A Filipino composer-lyricist is among 16 musical theater writers of new musicals chosen for residencies at the prestigious Rhinebeck Writers Retreat in New York this summer. A total of 145 applications representing 290 musical theater writers went through two rounds of review by noted composers in the United States.
Paulo K. Tirol of Manila was picked for his musical “On This Side of the World” along with his director, Noam Shapiro. Like the other recipients, they will stay in a private home for a week to focus on writing their musical. They will work with a member of Rhinebeck Writers Retreat’s Sounding Board of artistic advisers.
The weeklong residencies come with a stipend, food, supplies, and the use of a piano, and will be held from July to August. All costs will be covered by donors, among them the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York State Legislature, the Noel Coward Foundation, and individuals.
In announcing this summer’s recipients, Rhinebeck executive director Kathy Evans said: “It’s exciting to see these musicals embrace the totality of what it means to be American, with characters originating from the Philippines, Thailand, Afghanistan and India, and questions about race and gender. I can’t wait to work with these writers from diverse backgrounds throughout the USA.”
Tirol has a bachelor’s degree from Ateneo de Manila University and a master’s degree from New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts’ Graduate Musical Theater Program. He left a corporate career in Manila in 2012 to pursue his passion for music. Before being awarded a full-tuition scholarship to NYU, he spent a year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachussetts.
In 2021, Tirol received the first Benjamin Indick Award for lyricists and book writers. Also last year, his liturgical composition “Still We Sing Alleluia” was cited as song of the year by the Association of Catholic Publishers in the United States.