New York, NY — Following the success of the inaugural Makers I, Makers II brings a new cohort of resident artists to MTF. From a pool of over 120 submissions, 30 evaluators from around the country read and ranked each application. Each application is read by at least 3 people—and at least 1 POC—as a fundamental way to dismantle the white gaze in the evaluation process. Finalists are interviewed by a panel of brilliant leaders in the field before being voted on by the panel and the current Makers cohort. This year’s panel included Anika Chapin, Justin Ellington, Raja Feather Kelly, L Morgan Lee, Meropi Peponides, Jesca Prudencio, Kelsey Thogalsen, and Chay Yew.
“Despite the sudden and forced pivot to online, MTF is still innovating the musical form and pushing for a more diverse, inclusive industry,” said Aaron Salley, Managing Director at the Factory. “Thanks to awards from the NEA, Jerome Foundation, and Mellon Foundation, we’re able to continue lifting up artist leaders, groundbreaking storytellers, and folx who have our mission in their DNA all while centering queerness and Blackness. Especially in this moment.”
MTF Makers II consists of: Rona Siddiqui; Storm Thomas; é boylan; David Gomez & John-Michael Lyles; Alex Hare, Nehemiah Luckett & Zhailon Levingston; Nia Witherspoon is named the inaugural MTFxR Maker; Whitney White is named the MTF/STARR Maker in partnership with The Bushwick Starr.
Beehive Dramaturgy Studio, MTF’s Artistic Associates, crafted the process for Makers selection with Artistic Director Mei Ann Teo. Beehive co-founder Natasha Sinha says, “Amidst the roller coaster of this year, we’re thrilled to welcome the artists of the second MTF Makers cohort, who are developing potent musical stories through subject matter, processes, and styles that will powerfully expand what is thought of as American musical theatre. Throughout the difficult selection process, we were struck by their boldness, poetry, nuance, experimentation, and community-mindedness. These thoughtful artists are poised to become part of the musical theatre canon, and MTF is excited to support their development along the way.”
For more information on the Makers program, visit mtf.nyc/makers.