2015 Writer Testimonials

We had 17 writers participate in eight weeklong residencies summer 2015.  Here’s what they had to say:

Mike Lew, Rehana Lew Mirza, and Sam Willmott, Bhangin’ It

“As part of a three-person writing team, it’s hard to find focused time together where we can truly concentrate on our work. The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat gave us the freedom to work around the clock in some truly inspiring surroundings, vastly accelerating the progress of our musical”  – Mike Lew

“We all had a shared vision for this musical coming into the retreat, but during Rhinebeck we were able to really hash through the nitty gritty and finer details of the piece. Knowing what we need to do next is invaluable.” – Rehana Lew Mirza

“Walking into the house at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat feels like walking onto a blank canvas — it’s clean, bright, welcoming, quiet, and full of possibility.  Couple that with a fridge full of food, acres of stunning nature (and bikes to explore it), and your friendly neighborhood goats, chickens, deer, butterflies and horses and you’ve found yourself a haven that is equal parts fertile, vibrant, colorful, and safe. I’m incredibly grateful for Rhinebeck — Thank you, thank you, thank you!” – Sam Willmott

Elizabeth A. Davis, Luke Holloway, and Jason Michael Webb, Indian Joe

“The Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat was an essential next step in preparing our team for an upcoming production of INDIAN JOE. The time, space and resources provided made the week free of distractions. It became about nothing else than writing, orchestrating, chewing on possibilities and defining the rules of the show. The detailed work done to the skeleton of INDIAN JOE at RWR will reside in its marrow for the show’s lifetime.” – Elizabeth A. Davis 

“We wrote new songs and musical arrangements, restructured book scenes, and felt extremely well taken care of by the entire Rhinebeck family. Thank you for the important work you’re doing for theater writers; the opportunity you’ve created for us gives us a safe space to play freely and puts a finger on the fast-forward button of the creative process. You are helping to change the lives of writers and the pieces they work on at RWR.” – Jason Michael Webb

“The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat was immensely helpful to the writing of Indian Joe. It’s because of the retreat that we were able to unlock how Liz (the main character) interacts with the other musicians on stage. We also discovered the function of music in the show. What could’ve possibly taken a month or more to accomplish was finished in a week.” – Luke Holloway

Kirsten Childs, Bella: An American Tall Tale

“I was able to get some crucial rewriting done. Away from apartment noise and city life concerns, I was able to actually and completely focus. To my delight, I experienced a revitalization of my creativity. All in a place where I could take morning nature walks, see beautiful wild animals and jump (for the first time in my life and with no one around to see me make a fool of myself) on a trampoline!” – Kirsten Childs


Kellen Blair and Joe Kinosian, The More Things Change

“We had such a peaceful, productive, rewarding experience at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. We were able to accomplish in a few days what would’ve otherwise taken a month, at least. And we were still able to end each night with a couple episodes of the Simpsons! The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat is a hidden treasure!” – Kellen Blair

“We came in with a whole list of script and score problems, and Rhinebeck granted us the time, space, and quiet to either solve them or discover new ones. If you’re looking for a way to lose the distractions and zero in on making your musical better, you can’t improve on the experience of this retreat.” – Joe Kinosian

Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Mitzvah

“We’re somewhat unique because we’re a married team who travels with a toddler.  The retreat went above and beyond to find activities for our daughter and the honorarium allowed us to bring a friend for childcare. As parents who work in an unpredictable and frankly, unusual industry, it makes us better as artists when we can relax and focus, knowing that while we’ve been absorbed by our work, we have also been generous as parents. We not only left the retreat with an improved show, but with an enriched child.” – Irene Sankoff and David Hein


Will Buck and John Dietrich, Only Anne

“The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat allowed me to get into the details of my work and feel satisfied by spending hours in the weeds and not hearing that little voice saying “write faster or create quicker.” Our musical is now at that place of needing a production and the next level of rewriting that can only come from that experience. This was the stepping-stone to that, so thank you Rhinebeck!” – John Dietrich

“The Rhinebeck Retreat provides a fantastic opportunity for collaborators to gather and focus entirely on their work together in a minimum-distraction environment.” – Will Buck


Matt Doer and Eric Webb, Taking Step Three 13

“We accomplished more on our project with one week at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat than we have in the past two months in the city. The luxury of uninterrupted time and focus and the lack of daily distractions was invaluable. We left there with an invigorated vision, newly energized and inspired.” – Matt Doer

 “Rhinebeck Writers Retreat gave us the perfect opportunity to turn off the outside world and dig into our work without judgment, distraction or pressure. Kathy and the team gave us everything we could possibly need to succeed (from office supplies to multiple pianos) and did so in a beautiful and serene environment that was refreshing and revitalizing. We were able to make a great number of revelations regarding the show, one of which literally had me dancing around the house. I don’t dance. So, thank you.” – Eric Webb

Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne, Runaway Home

“Rhinebeck Writers Retreat was exactly what I didn’t know I needed. On the train ride up, I wondered if I really wanted to leave my life and workspace in Brooklyn behind for a week to work in a strange place in the middle of a forest with someone else’s piano. And the answer was “yes.” At Rhinebeck I was able to separate myself from my usual day-to-day concerns and really focus on the work at hand. They thought of absolutely everything Charlie and I could need. The house was honestly nicer and more well-equipped than my apartment. And I already miss biking down those backroads.” – Tim Rosser

“I knew the Rhinebeck Retreat was going to allow us to get much more work done than we are normally able to in the city – but what I didn’t anticipate is how it allowed us to do a completely different kind of work. Your time is normally so divided up when you’re in NYC that, while it’s easy enough to set aside a couple hours to work on a song – you very rarely get the opportunity to step back and look at a piece as a whole and make big changes to the underlying structure. Finding a way to get that time is very, very hard. And that’s exactly what the Rhinebeck retreat gives you.” – Charlie Sohne