MusicalWriters Academy is made up of bookwriters, composers, and lyricists of all ages and all over the world. We love supporting our members, and we want to help share what they’re doing, what they’re learning, and where they’re headed.

Melissa Hickman is one of our fantastic members hailing from Kansas City. Melissa recently self-produced her show, Misunderstood: the Musical. She is a wonderful and relatable member to our MusicalWriters family.

What are you working on right now?

Melissa Hickman: Misunderstood was my second attempt at a musical. The first, Destiny is finished, but it is a much larger show with many songs. I did Misunderstood first since it was a one act with only a dozen songs. All my shows have a small cast and use props instead of sets. Misunderstood was well received here in Kansas City, so I am going to market it for licensing here in the Midwest. Destiny is a Christian musical, so my company is arranging dates to perform it next year in various churches here in the Kansas City area. I also have a new project but am not sharing the title yet.

What lessons have you’ve learned from your writing journey that you’d like to share?

MH: One lesson I’ve learned is REWRITE, REWRITE and just when you think you’re finished you’ll be REWRITING again.

Writing a musical isn’t easy. What’s your “why” in being a musical writer?

MH: I write music in many genres for multiple purposes, mostly commercial. I had a friend tell me when listening to my personal songs that I should write musicals. My original songs often tell a story. I am finally at a point in my career where I feel I might be proficient enough as a composer, lyricist and writer to attempt a musical theater project.

Why did you join MusicalWriters Academy?

MH: I was trying to prepare myself to do a musical theater project and I read about this group. I learned a great deal from all the resources that MW offers, but it was great to know that there are others like me who are just beginning. I have learned a great deal from the members as well.

How did you get bit by the theater bug?

MH: Since I was a child I have always loved musicals. My grandmother took me to see as many as possible in the Midland Theater in Kansas City. My great childhood memories developed a love of the art form.

What do you love about

MH: I love that it brings people who have been successful and are often currently working in the industry to share their expertise. I also love how the members are able to ask questions and share opinions.

What did you learn from self-producing your musical?

MH: It is an overwhelming task. I really didn’t understand everything that was involved, but I learned so much and realized the next show will be so much easier.

What is your favorite musical-writing tool?

MH: I love MasterWriter for lyrics and Finale for musical score.


We’re so grateful Melissa is part of our active Academy community. Connect with Melissa and other writers by joining our tribe at

Melissa Hickman is a composer living in the Kansas City area. She’s been a music educator and a professional jazz musician. She pursued a career in medicine and is currently employed as a medical researcher in genetics. She’s written music in a number of genres, both sacred and secular. She founded Notes by Grace and Graceful Productions and is currently providing music for a variety of clients. Miss Hickman most recently produced her first musical Misunderstood in Kansas City and is working on various Christmas songs for release in 2021.