Cutting-Edge Composers is a concert series that strives to create greater exposure for up-and coming songwriters by providing them with venues, publicity, Broadway performers and musicians to best showcase their material. We have an exclusive weekly video spotlight on, where you can find many of our talented composers and performers.

Cutting-Edge Composers is directed and produced by Laura Pietropinto, with musical direction by Julie McBride and Benjamin Rauhala. Past concerts have been co-produced by Josh Young and Jillian Robbins, and musically directed by Virginia Hart Pike.

Cutting-Edge Composers V

We are thrilled to present the fifth production of Cutting-Edge Composers: A New Generation of Musical Theater Songwriters at 54 Below in New York City on February 17, 2014 at 9:30pm.

The list of featured songwriters is still growing, and will include:

  • Eli Bolin & Sam Forman & Hunter Bell
  • Landon Braverman & Derek Hassler
  • Scott Burkell & Paul Loesel
  • Carmel Dean
  • Drew Gasparini
  • Joe Iconis, Jason SweetTooth Williams & Lance Rubin
  • Aaron Jones & Sung Rno
  • Douglas Lyons & Ethan D. Pakchar
  • Alexander Sage Oyen
  • Tim Rosser & Charlie Sohne
  • Jeff Thomson & Jeremy Desmon
  • Benjamin Velez & Katie Hathaway
  • Daniel Zaitchik

The performer list, also growing, includes:

  • Nick Blaemire (Godspell, Cry-Baby)
  • Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening)
  • Ben Fankhauser (Newsies)
  • Annie Golden (HAIR)
  • Emma Hunton (Spring Awakening)
  • Van Hughes (American Idiot, 9 to 5)
  • Jen Johnson (Volleygirls)
  • Tracy McDowell (Motown, Rent)
  • Julia Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party)
  • Ben Platt (The Book of Mormon, Pitch Perfect)
  • Conrad Ricamora (Here Lies Love)
  • Nic Rouleau (The Book of Mormon)
  • Eric L. Summers (Motown)
  • Donna Vivino (Wicked)

Tickets are on sale now at is presenting an ongoing series of exclusive interviews and performances with CEC songwriters on BWW TV. Be sure to check them out!

Songwriter Spotlights


A Lasting Impression

TONY Award-winner Alice Ripley and HAIR's Kacie Sheik and Andrew Kober will join Meghann Fahy (NBC's "Chicago Fire"), Preston Sadleir (Next to Normal Tour), Krista Pioppi (Spring Awakening Tour), and Taylor Noble (A Lasting Impression) on June 29th at 7pm at Joe's Pub for a concert reading of Zoe Sarnak's musical A Lasting Impression. The concert will be directed by Laura Pietropinto and presented by Cutting-Edge Composers in association with Hope Lights Partners.

A Lasting Impression is the story of two sisters, Kali, a composer, and Simone, a painter, told through the eyes of a jaded young journalist, Josh, who is searching for his "next big story." As Josh recounts his interviews with these two artists living in modern-day Brooklyn with their mother, he uncovers the secrets of a crumbling family. Through musical and visual elements, the sisters' artwork is woven through Josh's narrative. A Lasting Impression is about the impact we make through love and art. A Lasting Impression was the official selection of 2012 Pace New Musicals. $15 tickets are available at

Zoe Sarnak is a composer, lyricist and playwright. She graduated from Harvard University in 2009 magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a concentration in Music. Zoe wrote the book, music and lyrics for The Quad, an original rock musical which received grants from the Harvard Office of Fine Arts and the Radcliffe Women’s Center for a workshop and a full production. A New York workshop of The Quad produced by Broadway Theatre Studio, sponsored by the John W. Engeman Theater, began last summer and culminated in a fall showcase. Since The Quad, Sarnak has written two new full-length musicals: A Lasting Impression, and Mixtape. As an arranger, orchestrator and music director, Zoe has collaborated with artists such as Lilli Cooper, Kacie Sheik, Stephanie Umoh, Rachel Potter, Emma Hunton and Molly Swenson. Her music has been showcased in an array of concerts and benefits including NY Theatre Barn’s D-Lounge Showcase, Cutting-Edge Composers at NYMF, Composers Sing Composers at Le Poisson Rouge, NYTB’s Women Composers Benefit, A Very MARY Holiday Gala at Playwrights Horizons and many more. Sarnak is a proud participant in the BMI Lehman Engel Workshop and recipient of a 2011 Song of the Year Songwriting Contest Semi-Finalist Award. She also performs throughout the city with her band, TheWD.

Cutting-Edge Composers IV

The fourth production of Cutting-Edge Composers: A New Generation of Musical Theater Songwriters was held on February 4, 2013 at 7:00pm at Joe's Pub in New York City.

The performer list included:

  • Christy Altomare (Mamma Mia!)
  • Matt DeAngelis (HAIR)
  • Ali Ewoldt (Les Misérables)
  • Jason Gotay (Bring It On)
  • Emma Hunton (Rent)
  • Two time Tony Award nominee Robin de Jesús (In The Heights, La Cage Aux Folles)
  • 2012 Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan (Newsies)
  • Adam Kantor (The Last Five Years)
  • Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Newsies)
  • Tracy McDowell (Rent)
  • Zachary Prince (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever)
  • Danny Quadrino (Bye Bye Birdie)
  • Tanesha Ross (American Idol)
  • Preston Sadleir (Next to Normal)
  • Katie Thompson (Giant)
  • 2012 Tony Award nominee Josh Young (Jesus Christ Superstar)

Featured songwriters included:

  • Drew Fornarola and Scott Elmegreen
  • Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich
  • Joe Iconis
  • Lourdes Lane
  • Peter Lerman
  • Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond
  • Virginia Hart Pike
  • Will Reynolds
  • Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham
  • Charlie Sohne and Tim Rosser
  • Nathan Tysen and Chris Miller
  • Benjamin Velez and Katie Hathaway
  • Zack Zadek

Browse available videos or a photo slideshow from CEC IV.

If you're a songwriter who would like to participate in future productions, please submit three songs in the form of MP3s, streaming audio links or Youtube clips to .

Dear Composers and Writers,

As you know, Cutting-Edge Composers is committed to creating greater exposure for musical theatre writers. We are hoping to extend this support beyond concerts by presenting readings of new musicals as well. These readings will vary from small-scale table reads for the writers only to large-scale industry readings or public concerts. We understand the various stages of the writing process, and are prepared to provide resources to nurture new work at any stage.

If you are interested in submitting, please send a script or treatment and song tracks to us at .

We hope to hear from you soon. And please, in the words of Brian Yorkey, "keep writing."

Cutting-Edge Composers III

Laura Pietropinto & Jillian Robbins

The third installment of Cutting-Edge Composers: A New Generation of Musical Theater Songwriters was featured at the New York Musical Theatre Festival on Monday, July 23, 2012. We presented two shows at the Theatre at St. Clements.

Featured composers/lyricists included Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel, Joey Contreras, Anna Dagmar, Kevin Fogarty, Drew Fornarola, Drew Gasparini, Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond, Peter Lerman, Virginia Pike, Will Reynolds, Zoe Sarnak, Akiva Romer-Segal and Colleen Dauncey, Benjamin Velez, Michael Patrick Walker and Zack Zadek.

Their work was performed by top musical theatre singers, including Matt Bailey (Jersey Boys), Steven Booth (Dogfight), Al Calderon (13), Andrew Call (American Idiot), Joe Cassidy (Catch Me If You Can), Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening), Jennifer Damiano (Spiderman), Blake Daniel (Spring Awakening), Jennifer Diamond (Broadway Dreams), Noah Galvin (The Burnt Part Boys), Emma Hunton (RENT), Nate Kassas (Sydney Dance Co.), Derek Klena (Dogfight), Eric Michael Krop (Godspell), Jessica Phillips (Leap of Faith), Allison Posner (Factory Girls), Krysta Rodriguez (The Addams Family), Nic Rouleau (Book of Mormon), AJ Shively (La Cage Aux Folles), Maddy Trumble (Newsies) and Donna Vivino (Wicked).

Browse the videos or photo slideshow from CEC III.

Read the CEC III program note written by Brian Yorkey, book writer and lyricist of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Next to Normal.

Josh Young
Cutting-Edge Composers II

On March 1, 2012, Josh Young made his Broadway debut as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. He quickly received a Tony Award nomination for this role as "Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical". Congratulations, Josh - very well deserved! Watch Josh on the Tonys!

The second installment of Cutting-Edge Composers: A New Generation of Musical Theater Songwriters was held at 8:00pm on November 9, 2009 at the Canal Room in New York City. Presented Laura Pietropinto, the concert featured the songs of Jeremy Schonfeld, Peter Lerman, Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan, Jonathan Reid Gealt, Brad Alexander and Adam Mathias, Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, Carmel Dean and Anna Jacobs, Creighton Irons and Sean Mahoney, Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham, Joe Iconis, and Ryan Scott Oliver. Laura Pietropinto directed and Julie McBride was music director.

Performers included Tituss Burgess (Guys and Dolls), Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening), Matt Doyle (Spring Awakening), Molly Hager (Factory Girls), Michael Hunsaker (Ragtime), Jay A. Johnson (Hair), Morgan Karr (Spring Awakening), Lauren Kennedy (Vanities), Jeremy Kushnier (Jersey Boys), Brooke Sunny Moriber (The Threepenny Opera), Allison Posner (Factory Girls), Lance Rubin (The Black Suits), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), Katie Thompson (R.R.R.E.D.), Clarke Thorell (Hairspray), Jason "Sweettooth" Williams (The Black Suits) and Josh Young (Les Misérables).

Browse the videos or photo slideshow from CEC II.

The first installment of Cutting-Edge Composers: A New Generation of Musical Theater Songwriters was held on July 27, 2009 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City. Presented by Laura Pietropinto, the concert featured the songs of Brad Alexander and Adam Mathias, Eli Bolin and Sam Forman, Bobby Cronin, Adam Gwon, Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler, Rick Hip-Flores, Peter Lerman, Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan, J. Oconer Navarro and Joel B. New, and Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

Performers included Steven Booth (Avenue Q), Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening), Gemma-Ashley Kaplan (The Hatpin), Michelle Kinney, Kerry O'Malley (Into the Woods), Kate Pazakis (Jerry Springer the Opera), Allison Posner (Factory Girls), Zachary Prince (Jersey Boys), Krysta Rodriguez (The Addam's Family), Phoebe Strole (Spring Awakening), Marty Thomas (Xanadu) and Josh Young (Les Miserables).

The show was presented and directed by Laura Pietropinto. Music direction by Julie McBride.

Browse the videos or photo slideshow from CEC I.

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