Success Stories

Explore Recent News and Success Stories about MSM Students, Alumni, and Faculty.

  • Jun 13, 2023Musical Theatre

    MSM Musical Theatre student Lyda Jade Harlan is featured in off-Broadway new musical Scouts

    Lyda Jade Harlan (BM ’24) will be performing in the new musical Scouts, opening on July 26 at The Players Theater in Greenwich Village. She is currently a senior musical theatre major at Manhattan School of Music and studies in Samuel McKelton‘s voice studio.

    The new musical was conceived, written, and workshopped entirely during the pandemic and is an original story of gender, inclusivity, and a giant Moth.

    Lyda has been performing since the age of 7 and has been writing music since the age 12. She aspires to perform for the rest of her life and believes that “telling stories through musical theatre is one of the most efficient ways to enact change and inspire others through music, dance, and intricate book-writing,” she says.

    Video preview about the musical here
    More about the musical here.
    More about Lyda here.

  • Mar 26, 2023Musical Theatre

    MSM Musical Theatre “Acting the Song” instructor LaDonna Burns is an understudy performing in White Girl in Danger

    MSM Musical Theatre “Acting the Song” instructor LaDonna Burns is an understudy performing in White Girl in Danger, the latest musical from Tony- and Pulitzer-Prize winner Michael R. Jackson.

    The Off-Broadway production will have its world premiere when it opens on April 10 in New York City at the Tony Kiser Theater and is a co-production by Second Stage Theater and Vineyard Theatre.

    Learn more here.

  • Jan 19, 2023Musical Theatre

    MSM Musical Theatre program Music Director David Loud is vocal arranger for the upcoming Broadway show New York, New York

    MSM Musical Theatre program Music Director David Loud is vocal arranger for the upcoming Broadway show New York, New York which opens in previews on March 24.

    David recently authored his autobiography, Facing the Music.

    Learn more about the new musical here.

  • Nov 9, 2022Musical Theatre

    MSM Musical Theatre junior Victoria Baroni (BM ’24) is a semi-finalist in The American Pops Orchestra Next Gen Vocal Competition

    MSM Musical Theatre junior Victoria Baroni (BM ’24) is a semi-finalist in the The American Pops Orchestra Next Gen Vocal Competition. The vote for advancing to the finals at Lincoln Center will take place on November 19.

    Victoria performed the role of June Mathis in the MSM Musical Theatre production of the new musical Valentino’s Tango that took place at The Riverside Theatre in October.

    Learn more here.
    Learn more about Victoria here.

  • Oct 26, 2022Musical Theatre

    The New York Times features playwright, novelist, and MSM alumnus Rupert Holmes

    The New York Times features the esteemed multi-award-winning playwright, novelist, and composer Rupert Holmes (’67, HonDMA ’21) – who studied at MSM in the 1960s – in the publication’s “At Home With” section. Mr. Holmes has written a soon-to-be-produced new play about the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg as well as a new novel.

    MSM Musical Theatre performed The Mystery of Edwin Drood, his musical adaptation of the unfinished Dickens novel, in an online production in February 2021. Mr. Holmes called the production, which took place roughly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, a “triumph of innovation.”

    Read The New York Times article here.
    Read Rupert Holmes’ response to the MSM production of Edwin Drood here.

  • Oct 23, 2022Musical Theatre

    Recent MSM Musical Theatre alumna Torinae (BM ’22) on tour with My Fair Lady through December

    Recent MSM Musical Theatre alumna Torinae (BM ’22) is part of the cast of the 2nd National Tour of Lincoln Center Theater‘s production of My Fair Lady. The critically acclaimed production is touring Missouri, Colorado, and Texas from October 28 to December 7.

    Torinae is in the ensemble, plays Clara Eynsford-Hill, and understudies the role of Eliza Doolittle.

    Learn more about the production here.
    Learn more about Torinae here.

  • Jul 11, 2022Musical Theatre

    Recent MSM graduate Alysia Velez (BM ’22) makes Broadway debut in Sondheim’s Into the Woods

    Recent MSM Musical Theatre graduate Alysia Velez (BM ’22) is making her Broadway debut as Rapunzel in the critically acclaimed, star-studded revival of Into the Woods. The hit production of Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s beloved musical officially opened on July 10, with its initial limited run now extended through October 16.

    The cast includes Sara Bareilles, Gavin Creel, Joshua Henry, Bryan d’Arcy James, Patina Miller, and Phillipa Soo.

    “I’m grateful to go into the woods each night with these people,” writes Alysia on a post of photos from opening night on her Instagram account.

    The show famously combines elements of fairy tales like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk into a unique musical whole.

    Read about the production here.
    Learn more about Alysia here.


  • Jun 9, 2022Musical Theatre

    MSM recent graduate Alysia Velez (BM ’22) cast as Rapunzel in the Broadway revival of Into the Woods

    Recent MSM Musical Theatre graduate Alysia Velez (BM ’22) has been cast as Rapunzel in the upcoming Broadway revival of the Stephen SondheimJames Lapine musical Into The Woods on Broadway opening June 28 at the St. James Theater for an eight-week run.

    Information about the production here.

    Learn more about Alysia here.

  • Feb 3, 2022Musical Theatre

    Book launch on March 22: Facing the Music by David Loud, the Musical Director of the MSM Musical Theatre program

    Legendary Broadway musical director and arranger David Loud, who is the Musical Director of the MSM Musical Theatre program, is releasing his memoir on March 22.

    His publisher describes Facing the Music: A Broadway Memoir as David’s “wildly entertaining and deeply poignant trek through the wilderness of his childhood and the edge-of-your-seat drama of a career on, in, under, and around Broadway for decades. He also reveals his struggle against the ravages of Parkinson’s and triumphs repeatedly. This memoir is also a remarkable love letter to music.  Loud is the ‘Ted Lasso’ of the theater business, ever the optimist. An inspiration to all!”

    Buy the book in advance here.

  • Dec 7, 2021Musical Theatre

    #1 on Amazon’s hot releases lists for music, and dance! Making Broadway Dance: A new book by Liza Gennaro, MSM Associate Dean and Director of Musical Theatre

    Congratulations to Liza Gennaro! Her book landed the #1 position on two of Amazon’s key book charts: Dance Hot Releases, and Music Hot Releases during the week of December 3, 2021!

    Aimed at students, academics, and anyone who loves musical theatre and dance, the new publication Making Broadway Dance (Oxford University Press) by MSM Associate Dean and Director of Musical Theatre Liza Gennaro gives valuable insights into how Broadway dance is made.

    Learn more about the book here.

  • Oct 21, 2021Musical Theatre

    Play by MSM Musical Theatre alum Jarrett Winters Morley (BM ’20) featured at New York Theatre Festival in November

    Godless is a one-act play that delves into the origins of the human psyche between Adam and Eve, discusses the controversy surrounding humankind’s perception of a higher power, and how each of us defines faith.

    Performances of Godless take place at the New York Theatre Festival on Nov 8 and 10 at 9 PM and Nov 13 at 6:45 PM.

    Jarrett is a singer, actor, composer/lyricist, and playwright who graduated from Manhattan School of Music in 2020 with a Bachelor of Music, and from Berklee College of Music with a Master of Arts.

    For more information and tickets visit this page.

  • Oct 20, 2021Musical Theatre

    MSM alumni featured in Caroline, or Change opening on Broadway on October 27

    MSM voice alumna N’Kenge Pacurar (BM ’96) appears as The Moon in the Roundabout Theatre Company production, while Joseph Joubert (BM ’79, MM ’81), a member of the Artistic Advisory Committee for the MSM Musical Theatre program, is music director and orchestrator of the production.

    Both are pictured here outside Studio 54 theatre with MSM President James Gandre who attended a preview performance.

    Learn more about the production and buy tickets here.

  • Oct 12, 2021Musical Theatre

    Making Broadway Dance: A new book by Liza Gennaro, MSM Associate Dean and Director of Musical Theatre

    Aimed at students, academics, and anyone who loves musical theatre and dance, the new publication Making Broadway Dance (Oxford University Press) by MSM Associate Dean and Director of Musical Theatre Liza Gennaro gives valuable insights into how Broadway dance is made.

    Publication date: November 12, 2021

    Learn more about the book and preorder here:

  • Oct 6, 2021Musical Theatre

    MSM Musical Theatre faculty member Or Matias wins Best Score and Best Book at the 2021 German Musical Theater Awards

    The musical The Wave by the Landestheater Linz won 2021 German Musical Theater Awards in several categories including Best Musical, Best Composition (or Score) and Best Book (Or Matias), Best Director (Christoph Drewitz), and Best Actor in a Leading Role (Lukas Sandmann).

    Or Matias is an Obie award-winning composer, lyricist, music director, and content developer who teaches MT Lab and Senior Showcase II at MSM.

    The Wave is based on the true story of Ron Jones, an American high school teacher who conducted a social experiment on his students to demonstrate the mass appeal of fascism.

    The German Musical Theater Awards are the only musical award presented to musical professionals by their peers in German-speaking Europe. They are presented by the German Musical Academy and are considered to be the  “Tony Awards” of Germany.

    Read news release (in German) here.
    View video clip here.


  • Jun 23, 2021Composition

    National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene salutes its director, MSM alumnus Zalmen Mlotek (BM ’72)

    From July 26 to 30, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, the world’s longest continuously running Yiddish theatre in the world, is having a benefit concert online honoring its director of long standing, Zalmen Mlotek (BM ’72), who is celebrating his 70th birthday.

    Zalmen received his Bachelor of Arts from MSM in Theory, and is an internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music. He is a leading figure in the Jewish theatre and concert worlds, as well as a conductor, pianist, musical arranger, accompanist, and composer.

    His acclaimed production of “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish” with Folksbiene ran for two years after a planned run of just two weeks at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, moving to Off Broadway.  It closed in January, 2020.

    The benefit concert, entitled “Yiddish Renaissance” will include 140 artists from around the world, is also being billed as a celebration of the growing interest in Yiddish language and culture.

    More information here.

  • Jan 19, 2021Musical Theatre

    Recording release by MSM Musical Theatre faculty member Judith Clurman in honor of the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States

    MSM Musical Theatre faculty member Judith Clurman, the conductor and music director of the preeminent NYC chorus ESSENTIAL VOICES USA and record label Acis announce the release of America at Heart via streaming platforms.

    The chorus is joined by Tony Award® winners Randy Graff, also a MSM Musical Theatre faculty member, and Brian Stokes Mitchell for a release in honor of the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, on January 20, 2021.

    Learn more here.

  • Jan 2, 2021Musical Theatre

    Musical Theatre students and alumni to perform in original play by Samantha Hahn

    Current students Paul Esswein (BM ’21), Jack D’Emilio (BM ’21), Subiya Mboya (BM ’22), and Alesha Jeter (BM ’23), as well as alumna Raquel Nobile (MM ’17), will star in The Right Way, a new play written by Musical Theatre Senior Samantha Hahn (BM ’21). The Right Way is a school-set comedy in one act filled with wacky characters, wordplay, and little lessons.

    The online event, which is part of the Jocunda Festival’s Virtual Play Reading Series, will be held on Sunday, January 10, at 8pm EST on Zoom. Tickets are a $15.00 donation benefitting the Riant Theater, and are available to purchase here.

  • Dec 29, 2020Musical Theatre

    Sarah Thorn nominated for BroadwayWorld Regional Award

    Musical Theatre senior Sarah Thorn (BM ’21) has been nominated by BroadwayWorld Boston for Performer of the Decade. Voting has closed and results will be announced on the Broadway World Boston website. Sarah performed the role of Lucy Barker/Beggar Woman in last year’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

  • Nov 17, 2020Musical Theatre

    Musical theatre students selected to compete in national voice competition

    Musical Theatre students Libby Johnston (BM ’22) and Tirza Meuljic (BM ’22) are semifinalists in The American Pops 4th Annual “NextGen National: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow” competition.

    Libby, Tirza, and 28 other college students from coast to coast will compete this Saturday, November 21st at 8:00 PM for the chance to win a $1,000 scholarship and paid performance opportunity with APO in their 2021-2022 Season.

    For more information visit The American Pops website.

  • Nov 11, 2020Musical Theatre

    Randy Graff interviewed by OnStage Blog

    In a new interview with Joe Szekeres of OnStage Blog, Musical Theatre faculty member Randy Graff talks about teaching during a pandemic, the challenges and advantages of virtual learning, and the future of theatre.

    “As an educator, I see my students finding imaginative ways to connect with each other and with students all around the country. Some are doing Zoom play readings, their own work included, and having group discussions after. Many are using the time to self-tape monologues and songs and get them up on their websites. They’ve started Youtube channels and some are Zoom directing as well. All motivated by the pandemic.”

    Read the full interview here.

  • Sep 24, 2020Musical Theatre

    Musical theatre senior shares her Off-Broadway experience in On the Roof

    Pegasus Publishers released On the Roof today, a new book written by MSM student Samantha Hahn (BM ’21). The book offers a “behind-the-curtain” look at Samantha’s time performing the role of Beylke in the Off-Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish.

    Of the author, Fiddler director Joel Grey writes, “Samantha Hahn is not only a gifted performer but a delightful documentarian; she takes you through our auditions, rehearsals, backstage life, mishaps, and relationships.”

    The book is available to purchase here.

  • Jul 16, 2020Musical Theatre

    Or Matias wins Obie Award

    Musical theatre faculty member Or Matias was awarded a Special Obie Citation alongside Dave Malloy and Hidenori Nakajo for their Music and Sound of OCTET. The award, which was announced during the virtual ceremony on July 14, was given “for their collaboration in creating the soundscape that showcased the boundlessness of the acapella human voice”.

    Later on in the virtual Obie Awards, faculty members Mana Allen, David Loud, and David Cady performed in a tribute to Merrily We Roll Along.

    You can watch the full awards ceremony here.

  • Jul 14, 2020Musical Theatre

    Musical theatre student performs on Stars in the House

    Last night, rising senior Elizabeth Baxley (BM ’21) performed on Stars in the House, a daily live-streamed series to support The Actors Fund and its services. The show was hosted by faculty member Andréa Burns, known for originating the role of Daniela in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, In The Heights. Broadway legend Billy Porter dropped in as a surprise guest to offer words of encouragement to Elizabeth: “Dream the impossible, dream what you don’t see.”

    Watch the full show livestream here.

  • Jun 2, 2020Musical Theatre

    Incoming Musical Theatre student wins Roger Rees Award

    Newly admitted Musical Theatre student Meredith Heller (BM ’24) is the recipient of the 2020 Roger Rees Award for Best Actress. The 17-year-old graduate of Pelham Memorial Highschool won for her role as Rosemary in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

    Meredith received the award yesterday during Broadway Education Alliance’s 10th annual Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance, a celebration of high school musical programs, in a special livestream event.

    Through a video audition process, professional Broadway coaches and music directors selected the top fifty students to move forward in the competition. A panel of Broadway professionals including Bonita Hamilton, Hal Luftig, Rob McClure, Patricia Hoag Simon, and Merri Sugarman then chose the Best Actor and Best Actress out of ten finalists from the Greater New York Region.

    Read the full press release from Broadway World here.

  • May 22, 2020Musical Theatre

    Judith Clurman receives Emmy nomination

    Musical Theatre faculty member Judith Clurman has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in the “Best Original Song Category”. The song, entitled “A New Carol – The Holidays Are Here”, was co-written with Wesley Whately and performed on the Singing Christmas Tree Float during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November 2019.

    Judith writes, “Thank you, MSM voice students, for constantly teaching me about acting through songs, and kudos to the Freshman Ensemble Voice Class for singing through the piece for me, when I first wrote it.”

    View the full list of nominees here.

  • Mar 25, 2020Musical Theatre

    Musical Theatre students featured on Broadway World

    In light of COVID-19’s disruption to theatre programs around the globe, Broadway World has created an online database to showcase college seniors whose showcases have been cancelled or postponed. Among those featured are Manhattan School of Music students Christa Steiner, David Gabriel Lerner, Paul J Hernandez, Whitney Bomkamp, and Mary Kate Petsky.

    The database— which is available to casting directors, agents, and producers—can be viewed here.

  • Mar 20, 2020Musical Theatre

    Musical Theatre students perform for Broadway Inspires

    The sophomore Musical Theatre class performed a beautiful rendition of “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hanson that was produced for Broadway Inspirational Voices in their Broadway Our Way series.

    The video, which is introduced by Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, can be viewed here.

  • Mar 5, 2020Musical Theatre

    Musical Theatre student qualifies for National Archery Finals

    Freshman Musical Theatre student Galvin Yuan (BM ’23) has qualified for the 2020 USA Archery Collegiate Nationals Indoor Final. After ranking fourth in the Recurve Men category at a regional event last week, Galvin will travel to Louisville, Kentucky March 19-20 to compete in the Collegiate Final.

    The 51st USA Archery Indoor Nationals were contested at thirteen locations over the past several weekends with nearly 5,000 participants. The Collegiate Indoor Final is an invitational event for the nation’s top scoring student-athletes. To view the full list of archers participating in the Final, click here.



  • Oct 29, 2019Musical Theatre

    MSM students perform at Drama League Gala

    Last night, 14 Manhattan School of Music students performed at The Drama League’s Annual Gala at The Plaza Hotel.

    Musical theatre students sang with Jelani Alladin and Miriam Shor in tributes to honoree Sutton Foster, while several jazz students performed during the cocktail hour.

    The exciting opportunity was a collaboration of efforts between MSM Community members including Joe Pizza, Sceneworks Studios, Center for Music Entrepreneurship, Michele Wright, and Enrique Brown.

    Musical Theatre Participants: Elizabeth Baxley, Rafaela Cicchetti, Liam Collins, Pantelis Karastamatis, Jordan Paige Kliphon, Ariela Pizza, Austin Prebula, Savannah Sinclair, Joey Zook
    Jazz Arts Participants: Kofi Baraka-Shepsu, Joseph Miller, Dabin Ryu, Hamish Smith, Sam Towse

  • Aug 13, 2019Musical Theatre

    MSM Musical Theatre students perform in sold-out Edinburgh Festival

    Four MSM Musical Theatre students recently performed in Edinburgh International Festival’s concert production of West Side Story.

    David Gabriel Lerner (BM ’20) shares: “I am trying to find the right words that best fit the experience. Performing in The Usher Hall, in a featured role, to sold out audiences was surreal. My MSM peers — Sofia Faus (BM ’20)Jared Johnson (BM ’21)Paul Hernandez (BM ’20) — and I were provided with comfortable housing, transportation, an honorarium, and an unforgettable experience that I will hold dear to my heart. This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

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