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.
In Barcelo’s song Queen, Queen Iana of the mermaids exhorts Veida to use her storytelling powers to save the mermaid kingdom from the pirates. But Veida insists that she can’t because “I’m the biggest wreck to ever hit the sea.” A mermaid chorus backs up Queen Iana as she urges Veida to, “Stop listening to the voices telling you, you cannot do anything.”
Music and Lyrics: Tessa Barcelo
Music Director: Anna Ebbesen
Mentor: Anna K. Jacobs
Performers: Jo Lampert (vocals), Ashley Pérez Flanagan (vocals), Alexia Sielo (vocals), Makayla Benedict (vocals), Margo Seibert (vocals), Lynn Craig (vocals), Jake Goldbas (drums), Justin Goldner (bass), Dillon Kondor (guitar), Kiku Enomoto (violin), Anna Ebbesen (piano)
Music Video Editing: Ian Weiss and Kayla Williamson
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.