The Sunday Giveaway: 2 Tickets to The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown

There’s just something cool about the word “unauthorized” in a title, isn’t there?

Well, it’s doubly cool when it’s used in a title of a show by one of the up and coming musical theater writing teams in the biz.

The industry has had their eye on Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk ever since their song, “Run Away With Me,” start making the cabaret rounds.

Listen to it and you’ll understand why.

That song is part of a bigger show called The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown, which is making its big debut at Goodspeed Opera House right now (and it happens to be directed by my Godspell helmer, Danny Goldstein) . . . and, get ready for a road trip, because we’ve got two free tickets!

Here’s how you win ’em:

Comment below and tell me who your favorite up-and-coming songwriter(s) is/are.  Plug away!  And maybe in five years we’ll come back to this blog and see how they all did.

If your suggestions are as talented as K&L, then I bet we find a lot of successes.



(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



– 67 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

  • My favorite up-and-coming team is Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. I love their cult-favorite song cycle “Edges” and I hope that “James and the Giant Peach” and “A Christmas Story” gain them even more widespread acclaim!

  • Anna Grace says:

    My favorite up-and-coming songwriter is…me!
    Here is a song from my soon to be *epic* Appalachian Trail musical, “Grace To Maine”

  • Amy says:

    He’s been around; I featured him in my first play: Citizen Cope. I love his sound/lyrics/look.

  • Cindy says:

    I love K&B…gotta say it! Their “Tales from the Bad Years” and I is great, especially love how they captured perfectly my age-group with their song “20-something” 🙂

  • Ryan B says:

    While I would say K&B, I feel like that could be cheating…. I am also obsessed with Adam Gwon. I see great things in the future!

  • David McKibbin says:

    Supporting New and Developing Musical Theatre Artists is one of my Favorite Parts about the Business. Being a novice musical theatre performer and writer (and still a student in high school), I strongly support those composers who are writing some of the best work that the musical theatre is getting to see lately.
    Some of my favorite composers include Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond. They are graduates of Carnegie Mellon University’s Schools of Music and Drama, and I especially appreciate “Homemade Fusion” and “Dani Girl”. “Homemade Fusion” is probably one of several song cycles which has a strong message about coming of age in a new generation, but it is by far the best of those song cycles with such a theme. “Dani Girl” is a musical written in the traditional style with no extreme set changes or anything of that sort (just like Kait and Brian’s “Samantha Brown”). Just a high stakes story about two young cancer-stricken children attempting to make the most of the little life they have left.
    Additionally, I also appreciate the works of 2-time Tony nominee Craig Carnelia, who happens to be former mentor of Kooman and Dimond. His works for the cabaret and musical theatre are so inspirational, that they are being done at least once at every audition. “Flight” is just one of my favorite songs of his, because of its great use of metaphors and its message of taking flight and enjoying yourself before you are gone.

  • Allie says:

    Gonna echo the Kerrigan and Lowdermilk choice. I find that I can relate to every one of their songs and their all so distinct, but at the same time you know you’re listening to a Kerrigan and Lowdermilk even though none of them sound the same. Plus they gave us the gem of Morgan Karr singing “Two Strangers” which I still get chills listening to.

  • Eric Grunin says:

    At the moment, I’m particularly interested in Joe Iconis and Michael Friedman, the latter particularly for “In the Footprint.”

  • Randi says:

    I adore Kerrigan and Lowdermilk! What a wonderful giveaway! Besides them, I would give my vote to Jonathan Reid Gealt. I wouldn’t put him in the most beginner category, but he deserves to become much more well known.

  • Jackie says:

    I’m on the K&L bandwagon (Freedom & Run Away With Me have been two personal favorites for a while now), and I’ve supported Scott Alan for years, now, but I must say my personal favorite team at the moment is Pasek & Paul. Their words just really hit home for me, and I just love the energy of their songs, slow, fast, or in between.

  • Scott says:

    Your very own Michael Holland. If it’s the same Michael Holland. I first heard his music in San Francisco after a friend came back from a trip to Provincetown, MA. He raved about this new singer/songwriter, Michael Holland. Even sort of befriended him. My friend had the first of what would be several wonderful original CDs from Mr. Holland. Not too longer after, I got to meet Mr. Holland at a party, my friend hosted.
    I have always thought Michael Holland should be writing for Broadway. I was totally thrilled to see that he’s arranging Godspell. (I truly hope this is the same Michael Holland.)

  • Emily Of-Oz says:

    Tiffany Schleigh. Check out her youube channel: SchleighMusic. It’s fantastic, and the thing is, it’s so real. Like every word is so completely honest.

  • Becca says:

    Joe Iconis!!! I know he isn’t exactly new, but he’s had a few shows downtown, like Kooman and Dimond, he also won a Jonathan Larson Grant a few years back. A staple of MT Cabaret shows who deserves to have his music on the map!

  • jodi freedman says:

    an Oakland, Ca based band, made up of high school students (with a famous dad) called Emily’s Army

  • Aaron Choi says:

    I am ever so slightly partial to K&L (as I was part of their KL CREW for their CD tour), however there are so many talented and outstanding new upcoming teams that give hope to the future of musical theatre. I am a huge supporter of original shows.
    Right now I’ve been listening to a lot of Ryan Scott Oliver’s music. It’s very current and appeals to this upcoming generation of musical theatre artists. It has a grit and bite that pulls you in. His use of driving orchestrations paired with sudden phrases cause you to really think about what you’re listening to (ie: ON MONDAY). At the same time, he can isolate very delicate emotion in some of his ballads (ie. THE SERAPH).
    I’m excited to see where his many projects take him!

  • Melissa says:

    I love K-L and was lucky enough to help out on their You Made This Tour after the success of their Kickstarter campaign.
    But I also have a ton of love Ryan Scott Oliver, Jonathan Reid Gealt, Pasek and Paul, Kooman and Dimond, Bobby Cronin, Drew Gasparini, Carner and Gregor…basically every New Musical Theater composing duo. They make me ridiculously excited for the future of musical theater!
    The other great thing is seeing so many up-and-coming actors who spend time with several of these composers, recording and performing in their shows. It adds another element when you’re witnessing both sides of the music gain a following.

  • Fav up-and-comers: Pasek/Paul (seconding your choice, Matt T!) and Carner/Gregor.

  • Emily Robinson says:

    Coldplay and, Taylor swift.

  • Jules says:

    K+L are deservedly doing well, but I’m a huge fan of Pasek and Paul. I got to see A Christmas Story in Seattle and was blown away by the joy and craft of the show. And the boys themselves are incredibly kind and friendly.

  • Jenni says:

    Just saw the Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. Really great songs that grab you from the first line and a great sense of humor to go along with the heart grabbing dramatic moments as well.
    To answer your query….without a doubt, Ben Folds!

  • Michelle Farabaugh says:

    I have to agree with many of the above commenters – is an INCREDIBLE resource, both for composers to share their work and fans to discover them! Kerrigan & Lowdermilk were my first introduction to the world of the “contemporary musical theater composer,” but another recent favorite of mine is Carner and Gregor, and particularly their song “After Hours.”

  • Rita says:

    My favorite up and coming team is David and Paul Rigano. Their work is mostly heard in cabarets, but they also write musicals. “Facing East” will be opening in Chicago soon, and “Saving Seatown: The Underwater Musical” is heading for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this month.

  • Have you heard of this gem? Flambé Dreams and the amazing writing team of Matthew Hardy and Randy Klein! Seriously funny (and ripe for an off-broadway production). Do you know them? So funny and sweet. Catch “Some Girls”

    and “New Jersey”

    on YouTube. Fantastic musical theatre! PS I’m not associated with the production but have seen it as it develops and am a very excited fan of these songwriters.

  • MATT Corriel says:

    I have to go with my friend and fellow songwriter, Michael Mitnick. I’ve enjoyed Michael’s songs for years, and find each one honest and unmistakably Michael. And, in a nod to and in the style of Anna Grace (below), I won’t hesitate to add my own name to the roster. Keep an ear out for all of us!

  • Bert Silverberg says:

    The winner of these tickets is fortunate indeed, as “Samantha Brown” which I saw at its opening on Thursday, is a wonderful show with a superb cast. In addition to Kerrigan and Lowdermilk, I like Kooman and Dimond, Jonathan Reid Gealt, and Adam Gwon.

  • Hi Ken. At the moment, my favorite musical team is Carl Kissin and Rob Baumgartner, Jr., for their work on the new musical “Date of a Lifetime,” playing in this year’s NYMF, and of which I’m on board as associate producer, thanks to your writer/producer speed date. Naturally, you’re familiar with their work as this piece was featured in your play reading program last December!

  • I’ll be the second to say Matthew Hardy and Randy Klien’s Flambé Dreams is absolutely wonderful. Not only am I a big fan of the music but this is a vehIcle play and like others, In the Heights and Passing Strange, it showcases its lead actor Matthew Hardy who is such a unique performer with the quirkiest sense of humor. It’s a lovely feel good musical with a heart. I also have to mention Ray Leslie and John Jiles (Avenue X) their acapella score is some of the best vocal arrangements out there… really great stuff. Although their last New York production received excellent reviews it’s remained under the radar, just now are regional theaters starting to pick up on the brilliance of this gem.

  • Caryl Jones says:

    Michael Bruce in the UK is a find. Listen to his song A Portrait of a Princess to see why. You’ll find it as a YouTube video with Julie Atherton singing the song.
    Also another UK talent to watch out for is Dougal Irving

  • Sierra Rein says:

    I’m really getting to know the work of Scott Evan Davis, who is relatively new to the business but who shows the experience of a pro in his pieces. He was in Sue Matsuki’s “People You Should Know” series. His work always starts from a true human moment, and hits no cliche on his way to real touching emotions. Check him out –

  • Rafi Levavy says:

    I’m gonna jump on the Pasek and Paul bandwagon – I do like what I’ve heard of theirs.

  • Stephanie says:

    Kate Voegele – can listen to the cds over and over and she is a great performer live.

  • Matt says:

    I’m going to have to say Matthew Hardy and Randy Klein cuz I’m Matthew Hardy! Thanks to those who have seen and continue to support our little show “Flambé Dreams”. You can listen to some of our newly recorded demos on the media page of I’m also partial to the writing team of Robert Maggio and Matthew Hardy. 🙂 Their show “The Eight Million” based on a bunch of O. Henry stories is going to be a hit!

  • Ryan Duncan says:

    I’m doing a show right now off-broadway called The Yellow Brick Road it’s written by the incredibly talented team of Jaime Lozano and Tommy Newman. They’re fantastic and up and coming y’all!

  • Ed Katz says:

    Caroline Sherman & Robert Hull: “Empire”
    Brian McLane & Rob Sussman: “Europa the Musical!”
    Marshall Pailet, Steve Wargo & Bryce Norbitz: “Jurassic Parq”
    Disclosure- I am on the producing team of “Europa”

  • Laura K. says:

    As the GOODSPEED & Norma Terris Theatre are virtually in my backyard, and I’m a frequent attendee, this is the perfect contest! Thank you for scoring tickets in rural CT 🙂
    As far as my recommendation for a songwriter goes, the person I think of (though not for the Broadway singing musical) is Tim Janis. He writes sweeping orchestrations which would be perfect for entr’actes or even those “dream dance sequences” (i.e. Oklahoma, etc.) that nobody writes into shows anymore.
    I’m a 30-something female that still loves the classic Broadway shows with big orchestra sound (maybe it is due to the fact that I’m a violinist who likes to play in pits), but shows now have more edge — modern orchestrations and instrumentation. Don’t get me wrong — I love the campy songs (anything from Spamalot, “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” “I’m Going to Make Like a Nail and Press On”, etc.), but there is still something wonderful about hearing the nuns in the opening sequence of “The Sound of Music”, “I Have Dreamed” from The King & I, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” etc.
    There are the writers like Tim Janis who write those sweeping (read: moving) orchestra arrangements that makes one wish even plays opened with a great overture….

  • Ella says:

    I love Kerrigan and Lowdermilk!!
    But, another musical theater composer/lyricist I’ve had my eye on is Joe Drymala. I was sad I couldn’t be in Chicago to catch the recent production of White Noise. I also really enjoyed his show Street Lights at NYMF a few years back.
    I love discovering new talents at NYMF and at any musicals in the Fringe Festival!

  • David Rigano says:

    So many wonderful new theatre composers! I saw that my brother and I got a mention before I even got here, so thanks for that. I’m David Rigano and my brother, Paul, and I write music together:

  • Apolonia says:

    My favorite up-and-coming songwriters are the Creators of the new and original “Standby: The Musical”. They are Amy Baer, Alfred Solis, & Keith Robinson! I’ve been listening to their recordings of the clips of the soundtrack that is currently in production. The musical staged reading takes place at ATA Oct 20-22 & is going to be phenomenal!

  • Sarah says:

    My current favorite is Jonathan Reid Gealt

  • Sara Viniar says:

    I’m currently a huge fan of Scott Alan and Jonathan Reid Gealt. Of course, Kerrigan and Lowerdermilk are favorites, and I have a huge huge love of Paul Gordon, especially “Daddy Long-Legs”!

  • Katy M says:

    Anne Berlin and Andrew Bleckner and/or Anne Berlin and Andy Cohen.
    Here are a few samples:
    The Pigeon Boys
    Howling Hilda
    The Green Manifesto
    I hope Anne can gather the funding to do more than readings and festivals someday.

  • Gosh, That’s a tough one. I’m most in love with both Pasek & Paul as well as Jonathan Reid Gealt, but if I had to name the most upcoming songwriter I’m most exctited about, I’d have to say Gaby Alter. His show “Band Geeks” is AWESOME and he has a new show coming up about dating in 2011, including going on a reality dating show!, called “Nobody Loves You”. If you haven’t already – Check him out!!!!

  • Michele Crowley says:

    My up and coming favorites include ….
    Eric Wainaina from Kenya who wrote the book/music/lyrics for MO FAYA which was part of NYMF 2009. Eric recently spent a week at Sundance/Kenya with Stew to rework the book and we are hoping to have the show workshopped at The O’Neill in summer 2012. MO FAYA has a world music/reggae sound to it and is very upbeat and inspiring. Eric is well known in Kenya as a pop artist and he is trying to break ground here in the U.S. He is a phenomenal talent!
    Paul Oakley Stovall who wrote the book/music/lyrics for CLEAR which was workshopped at Dixon Place in Feb 2011. The Hendels are attached as producers. The music is a contemporary blend of pop/soul/jazz and is very listenable. I listen to my CLEAR CD alot and really enjoy Paul’s music. Another phenomenal talent.
    Thanks for the chance to comment, Ken. Hoping to see the show in CT with my 15 year old daughter Mackensie and we love supporting Danny Goldstein.
    – Michele Crowley

  • Kendra D says:

    Love love love Jonathan Reid Gealt (and always K&L). Jonathan’s album is a dream!

  • Ryan McCurdy says:

    I think Colin Meloy of The Decemberists is one of the most talented songwriters working today, and also one of the ones I’d most like to see crossover into musical theatre in the near future.

  • Kevin Kraft says:

    Pitching in my voice for Flambé Dreams. I’ve known and worked with Matthew Hardy several times and he and Randy Klein make a great writing team. Check out the music at

  • Albim says:

    Interesting, but just catching up to the cotmepition or what it already had planned for Bing. Nothing earth shattering, yet! This is all good news, but I’m not sure these are any killer features that you can get on other platforms. I’m holding out hope some of those are still in the works

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