2017 Writer Testimonials

19 musical theatre writers participated in nine weeklong residencies summer 2017.

Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, Eric Hermannson’s Soul

“It was the perfect launch pad for our new musical. In one week we went from rough outline to a mapped out approach of the entire show, including seven songs.  What usually takes months is achieved in mere days.” – Nathan Tysen
“I appreciate the sharing aspect with the reception at the end of the week, as it helps to have that no-pressure deadline to help settling into work written very quickly while getting an early audience response. I can’t recommend the residency highly enough.” – Chris Miller



Kate Douglas and Shayfer James, The Seven Who Were Hanged

“You took care of everything we needed and gave us a perfect creative haven. We wrote and recorded demos for 12 songs from our new musical while we were there. And speaking personally with people at the reception who are passionate about theater and willing to support artists like us was so motivating. It was a great reminder of why we must keep focused on making the best art we can.” – Kate Douglas and Shayfer James




Eric Ulloa and Brett RybackPassing Through

“Because my bookwriter, Eric, and I live on opposite coasts, the time we had alone to rewrite our script was truly invaluable. The Rhinebeck retreat gave us a crucial opportunity to walk away with a much stronger draft of our show at a critical time in its developmental process. The belief that “writers shouldn’t have to pay for anything” was really special. I felt honored to be treated that way.” – Brett Ryback
“The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat allowed me the safety net of testing a hundred different ideas, some of them terrible, so that in time I could finally arrive at the perfect solution for the moment being written. After all, If a writer falls on his face in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it even make a sound…?” – Eric Ulloa

Jeff Talbott and Will Van Dyke, Seven Broken Hearts

“The Retreat is structured to allow creative adults the freedom to work, and, more importantly, the trust that, when left alone to let their imaginations wander, those imaginations will actually soar. We don’t know of another developmental organization/opportunity for musical theatre writers that gives so many resources to them and the freedom to use those resources to make their musicals better. Thanks for one of our favorite, most intense, productive weeks ever.” – Jeff Talbott and Will Van Dyke



Sean Barry and Jenny Giering, What We Leave Behind

“We loved the open living space & the lovely piano. Also, the chairs by the pond. We did a lot of discussing & woodshedding there! There aren’t many things in the musical theater that are beautiful, straight-up gifts for the artists lucky enough to receive them. Rhinebeck Writers Retreat is at the top of our list. The organization’s love and support of artists, the personal dedication to the creative process is truly amazing.” – Jenny Giering and Sean Barry



Ben Bonnema and Chris Staskel, One Way

“With the day-to-day chaos of living and working in Manhattan, it was invaluable to escape the city and focus on our show at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. Our house had every amenity a writer could need to be successful, and now our show is much further along in its development.” – Ben Bonnema
“We had the space to collaborate comfortably in the same room, both of us working on separate things but able to check in with one another. And I had the time to go through all my phases of a successful writing retreat: “Oh I have SO much time to get this all done!” “Oh god, I’ve wasted all my precious time…” “OK, I’ve gotten something done, time to watch Game of Thrones.” – Chris Staskel

John Copeland, Ingrid Elizabeth, Ty Greenstein, Patricia Cotter, Mrs. Nash

“The week gave us the UNBELIEVABLY RARE opportunity to deep dive into writing, sit with the play’s nascent characters, do research, spend long swaths of uninterrupted time brainstorming, take walks, dream up sound palettes, try out lyrics, and collaborate. Needless to say, this was invaluable time for four writers living in different places with very busy schedules.” – Ty Greenstein and Ingrid Elizabeth, Mouths of Babes
“Since our team is scattered across the country, I honestly don’t know how we would have found the time/space and support to move our musical onto the next level without the Retreat. Rhinebeck offers a beautiful, non-judgmental, creative space to bring new art into the world. It’s an amazing gift.” – Patricia Cotter

Mark Sonneblick, Devotion

“Rhinebeck Writers Retreat gave me a week to completely immerse myself in the world of my show and put all other obligations aside. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, and writing on a grand piano, it was impossible not to be inspired.” – Mark Sonnenblick



Stacey Luftig and Phillip Palmer, Saving Amelia

“We unearthed answers about song moments that had eluded us for months, and then worked closely together to flesh out the actual songs. A week spent here can be more productive than two or three months in the “real world.” – Stacey Luftig
“What a wonderful way to focus on writing, all while feeling supported and valued! Our time there resulted in us writing two songs that had long eluded us, while also preparing two songs for a demo recording session that came up last minute. Had we not been at the retreat, I don’t see how we could have been ready on time.” – Phillip Palmer