NYPL Announces New Fellowship for Across a Crowded Room
A.J. Freeman, Gil Varod, and Jonathon Lynch
A.J. Freeman, Gil Varod, and Jonathon Lynch

New York, NY – After Doug Reside, curator of the Billy Rose Theatre Division at New York Public Library, realized that emerging musical theatre artists had little opportunity to meet each other in professional settings, he launched Across a Crowded Room. Since 2014, the incubator event has connected lyricists, composers, bookwriters, and performers to collaborate and ultimately create new twenty-minute musical theatre pieces to present at the Library for the Performing Arts. 

This year, for the first time, past participants of the annual Across a Crowded Room events were offered the chance to apply for a fellowship for the work created during any year of the event. The opportunity comes with $5,000 for a production budget to get the musical off the ground. 

NYPL has awarded this inaugural fellowship to musical theatre team A.J. Freeman, Gil Varod, and Jonathon Lynch for their piece The Carousel of Inevitability and Certain Foreboding. The collaborators presented an earlier version of their musical-in-progress through an online event in 2020.

The fellowship panel review also awarded an honorable mention to A.J. Freeman and Kristoffer Bjarke for their musical Tomorrow. For this recognition, Freeman and Bjarke will receive $2,500 to support a reading at the Library.

The Across a Crowded Room Fellowship was funded by Linda Feinstone and Jody Falco.