BEN BONNEMA & CHRIS STASKEL CHOSEN FOR JOHNNY MERCER SONGWRITING WORKSHOP
From BroadwayWorld: “Multi-platinum-selling and award-winning songwriter Lindy Robbins will join the roster of master teachers for the 14th annual Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project, a partnership between the Johnny Mercer Foundation and the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University. Hosted at the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, this one-of-a-kind mentorship program covers program costs, housing and travel for all participants.
Robbins will join returning master teachers Stephen Bray, Craig Carnelia and Andrew Lippa in mentoring a New Group of 15 songwriters for an intensive week of master classes and workshops June 23 to 29.
Since the project's launch in 2005 it has been a catalyst to the careers of many artists including Tony, Oscar and Golden Globe Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; Fred Ebb Award winners Adam Gwon, Sam Willmott and Shaina Taub; Latin Grammy Award winners Obed Bermudez and singer/actress Jennifer Peña; and 10 individual Jonathan Larson Award winners.”
STONEWALL OPERA TO PREMIERE IN 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
“The fourth entry in the collaboration between AOP and The NYU Tisch Graduate Musical Writing Program, ‘The Opera Writing Workshop’ sees four teams of emerging opera writers examining the watershed Stonewall Riots on the eve of their 50th anniversary. These teams will craft half-hour long mini-operas to be performed at NYU and within the modern-day Stonewall Inn itself.” Read the full press release and get tickets here.
The Pomada Inn
Music by Brian Cavanagh-Strong; Libretto by Ben Bonnema
Directed by Sam Helfrich
2019. In Kiev, Igor wants to go to the bathhouse but Alek fears a police raid; in New York, Holly and Tara don't have to worry about such things. The Pomada Inn throws these couples together across time and space to explore the global legacy of Stonewall and the work that still needs to be done.
THE NEW YORKER RAVES ABOUT “THE APPLE BOYS”
“In New York City somewhere around 1907 or the nineteen-thirties—historical accuracy is not a primary consideration here—an aspiring fruit farmer teams up with three other guileless dreamers to save his family’s apple orchard through a foolproof get-rich-quick scheme: busking as a barbershop quartet. This new musical comedy is a bushelful of delights: Ben Bonnema’s clever, catchy songs, Jonothon Lyons’s wonderfully silly yet tightly constructed book, and adorable, hilarious performances from the quartet (Jelani Remy, Amanda Ryan Paige, Teddy Yudain, and Lyons). Directed by David Alpert and chock-full of solid gags that get maximum mileage out of old-timey tropes and Coney Island lore, the show is a thoroughly winning tribute to collaboration in all realms, not least the theatre.” —Rollo Romig
NEW YORK TIMES FEATURES "BOYS WHO TRICKED ME"
Beyond thrilled to have my first write-up in the New York Times. "You’re encouraged to show up in your pajamas," Joshua Barone writes in the Weekend Miser, "and take a seat wherever you’d like in the black box theater: on a couch, a pillow or the ground. If you like, you can grab a drink and cuddle up with a blanket and the person next to you. It’s a sleepover, at least for 90 minutes." Click here to read the whole article.
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PLAYBILL FEATURES “THE APPLE BOYS” IN NEW VIDEO
The cast of the new musical stops by the Playbill studio for an exclusive performance. It’s my love-hate-letter to the MTA, a song from the show: “Heaven By Train.” CLICK HERE TO WATCH!
BEN BONNEMA FEATURED IN CMT'S ANNIVERSARY CONCERT
"ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com is proud to announce an amazing line-up of performers for their Fifth Anniversary Celebration Concert at The Green Room 42 on Monday, March 5, 2018 at 9:30 PM. Packed with great contemporary musical theatre songs and curated by Laura Josepher & David Sisco, Contemporary Writers' Circle: Fifth Anniversary Concert represents the best of today's wide range of contemporary musical theatre styles featuring songs by celebrated, award-winning, and emerging writers."
Click here for the Broadwayworld writeup.
"ONE WAY" SELECTED FOR GOODSPEED WRITERS COLONY
"In what has become an annual ritual, a total of 38 established and emerging composers, lyricists, and librettists will converge on the Goodspeed campus from mid-January through mid-February 2018 to participate in the Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals. The writing teams, representing 19 new musicals, will populate the campus, creating a truly exciting environment for discovery and inspiration."
Click here for the Broadwayworld writeup.
"THE APPLE BOYS" AT ARS NOVA
Come see a One Night Stand of the new musical comedy THE APPLE BOYS!
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8 @ 7PM (sold out!) & 9:30PM
Book by Jonothon Lyons
Music & Lyrics by Ben Bonnema
Starring EMILY SKEGGS, BRITTON SMITH, TEDDY YUDAIN & JONOTHON LYONS
More info: http://arsnovanyc.com/TheAppleBoys-OneNightStand
PLAYBILL FEATURES "THE APPLE BOYS"
Fun Home Tony Award nominee Emily Skeggs will lead an August 3 New York City workshop presentation of the new musical The Apple Boys, written by Ben Bonnema (music and lyrics) and Jonothon Lyons (book).
David Alpert, associate director of If/Then and The Trip to Bountiful, directs the musical set in turn-of-the-century Coney Island. In addition to Skeggs, the four-person cast features book writer Lyons, Ronald Peet (Girls), and Teddy Yudain (Madama Butterfly).
The reading, which is open to the public, will take place at 7:30 PM at Dixon Place.
'ONE WAY' SELECTED FOR NEW PLAY FESTIVAL "FROM PAGE TO STAGE"
WhatsOnStage (May 15, 2017) - A new musical from Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater (Spring Awakening) will headline this year's From Page to Stage festival, which is being held at The Other Palace for the first time.
The new musical festival kicks off on 14 August and will feature a range of work chosen from 302 submissions received from 15 countries.
Highlights of the festival include: Oliver Houser's XY about non-consensual corrective surgeries on intersex infants (15 to 17 August); Christopher Dickens and Tom Wright's Rebel Song, a love story based on Jamie O'Neill's novel At Swim, Two Boys, about two Irish men during the Easter Rising (21 to 23 August); and One Way by Ben Bonnema and Christopher Staskel, in which an astrophysicist is selected to go on the first one-way trip to Mars (24 to 26 August).
'ONE WAY' SELECTED FOR 2017 RHINEBECK WRITERS RETREAT
New York Times (May 12, 2017) - "The Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, a summer residency for developing new musicals, has announced its latest class: 19 writers and composers who are working on nine shows.
The nine winning musical projects were selected from a pool of 113 applications that were reviewed by industry insiders like Jason Eagan of Ars Nova and Kent Nicholson of Playwrights Horizons.
Previous recipients have included Duncan Sheik (“Spring Awakening”) and Michael Friedman (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”). The full list of this year’s artists is at rhinebeckwriters.org."
'One Way,' by Ben Bonnema and Christopher Staskel, will attend August 6-13.
BEN BONNEMA NAMED A 2017 JONATHAN LARSON GRANT RECIPIENT
New York, NY (February 6, 2017) – The American Theatre Wing announced today that the 2017 Jonathan Larson® Grants recipients are Ben Bonnema (book, music and lyrics), Maggie-Kate Coleman & Erato A. Kremmyda (music and lyrics), Ty Defoe & Tidtaya Sinutoke (book, music and lyrics), and Michael R. Jackson (book, music and lyrics). Four prestigious grants of $10,000 each, totaling $40,000, will be presented on Monday, March 6, 2017 at a private event at the WNYC Greene Space. The event will feature special performances of the recipients’ work.
BROADWAYWORLD FEATURES PETER PANIC
Adult Swim Games released Tuesday the second act of Peter Panic, a musical video game starring Emily Skeggs (Fun Home) and Gideon Glick (Significant Other). The musical theater app, out now for iOS and Android, follows aspiring director Peter (Remy Germinario) as he attempts to save his local theatre from an ancient evil (Mykal Kilgore).
"The theatre is dilapidated," Glick explained, "so he goes across his town to find people to help him put on this show. There are these little challenges you have to do... It's a real new musical."
Since the first act was released back in March, Peter Panic has been downloaded by over a quarter million people and has ranked on numerous App Store lists, including "15 Funniest Games" and "10 Weirdest Games."
The cast also includes Shakina Nayfack (Difficult People), Joel Perez (Fun Home), Eric Ulloa (On Your Feet!) Cicily Daniels (The Little Mermaid), Logan Cunningham (Adultish), Crystal Lucas Perry, Amanda Savan, Nikko Benson, Cecil Baldwin and Dylan Marron (Welcome To Night Vale).
'PETER PANIC' FEATURED IN VARIETY
"Since Adult SwimGames released it on the Apple iOS App Store March 3, 'Peter Panic!' has managed to stand out from the weekly deluge of new apps — ranking among the top-five music games for iPhone and iPad, and downloaded close to 300,000 times — precisely because it mashes up two genres that don’t usually get mentioned in the same breath.
For the project’s 36 tracks of original music, [Developer James Marion] found a composer and collaborator in Ben Bonnema, a graduate of the NYU Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program — the same program that has yielded the creators of Broadway musicals including 2014 Tony champ 'A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder' and the upcoming 'Tuck Everlasting.'"
WIRED SAYS 'MOVE OVER, HAMILTON: PETER PANIC IS A MOBILE GAME … MUSICAL'
It’s the musical theater story of a boy who returns to his hometown to find the local theater dilapidated and nearly destroyed. With the usual plucky let’s-put-on-a-show attitude, he sets out to recruit the locals to revive the theater scene once again, only to find that things are a little more complicated than they initially seemed (read: slumbering Lovecraftian demon)."
'PETER PANIC' NOW AVAILABLE ON iTUNES & IN APP STORE
Published by ADULT SWIM, the musical video game Peter Panic is now available for free download! Click here to play the game on iOS devices, and click here to purchase the soundtrack. See what critics are calling "a nice game that doesn't unleash a fell demon."
DIXON PLACE PRESENTS: 'THE APPLE BOYS: ACT I' AUGUST 3RD
At the turn of the century in the heart of Coney Island, a strongman, a hotdog vendor, a rollercoaster track operator and an apple delivery man meet and discover the magic of barbershop harmony. The Apple Boys is a love letter to a New York City of long ago, whose spirit is still present in the New York City of today. It celebrates the perseverance of the American spirit, the value of friendship, and the virtue of a community coming together to discover that the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts. Book by Jonothon Lyons, Music & Lyrics by Ben Bonnema. CLICK HERE FOR FREE TICKETS.
'BOYS WHO TRICKED ME' TO PLAY JULY 29th IN DIXON PLACE'S HOT! FESTIVAL 2016
Crowned “The BEST LGBTQ Theater Festival in New York!” by The Village Voice, HOT! returns to Dixon Place for its 25th annual NYC celebration of Queer Culture! HOT!, the oldest annual festival of its kind in the world, never stales as its fresh line-up continues to deliver innovative works in theater, music, dance, circus arts, literature, visual art & homoeroticism for the whole family!
BOYS WHO TRICKED ME, last seen at the Musical Theatre Factory in February 2015, was called "heart-healing musical theatre" by Joshua Barone of the New York Times. Tickets for it's July 29th performance at Dixon Place available by clicking here.
READING OF "ONE WAY" AT PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS
MAY 30-31, 7PM
Playwrights Horizons (416 W 42nd St, New York NY)
Previously featured in a Musical Theatre Factory residency last summer, ONE WAY follows Naomi, a young Canadian astrophysicist selected as a finalist to go on the first one-way trip to Mars. Hundreds of thousands have applied through Fourth Planet, a new not-for-profit organization, and only fifty remain in the running. Naomi’s partner Elaine struggles to understand why the mission is worth a human life. Naomi must choose: venture to Mars in the name of scientific advancement and human exploration or remain here on Earth to be with the woman she loves.
EARLY REVIEW CALLS 'PETER PANIC' THE "MUSICAL-BASED VIDEO GAME YOU NEED"
Brock Wilbur of Inverse played a pre-release build of "Peter Panic," the musical theatre mobile game created by James Marion with book, music & lyrics by Ben Bonnema, and he had this to say: "I can confirm that this isn’t just a pretty package. The characters and story have a charm and joyful comedy that, I suppose, only a world based in musical theater can provide, although there are hints of those rare things in pop-culture that seem to welcome everyone." Read the whole review here!
'ONE WAY' TO RECEIVE READING AT PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS
"[The Musical Theatre Factory] has partnered with another notable Off-Broadway venue, Playwrights Horizons, for its residency program, featuring readings and stagings or choreography labs of new musicals. The first three musicals to receive residencies will be One-Way, a musical about the Mars One mission by Ben Bonnema and Christopher Staskel (May 31)." Read the whole Playbill announcement here!
"THE LOST GIRL" SELECTED FOR BUCK HILL SKYTOP MUSICAL FESTIVAL
The Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival will present on August 7 the new musical The Lost Girl, a compelling and inventive story about the Darling children 25 years after they visited Neverland with Peter Pan.
Festival Artistic Director Joey Chancey and the festival’s artistic board (including Tony Kushner and Julianne Moore) selected The Lost Girl from among 60 new works submitted to the festival’s First Annual Developmental Theater Lab competition.
"This is the perfect musical to kick off our Developmental Theater Lab,” Chancey says. “It is a creative approach to a story that our culture has been fascinated with for generations."
The goal of the Developmental Theater Lab is to uncover the potential in a new musical and jumpstart the developmental process. The project takes the work from inception to stage, and gives music festival audiences the opportunity to experience a new musical production in its first phase of development.
FIRST ACT OF "ONE WAY" TO BE PRESENTED AT MUSICAL THEATRE FACTORY
The first act of a new musical by Ben Bonnema and Christopher Staskel will be presented by the Musical Theatre Factory on July 6th at 8pm.
"Naomi, a young Canadian astrophysicist, is selected as a finalist to go on the first one-way trip to Mars. Hundreds of thousands have applied through Fourth Planet, a new not-for-profit organization, and only fifty remain in the running. Naomi’s partner, Elaine, however, struggles to understand why Naomi feels like the mission is worth a human life.
Naomi must choose: venture to Mars in the name of scientific advancement and human exploration or remain here on Earth to be with the woman she loves."
Click here for tickets.
3/21/15 - LAUNCH at THE TANK
I'll be presenting a few songs at this cool concert - get tickets by clicking here!
3/7/15 - MUSE MATCH at 54 BELOW
MuseMatch is a Musical Theater Blind Date Collaboration, where composers are paired with singers they don’t know and are asked to make a song together. All for charity.
BOYS WHO TRICKED ME
February 5th-21st, 2015
Previously workshopped in Musical Theatre Factory’s Development Reading Series, this song-cycle, party-game, sleepover-style musical features songs of love gone wrong, lust gone right, and that nagging fear that you will die alone. Wear your pajamas, grab a drink, and get ready to swap stories at this gay-gay-gay party!
12/15/14 - 8pm - 4x15 - Round Six
Christopher Staskel and I will present the first fifteen minutes of our new musical, ONE WAY, at the Musical Theatre Factory, as part of their monthly 4x15 series.
9/17/14 - 10:30pm - NIGHT OF A THOUSAND TUXEDOS
Manderley Bar, home of Sleep No More.
Spend the evening inside the McKittrick Hotel, and round it off with an irreverent cabaret about your favorite Men and Women in Bar. Featuring original songs by Ben Bonnema.
8/25/14 - 9:30pm - Musical Theatre Factory Benefit
I have a song in this! Check it out!
Join an all-star cast and artists from Musical Theatre Factory’s first summer season for an evening of new and adventurous musical theatre songs. Musical Theatre Factory is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to helping musical theatre artists develop new work in a collaborative environment free from the pressures of critical or commercial success. At this one-night-only event, MTF writers and composers will be showcasing the greatest hits from the Factory's unique development programs. Come hear what Musical Theatre Factory has to share, and help raise funds for the 2014-15 MTF season.
7/21/14 - 8pm - BOYS WHO TRICKED ME
I'm excited to announce that my new song cycle is getting a one-night-only staged reading at the Musical Theatre Factory, directed by Shakina Nayfack. For tickets and more info, click here!
6/26/14 - 6:45pm - Sondheim REMIX - New York City Center Encores!
New York City Center Encores! issued a challenge to take any song from "Sunday in the Park with George" and remix it in any style. My remix will be featured before the opening night of tick...tick...BOOM! To hear my remix, click here.
5-21-14 - Sing Away the Stigma @ 54 Below
Sing Away the Stigma is a benefit concert that uses musical theatre to help erase the stigma of mental illness. A dozen people of different ages, locations, and backgrounds shared their personal stories of mental illness, which emerging musical theatre writers have turned into songs. Broadway performers will interpret these songs in concert to raise awareness of mental illness, open the conversation, and raise funds for Bring Change 2 Mind, a non-profit working towards erasing the stigma of mental illness. Performers include Becca Ayers, Nick Cearley, Amber Gray, Brian Charles Rooney, Remy Zaken, and more to be announced.
For tickets, visit http://54below.com/artist/sing-away-the-stigma/
3-15-14 - I'm excited to announce that I'll be spending the first two weeks of April at the Ucross Foundation, a writer's colony in Clearmont, Wyoming. Read more about Ucross here!
The video for "SLASH - A New Musical" is up! Check it out!
Monday, December 16th 2013 at 6pm
Lincoln Center's Bruno Walter Auditorium
Singers: Angela Travino, Mary Kate Morrissey
Musical Direction: Brian Cavanagh-Strong
A new ten-minute musical
presented as part of TINYRHINO MUSICALS 2
November 19th, 2013 - 8pm
Music by Ben Bonnema
Words by Christopher Staskel
Directed by Travis Greisler
My setting of AFTERNOON ON A HILL was chosen as one of 2013's Top 25 Directory Songs by the Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers.
WORKSHOP PRODUCTION OF "THE LOST GIRL"
AUGUST 3-5, 2013
Directed by Rob Heller
Music direction by Katya Stanislavskaya
Stage Managed by Brandon Anderson
Featuring students from Tischs' New Studio musical theatre program, our show was one of three selected from 18 thesis musicals for this honor through a CDP Grant. THE LOST GIRL explores the lives of Wendy, John, and Michael Darling twenty-five years after their long-forgotten flight to Neverland. Tickets are free but require a reservation. Email email@example.com
SATURDAY, AUGUST 3rd @ 2pm & 8pm
SUNDAY, AUGUST 4th @ 2pm
MONDAY, AUGUST 5th @ 8pm
Frederick Loewe Theatre (721 Broadway 2nd Fl)
Opening Night 11/14/13
I am lucky enough to be assisting the composer, Julian Fleisher, on this hilarious new Broadway show. Check it out!
August 22nd - Sept 8th, 2013
Part of UglyRhino’s 2012 micro-season
Directed by Danny Sharron
Book by Bryce Norbitz
Music by Ben Bonnema
Lyrics by Christopher Staskel
Additional lyrics by Zayre Ferrer
One part rock concert, one part theatrical experience, GLAMDROMEDA explores the relationship between glam rock music, sexual desire, and visual hedonism. Using the backdrop of the glam rock movement, we follow our protagonist and his newly formed rock star alter-ego through an epic journey of self-discovery in the wake of a life-altering glam concert.
ARE YOU WORKING ON SOMETHING NEW?
August 5 & 6 - 7pm
New Songs by New Writers to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
CONCERTS FOR CITY GREENS
May 30th, 2013, 6:30 pm at Tudor City Park
Arianna Rose and I are thrilled to be semi-finalists in the Concert for City Greens Songwriting Contest! From BroadwayWorld: The contest’s blue-ribbon jury consists of rock ‘n roll legend Neil Sedaka; the Golden Globe-winning singer-songwriter Amanda McBroom; the multi-platinum singer, songwriter and pianist Ann Hampton Callaway; the Tony-nominated composer Michael John LaChiusa; quadruple-platinum songwriter and Today Show regular David Friedman, and the two-time Emmy Award-winning MTV Networks executive Matthew Parillo.
READING OF "THE LOST GIRL"
May 1st, 2012 - 2pm
The first Equity Reading of THE LOST GIRL, a new musical with book and lyrics by Arianna Rose, book and music by Ben Bonnema, will take place in the Black Box Theatre at 715 Broadway, Second Floor, New York, NY. Unfortunately, due to limited seating, tickets will not be available to the general public.
NEW VOICES AT NYU:
A Celebration of Songs by NYU Musical Theatre Writers, Past and Present
April 16th, 2012 - 8pm
A song that Christopher Staskel and I wrote is in this cool concert! Full details on Playbill.
NEW FROM NYU: Songs for Cabaret Artists
March 3rd, 2012 - 1pm
A collaboration between the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs, the show will feature songs from several GMTWP alums and current students, including Ben Bonnema. Blackbox Theatre at 715 Broadway, 2nd Floor. To reserve your free ticket, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of all the people in your party.
NYU WINTER CHORAL CONCERT
December 16, 2011 - 7:30-8:30pm
An evening of song with all of the NYU Choirs, featuring a new Silent Night arrangement by Ben Bonnema. Frederick Loewe Theatre, 35 W. 4th Street
Admission: $10 General; $5 students and senior citizens. For tickets, contact NYU Ticket Central. Online: www.nyu.edu/ticketcentral/calendar
By phone: 212 352 3101
In person: 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South)
SECOND AVENUE DANCE COMPANY
December 8 and 9 - 2011 - 8pm
A new work will premiere with choreography by Callie Hatchett and music by Ben Bonnema. Performed by the Second Avenue Dance Company. At the Fifth Floor Theatre at 111 2nd Ave, New York, NY. Free
BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY - LUNCHEON
"Words and Music: Musical Theatre Writing 101"
October 22 - 2011 - 12:30-2:00pm
As part of the Association for the Arts, Ben Bonnema (Whitworth University '10) & Arianna Rose (Bucknell '83), will share their process of creating a full-length musical, the art of collaboration, and opportunities in the arts in New York City. They will bring examples of their work and discuss how their background in theatre informs their work. They'll also discuss shows they've seen in NYC and field questions on any of the above.
Langone Center - 3rd Floor, Arches Lounge
RSVP to email@example.com or 570-577-3223.
SECOND AVENUE DANCE COMPANY
October 20 & 21, 2011 - 8pm
The Second Avenue Dance Company will present a piece entitled "Viscountessa," with choreography by Nicole Buggé and music by Ben Bonnema. For reservations, call 212.998.1982. At the Fifth Floor Theatre at 111 2nd Ave, New York, NY.
September 17, 2011 - 9:30pm
An evening of new comedy songs, scenes and monologues created by writers from the NYU Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. A benefit for GODS LOVE WE DELIVER. A song I wrote with Arianna opens the show! At the Duplex.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS I - AN EVENING OF 20 MIN MUSICALS
May 25, 2011 - 9:30pm
Cycle 21 of the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, presents an evening of their works. The featured writing teams for this evening are:
Josh Jung and Liz Suggs
Ben Bonnema and Arianna Rose
Christie Baugher and Sarah Hirsch
Christopher Staskel and Or Matias