Hannah Kohl is a writer, composer, educator, and papercutting artist based in the Pacific Northwest. Her work includes: Hansel & Gretl & Heidi & Günter, which was set to open at The Village Theater (Issaquah, WA) on March 12th, the day Washington State locked down, Die Weihnachtsbäckerei (Schmidt’s Tivoli, Hamburg / German National Tour), Brian Selznick’s The Houdini Box (Chicago Children’s Theatre), AB…Z (New York Voices at Joe’s Pub) and several original family musicals. She is the founding artistic director of the ASFM Children’s Theater in Monterrey, Mexico, served as the President of the Graduate Student Organization at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and has worked as a Broadway opening night planner, the Associate Creative Producer during the US development of Rocky – Das Musical, Script Supervisor for the German and Broadway productions of Rocky, and Director of Development for the York Theater (NYC). Following her tenure as a Dramatists Guild Fellow, she has remained involved and deeply committed to the Guild, teaching a seminar on taxes for artists, participating in panels on Theatre for Young Artists and for writers whose shows closed due to the pandemic, and now serving as the DG Rep for Seattle / Washington State.
Kohl teaches musical theater writing and producing workshops around the world and has been a guest teaching artist at New York University, Columbia, and Yale. Kohl’s papercutting artwork has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, the New York Philharmonic, TEDx Broadway, where she was also a speaker, and is often commissioned for Broadway opening night gifts. Kohl also created original papercuttings for two covers of The Dramatist—The Casting Issue (2018) and The Reality Check Issue (2016). Her upcoming children’s book, The Brambles, is represented by Rebecca Sherman, Writers House, New York.
Kohl’s work has been supported by two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a development grant from New York Voices at Joe’s Pub / The Public Theater, a Bret Adams Grant from 3Views on Theater (under the umbrella of the Lillys), fellowships with the Dramatists Guild and Johnny Mercer Colony at Goodspeed Opera House, and commissions for new work from Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, La Teatrería (Mexico City), Stückgut Productions / Schmidts Theater (Hamburg, Germany), and more. MFA, Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU. MS, International Education from SUNY - Buffalo. UW alum. hannahkohl.com / @1000tinysnips
Regional Rep: Seattle/Washington State
After years working in theater in New York and internationally, I’m proud to be solidly back on my home turf, representing the dramatists of Washington State. I grew up in Bellingham, did my undergrad at UW, and had my professional start writing for local NW theaters and colleges. Every time I’ve come back to our region for a production, it always reminds me why I love it here. We have a roll-up-your-sleeve independence and willingness to explore that I treasure.
I’m committed to representing all Washington dramatists, even though we’re technically the “Seattle Region.” There’s vibrant and important work taking place in every corner of our state and the opportunities and community-building in our region should reflect that. I’m also deeply invested in the great cultural shift that’s taking place in our country around the issues of equity, racism, immigration, and inclusion, as well as the very necessary work needed to reshape our culture into one centered around compassion and justice. As theatermakers, we can be a big part of how that change happens. The stories that change the world can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time, no matter their age, race, religion, cultural heritage, or political party. Every writer has value and there is room at the table for every single one of us. There is no "them." Just one nation with many voices, including yours.
While the pandemic has shut down our stages, it’s also decentralized where theater occurs, where it’s created, and how it’s shared. As scary as the unknown can be, I think this change is exciting. Nationwide, writers and artists are leaping out of the major cities and returning to their original stomping grounds, creating an exchange of ideas and experiences with writers and theatremakers who know their regions inside and out. There have always been compelling economic and developmental reasons for moving to larger cultural centers, but it’s not always what’s best for writers or communities. I’d love every town and city in Washington to have easy, affordable access to excellent theater and to know its dramatists by name. I’d also like our region to be known as a hub where dramatists are consistently valued, supported, and produced. Developing those opportunities is something I’m committed to long-term.
In continuing Kate Danley’s excellent work (Thank you, Kate!), I’d appreciate it if you can take a moment to fill out the attached survey. We’ll streamline our programming based on your responses. Some of the areas I’d like to focus on over the next three years are growing our membership, increasing our regional programming, deepening our professional and personal connections, increasing outreach to young dramatists, and developing our craft. I believe that this can be a time of innovation and discovery in our industry and that we can be the push behind the changes we want to see.
I’m also hoping to unearth a new batch of Ambassadors to join Bryan Hartineaux and take up the torch of Andrew Creech. I can’t thank Bryan and Andrew enough for all their hard work… and I look forward to roping even more of you into being directly involved with the DG! Ideally, every region will be represented by an Ambassador. (I’m looking at you!)
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your representative. I look forward to getting to know you and your work over the next three years!
Hannah Kohl is a musical theater writer & composer, papercutting artist, educator,and the current DG Rep for Seattle Region / Washington State. Kohl was a DGF Musical Theatre Writing fellow under Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty and went on to work on RAGTIME (2009 Broadway Revival), and ROCKY (both the German and Broadway productions). She was Joseph Stein's writing assistant for the last years of his life and worked closely with Tom Meehan and Rachel Sheinkin. These five DG members served as the bedrock for her education in musical theatre. Kohl continues the legacy of passing down craft to the next generation by teaching musical theatre writing intensives around the world, from Oslo to Mexico City, London to Sardinia, and across the US. She is a passionate advocate for writers' rights, quality TYA, family, & children's theatre experiences, education, and global social justice and a dedicated member of The Dramatists Guild. She was the founding artistic director of The American School Foundation of Monterrey Children's Theatre, which she led for three years in Monterrey, Mexico, where she was also a teacher and the founding director of the ASFM Competition Choir - an award-winning 70-voice choir made up of children ages 5-12. She also works as a ghostwriter, translator (including works for opera and musical theatre from German, Italian, and Spanish into English), and a children's book author with 16 titles in South Korea and a book on the way here in the US. She has been a Johnny Mercer Writer's Colony Fellow, a (very lucky) Bret Adams / 3Views on Theatre grant recipient (under the umbrella of The Lillys), and more. Kohl holds am MFA from NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and a Masters in Science from SUNY-Buffalo in Interdisciplinary Studies in International Education... but she's never been to Buffalo and doesn't believe in graduate school. Her papercutting artwork hangs in collections around the world, is often commissioned as Broadway opening night gifts, and has been profiled in The New Yorker Magazine online, featured in The New York Times, and has twice graced the cover of The Dramatist Magazine. She is represented as an author/illustrator by Rebecca Sherman of Writers House NY.
Original work includes:
HANSEL & GRETL & HEIDI & GÜNTER (book), a dark comedy for all ages with music by Will Aronson and lyrics by Daniel Maté. Originally commissioned by Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the show was set to open on March 12th, 2020 at The Village Theatre in Issaquah, WA when Washington State shut down... on March 12th, 2020. A stage reading directed by Victoria Clark at The Village Theatre's Festival of New Musicals took place in 2018.
DIE WEIHNACHTSBÄCKEREI (book), a holiday family musical celebrating the work of Rolf Zuckowski, commissioned by Stückgut Productions (Germany). Word Premiere: Schmidt's Tivoli (Hamburg), 2018, followed by annual productions and national tours, as well as an audiobook recording available in the EU.
THE GAME OF THE NAME (book, music, lyrics), with original book in Spanish by co-writer Jose Manuel Lopez Velarde received a grant from The Public / Joe's Pub New York Voices where it had a stage reading in 2016, followed by staged readings at La Teatrería in Mexico City.
THE HOUDINI BOX (book, lyrics), based on the book by Brian Selznick & commissioned by Chicago Children's Theatre. Recipient of two NEA development grants. World Premiere: Chicago Children's Theatre, 2012.
THE LIGHT AND LEONARDO DA VINCI (book, lyrics), a mix of magical realism and comedy, was developed at NYU in 2008, and in Cagliari, Sardinia.
CAKE! (book, music, lyrics), a one-act musical comedy riot inspired by competitive eating, has been performed across the US, including The Hartt School, NYU, Laurie Beechman Theatre, and more.
THE BLACKBIRD (book, music, lyrics), a fairytale about a too-perfect world that falls apart (and is better once it does), premiered at Kohl's children's theatre in Monterrey, Mexico in 2007.
GARDENIA! (book, music, lyrics), a fairytale that flips the local social hierarchy on its head, premiered at Kohl's children's theatre in Monterrey, Mexico in 2005,