Application 2017

Applications are closed for 2017. The application process for 2018 will begin in January 2018.  The 2017 information below is a reference for our application process, but please note that guidelines might change in 2018.


Rhinebeck Writers Retreat is hosting nine consecutive weeklong residencies between July 2 and September 3 in summer 2017 for nine musical theatre writing teams. Each team will live in a private home in the Hudson Valley near Rhinebeck, New York and do nothing but write their new musical. When your team is up for the week, all of our resources are devoted exclusively to you.  There is only one musical theatre writing team in residence each week.  Applications are due February 17th at 11:59pm.

Selected writers pay nothing to participate. All the writers’ costs are covered by our generous donors including New York State Council on the Arts, The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund,The Noël Coward Foundation, and The Frederick Loewe Foundation. Thanks to all our donors, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat provides each team:

-A fully furnished private home for one week, Sunday to Sunday

-Food – you shop on the first day and cook for yourself

-Piano – An electronic keyboard and an upright acoustic piano

-Travel — Round trip train from NYC to Poughkeepsie.  If you live outside of NYC, we reimburse actual travel expenses up to $750 per writer.

-A $500 stipend for each writer

-Peer advisor – If you wish, you can work with one of our Sounding Board members (artistic advisors) before you arrive, so you can take full advantage of your residency at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat

Important guidelines and information to read before starting the application:

-You apply with one musical, which can be at any stage of development, as long as it has not been published or licensed. If you don’t have a first draft, you will submit a detailed outline of the musical you want to work on plus an excerpt from another play by the bookwriter.

-The application requires 5 songs. If 5 songs aren’t yet completed from your musical, you will include other songs by the composer, but at least one of the 5 songs must be from the submitted musical.

-Writers can be early-career or established. You will be applying as a team, with one person designated as the “Primary Contact”, who will be responsible for communicating all information to the rest of the team.

-All members of the writing team are expected to be in residence the entire week, Sunday to Sunday. In the application, you indicate which weeks your entire team is available. If your application reaches the finals, you will have the opportunity to update your availabilities at that time.

-A musical can only be submitted twice to Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.

-If the project is not wholly original or in the public domain, you must have all necessary rights for all levels of production. If you make the finals, you will be asked to provide documentation.

-Music must be original, not from a pre-existing source.

-If you are a solo writer, please note that our panelists have historically given preference to collaborating teams, because of our value in bringing writers together for intensive work. Use the “Background and artistic goals” statement to make your case for your need for a week alone to work.

-There is an agreement we sign if you are selected. We ask for no money from our participants and we don’t take a royalty. The only thing we require is a title page credit on all future readings, showcases, productions, and publications as follows: “Title of musical was developed, in part, at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.” It is important to discuss this with your agent before submitting an application.

-We don’t discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, or sex. If a writer requires wheelchair access, we will provide accessible housing for the entire team in one location, upon request.

-We want to consider all applicants no matter what their living arrangements require (i.e. children, caregivers). If your application is selected, we will work with you to meet those needs.

-For some weeks, we host a “Meet the Writers” event on the last night, which is a fun, informal gathering where you talk about your show and share a few songs with members of the public.

-Due to the number of submissions, we regret that we can’t provide feedback on applications or the panelists’ decisions.

-There are no pets and no smoking allowed in the writers’ home.

Selection Process:

-There are two rounds of evaluation. In the first round, applications are reviewed by 2 readers and are judged on the quality of the musical. You will know by late-March whether or not your application will continue to the final round.

-In the final round, all applications are read by members of our Sounding Board, who judge on the quality of the musical and also the writers’ goals for the week as stated in the “Background and Artistic Goals.”

-The final selection will be made in early May.

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to email

Requirements for application

Deadline is February 17, 2017 at 11:59pm.

To complete your application:

1.  Pay the $20 application fee.  Secure credit card online payment services are provided by Please note that this covers our administrative costs and is not a donation:

Pay $20 application fee

2. Complete the online application below.

Before you begin the online application, have all your information ready. You have to complete it in one sitting. Everything you need to gather for the online application plus lots of other important information is in this document:

Everything you need for online application 2017

  • At the end of the online application, you will upload 5 separate documents which must be in PDF format.  See details for each upload below.
    1. Brief bios of writers combined onto one page.
    2. Synopsis of your musical (not more than 300 words), followed by a character breakdown.
    3. Background and Artistic Goals. Address these 3 things in one page or less.
      1. How long has your writing team been collaborators and how did you meet? What inspired you to tell this story?
      2. Describe the history of your musical. Have there been prior readings, workshops, or productions; if so, when and where?
      3. During your team’s one week at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, what do you hope to achieve? Be specific, referencing your musical’s history and needs at this point.
    4. 25 page excerpt from the musical.  Include title and writers’ names on first page and number the pages. You can choose any 25 pages, but if they are not the first 25 pages, include a paragraph at the beginning to set the stage. If you don’t have 25 pages from the musical you are submitting, the document you attach should start with a detailed outline or treatment of the musical you are submitting which is directly followed by 25 pages of another script by the bookwriter, which clearly indicates the source material. The 25 page count begins with the dialogue (not the title page, etc).
    5. Lyrics for the 5 songs you are submitting in one single document, numbered from 1 to 5 in the order that you want the panelists to review the songs. Indicate source of song, if it is not from your musical. If a song is also in the 25-page excerpt, indicate the page number where it appears in the excerpt.

Song Submissions:

You will submit 5 songs with a link to an MP3 file via Dropbox/SoundCloud (or any similar file sharing service). If you don’t have 5 songs from the musical you are submitting, choose 5 other songs by the composer; but at least one of the five must be from the submitted musical. Refer to the “Everything you need” document for specific instructions.

Proceed to the online Application Form →