2016 Writer Testimonials

19 writers participated in nine weeklong residencies summer 2016.  Here’s what they had to say:

Adam Gwon and Michele Lowe, The Proxy Marriage

“I can’t overstate how useful my time at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat proved to be. We talked over breakfast, we talked in the car; new ideas came to us over iced tea in Rhinebeck and in conversations on the deck. Each time we thought we were finished, we’d take another pass through our outline, and each time made discoveries and changes that felt vital. It was a true testament to the gift of time. ” – Adam Gwon

“Everything we could’ve needed was provided-—two pianos, a printer, hundreds of blank index cards, Sharpies, soft towels, air conditioning, bug spray, a big table to work at, even the comfort food that got us through our 4 o’clock blues. We were able to create a safe space for our ideas—even the lousy ones—and ultimately free ourselves from any constraints that could inhibit our progress.” – Michele Lowe

Hunter Foster and Georgia Stitt, Blue Ridge Sky

“People ask all the time how they can help writers, and the answer is the one that Rhinebeck Writers Retreat has found to be true: give them time, give them resources, and then get out of their way. In our six days in Rhinebeck, my collaborator and I developed a show from a loosely-structured idea into an actual script and eleven songs. We got to know our characters. We sat with a bottle of wine at 11 pm and dreamed up an idea that was in the script by noon the next day. I will ever be appreciative of our time at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat for helping us find our show.” – Georgia Stitt

Brian Crawley and Zoe Sarnak, Teddy and Max

“I’ve never done such a large amount of work in such a short time.” – Brian Crawley

“Brian and I met and exceeded our goals this week! The back and forth, sharing ideas, working together then having a few hours apart (with runs and drives and trips into town) was ideal for the early writing process. It was a great success taking our early ideas and translating into pages and pages.” – Zoe Sarnak

Dr. Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, Josh Williams, Khalil Sullivan, At Buffalo

“The stunning, serene landscape of Rhinebeck and the delightful home offered us a physical place of refuge to create our work. The Retreat itself offered us the protected space and time to experiment, think big, revise, create, and strengthen our collaborative bond in the process. From an unlimited food supply to a bulletin board, index cards, and printing to a midi keyboard, the RWR knew exactly what our team needed to be productive, feel protected, and secure in our work.” – Dr. Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin

“I can’t tell you how much it meant to have the opportunity to live for a week in such a beautiful place and to have nothing at all to do but work on our show. Unlike other residencies, which are programmed to the point of distraction, Rhinebeck afforded me the opportunity to focus 100% on the work. Our week in Rhinebeck was, quite simply, the most productive week we’ve had since beginning the project years ago.” – Josh Williams

“The retreat helped me overcome a two-years-long struggle with songwriter’s block. Our team is spread out across the country and members travel abroad and domestically for their own research work. So having the opportunity to be in the same time zone and location for a week, share meals, encourage each other, offer immediate feedback, and work together into the wee hours of the night, was incredibly fruitful and inspiring.” – Khalil Sullivan

Mark Sonnenblick and Ben Wexler, Ship Show

“There is something so valuable about a program that values your time to write, and time to think, and time to collaborate. Writing is a vulnerable practice for me.  It involves putting a bit of myself, through my work, in front of others to be heard and perhaps judged. Being provided a safe space in which to write and to experiment with ideas makes the act of writing feel safer. It makes it more attainable, and possible, and fruitful. The retreat was where Mark and I were finally able to discover what feels like a core message of our piece.” – Ben Wexler

“Our time at Rhinebeck gave us permission to focus on our show without any distractions—the freedom, both creative and financial, to immerse ourselves entirely in the piece for a full week. We wrote all or part of four new songs, cut one of them, restructured the book and, most importantly, found the heart of our show.” – Mark Sonnenblick

Daniel Goldstein and Dawn Landes, Row

“We arrived with the completely unrealistic expectation that we would rewrite our entire second act from page one – and because of the remarkable retreat – we were able to. We were provided with all the necessities to live – and the space to work – and the trust that we were doing it. And the results were remarkable. I couldn’t be more grateful.” – Daniel Goldstein

“The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat was a perfect haven for us to reconstruct and develop our show. They provided a beautiful home, encouragement, bikes, a swimming hole and most importantly… unencumbered time.” – Dawn Landes

Patrick and Daniel Lazour, Bethesda

“Rhinebeck Writers Retreat offered us seven days to use however we wanted. We were in the very nascent stages of a new project, so to have uninterrupted, engagement- and pressure-free time was exactly what we needed to let our fledgling ideas run wild.” – Daniel Lazour

“At Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, you have the peace to create, but there’s also the sense that a community is behind it all. There’s an incredible support system, ready to help you at whatever step you’re at and, most of all, excited about the future of musical theater.” – Patrick Lazour

Will Aronson and Sarah Hammond, Wind-Up Girl

“We wrote three new songs, several scenes that reflected dramatic turning points in the show, and a new scene-by-scene treatment of the full piece. This progress was possible because the retreat has been carefully designed to provide the best experience for the participants. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into creating an ideal space for writers to live and work. Food? They cover the cost of our groceries for the week. Had to take time off from paid work to participate? There’s a stipend. With all the logistics so carefully arranged, the retreat was the perfect opportunity for Sarah and me to focus 100%, uninterrupted, on our show.” – Will Aronson

“We walked and cooked and talked, and he played piano and I scribbled (and we argued too), and after a few days of that, somewhere in the middle of the week, I wrote the ending of the show for the first time, and voila, our show turned a corner, and it was a whole world that was meant to be. It’s the best feeling. Now that I’m a little older and it isn’t all just a lark, it’s harder to get to that feeling with the writing. Even if it’s a business, the best work comes when you lose yourself in it. But how to get lost? It helps when someone goes and finds a house and lets you stay there and lets you pick all your own food, and there’s a dishwasher, and they say to you ‘write your show,’ like it’s the most important thing you can do. I guess I kind of had to believe it, and then we had something, after a year of sort of drafting and drafting. The quiet and the green and the bird sounds don’t hurt either. It’s a great residency.” – Sarah Hammond

Maggie-Kate Coleman and Erato A. Kremmyda, Marie in Tomorrowland 

“Specifically designed to assist musical theater writing teams, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat is completely unique and fills a massive gap in the current theatrical landscape. Most residencies for theater artists are suited to address the needs of solo playwrights, solo composers, or theatrical ensembles. I cannot express how invaluable it has been for us to take part in a residency designed to address our specific collaborative process.” – Maggie Kate Coleman

“Never has a week felt more full and more productive than the week at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. Our writing process was accelerated immensely by the uninterrupted collaborative time in a constantly inspiring setting. The support received was one of a kind and allowed us complete and actual creative freedom. Endless gratitude.” – Erato A Kremmyda