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Writers and Composers

SARAH ACKERMAN (composer, “An Open Window”) presently composes strictly experimental music. She has an undergraduate degree in music composition from Mills College and a masters in musical theatre writing from New York University, where “An Open Window” had its conception.

BRAD ALEXANDER (composer, “The Ransom of Red Chief”) wrote the music for Theatreworks USA’s Just So Stories, Lilly's Big Day, and Click, Clack Moo: Cows that Type. He and collaborator Adam Mathias won the 2008 Richard Rodgers Award and 2007 Jerry Bock Award for their full-length musical See Rock City and Other Destinations.

AMBROSE BIERCE (author, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”) was born in Horse Cave Creek, Ohio, in 1842, and fought in the Union Army, being wounded twice. He wrote for The San Francisco Examiner, Cosmopolitan and The New York American. The author of Write It Right and The Devil's Dictionary, at age of 72 he wandered off to Mexico and subsequently vanished into history, possibly having been executed by firing squad while attached to Pancho Villa’s staff.

JEFF BLUMENKRANTZ (composer, “Precious Little Jewel”, adapted from “The Story of an Hour”) was co-nominated for the Tony Award for Best Original Score for Urban Cowboy, and has received both the Mary Martin Award from the National Institute for Music Theater and the 2011 Fred Ebb Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre Songwriting.

FRANCESCA BLUMENTHAL (librettist / composer / lyricist, “Roman Fever”) was an award-winning ad agency copywriter who then became a songwriter who won Back Stage Bistro, MAC, Dramalogue, and ASCAP Awards for her songs and shows. Her revues include Life Is Not Like The Movies, Places, Please!, and Places, Please! Act Two. Her work has also been in A My Name Is Still Alice and Secrets Every Smart Traveller Should Know.

MORRIS BOBROW (librettist / composer / lyricist, “Love and Money”) has written many long-running musical revues, including Party of One, With Relish, and Are We Almost There?, which ran for seven, four, and three years, respectively, all in San Francisco. He also co-wrote the revues Wrinkles, And, What, Give Up Show Biz?, and Quirks. His revues have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, Boston, Denver, Phoenix, Vancouver, and Singapore.

JOYCE BRAMBERG (librettist / composer / lyricist, “The Hook”, adapted from “The Chaser”) composed the music for The Princess and the Frog, with book and lyrics by Norman and Harriet Belkin. She also co-wrote the book, Who Are These People?, and is a member of the Academy of New Musical Theatre in Los Angeles.

HELEN CHAYEFSKY (librettist / lyricist, “The Ransom of Red Chief”) has written lyrics for Theatreworks/USA, TADA Youth Theater, both in New York City; and Lyric Stage in Dallas.

KATE CHOPIN (author, “The Story of an Hour”) was born Katherine O’Flaherty in 1851 in St. Louis. She married at 17, and her husband strongly encouraged her independence and self-possession. She wrote stories—the first of which was published when she was 38 years old—for the Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Century Magazine and Youth’s Companion; and her novel The Awakening, controversial when published, is today considered a landmark feminist work.

LISA-CATHERINE COHEN (lyricist / co-librettist, “Remember Dancing”) is known throughout the world for her lyrics to songs which have reached Number One on pop charts in South America with composer Romano Musumarra, and in France with composer/performer David Hallyday—along with seven top-fives there as well.

JOHN COLLIER (author, “The Chaser”) was born in London in 1901, and was an author and screenwriter best known for his short stories, many of which appeared in The New Yorker from the 1930s to the 1950s. They were collected in a 1951 volume, Fancies and Goodnights, which remains in print today. Individual stories are frequently anthologized in fantasy collections. He contributed to the screenplays of The African Queen and I Am A Camera, and his story “Evening Primrose” was adapted into a television musical by Stephen Sondheim in 1966.

CHRISTOPHER DURANG (librettist / lyricist, “Ubu Lear”) wrote the plays A History of the American Film, The Actor’s Nightmare, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Beyond Therapy, Baby with the Bathwater, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Laughing Wild, Sex and Longing, Betty’s Summer Vacation, Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, and the musical Adrift in Macao, with music by Peter Melnick.

JACK FELDMAN (co-lyricist, “Away to Pago Pago”) won the 2012 Tony Award for his lyrics to Newsies, composed by Alan Menken, and a Grammy for his song “Copacabana”, co-written with Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman. His songs—including several million-sellers—have been performed by Bette Midler, Ronnie Milsap, Sarah Vaughn, Shirley Bassey, Lily Tomlin, Carmen McRae, Liza Minnelli, Kid Creole, Dionne Warwick and the Muppets, among countless others.

NANCY FORD (composer, “Space for Two”) composed the music for I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road, The Last Sweet Days of Isaac, Shelter, Eleanor and Anne of Green Gables, all with book and lyrics by Gretchen Cryer. Her work has received two Emmys, an Obie, a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award and two Writers Guild Awards.

ENID FUTTERMAN (lyricist, “An Open Window”) wrote the libretto for Yours, Anne (based on The Diary of Anne Frank), and Portrait of Jennie, both with music by Michael Cohen; and has received both the Richard Rodgers Production Award and the Seagram’s New Musical Theater Award. She is also the author and photographer of the novel, Bittersweet Journey: A Modestly Erotic Novel of Love, Longing and Chocolate, published by Viking.

GEORGE GERSHWIN (composer, “Blue Monday”) was born in Brooklyn in 1898, and by age 15 was already working as a pianist and accompanist to vaudeville stars. Shows he composed included Porgy and Bess, Strike Up the Band, and Of Thee I Sing; while his songs ranged from “Swanee” to “Summertime” to “I Got Rhythm”. Mr Gershwin’s jazz concerto Rhapsody in Blue and his orchestral work An American in Paris remain major milestones in music history.

O. HENRY (author, “The Furnished Room”) was born William Sydney Porter in Polecat Creek, North Carolina, in 1862. He wrote a stunning 381 stories, including many of his most-loved such as “The Gift of the Magi” “The Green Door”, “The Last Leaf” and “The Ransom of Red Chief”, from 1902 to 1904 for The New York World, Ainslee’s and McClure’s. He died in 1910 in New York City.

DAVID IVES (librettist / lyricist, “Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread”) wrote Venus in Furs, nominated for the 2012 Tony Award, and the much-produced collection All in the Timing. Also on Broadway, he adapted David Copperfield’s magic show Dreams and Nightmares, wrote the book for Dance of the Vampires (music and lyrics by Jim Steinman), and co-wrote the book for Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. He is currently collaborating on a new musical with Stephen Sondheim.

DOUG KATSAROS (composer, “Suds and Lovers”) has played, sung and arranged for Gloria Estefan, KISS, Rod Stewart, Judy Collins, Peter Paul & Mary, Cher, Bon Jovi, Frank Sinatra, Michael Bolton, Sinéad O’Connor, Donny Osmond, Aerosmith, B.B. King, Todd Rundgren, Richie Havens & others. On Broadway, he conducted Footloose and orchestrated The Rocky Horror Show. Off-Broadway, he co-wrote A...My Name Is Alice and Diamonds; composed Just So and Abie’s Island Rose; and arranged 1966. He also composed the memorable three-note commercial score, “By Mennen”...

SARAGAIL KATZMAN (librettist / composer / lyricist, “The Furnished Room”) also wrote The Alexandria Municipal Reading Library. She recorded the album, A Joyful Noise!, has work in We Like Kids songbooks, and is the author of the children’s novel My Dog Ate It, published by Scholastic Press and Holiday House.

WALTER EDGAR KENNON (composer / lyricist, “Plaisir d’Amour”) composed the music for the one-man musical Herringbone, which has starred Joel Grey, David Rounds, and B.D. Wong, among others; and for Here’s Our Girl. He wrote the music and lyrics for the musical version of The Last Starfighter, Blanco, Feathertop, and Time and Again, as well as the music for the one-act musical Afternoon Tea, with book & lyrics by Eduardo Machado.

ANNIE KESSLER (librettist / lyricist, “Woman with Pocketbook”) contributed lyrics to the musicals Having it Almost and The Other Franklin, and co-wrote the song “I Won’t Mind”, recently recorded by Audra McDonald.

MICHAEL KOPPY (conceiver, librettist) produced and directed Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, March of the Falsettos and Inner City (San Francisco productions), Riders in the Sky, Sandra Tsing Loh’s A History of Musical Films (Los Angeles, world premiere) and many other projects. His album of original songs, Ashmore’s Store, was named The Best Album of 2012 by Country Music People Magazine. DGA, SDC, ASCAP, IATSE, IWW.

KARL FREDRIK LUNDEBERG (incidental music, orchestrations) composed the music for In a Pig’s Valise, by Eric Overmyer, and Andrei Serban’s King Stag (co-composed by Eliot Goldenthal), among his countless scores for America’s major institutional theaters. Long-time Resident Composer at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum, he’s performed with John Cage, Gladys Knight and Miroslav Vitouš; and recorded three albums for Columbia Records with his jazz band, Full Circle.

BARRY MANILOW (composer, “Away to Pago Pago”) has won Tony, Grammy, Emmy and Clio Awards for his theater, recording and television work; and his records have sold over sixty million copies worldwide, including seven million in one year. Mr. Manilow’s first musical, The Drunkard, opened in 1967 to become the third-longest running off-Broadway musical of all time, and his most recent score was for the musical Harmony.

SCOTT R. McKENZIE (vocal arrangements) has worked extensively as a conductor and musical director for both opera and musical theater. In New York City, Scott music directed several projects with Tony Award-winning director Thommie Walsh. In San Francisco, he has conducted productions of My One and Only, La Cage Aux Folles, Of Thee I Sing, and was vocal director on Michael Koppy’s San Francisco productions of March of the Falsettos and the initial workshop of Stories 1.0.

TERRENCE McNALLY (librettist, “Plaisir d’Amour”) wrote the book for the musicals The Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Rink, The Full Monty and Ragtime, and the opera Dead Man Walking. He wrote the plays Love! Valour! Compassion!, Corpus Christi, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, A Perfect Ganesh and many others. He’s won four Tonys, four Drama Desk Awards, two Obies, an Emmy, and the Pulitzer Prize.

RICHARD PEASLEE (composer, “Ubu Lear”) has written extensively for the theatre in New York, London and Paris, including the Peter Brook/Royal Shakespeare Company productions of The Marat/Sade, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, US and Antony and Cleopatra. For Peter Hall and the National Theatre, he wrote the music for Animal Farm; and for Terry Hands and the RSC, Tamburlaine the Great. He created scores for Richard III, Henry IV, Troilus and Cressida and Antigone; with Martha Clarke and Music Theatre Group, and for The Garden of Earthly Delights, Vienna Lusthaus, The Hunger Artist and Miracolo d’Amore.

BRUCE PEYTON (librettist, “Pulp’s Big Favor”) conducted workshops for musical theater writers under the auspices of BMI, ASCAP and Musical Theatre Works for many years. He wrote the play The Hazzard County Wonder, and the musical Feathertop, adapted with music and lyrics by Skip Kennon from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story.

JOHN PIROMAN (librettist, “Away to Pago Pago”) has written plays produced at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Michigan Public Theater, Plaza Theater in Dallas, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Asolo State Theater and off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theater. His television writing credits run from St. Elsewhere to All My Children.

DAVID POMERANZ (composer / co-librettist, “Remember Dancing”) wrote music and lyrics for the West End productions Little Tramp and Time; and for Scandalous on Broadway. His songs have been recorded and performed by Harry Belafonte, The Carpenters, Phoebe Snow, Barry Manilow, Freddie Mercury, Richie Sambora, Kenny Loggins, Missy Elliott, Donna Summer, Lou Rawls, Glen Campbell, Kathy Lee Gifford, The Hollies, Cliff Richard and countless others.

MAE RICHARD (lyricist, “Space for Two”) wrote the lyrics for Tallulah’s Party and Hadleyburg, and for countless industrial shows for DuPont, RCA, Wyeth Laboratories, Lehigh Valley Dairies and many others. Some of her most-loved work was produced in the show Mae-Time...The Lyrics of Mae Richard. She has received two Emmys and a nomination for an Outer Critics Circle Award.

LIBBY SAINES (librettist / lyricist, “Precious Little Jewel”, adapted from “The Story of an Hour”) co-wrote lyrics for an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s You Never Can Tell and for the musicals The Other Franklin and Moving Right Along. She also contributed to the show Having It Almost, and wrote the children’s musicals The Apple War and The Mysterious Disappearance of King Sam.

SAKI (author, “The Open Window”) was born Hector Hugo Munro in Akyab, Burma, in 1870. He adopted the nom de plume Saki from the character of the cup-bearer in The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and along with many short stories also wrote a history, The Rise of the Russian Empire, and the satirical Not So Stories. Refusing a commission in the British Army in World War I, he enlisted instead and was killed in battle at Beaumont-Hamel, France, in 1916.

JUNE SIEGEL (librettist / lyricist, “Suds and Lovers”) wrote the lyrics for The Housewives’ Cantata, and co-wrote lyrics for A...My Name is Alice, A...My Name is Still Alice, Ladies of Romance and Half the Sky, among many other shows, revues and musical projects.

DAVID SPENCER (composer / lyricist, “Pulp’s Big Favor”) wrote lyrics for Weird Romance and book and lyrics for The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, both with music by Alan Menken; and adaptation and English lyrics for the New York Shakespeare Festival’s La Boheme. He’s received a Richard Rodgers Production Award, the Ed Kleban Award, two Gilman & Gonzalez Theater Grants, and is a long-time instructor at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop.

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (author, “The Bottle Imp”) was born into the family of a lighthouse keeper in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1850, and his short life was a constant journey in search of adventure. His first book was Treasure Island, followed by Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Yet his masterpiece is generally considered to be Weir of Hermiston, unfinished at the time of his sudden death of apoplexy at age 44, in Apia, Samoa.

BRUCE SUSSMAN (co-lyricist, “Away to Pago Pago”) wrote book and lyrics for the musical Harmony, and has written and co-written songs for feature films including Oliver & Company, Tribute, Foul Play, Pretty in Pink, Madagascar, Bowling for Columbine, Dr Doolittle and Off Beat, among others. For television he’s co-authored scripts and songs for Big Fun on Swing Street, Copacabana and the Emmy Award-winning children’s series, Unicorn Tales.

TONI TENNILLE (composer, “At Owl Creek Bridge”) co-wrote the Broadway musical Mother Earth, but is of course best known as half of the duo, The Captain & Tennille. Her songwriting and performing have been rewarded with eight gold singles, five gold albums, a platinum single, two platinum albums and the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

RON THRONSON (librettist / lyricist, “At Owl Creek Bridge”) wrote or co-wrote twelve plays and musicals that have been produced across North America, including Adventures in a Paper Bag, and the Broadway musical Mother Earth, and he headed the communications arts department at Chapman University for many years.

PETER TOLAN (librettist / composer / lyricist, “The Fertilization Opera”) won the Emmy Award for Best Comedy Writing for The Larry Sanders Show, and has also written numerous scripts for Carol & Company, Home Improvement, Murphy Brown, The Job, Sessions, Rescue Me and many other television shows. His feature film scripts include Analyze This, Analyze That, Bedazzled, My Fellow Americans, Guess Who, Just Like Heaven and Finding Amanda.

KENNETH VEGA (librettist / composer / lyricist, “The Bottle Imp”) is a Richard Rodgers Award finalist, and among other shows he wrote the musicals Lindbergh Baby Kidnapped!,Cafe Depresso (San Francisco Theater Critics Award for Outstanding Musical Score) Marco Polo, Berlin 1932 (San Francisco Theater Critics Award for Best Musical) and Heartfield.

EDITH WHARTON (author, “Roman Fever”) was born Edith Newbold Jones in 1862, to an aristocratic New York City family. Her marriage to Teddy Wharton, twelve years her senior and a faithless husband, ended in divorce. She then left for France, working to aide refugees during the first World War, and only returning to America to accept the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, The Age of Innocence. Her salon in Paris was frequented by the leading authors of the day, including Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, and Henry James.

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