was the recipient of the 1st ever Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theater.
I have created the following shows which have had full productions:
'Fresh Off The Farm' (Book, Lyrics) Galveston Texas 2000
'Rest in Peace' (Book, Lyrics) Tuttle, Oklahoma_
'Far Rockaway; (Book, Lyrics, Music) Gallery Players, Brooklyn
The Boy Who Wrote Songs (Book, Lyrics, Music) Hollywood Fringe Festval 2018

I appeared on Broadway in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with Michael Damian) and Beauty and the Beast (ensemble).

I am currently the host of Trip Kennedy's Showoffshow a weekly singers open-mic on Mondays, as well as the host of Trip Kennedy's Broadway Friday Nights --an invited Broadway focused open mic/jam in South Pasadena.

I am currently the creator, producer and star of 'THE BOOK OF MEL" a cabaret series tribute to the canon of Mel Brooks coming to the Hollywood Fringe Festival in August.

I got a million ideas a minute it would be a shame to waste them .

IN PERSON

Los Angeles   CA

Chie-Hoon Lee (he/him)

LYRICS / BOOK

Produced credits include the short plays "For the Living" (also published) and “Half Life”. I have worked in non-creative capacities for the renowned Belvoir and Griffin theatre companies in Sydney, and helped launch Kookaburra: the National Musical Theatre Company, and the Sydney Fringe Festival. By day I'm a self-employed management consultant, putting my MBA (from the Australian Graduate School of Management) to use in the world of suits, ties and hard hats. During these Covid downtimes I'm expanding my creative portfolio and have recently currently completed an MA in Creative Writing at UTS, Sydney.

I'm based in Sydney, Australia and will participate remotely. I'm exceedingly camera and microphone shy.

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Pyrmont   New South Wales

Aizhou Liu

MUSIC

IN PERSON

Jay Moad

BOOK

I hold a B.S. in International affairs from The U.S. Air Force Academy, an M.A. in English from Southern Illinois University, and an M.F.A. in creative writing with a dual concentration in both Fiction and Playwriting. I wrote and performed the award-winning play, "Outside Paducah - the Wars at Home" in which I was nominated for Outstanding Solo Performance by the New York Innovative Theater Awards (NYIT). I was a 2020 finalist for the McKnight Fellowship in playwriting and am a recipient of the Consequence Magazine Fiction Award. I’ve also performed at The Library of Congress and The Guthrie Theater in "The Telling Project - Giving Voice to the Veteran Experience". I wrote both the script and lyrics for the short musical, "Judy and Me" for New Musicals, Inc in 2021. I’ve served as an Air Force Pilot and English Professor at the United States Air Force Academy and continues to serve as an editor for their international journal, War, Literature & the Arts (WLA). My short stories, poetry and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, and I currently resides in Northfield, MN where I am a pilot for a major airline. Here's a link to more info on my website: https://www.jamesmoad.com/home-1

Despite living near Minneapolis in the U.S., being an airline pilot affords me easy access to L.A. in order to attend workshops

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Northfield   MN

photo of Jenson Neal

Jenson Parker Neal (He/Him)

LYRICS

Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from an early age fell in love with musical theatre and writing, and worked to make them a focal point of life. Musicals provided a way to explore viewpoints different from my own, learn more about myself, and gave me a safe world to escape into when the real world felt too much. In winter of 2019 I relocated to New York City to be closer to the theatre world, create opportunities to meet creative partners and explore life as a lyricist at a higher level. Three months later the theaters would be closed.
Sticking out the pandemic in New York, by day I serve as the administrative producer for The Hamilcast: A Hamilton Podcast, which conducts weekly creative conversations with the cast, crew, and creatives of the Hamilton team. Over the 2020 holiday season I served as producer to a radio play featuring major Broadway talents, a fundraiser for The Actors Fund, ‘Twas The Night (www.twasthenightplay.com). I also oversee the creative production of the sketch comedy podcast Ted and Michael Read Sketches Into Microphones.
By night I continue to hone my skills, and hope to find a program to help me better my craft and in able to become a full time lyricist creating new musical theatre.

I believe new voices and viewpoints are vital to the next phase of American musical theatre, and think I have a lot to offer as a transgender person in exploring how new stories can be told.

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New York   NY

Square Headshot

Nathan Douglas Scalise (he/him)

MUSIC

I’m an early-career composer with experience in both concert music and musical theater. I’m currently a DMA student in composition at the Hartt School of music (Hartford, CT), where I also hold a teaching fellowship in Music Theory. I’ve previously earned an MM in Composition from Binghamton University, where I subsequently taught on the faculty, and a BA in Music from Swarthmore College.

I have averaged approximately a premiere a month since January of 2016 (counting virtual premieres during the pandemic). For the last two years, most of that output has been vocal music that blends art song, opera, and musical theater. I am comfortable writing my own lyrics or collaborating with someone else, and generally do whichever better suits the project in question. In July, I completed Really Spicy Opera’s Aria Institute, Soprano Edition, in which I wrote a new aria with a new librettist every week. In 2019, I won the NYC SongSLAM Competition (art song, I wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics), and in 2017, I placed in Eventide Arts New England Songwriting Contest (pop song, I wrote the music and the lyrics). Before that, I wrote music for two musicals at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (Wellfleet, MA), for which I was also the pianist/music director, and a student production of Twelfth Night at Swarthmore College. I’ve also won awards for my concert music from Dolce Suono Trio, Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame, and the International Trombone Festival.

In addition to composing, I perform frequently as a pianist, trombonist, and drummer, and less frequently as a bass guitarist and singer.

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Cheshire   Connecticut

Michael Turnblom

MUSIC

I am happy to participate in person as possible, since I am in Los Angeles. Otherwise by video (considering, especially, the pandemic), and my collaborator is not in Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles   CA

Laura Watkins

MUSIC / LYRICS

I am a composer lyricist living in Los Angeles California. In addition to working on musical theater I am a piano/voice teacher, a Practical Arts teacher at two different schools (knitting, sewing, woodworking etc), and a mother of two. I have a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Jacksonville University with a secondary in voice performance. I also have a Waldorf teaching certification in Practical Arts in case anybody wants to brush up on their sweater making while in between songs. I am pasting my official bio below with credits.

Laura Christine Watkins is a Los Angeles based Composer/Lyricist. Her Musical Theater credits include music/lyrics for Comic-Con the Musical (ASCAP/Dreamworks workshop 2016, Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017, apples and oranges Arts THEater accelerator 2018), The Snow Queen Musical App, (app store), and is currently preparing for a production on her new show Glass Ceilings. Her numerous film and TV credits include American Reunion (Universal Pictures), The Longest Ride (Fox Pictures), the Emmy winning series The Newsroom (HBO) along with other network television shows including: Barely Human, Access Hollywood, Blue Mountain State, Melrose Place, and many more. Laura also composed a song used to promote an MDA charity marathon by Geek & Sundry.

IN PERSON

Sherman Oaks   CA

Ethan Whittaker (He/Him/His)

MUSIC

I'm a recent graduate of Princeton University (BA in Chemistry), and consider myself an avid musician and composer. I play a wide range of instruments, but I would say I'm most proficient in piano, voice, and steel drum (I come from the Cayman Islands). I have produced a variety of a cappella, choral, and marching band arrangements (performed by groups at Princeton), as well as composed several instrumental trio/ensemble pieces. Near the end of my undergraduate term, I composed pieces in the musical theatre genre, and have thoroughly enjoyed the process. If afforded the opportunity, I'd be delighted to enhance my abilities as a composer through this program and engage with the variety of musical and lyrical approaches this program fosters.

I am currently living in Philadelphia, but plan to be in Santa Monica starting July so I don't envision any problems with attending in person. I predominantly use Sibelius (with NotePerformer) as my notation software (8+ years), and Audacity for any vocals (3 years). I have also begun experimenting with ProTools as a medium for composing.

IN PERSON

Ahou Yasmine (She/Her)

BOOK / LYRICS

I am a performer and writer based in Los Angeles and hold a B.F.A. in Theatre (Acting) from The University of Utah. My passion lies in character-driven plots expressed through music, magical realism, and heightened language, I have always loved the grandeur of the musical theatre genre and am particularly interested in collaborations that include writing for the lyrical voice. With a varied performance career, I am a singer with the Los Angeles-based vocal arts ensemble Artes Vocales, where I am also Associate Producing Artist and a frequent soloist. I have studied voice and Alexander Technique most recently with Tracy Van Fleet of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and vocal technique/coaching under Dr. Steven Kronauer and Twyla Meyer of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. Theatre credits include Farida in Seven with Contra Costa Theater; Ziba in Call Me Mehdi, Soledad O'Brien in Compression of a Casualty, Sevgi in The Cry of the Reed, and Sheida in A Moment of Silence with Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco; Phebe in As You Like It with Subterranean Shakespeare, and more. During the pandemic, I have worked in a small Shakespeare workshop with upcoming Artistic Director of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Charles Pasternak.

I have also written and voiced a documentary short on human rights in Iran titled Beyond the Axis of Evil & the Great Satan at USC Cinematic Arts and currently developing a screenplay in the magical realism genre.

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Los Angeles   CA

Kat Zimmerman

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Torrance   CA