Songwriting Masterclass Series

Learn tips on writing lyrics, vocal arranging, composing for character and story, and more!

Writing for the Outcast: How to Convey the Hopes, Fears, and Dreams of your Musical's Surprising Hero

How do we root for the outsider? Bonnie Gleicher offers tips on how to write songs that communicate the deepest hopes, fears, insecurities and dreams of your musical’s surprising hero.

Creating Your Musical's DNA: Using Compositional Style and Specificity as the Building Blocks of Your Musical’s World

An exploration into the usage of various compositional tools to build a consistent, satisfying musical language for your musical. Nicholas Connors will discuss how style, motivic development, pastiche, and other tricks can help to create a unique, cohesive score and also assist in character and story development.

The Art and Craft of Lyric Writing

How do you write lyrics that help move the plot of the story? Kleban Award-winner Amanda Yesnowitz will teach on best practices for rhyming, how to avoid exposition, maintaining appropriate characterization in song, and ways to lift a song above the ordinary.

Vocal Arranging for Composers

Carmel Dean, New York based composer and Broadway vocal arranger, walks you through her techniques and tips for creating the most artistically satisfying (and achievable!) vocal arrangements! Using examples from her own work (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Hands on a Hardbody, Renascence) and other inspiring Broadway scores, she will break down what makes a great vocal arrangement, and how you too can get the most out of your cast (large OR small!).

Our Clinicians

"Writing for the Outcast: How to Convey the Hopes, Fears, and Dreams of your Musical's Surprising Hero"

"Writing for the Outcast: How to Convey the Hopes, Fears, and Dreams of your Musical's Surprising Hero"

Bonnie Gleicher

Bonnie Gleicher is a songwriter whose music is heard Off-Broadway, on TV, and YouTube. Her theatre career began as a kid performing on Broadway in Jane Eyre and Annie, and came full circle writing musicals and pop music. Bonnie is the composer/lyricist of the off-Broadway musical Addy & Uno, about a puppet named Uno, who has autism, which ran nearly two years on 42nd Street, and the composer/lyricist of Gavroche, about the forgotten kids in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, one of the first socially-distanced productions in America. Bonnie is also the songwriter of the YouTube and Amazon Prime series MarMar Land. Taylor Louderman chose her anthem “Love” to perform live at 54 Below for the Write Out Loud contest, and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show chose her song “I Want Tonight Forever” as a behind-the-scenes theme song. Bonnie studied at the BMI Workshop and graduated UW-Madison with a degree in journalism.

"Creating Your Musical's DNA: Using Compositional Style and Specificity as the Building Blocks of your Musical’s World."

"Creating Your Musical's DNA: Using Compositional Style and Specificity as the Building Blocks of your Musical’s World."

Nicholas Connors

Nicholas Connors is an award-winning composer/lyricist and currently works on Broadway as an orchestrator and musician. His original songs have been performed by some of Broadway’s best performers, including Tony Award-Winner Karen Olivo (MOULIN ROUGE), Kyle Selig (MEAN GIRLS), Jenna Ushkowitz (GLEE) and more. His musicals include HERE, IN THE PARK (1st Prize- Festival of New American Musicals ShowSearch 2015,) SPACE VOYAGE: THE MUSICAL FRONTIER (co-book by Quinn Elmer,) and the upcoming TEN LONG YEARS (book by Kyle Wilson).

Nicholas has orchestrated and arranged music for many Broadway luminaries, including Kristin Chenoweth, Lynn Ahrens, Betsy Wolfe, Gavin Creel and Karen Olivo. He was Associate Music Director and Orchestrator for Kristin Chenoweth’s FOR THE GIRLS on Broadway and an Associate MD for Kristin Bell’s ENCORE! (currently streaming on DisneyPlus.) Nicholas is also a keyboard sub and rehearsal pianist at MEAN GIRLS on Broadway and part of the music team for ALMOST FAMOUS (world premiere at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego).

"The Art and Craft of Lyric Writing"

"The Art and Craft of Lyric Writing"

Amanda Yesnowitz

Amanda Yesnowitz won the 2018 Kleban Prize for the most promising lyricist, and is the first individual lyricist to earn the Jonathan Larson Award. She is also the recipient of the Dramatists Guild Fellowship, eight MAC Award nominations, the Dottie Burman Award, and the Jamie deRoy and Friends ASCAP Award.

Some of her current projects include The Peculiar History of Dr. James Barry (Davenport Theatrical, 2018 Rhinebeck Writers Retreat) and an adaptation of the novel/film Somewhere In Time (Davenport Theatrical, music by Doug Katsaros). Her words have been performed by Broadway luminaries such as Susan Egan and Melissa Errico as well as Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops on New Year’s Eve at Boston’s Symphony Hall. A revue based on her song “Those 7 Little Words” enjoyed an extended run at Cleveland’s Playhouse in the Square, and a revue based on her song “Understudy Blues” garnered rave reviews at the Galloway Theatre in Cape Town, South Africa. She has collaborated with a number of illustrious composers, including Larry O’Keefe, Skip Kennon, and Brad Ross, among others.

Yesnowitz holds degrees from Tufts University, Boston Conservatory, and New York University, where she teaches full-time as a senior lecturer in art and public policy.

Music & Vocal Arranging

Music & Vocal Arranging

Carmel Dean

CARMEL DEAN is a Composer, Arranger, Musical Director and Pianist. Her first musical, Renascence, was recently produced Off-Broadway by the award-winning Transport Group, and was named Best New Musical at the 2018 Off-Broadway Alliance Awards. The Original Off-Broadway Cast album is available on Apple Music and Spotify.

Her song cycle Well-Behaved Women, starring Broadway stars LaChanze, Bonnie Milligan, Liz Callaway, Barbara Walsh and Andrea Burns, among others, recently premiered to two sold-out performances at Joe’s Pub in New York City. An album and licensing is forthcoming.

As a Musical Supervisor and Arranger her upcoming projects include The Notebook with music by Ingrid Michaelson. Carmel was Musical Director for the Broadway musical If/Then, starring Idina Menzel, and was Music Supervisor of the subsequent National Tour. Other Broadway credits include Hands on a Hardbody, American Idiot, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Off-Broadway credits include Everyday Rapture, Vanities and Elegies by William Finn. International credits include Chicago in Hong Kong and the 2000 Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies in Sydney. Carmel has also served as Chita Rivera’s Musical Director for many national and international appearances, and she performed with Green Day on the Grammy Awards in 2010.

Other compositions include the YouTube series Project: Song Blog; music for the Disney TV show Johnny & the Sprites; and Songs of Innocence & Experience (co-composed with William Finn, Deborah Abramson, Vadim Feichtner & Gi-hieh Lee.)

Carmel is a native of Perth, Western Australia, and received a B.Mus. from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). In 2001 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States, and subsequently graduated from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program with a MFA in Musical Theatre Writing. She is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Workshop.