Rhinebeck Writers Retreat: "Benny & Joon"

Event date: 
Saturday, August 18, 2018 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Oblong Rhinebeck
6422 Montgomery Street
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

RSVP Requested


Benny & Joon - A New Musical

At our second annual event with Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, writers Mindi Dickstein (Lyrics), Nolan Gasser (Music) and Kirsten Guenther (Book) will discuss their new musical  BENNY & JOON.

In the musical, Benny, a mechanic with his own garage, has taken care of his psychologically troubled sister Joon since their parents died over a decade ago in a traffic accident. He feels he is a master at managing the life (and friends) he and his sister have ended up with. But when Joon loses a weekly Poker game the siblings end up taking a friend’s cousin into their lives -- and find themselves facing unexpected and irreversible changes. Set in Spokane, Washington in 1992, this musical based on the MGM film explores the challenge of navigating life and love in an imperfect world.

After the presentation, refreshments will be served and audience will have a chance to meet and mingle with the writers.

Mindi DicksteinMindi Dickstein is an award-winning lyricist and bookwriter perhaps best known for the Broadway musical LITTLE WOMEN (licensed by MTI, original cast album Sh-k-boom/Ghostlight). BENNY & JOON, based on the MGM film, was developed at Transport Group, showcased at NAMT, had its World Premiere at The Old Globe, and will have its East Coast Premiere at The Paper Mill Playhouse in 2019. Her work has been commissioned, produced, and developed widely, including by Disney Creative Entertainment (TOY STORY – the musical), Second Stage (developmental reading of SNOW IN AUGUST, based on the Pete Hamill novel), Playwrights Horizons (Steinberg Commission), ASCAP Workshop, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center (“Hear and Now: Contemporary Lyricists”) and at London’s Bridewell Theater. Larson Foundation Award, among others. MFA and current faculty: NYU Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program. Find her on Twitter @mindidickstein.

Nolan GasserNolan Gasser is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist – most notably, the architect of Pandora Radio’s Music Genome Project and the company’s chief musicologist from its founding in 1999. He holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Stanford University. His original compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center, among others. Theatrical projects include the musical Benny & Joon—which will next move to the famed Paper Mill Playhouse in spring 2019; an opera, The Secret Garden, commissioned by San Francisco Opera (2013); among others. Nolan’s forthcoming book, Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste, will be released in early 2019 (Macmillan Press). Nolan’s TEDx talk, “Empowering Your Musical Taste” is available on YouTube. @NolanGasser.

Kirsten GuentherKirsten Guenther penned the book for MGM’s Benny & Joon, which had its world premiere at The Old Globe, and will open at The Paper Mill Playhouse in 2019. Theatre projects in development include: Bob Fosse’s Rhythm of Life (Fosse Estate), Measure of Success (Rockefeller Grant), and Mrs. Sharp (Richard Rodgers Award: Playwrights Horizons starring Jane Krakowski, directed by Michael Greif.) She wrote the book for Out of My Head (licensed by Steele Spring Stage Rights) and The Cable Car Nymphomaniac (BATA nomination); and book and lyrics for Little Miss Fix-it (as seen on NBC). She is the recipient of a Dramatist Guild Fellowship, Lincoln Center Honorarium, and Rockefeller Grant. She previously lived in Paris, where she authored the popular weekly column, The Sexy Expat.” MFA: Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, NYU.

Rhinebeck Writers RetreatAbout Rhinebeck Writers Retreat:

Created in 2011 by Founding Executive Director Kathy Evans, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat provides a sanctuary for musical theatre writers to develop their musicals in the heart of the Hudson Valley. Alumni include Tony winners and nominees David Hein and Irene Sankoff, Itamar Moses, Duncan Sheik, Kyle Jarrow, and Stew and Heidi Rodewald. Musicals developed in Rhinebeck had productions at The Public Theater, Barrington Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Second Stage Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, and The Old Globe. All costs are covered by donations, including National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund, The Frederick Loewe Foundation, The Noël Coward Foundation, and major individual support from Liz Armstrong, Cathy Cabrera and Rick Ungar, Rick Farrar and Jeff Zadroga, Amy and Roger Faxon, Liz and Bill Mills, Steve Reynolds, Peter Risafi and Steven Wheeler, and Jacqui and Lew Rose.  www.rhinebeckwriters.org