2013 Writer Testimonials

What an incredible group of writers we had in summer 2013! Here’s what some of them said about their week at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat:

Kyle Jarrow and Duncan Sheik, Noir

Kyle Jarrow and Duncan Sheik

“I find that one of the toughest challenges of the writing life is shutting out the noise of the world, the distractions of the business side of things, and the mental clutter that comes from simultaneous work on multiple projects.  This becomes even harder when you’re collaborating with someone. Duncan and I were able to cloister ourselves and focus with a thoroughness that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.  The result was an awesome level of productivity! We completed the first draft of our musical’s entire score in that 7-day period.  Eating, breathing, and sleeping one single project can be exhausting, but it’s also exhilarating.” – Kyle Jarrow

Heidi Rodewald and Stew, Family Album

IMG_2300“Being secluded together gave us time to watch the deer and gave us time to do laundry and gave us time to make each other laugh and gave us time to watch the deer again, which eventually when we got tired of watching the deer, gave us time to write.” – Heidi Rodewald


Joe Iconis, Lance Rubin, and Jason Williams, Broadway Bounty Hunter


“My collaborators and I felt supported, appreciated, and encouraged, all of which allowed us to be amazingly productive during our stay in Rhinebeck.  We found ourselves continually inspired and invigorated by our surroundings and Kathy Evans could not be a more generous host.  We really felt like we were part of a family there, and that fueled us to not take the opportunity for granted and create some truly great material.  We didn’t want to let our family down.  It’s so rare to find a place that truly fosters new works in the way the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat does.” – Joe Iconis

“Here’s why Rhinebeck Writers Retreat is awesome: in our one week there, my collaborators and I accomplished more than we had in 12 months in NYC prior to that. This is not an exaggeration. Not only that, but Kathy Evans treats the writers so well and truly has one aim: allow writers to create great work. As we continue the development of our musical, I will always remember that we left Rhinebeck with a complete Act 1, a much clearer sense of the overall journey of the show, and a renewed energy to keep working.” – Lance Rubin

“The work we were able to do while being hosted in Rhinebeck is truly amazing to me. The fact that food and transportation costs are covered as well as being given a nice stipend for the week is unheard of. Truly. No other program that I know of is taking care of writers on this level.”  – Jason Williams

Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan, Unbound

IMG_1748“Kait and I used the Rhinebeck retreat to indulge. That meant 16-hour days devoted entirely to structure and planning.  Alone in the woods, with no cell-phone service and plenty of food, we could dig in for as long as we wanted. We now have fragments of each song written and, more importantly, a very specific blueprint for how we complete our draft over the coming months.  Instead of coming away from the week with a few songs, we’re coming away with an entire musical.” – Brian Lowdermilk

“Rhinebeck allowed us to launch our project to a new level. We felt safe and taken care of while still feeling a sense of complete freedom to do whatever we needed to do to push our project forward. Having a trust in artists to know what they need is rare and makes all the difference.”  – Kait Kerrigan

Jenny Giering, Laura Harrington, and Adam Gwon, Alice Bliss

IMG_2240_2“The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat gave us the time and space we needed to be together, working. We all live quite far from one another, so this was especially valuable time for us.  We were racing toward the finish line of our first draft; with our big structure in place, it was invaluable to be able to share and riff on ideas together as we each re-wrote our pieces of the songs and book, finally fitting everything together into a full script and score. There comes a point in writing a musical when the effort becomes particularly collaborative – each team member has done his or her parts, and the parts start to come together to make a whole.  This was the point we had reached, and being together under one roof with few distractions made this necessary work fruitful and efficient.” – Adam Gwon

‘The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat gave our team exactly what we needed exactly when we needed it. The gift of time and space to finish writing the first draft of our musical was especially appreciated because we are a new team, forging a new collaboration.  We need face-to-face time for this phase of our work. Rhinebeck was a gift.” – Laura Harrington

Eric Price and Will Reynolds, Radioactive


“The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat delivered exactly what it promised: time, space, creative freedom, and groceries.  There aren’t any commodities more precious during the writing of a musical.” — Eric Price and Will Reynolds



Timothy Huang, Peter and the Wall

IMG_1740“I can’t get over how amazing Rhinebeck was from start to finish.  Even before my residency began, I was given attention and support for my piece in a way that no other residency I have ever participated in has given me.  My Sounding Board advisor made it his priority to not only answer my questions but also ask me his…about my show, where I was hoping to go with it, what I was hoping to accomplish during my residency.  Which, once there allowed me to finally write my opening number, which reshaped and refocused the entirety of my piece.” – Timothy Huang

Patricia Cotter and Lori Scarlett, Ladykillers


“Patricia and I have been collaborators for many years. This was the first time we were able to start writing a show from the ground up, in the same place, together. For lack of a better word, Patricia and I got into a groove. It was a relief not having a third person looking over our shoulders and editing at this early stage. We could be purely creative. I felt artistically free in a way I never have before.” – Lori Scarlett

“Without the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, I honestly don’t know if we would have ever tackled the show.  Lori and I don’t live in the same city, and no matter how hard you try, writing over the phone and trying to grab a random weekend here and there wouldn’t ever add up to one solid, lovely, caffeine-infused week.  So many exciting breakthroughs were discovered over coffee or during dinner.  I literally would stop whatever we were doing and dash to the computer to capture them.  It’s really easy to lose focus for a piece writing in drips and drabs.  Rhinebeck really made me see the piece as a whole, as a real thing.  Basically…we gave birth in Rhinebeck and I’m very grateful.” – Patricia Cotter

Rob Shapiro, Catch

IMG_1964“Normally, writing is something I do in a café during breakfast or after eight hours of work at night. Being secluded in a house for an entire week in the beautiful Hudson Valley was both relaxing and energizing.  The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat gave me the freedom to write and compose, brainstorm and daydream and research without the typical daily distractions.  During my time there, I was able to finish the first rough draft of the show, create a new outline, and draft two new songs – all of which would have otherwise taken weeks to accomplish.” – Rob Shapiro