Amanda Yesnowitz

Sandy Asher

PLAYS IN PROGRESS INSTRUCTOR: MUSICALS


“The lyricist is the lynch pin of the musical theatre collaborative model, having to mesh seamlessly with musical and textual language. As such, I have a keen and comprehensive knowledge about how all three moving parts must function to create a cohesive whole. I tend to approach critique (and my own process) from a formalist point of view. What are the narrative conventions and how is the writer honoring them, and in some cases, purposefully subverting them? I tend to evaluate work at a molecular level first (zooming in on diction and rhyme, for example) and I gradually move out to consider character development, storytelling practices, and overall vision.”

Interests: musicals, lyric mechanics, language maven, modern comedy


AMANDA YESNOWITZ received the 2018 Kleban Prize for the most promising lyricist. She has also earned the Jonathan Larson Award (first individual lyricist), a Dramatists Guild fellowship, 8 MAC Award nominations, the Dottie Burman Award and the Jamie deRoy and Friends/ASCAP Award, all for excellence and vision in lyric writing.

Current projects include The Peculiar History of Dr. James Barry (Davenport Theatrical) which will be developed at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat in the summer of 2018; an adaptation of the novel/film Somewhere in Time (Davenport Theatrical, music by Doug Katsaros), which had its world premiere production at Portland Center Stage in 2013 (7 PAMTA nominations; NAMT finalist). Amanda (along with David Zippel and Sheldon Harnick) is also contributing lyrics to In the Name of Love, a revue with music by Don Oliver.

Recently Amanda presented her work at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. She also participated in the Johnny Mercer Artist Colony at Goodspeed where she was invited to continue developing her original musical By The Numbers (ASCAP and TRU showcases, Buck Hill Skytop Festival finalist). Amanda’s words have been performed by Broadway luminaries such as Susan Egan and Melissa Errico as well as musical icons like Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops on New Year’s Eve at Symphony Hall in Massachusetts. 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 raves at the Galloway in Cape Town, South Africa. She has collaborated with many other illustrious composers including Larry O’Keefe, Skip Kennon, Brad Ross, Deborah Abramson, Barbara Anselmi, Matthew Sklar, Sam Willmott, and Jason Robert Brown. Her lyrics have been part of the NAMT Showcase, New York Theatre Workshop’s benefit honoring James Lapine, Broadway at Birdland, Lea Michele’s cabaret debut in NYC and LA; quoted in Newsday, The Daily News, The Sydney Morning Herald, and Time magazine; and published by The New York Times and The Dramatist magazine.

Other complete works include The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Hangar Theatre world premiere), The History of War (O’Neill Conference finalist; 2010 NYMF invited selection), Four-Letter Words (York Theatre), Triptych (Provincetown Play Festival selection; ATB Flores Series), and Building a Wing (Best Musical at 2007 Short, Sweet & Song Festival in Sydney). Recordings: ”Gotta Start Small” on Stephanie J. Block’s This Place I Know (PS Classics; Live from Lincoln Center/PBS May 2018; currently streaming on Broadway HD), “Too Close to the Sun” on Steve Marzullo’s Kiss Me While We Have the Chance and the title track of Steve Marzullo’s Show Some Beauty (both on Yellow Sound Lab).

Amanda holds degrees from Tufts University, The Boston Conservatory, NYU (where she teaches full-time as a Senior Lecturer in Art and Public Policy), and in addition to being a nationally ranked crossword puzzle solver, her debut as a crossword constructor was published in the magazine section of The New York Times on August 26, 2012… no ordinary Sunday.