Musical Theatre Factory announces the inaugural MTF MAKERS cohort: Troy Anthony, Jacob Jarrett, Kit Yan and Melissa Li, Tidtaya Sinotoke and Ty Defoe, AriDy Nox and Brandon Webster, and Jillian Walker (MTF/STARR MAKER).
These six groups were chosen from a pool of more than 80 applicants, who were reviewed by 30 evaluators for the first round, then 12 finalists that were interviewed by a 14-person panel.
“The inaugural cohort of MTF Makers were chosen for their innovative, ground breaking work, their commitment to stories from under represented communities, and their vision of how musical theatre can transform our culture,” said Mei Ann Teo, Producing Artistic Director, Musical Theatre Factory. “We are thrilled to support these artist-leaders to make paradigm-shifting work!”
Shaped together with leadership of MTF artistic associates (Beehive dramaturgs Natasha Sinha, Molly Marinik, and Jeremy Stoller), together with input from our community of artists, MTF MAKERS is an 18-month initiative that supports six teams of groundbreaking musical theater artists in the creation of new work. Through this inclusive community of artists, MAKERS gather together at regular meetings to share work and support each other through feedback, collaboration, and discourse. In addition to meetings, MAKERS will also have access to MTF’s assembly line suite of activities including studio time, the 4×15 series, developmental workshops, and opportunities to show work in front of an audience including MTF’s Joe’s Pub series. MAKERS receive support, advocacy, and resources from the organization, including dramaturgy from MTF artistic staff and Beehive Dramaturgy Studio. MAKERS will also be invited to take part and create MTF programming, including opportunities to host salons and teach workshops. More about the inaugural MAKERS cohort members at https://mtf.nyc/makers/.
MTF is partnering with The Bushwick Starr for a MTF/STARR MAKER. This MAKER, curated in collaboration by the two organizations, receives 18 months of development at MTF, culminating with a residency and world premiere production presented and co-produced by The Bushwick Starr. The inaugural MTF/STARR Maker is Jillian Walker.
Applicants went through several rounds of assessment before a final interview round. Every application was read by a carefully curated team, led by Beehive, of three to five evaluators from all over the country- made up of gatekeepers at major institutions (Sophie Ancival from ART, Olivia O’Conner from Pittsburgh CLO), scholars in Race, Gender, and Sexuality (Susana Loza, author of Speculative Imperialisms) and most of all, lovers and experts in musical theatre inclusive of age, race, and gender identities. Then the final panel included: Mei Ann Teo, director/dramaturg, MTF Producing Artistic Director; Natasha Sinha, Beehive & MTF dramaturg, Director of Artistic Programs at Signature Theatre Company; Molly Marinik, Beehive & MTF dramaturg; Jeremy Stoller, Beehive & MTF dramaturg; Gaven Trinidad, MTF MAKERS dramaturg associate; Robin Sokoloff, choreographer/dancer, MTF VP of the board, Executive Director of Town Stages; Jessica Huang, writer; Kate McGee, freelance lighting designer; Madeline Sayet, freelance director/writer/actor; Marie Cisco, Line Producer at The Public, freelance interdisciplinary artist; Alexis Williams, Associate Artistic Director of Playwrights Realm; Tonya Pinkins, Tony Award-winning performer; and Shakina Nayfack, MTF Founding Artistic Director.
Troy Anthony, originally from Louisville, KY is a composer, actor, and director living and working in NYC. Troy’s music has been presented at Joe’s Pub, Feinstein’s/54 Below, Musical Theatre Factory, Prospect Theater Company, and The National Alliance of Musical Theater (NAMT) Conference. His musical The River Is Me, written with playwright and lyricist Sukari Jones, was selected for the 2018 NAMT Festival of New Musicals and was a finalist for the 2018 O’Neill Theater Center’s National Music Theater Conference. He has been commissioned by Atlantic Theater Company (Launch Commission), The Shed (Open Call Commission) and The Civilians (The Lobby Project). He’s performed in The Public Theater’s Twelfth Night and As You Like It, and Prospect Theater Company’s Tamar of the River. Troy is a member of the Musical Theatre Factory’s People of Color Roundtable and is an alum of their Rodgers and Hammerstein Writers’ Group. In addition to his artistic pursuits, Troy spends much of his time focusing on the intersection between art and social justice at the DreamYard Art Center. He is a graduate of Otterbein University.
Ty Defoe is from the Oneida and Ojibwe Nations of Turtle Island. He is a writer and interdisciplinary-hyphenated artist and shape-shifter. Ty has gained international recognition in many circles, including the Millennium celebration in Cairo, Egypt with the Call for Peace Drum and Dance Company; Turkey’s Ankara International Music Festival, and Festival of World Cultures in Dubai. Ty frequents his own community where he learned to hoop dance, eagle dance, and play a variety of wooden flutes.
Ty is a guest artist at the National Museum of the American Indian (Washington D.C. and NYC) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and is an alumi of the Robert Rauschenberg Artist in Residence program. Awards include: First Americans in the Arts, a Grammy, Indigenous Heritage Festival, and 2017 Jonathan Larson Award winner for creating book and lyrics on Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon (with composer Tidtaya Sinutoke at Yale Institute for Musical Theatre; ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop), Hart Island Requiem (The Civilians R&D Group) and concerts throughout the nation including: Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, and Lincoln Center. Ty’s other work: Red Pine (Native Voices at the Autry; IAIA of Santa Fe), The Way They Lived (Co-collaboration w Micharne Cloughley and The Civilians at the Met Museum), a multimedia installation, Star Stories (w/ Kate Freer at New York Hall of Science), Gifts For The River (living notebook), and writer and co-director of Ajijaak on Turtle Island (Ibex Puppetry at La MaMa Theater, NYC, Lied Center for the Performing Arts, NE) coming to the New Victory Theater in 2019. Ty is a co-founder of Indigenous Direction (with Larissa FastHorse). His publications can be viewed in the Pitkin Review, Woody Guthrie Anthology, the Thorny Locust Magazine, and Howl Round. Degrees from CalArts, Goddard, NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing program at Tisch. A TCG Group Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Fellow alumni and an artEquity facilitator. He has appeared on Netflix show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as Young Anthony Black Elk and recently made his Broadway debut in Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men directed by Anna Shapiro.
Tidtaya Sinutoke is a Thai born, NYC-based composer, writer, and musician. Her works include themes of self-discovery, gender issues, travel, social injustice and companionship. Composition credits include: Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon (Yale Institute for Music Theatre, ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, Kilroy’s Honorable Mention List); Hart Island Requiem (Civilians R&D, EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence); SHE | THEY | HE (Access Theater Residency); Crossing Borders (CAP21 Residency); Sunrise Prayer (Johnny Mercer Writers Colony); Water is Life (NYMF, dir. by Jonathan McCrory); Half the Sky (5th Avenue Theatre’s First Draft: Raise Your Voice Story Summit); and Yellow Cycle. She is a recipient of the Composer-Librettists Studio at New Dramatists, Johnny Mercer Songwriter Projects, New York Foundations for the Arts (NYFA) IAM Mentoring Program, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence, and Jonathan Larson Grant. A proud member of ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild. MFA: NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. tidtayasinutoke.com
Jacob Jarrett is a New York City based composer/playwright. Writing credits include: Wonder Boy (New York Musical Festival’s Developmental Reading Series ’18, The Dare Tactic ’18), Normativity (Polyphone Festival ’17, New York Musical Festival ’16), Aubade (The University of the Arts ’15), and Hearts, Brains, and Other Organs, a song cycle in progress. Music direction credits include the workshop Noise (Associate Music Director, The Public, Playwrights Horizons Downtown) and Soft Butter (Music Director, Ars Nova’s ANT Fest). Jacob also served as the trans consultant on The Elementary Spacetime Show at Playwrights Horizons Downtown in Spring 2018. Jacob is the recipient of NYMF’s “Outstanding Emerging Artist” award, the Ira Brind School of Theatre’s “Excellence in Playwriting” award, and The University of the Arts’ “President’s Award.” Jacob received his BFA in Directing Playwriting and Production in 2017 from the University of the Arts.
Melissa Li is a composer, lyricist, performer, and writer. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant, a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, a Lincoln Center Theater Writer in Residence, and a former Queer|Art|Mentorship Fellow. Musicals include Interstate (New York Musical Festival), Surviving the Nian (The Theater Offensive, IRNE Award Winner for “Best New Play” 2007), and 99% Stone (The Theater Offensive). Her works have received support from 5th Avenue Theatre, The Village Theater, Musical Theatre Factory, National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, Dixon Place, and terraNOVA Collective. She is proud to be from Boston, and proud to be based in NYC and Baltimore.
Kit Yan (Playwright/Poet/Lyricist/Performer) is Yellow American New York-based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Their work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, Musical Theater Factory, the New York Musical Festival, and Dixon Place. They have been a resident at the Civilians, Mitten Lab, 5th Avenue Theater, the Village Theater, a WP/Public theater translab fellow, and are a 2018-19 Dramatists Guild Fellow and
Lincoln Center Writer in residence. Their musical Interstate won five awards at the 2018 New York Musical Festival including Best Lyrics and will be developed at the Johnny Mercer Colony at Goodspeed Musicals. Kit’s show Queer Heartache has won five awards at the Chicago and SF Fringe Festival and their second musical Miss Step is under commission at 5th Avenue Theater. Artist statement: My work is a dreamspace where queer and transgender folx can time travel in order to witness, remember, and heal our herstories. I hold writing as a spaceship into the borderless ancestral past, the puzzle pieces of an imagined queertureverse, and a lifeline back onto this earth. Here, we can ground, explore, and discover stories on our own terms—messy, ugly, and wholly beautiful. My dreams lead me to write about the fractures in my life and in this world, times I fucked up, times I was held accountable by my family and communities, and times of collective struggle on a path towards collective liberation. Above all else, I write about queer love smashing racism, patriarchy, and systemic oppressions.
Jillian Walker is a multi-faceted artist and thinker shaping culture through performance. Her genre-pushing work, SKiNFoLK: An American Show, has appeared in the Starr Reading Series, ANT Fest at Ars Nova and the inaugural SPARK Festival for new small musicals at Pittsburgh CLO. Her play, Sarah’s Salt., has been developed at Roundabout Theater Company, MCC Theater, and was as an Honorable Mention for the 2017 Relentless Award (American Playwriting Foundation). With dramaturgy as the core of her artistic practice, Jillian is theatermaker as archaeologist. She investigates the processes and workings of time, ritual, identity and structure to unearth the ways theatrical forms can impact the larger cultural landscape. Through her residency at University Musical Society (University of Michigan), she researched her new play, Tignon, and a lecture/performance work, Songs of Speculation, which premiered at JACK in November 2018. Jillian is working on a commission with Soho Rep and holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University.
AriDy Nox is an afrofuturist, womanist, black femme storyteller and social activist. She has created a myriad of works in a myriad of mediums from a very young age and is invested in storytelling as a source of social change. From filming, directing and editing an award-winning documentary entitled Flawless Feminism, centered around black feminism in the wake of Beyoncé’s self-entitled album to writing, producing and directing Lost (and Found), a paranormal ten minute musical installation about a lost Victorian ghost forcing one of her descendants to steal her photograph from a museum made in collaboration with the Spelman Museum of Fine Art and their Spring 2016 Exhibition, “The Black Chronicles II”, AriDy creates out of the vehement belief that creating a future in which marginalized peoples are free requires a radical imagination. She offers hers a one of the many that will hopefully shape our world for the better.
Brandon Webster is a Brooklyn-based composer\dramaturg who focuses on writing new musicals that center black bodies in stories that skew both realistic and fantastical. Brandon is currently the Education Associate for New York Theatre Workshop, overseeing the 2050 Administrative fellowship and community engagement initiatives. Brandon is also the NYC Musical Theatre Editor for TheTheatreTimes; a global theatre portal that has published over 2,400 articles covering theatre in 80 countries and regions. BMI Musical Theater Workshop Alum Class of 2013. BA regular participant in the MTF POC Roundtable. 2017 MCC Theater Artistic Fellow and Student of Xavier University of Louisiana. Works include HEADLINES (2017), TEA&COMPANY (2013), MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY (2019), METROPOLIS (2019) BOOGIE NIGHTS (2015) .