“It brings us immense joy to welcome Erlina, Robi, Jay, and Gavin to the O’Neill. These artists and their pieces embody the necessity and power of new musicals through their exquisite talent and bravery. We are humbled and grateful for the opportunity to work with them this summer and cannot wait to dive in.”
- Alexander Gemignani, Artistic Director
Since its founding in 1978, the National Music Theater Conference has developed more than 130 new musicals, including early works of award-winning writers and composers such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt, Michael R. Jackson, Kirsten Childs, Andrew Lippa, Tan Dun, Robert Lopez, Duncan Sheik, Adam Gwon, Steven Sater, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Maury Yeston, and Jeanine Tesori.
The 2022 conference returns to a fully in-person experience on the O'Neill campus. Three musicals were selected, each of which will undergo the O’Neill’s signature development process and be presented as public staged readings featuring award-winning casts and creative teams.
SATURDAY, JULY 16 | 7PM
WEDNESDAY, JULY 20 | 8PM
FRIDAY, JULY 22 | 7PM
Dina Merrill Theater
BOOK & LYRICS BY ERLINA ORTIZ
MUSIC & LYRICS BY ROBI HAGER
Siluetas brings the stories of immigrants and refugees to the front. Conservative ex-house wife Dinora and activist-artist Khalilah move in together amidst a charged 2016 presidential campaign, the loosening of the Cuban embargo, and the escalation of the Syrian Civil War. Through their growing friendship—and a little guidance from the Ancestors—they learn about the importance of community, friendship, and forgiveness. With book and lyrics by Erlina Ortiz and music and lyrics by Robi Hager, this new musical captures the pain of displacement, the need for choice, and the uncertainty we all face when borders are more important than family.
Erlina Ortiz is a Dominican-American playwright, performer, and theatermaker from Reading, PA. Her heartfelt and humorous plays, ranging in topics from gentrification, women’s rights, and cultural preservation, have been presented with Power Street Theatre where she is proud to be Co-Artistic Director. In 2018, her play Las Mujeres received The Bonaly Award for Creation of Community Joy. In 2019, her play Morir Sonyando was nominated for six Barrymore Awards including Outstanding New Play. In 2021, Erlina received her professional Philly premiere with Young Money at Azuka Theatre which went on to receive the national ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award Citation. In 2022, her play La Egoista was selected for the Latinx Theatre Commons Comedy Carnaval. She has taught playwriting with the University of the Arts, Power Street Theatre, and Blue Stoop phl. She currently serves as secretary of the board of Theatre Philadelphia. Erlina has received the Amtrak Writer’s residency, the Signal Fire Outpost Residency, and in 2019 she gave the Keynote Address at the Delaware Writer’s Conference on the importance of nurturing your artistic community. She was a member of NEXUS with New York Stage and Film and is a two time recipient of the Leeway Art and Change Grant and the 2021 Leeway Transformation Award. Erlina believes being an artist is a superpower, she believes in using her powers for good. erlinaortiz.com
Robi Hager is a Mexican-American musical theater writer and performer. After moving to the US from Mexico City at the age of fourteen, Robi's passion for the arts grew and developed into a career choice. He appeared on Broadway in the 2006 Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening, as well as How To Succeed..., Bye Bye Birdie, and Doctor Zhivago. He toured the country with the 2015 Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home and Spring Awakening. Regionally, Robi appeared in Ragtime, Next To Normal, Parade, Fun Home, and Bonnie & Clyde. As a composer, he wrote songs "Quiero Soñar" and “Maduros” along with friend Alex McCabe that appeared in the films Top Five and Can You Ever Forgive Me. His musical, Little Duende, was developed at the O'Neill's 2021 National Music Theater Conference. It was also featured in the 33rd annual NAMT festival in New York that same year. His solo concert, Robi Hager: So Far, was part of the Arden Theatre Company's 2021 virtual season. Robi is the creator and producer of LGBTQ musical Basic Witches, for which he received a 2018 Barrymore Award nomination for best original score. Robi is currently under commission from the Arden Theatre Company to write a new children's musical based on the legends of King Arthur. For more information visit robihager.com.
SATURDAY, JULY 23 | 7PM
WEDNESDAY, JULY 27 | 8PM
FRIDAY, JULY 29 | 7PM
Dina Merrill Theater
The Jordan & Avery Show
BOOK, MUSIC, & LYRICS BY JAY ADANA
Jordan and Avery post comedy songs on YouTube. Today, they found out they’re getting evicted. Naturally, they post a song about it…and it goes viral. The Last Five Years meets tick, tick…BOOM! in this bittersweet comedy about friends stumbling their way through grief. Together and apart.
Jay Adana (she | her) is loud and shy. The Loophole (Public Theater Studio, music and lyrics), The Woodsman (New World Stages, lyrics), Fingerpaintings (Playwrights Horizons Downtown, music and lyrics), LeFay (Musical Theater Factory, book and lyrics), The Last Tiger in Haiti (Berkeley Rep/La Jolla Playhouse, contributed music and lyrics). Currently developing The Jordan & Avery Show as a musical movie. 2020 Richard Rodgers Award, 2021 Vivace Award, 2018 Jonathan Larson Award, 2019 Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellow. Work featured by PBS, The American Theater Wing, Joe’s Pub, and Dramatist Magazine. Residencies: Public Theater #BARS residency writer under Jeanie O’Hare, SPACE on Ryder Farm. Education: #BARS workshop founded by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, BFA SUNY Purchase. www.jayadana.com
SATURDAY, JULY 30 | 7PM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3 | 8PM
FRIDAY, AUGUST 5 | 7PM
Dina Merrill Theater
Walk on Through: Confessions of a Museum Novice
BOOK, MUSIC, & LYRICS BY GAVIN CREEL
Walk on Through: Confessions of a Museum Novice is a thrilling new theatrical concert written by Tony and Olivier Award-winning actor and songwriter Gavin Creel. Inspired by the countless hours he spent wandering through the world-renowned collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gavin has created a wildly original piece filled with songs and stories that explore his journey through art, love, and life. Whether you are a museum lover or someone who—like Gavin—has never felt quite at home in them, this show dares you to join him and simply Walk on Through.
Gavin Creel Gavin Creel received a Tony Award for his performance as “Cornelius Hackl” in Hello, Dolly! Starring Bette Midler. After making his Broadway debut in Thoroughly Modern Millie, for which he received his first Tony nomination, Creel went on to star in the Broadway productions of Hair, (Tony Award nomination), La Cage aux Folles, She Loves Me, The Book of Mormon, and Waitress. Gavin received an Olivier Award for his portrayal of “Elder Price” in the London production of The Book of Mormon, and also appeared on the West End in Mary Poppins, Hair, and Waitress. On television, Creel recently performed a solo PBS concert special with "Stars on Stage," appeared in the premiere episodes of Ryan Murphy's anthology series "American Horror Stories" and played "Bill" alongside Julie Andrews in "Eloise at the Plaza" and "Eloise at Christmastime." As a songwriter, he has released three original albums: GoodTimeNation, Quiet, and Get Out. He is currently writing an original theater piece entitled Walk on Through: Confessions of a Museum Novice, based on the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A native of Findlay, Ohio, Gavin is a proud graduate of University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and a 2022 Hermitage Artist Fellow.