Storm Thomas

Undergraduate Discipline


MFA, Sarah Lawrence. A mixed-Black-trans drummer from Los Angeles, Thomas writes musicals: Notes on the Past (Trans Theatre Fest), Ancient Future (Polyphone Festival), and Be Like Bone (in progress). Co-founder: Theatre, But Dance. Teacher: Black Musical Theatre (Uarts), Music for Performance (Playwrights), New Musical Theatre Lab (Uarts), Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, Completely Ridiculous Productions (Anti-Racist Musical Theatre), Queer Musical Theatre ( NYU Tisch/Theatre Studies Department. Performances: Animal Wisdom album, The Skin of Our Teeth (TFANA), Futurity (Soho Rep/Ars Nova), 2017 Obie Awards. Recognition: New Visions Fellowship Finalist, Baltimore Center Stage finishing commission, NYSCA Grant Recipient FY2022. In residence with Musical Theatre Factory. SLC, 2022–

Undergraduate Courses 2022-2023


Songwriting for a New Musical Theatre

Open, Component—Year

This course suggests a unique approach to musical theatre making, forged during the making of the Tony/Obie award-winning musical, Passing Strange. The method treats song, not story, as the seed out of which a show grows. Students are taught to conjure stories out of their songs rather than tacking songs onto a preexisting narrative. The urgency of personal biography as the source material for theatrical myth making (vs. invented fictions) is also emphasized, along with the incorporation of solo performance and the use of video. Emphasis on in-the-moment creating via a demystification of the songwriting process seeks to keep students inspired and motivated, with more time spent creating than listening to a lecture. Students are regularly given songwriting prompts and invited to take time away from class to compose. Students will work toward building, by semester’s end, a final show drawn from the songs that they’ve written. Students will learn techniques that transform the “magic” of songwriting into a reflexive act of communication available to anyone, with or without songwriting experience. The fundamentals of songwriting are taught, along with an introduction to various music software apps.