Hear from Rhinebeck Writers Retreat Musical Theatre Writers!
Musical theatre is one of the only art forms where all of the lead artists have to come together and make a piece of art that has one voice, and this retreat gives us an incredible
opportunity to do that. I think Rhinebeck was one of those things where we were sort of like, whoa we’re in the same room together for hours a day, for many days. And, you just you think you can reproduce that in the city, but it just doesn’t happen until someone says come on up and we’re literally getting out of your way we’re buying your food and you’re gonna write. Rhinebeck Writers Retreat has sort of been a guardian angel to “Broadway Bounty Hunter” and I know for a fact that “Broadway Bounty Hunter” would not exist without Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. I’m Kathy Evans and at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat we bring musical theater writing teams up to the Hudson Valley, we give them a private
home, and we pay for their food, their travel, their supplies, and we give each writer a stipend. They live alone as a team for one week and focus solely on writing their musical. Rhinebeck Writers Retreat has a very pure mission, which is just to wrap musical theatre writers up in a huge hug, and take care of them and allow them to focus on writing and writing only. In Rhinebeck, like having that environment, being in a house together, cooking the meals, being just a part of each other’s every waking second, we were really able to explore the storytelling. We had the the most wonderful collaboration sessions on kayaks and on bicycles, ideas that we came up with at Rhinebeck, now three years ago, have continued to crop up in our development many, many years later. The collaboration between us not only writing songs but also living in one place without really leaving it at all created an environment that was very ripe for discovery. We actually found different ways of working together while at Rhinebeck, and I think part of that was because we were all together in the same space. We are working artists and we keep very busy schedules and finding the time to be together especially over a concentrated seven days is hard and so when you get that opportunity, it’s so
important, and every time that I’ve been there I have made incredible strides on the projects that I’ve been working on. I think one of the things that really sets Rhinebeck apart from other developmental opportunities is that it’s in no way product oriented it’s entirely process focused so the writers are really free to do whatever it is that they feel necessary. It was fabulous. Yeah. We wrote three songs, we changed the structure of our piece she wrote a like awesome rough draft of our show. Basically we did three months of work in one week. Rhinebeck is particularly special to us because it’s designed specifically for musical theatre writers and our process and no other residency or retreat is designed with us in mind. We also really liked spending time with the cows. We miss the cows. People say they get an idea in the shower or something like that so here when you get an idea in the shower you can just run downstairs tell everybody about it. Just that kind of environment that we, as writers, kind of live for to have this creative space. I think there’s magic in the water in Rhinebeck. My beloved co-writer Andrew moved to LA. So sunny. It takes a lot to get us into the same place. What makes Rhinebeck Writers Retreat a unique experience for a music theatre writer is not only do they provide airfare, and a week’s worth of groceries, really nice housing accommodations and a stipend, but they also give you space and quiet, which I think any writer can tell you those are two rare commodities to come across. The first time that we were up at Rhinebeck, we were there for a week and walked away with an entire draft of an act of our musical, which was an unheard-of rate of work for us. At Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, and particularly the Triple R I really do think it’s one of the most geniusly structured writing retreat opportunities that is out there. We have a Triple R Program, which stands for two readings and a residency. We start with a table reading in New York City then the writers go back up to Rhinebeck
to do revisions based on what they’ve just heard and then they come back to New York for a 29-hour staged reading with professional actors, and director,
and music director to really see the latest draft of their musical. Getting to do a cold read before going on retreat and then doing the full 29-hour workshop, so it was almost as if it was like two workshops in one. Especially in the development process doing rewrites is sort of responding to how things are
going in a room with actors. That response time is built-in. You get to hear, you get to go away and respond, you get to come back. That sort of back-and-forth felt like a real luxury. Rhinebeck Writers Retreat as a producing organization of this 29-hour piece the process was started so early that we were really on firm footing by the time everything came together. At Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, it feels like it’s a community It feels like there’s a whole support network. That’s a really unique, amazing thing. It’s truly about supporting writers. It’s truly about supporting the creation, not even supporting the product, supporting the creation which is so unique and so beautiful.