2014 Writer Testimonials

We had 28 writers participate in nine weeklong residencies writing nine new musicals for our fourth summer.  Here’s what they had to say:

Nathan Tysen, Ryan McCall, John Hobson, Stillwater

“The serenity and vibe not only tripled our normal output, we also wrote a song in two hours that has been eluding us for a year. Rhinebeck understands a writer’s needs: Space, time, solitude, and support.” – Nathan Tysen

“I am so thankful to RWR for giving us the time to work, play, and explore Stillwater. Rhinebeck is an experience that I will forever be grateful to have been a part of.”  – Ryan McCall



Chantal Bilodeau, Mindi Dickstein,  Peter Melnick, Faerie Tale

“My collaborators and I found a synergy it can take years to accomplish and quickly solidified what was a relatively new team and now feels like an old one. There is magic in the Hudson Valley water at Rhinebeck – it makes ideas and work flow. We managed to write/rewrite half of our show as well as make a blueprint for the work to come. We also cooked amazing meals for one another, communed with nature, and all while feeling utterly cared and provided for by Kathy Evans and her team.” – Mindi Dickstein

“One of the joys of the retreat was that it allowed conversation about the story-telling to unfold organically, at the oddest moments – en route to the kitchen before breakfast, while cooking, on the foot of Mindi’s bed. It was creative interchange, on demand, whenever it was the most useful. I often get to that level of intensity with respect to the music alone, but to be able to experience that kind of immersion with my collaborators was a wonderful and, for me, unique experience. Please sir, may I have some more…?” – Peter Melnick

 “What we accomplished in one week in Rhinebeck would normally take months to do.” – Chantal Bilodeau 

The Lobbyists, Seth Moore, and Liz Carlson, SeaWife

“Our team is comprised of seven writers and a director, so mobilizing all of us in New York can be tricky. Being in a tranquil environment like Rhinebeck – where the focus is placed on the work and its development – and being compensated and provided for while there comprise an invaluable experience. We were able to birth our ideas and subsequently feed them.” – Tommy Crawford

“After working on SeaWife for almost a year, the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat supplied a much-needed element of freedom for our developmental process. I truly believe that our team was made stronger because of our time in Rhinebeck.” – Liz Carlson

“RWR expects highly of its artists while giving them complete freedom in a fully supportive environment. It’s a hard balance to strike. Our week spent there was invaluable in the sheer amount of material we produced. The songs we wrote and the developments we made to the story were inspired by the beautiful, remote location as well as by the trust given us by the program.” –  Eloise Eonnet

Janet Allard and Niko Tsakalakos, Alexander Supertramp

“We were invited to be a part of the inaugural year at Rhinebeck in 2011 and returned again in 2014.  It’s so wonderful to have that continued connection of an artistic home.” – Janet Allard

“When we came to Rhinebeck, our draft was a monster. During the week, I was amazed how we were able to hone our draft into a streamlined, forward-moving set of scenes and songs without the ‘extra stuff’ getting in the way of the forward propulsion in the story telling. It was that devoted time Janet and I had together in a room to figure out with clarity what was really necessary to tell our story.” – Niko Tsakalakos

Max Vernon and Jason Kim, The View UpStairs

“Given the lack of developmental opportunities in musical theatre, the support and freedom Rhinebeck gives to its writers is incredibly generous and very much needed. To have a week to work creatively without restraint is such a luxury. I kind of felt like Virginia Woolf in “A Room of One’s Own,” only beyond having one room I had a beautiful house in the forest with a swing, trampoline, and Buddah statue.” – Max Vernon

“Rhinebeck Writers Retreat is a dream.” – Jason Kim

Pete Mills and Cara Reichel, Death for Five Voices

“What RWR offers is the true solitude that is the essence of a retreat.  You are alone with your thoughts and your collaborator.  There is nothing to break up your ruminations and discussions except the occasional need to feed yourself!  Also unique to Rhinebeck is the spaciousness of the environment, physically. Not only did we have a whole house to ourselves, but the surrounding countryside blissfully empty as well. That sense of spaciousness puts you in an expansive frame of mind — you really feel as though your thoughts have room to breathe out there.” – Pete Mills

“It’s a blessing to have a place to go where, as an artist, your ideas are encouraged to roam freely, and to grow and develop without the pressures of everyday life intervening!” – Cara Reichel

Andrew Butler and Andrew Farmer, Finn The Fearless

 “Rhinebeck surpassed our wildest expectations. On our first day we created a somewhat overwhelming list of goals for the week and by week’s end, each was completed: we had three brand new songs and pages and pages of new written material. This would have been impossible to accomplish in the city. The lengths taken to remove every day-to-day exterior worry (providing us with transportation, a kitchen full of groceries, a stipend for the week) really allowed us to focus and just spend the week creating. I can’t say it enough: the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat is an absolute godsend.” – Andrew Farmer


Lynnette Barkley, Terry Berliner, Tony DeSare, Swing Sisters

 “Participating in the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat made me feel proud to be a maker of new musicals. Being nurtured and supported by people who love the art form as much as I do was a great validation and a not so subtle declaration that we are a real part of the future of the new musical.” – Terry Berliner

“The Rhinebeck Writers’ Retreat saved us. Our team of three freelance artists, each with a multitude of projects, had been struggling to find the time and focus just to write. A week of immersive seclusion with the single purpose of writing inspired us and took us to an entirely new level of creativity way beyond our expectations.” – Lynnette Barkley

Cory Finley and Jeremy Lloyd, In The Dark

“The week was truly a formative experience for me as a young artist, and I learned a great deal about myself, my writing, and my process. The home was beautiful and the surroundings idyllic. And the little extras — the bikes! the trampoline! the bocce! the printer! the bulletin board! the keyboard! the deer and turkeys! — all made the week seem too good to be true, and yet it was.” – Jeremy Lloyd

“The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat completely changed our musical. The focus, solitude and consistency that the Retreat offers are unique in the musical-theater development world. Having seven full days on our own without interruption and in a beautiful, spacious cabin was a blessing for our project.” – Cory Finley