Writers' Retreat

TheatreWorks hosts a week-long Writers' Retreat every year to provide our family of artists the much needed time, space, and resources to refine the next draft of their new play or musical. 



  • Tom Lindblade and Kim Sherman worked on their piece, A Letter From Santa Claus. The piece takes place in Hartford in the midst of booming 19th century immigration and freed slaves migrating north, and features two sisters discovering the true meaning of Christmas.
  • Min Kahng and Brad Erickson worked on Lowcountry (assisted) Living, a piece inspired by the lived experience of Brad Erickson’s aging parents, exploring how the pressures of elder care both draws the disparate family together and threatens to upturn their lives and tear them apart. In this week, the team revised the book and lyrics and completed the composition of the music for Act I.
  • Lynn Rosen and the Kilbanes continued work on their piece from last year, GURLEY!, about Helen Gurley Brown, editor of Cosmopolitan and author of 1962’s bestselling Sex and the Single Girl, drawing parallels between the challenges faced by women in the 60s and those still faced by women today. 


  • Aaron Jafferis and Byron Au Yong continued work on their musical (Be)longing, which grew out of research and creative residencies at the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. (Be)longing is a national initiative asking how we recover from violence and prevent its recurrence.
  • Marella Martin Koch and Casey O’Neil worked on Danny & the Rocket, which is a musical that explores what happens when an emotionally isolated rocket scientist loses his last remaining living relative days before the culmination of his life’s work and must engage with the world in a new way.
  • Lynn Rosen, Kate Kilbane and Dan Moses (The Kilbanes) began work on GURLEY!, a musical that examines the fun and fearless life of Helen Gurley Brown. The piece explores the costs – and the gains – of creating a fictional life in order to navigate a turbulent and ever changing world.



  • Zack Zadek worked on his new musical Deathless, a dramedy with an indie folk-pop score, which takes place against the backdrop of the discovery of the cure for natural death as it is just released in America. 
  • David Hein and Irene Sankoff continued work on their musical Mitzvah. Set against a score of folk ballads and celebratory Klezmer music, it tells the story of a family: a young boy with autism growing up, a marriage falling down, and a mother who fights to give her son a Bar Mitzvah.
  • Mindi Dickstein, Nolan Gasser, and Kirsten Guenther continued work on their musical adaptation of Benny & Joon, which is based on the MGM film of the same name.



  • Jay Alvarez, Suzanne Bradbeer, and Gaby Gold worked on their musical Be Careful! The Sharks Will Eat You! which they wrote in collaboration with Grammy award winner Paquito D’Rivera.
  • You Don’t Know Me from Adamis a new musical by Daniel Maté. 
  • Max Vernon is developing a show called Show & Tellin the Civilians R&D group. 
  • James D. Sasser and Charles Vincent Burwell worked on their production of Le Comte Noir, or The Black Count, which is inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning book from a few years ago called Black Count, about the life of Alexandre Dumas’ father.



  • Lynne Kaufman and Alex Mandel worked on their musical, Picture Perfect: Normal Rockwell’s America.
  • Peter Glazer and Tom Paxton worked on Citizen Tom Paxton. 
  • Min Kahng worked on his Four Immigrants, his musical adaptation of The Four Immigrants Manga,which is an American-style comic book written and illustrated by Japanese immigrant Henry Kiyama over the span of 1904-1924.
  • Lauren Gunderson worked on Pemberly Christmas Project,which is a Jane Austen Christmas play.


June 2011/May 2012
TheatreWorks hosted playwrights Dan Dietz, Lauren Gunderson, Kait Kerrigan, Janine Nabers, and Peter Nachtrieb, and composers Jenny Giering, Adam Gwon, Michael Jackson, Brian Lowdermilk, and Chris Miller to collaborate on a new musical, conceived and written by all 10 writers, in conjunction with New Works Director Meredith McDonough. The team wrote a first draft in one week in June 2011 and returned in May 2012 to work on a second draft.


January 2011

  • Kara Lee Cothron and Justin Levine worked on a new musical commissioned by Naked Angels.
  • David Clement and playwright Kate Moira Ryan worked on their new musical Weathermen, a rock musical focusing on 6 months (1969-70) in the increasingly tumultuous story of The Weather Underground as they escalate their tactics (think: nudity, rock music, and pyrotechnics).
  • Playwright Jason Grote and composer Marisa Michelson worked on a musical adaptation of Jason's play Scheherazade. This musical was developed in Montclair State University's New Works Initiative and New Dramatists' PlayTime.
  • Mike Pettry and playwright Lila Rose Kaplan worked on a new musical based on the short story by George MacDonald, The Light Princess, which is written for younger audiences, but is safe for adults as well.


January 2010

  • Nathan Tysen, Chris Miller, and Craig Wright worked on their TheatreWorks commission Molly's Delicious.
  • Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan started a new musical with Irish rock influence.
  • Indie band The Spring Standards (James Cleare, James Smith, and Heather Robb) worked with playwright Darcy Fowler on a new musical set in a highly theatrical world where consumerism reigns.
  • Playwright Matthew Lopez worked on the book for the upcoming musical of Mad Hot Ballroom.
  • Playwright Bathsheba Doran worked on the new draft of her play 
  • Playwright and composer David Kirshenbaum started working on a new play.