The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge is a national competition open to high school students who have a passion for writing songs that could be part of a musical theater production. The winners worked one-on-one with New York City theater artists who traveled to their hometowns for an intensive two-day workshop produced by the American Theatre Wing. Their final song is then produced with professional Broadway artists in NYC.
Flatness’s song Carolina takes place as the American Civil War comes to a close. As Union soldier Arnoldus lies dying, he thinks of his wife Elizabeth and their children back home yearning to be taken back to them. Elizabeth, not knowing of his fate, looks forward to being reunited when he “comes home to stay.”
Music and Lyrics: Emalee Flatness
Music Director: Daniel Lincoln
Mentor: Max Vernon
Performers: A.J. Shively (vocals), Kalyn West (vocals), Jonathan Heim (trumpet), Angela Pickett (fiddle), Philip Payton (viola), Eleanor Norton (cello), Steve Bargonetti (banjo), David Cinquegrana (guitar), Michael Olatuja (bass), Sean McDaniel (drums)
Producer: American Theatre Wing
Director: Ian Weiss
Editors: Ian Weiss, Kayla Williamson
DP: Matthew Cady, Hayden5
Camera: Jeff Springer, Hayden5
The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge is hosted by the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with the American Theatre Wing. It also features collaborations with Disney Theatrical Productions, Concord Theatricals, and the National Music Publishers’ Association.