Signature Theatre Announces Recipients of Inaugural SigWorks: Signature Theatre / Yale Composer Partnership

Mark Sonnenblick and Scott Feiner will receive workshops of their new musical theater works

Signature Theatre announced today that Mark Sonnenblick and Scott Feiner will both receive workshops of their new musical theater works as part of the SigWorks: Signature Theatre/Yale Composer Partnership.

Mark Sonnenblick. Photo courtesy of Signature Theatre.
Mark Sonnenblick. Photo courtesy of Signature Theatre.

“We’re thrilled that both Mark and Scott will spend time with us this summer developing their new musicals for the stage,” stated Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. “There was great interest in this new SigWorks program and our artistic committee was very impressed by the breadth of talent and creative ideas in the submissions. We look forward to providing more opportunities to these special writers from Yale University.”

Scott Feiner will collaborate with Walker Caplan on a new musical entitled Saturdays as part of the Signature Theatre/Yale Graduating Senior Composer Workshop and Mark Sonnenblick will be workshopping his new musical Devotion as part of the Signature Theatre/Yale Graduate Composer Workshop.

“I’m unbelievably grateful to the Signature Theatre and to the Shen Curriculum for providing me and my collaborator, Walker Caplan, this unprecedented opportunity to work on our musical, Saturdays, with a theater so admirably dedicated to fostering new voices,” said Scott Feiner.

“The Shen Curriculum did more than teach me everything I know about musical theater writing—it also gave me the insane belief that this was a legitimate career,” said Mark Sonnenblick. “A workshop at Signature, with its incredible commitment to the difficult process of developing new musicals, will be instrumental for the future of Devotion. I’m very grateful and we can’t wait!”

Scott Feiner. Photo courtesy of Signature Theatre.
Scott Feiner. Photo courtesy of Signature Theatre.

The Signature Theatre/Yale Composer Partnership is a new and unique program for young musical theatre writers. Each year, the new program will award one senior from Yale University’s Shen Curriculum for Musical Theater a 3-week workshop to develop their own musical upon graduation together with a Shen Artist Internship for the Signature Theatre season. As a Shen Artist, the award recipient will work alongside Signature’s artistic team in the preparation for a world premiere production on Signature’s mainstage season. In addition, one recent graduate (within the past five years) of Yale University and a participant in the Shen Curriculum for Musical Theater will be awarded a 2-week workshop of a musical they are currently writing. The workshops will take place from July 22- August 25, 2019 at Signature Theatre. The new program is made possible through the Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund of The Shen Family Foundation.

RECIPIENT BIOS
Mark Sonnenblick writes musical theater that spans a range of forms and genres -traditional to experimental, electrofunk to golden age, successes to failures. His work has been presented in theaters, concert halls, and dive bars across the country, and his propensity for listing things will continue below.

Midnight at The Never Get, for which he wrote book/music/lyrics, made its Off-Broadway debut this October at the York Theatre Company to sold-out houses and rapturous reviews in The New York Times (“Lushly romantic…an intimate, aching chamber musical about heartbreak and bliss…utterly transporting,” Critic’s Pick),The New Yorker (“If there’s a sleeper hit this season, it should be this one…The period-perfect score sounds as if it consists of deep cuts from obscure LPs by Bing Crosby and Peggy Lee”), Lighting and Sound America (“A remarkable entertainment…Sonnenblick’s melodies are as pitch-perfect as his lyrics…a level of craft all too frequently absent from today’s musicals”), and many other outlets. An earlier concert version at the New York Musical Festival won a Bistro Award (“So smart, so funny, so moving…the songs themselves are a marvel…not one misstep”) and was nominated for “Show of the Year” by the Manhattan Association of Cabaret.

Independents, for which he wrote lyrics and additional book material, won “Best Overall Production” at the New York Fringe Festival before being extended Off-Broadway and selected as a critics’ pick by The New York Times and Time Out NY. The Huffington Post named it one of their Top 10 shows of the year (alongside productions people have actually heard of, like Einstein On The Beach at BAM and Porgy and Bess with Audra MacDonald).

Other musicals include Stompcat in Lawndale (Ars Nova), Ship Show (Yale Institute for Music Theatre), and Bunkerville (Yale DRAMAT, winner of Ball State University’s Discovery Festival). He has also collaborated on several operas: Twenty Minutes or Less (Washington National Opera), Vera (American Opera Projects, Manhattan School of Music), and Rodman in North Korea (Houghton Lyric Theater). He has also collaborated on several musicals for younger audiences: PBS Kids Live (PBS Kids), Dragons Love Tacos (TheatreworksUSA, two national tours), and The Dinosaur Hunters (national tour to libraries, community centers, natural history museums; part of the Colorado Bureau of Land Management’s Education Initiative).

Mark has developed work at The Johnny Mercer Writers Colony (Goodspeed Musicals), UCross Foundation, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, The John Duffy Institute (Virginia Arts Festival) and Composers and The Voice (American Opera Projects). He is the recipient of a Jonathan Larson Grant (American Theatre Wing), a Harold Adamson Award (ASCAP), and is a three-time finalist for the Kleban Prize (New Dramatists).

Scott Feiner is from New York and currently attends Yale University, where he has studied composition with Kathryn Alexander and Konrad Kaczmarek, and piano with Elizabeth Parisot. He has also studied composition with Dr. Ira Taxin at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division, and musical theater writing with composer Adam Guettel privately. He won the Society for New Music Brian Israel Prize in 2015. He won the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award and was a YoungArts winner in 2014 and 2015. He won the Tribeca New Music Young Composer Competition, the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester Young Artist Competition, and the Juventas New Music Ensemble Call for Scores in 2013. His music has been performed by the Lumina String Quartet in their 2012, 2013, and 2014 Chamber Music Festivals in Stamford and concert series in Norwalk, Connecticut. He attended Juilliard Pre-College in composition from 2011 to 2015. Recently, Scott worked as a music assistant on the pre-Broadway production of Frozen. Scott’s music can be found at http://scottetanfeiner.com/.

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