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Musical Theater Composer/Lyricist

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Joel Esher is a musical theatre composer and lyricist living in New York City and collaborating in this capacity with book-writer/lyricist Gregory Jafari Van Acker. His Off-Broadway Martin Shkreli musical, PharmaBro (with Lauren Gundrum), received national attention and was nominated for an Off-Broadway Alliance award for best new musical. His deeply collaborative 9-composer musical Folk Wandering (with Jaclyn Backhaus) premiered Off-Broadway at ART New York. His musical Superhots! (with Blair Bodine) is currently available for licensing through MTI as a part of TheaterNow NY’s Ten-Minute Musical Anthology. His musical Joey and Ron (with Louie Pearlman) enjoyed a successful Downtown run at The Players’ Theater. The pilot of his original audio musical, “The Joining Place” (with Gregory Jafari Van Acker), is available via bandcamp, and his original songs can be heard featured on The Story Pirates podcast. 


Joel was a recipient of the Arizoni regional theater award for his original music in the Theater for Young Audience (TYA) play “The Clumsy Princess” (with Jessica Puller). His TYA Musicals, Sammy Spider and Bagels From Benny (both with Rebecca Schoffer) received NYC productions through commissioned support from 92Y in collaboration with PJ Library. He is currently working on a TYA commission with Sundog Theater set to tour the mid-Atlantic in 2024 with Gregory Jafari Van Acker, with whom he is also working on two full-length musicals: “MonteStory!”, a musical comedy centered around progressive learning environments, and “Cornerstone”, a musical centered on survivors learning on the fly how to rebuild themselves, their family, and their community. 


Joel has been fortunate to have his original theatrical work receive developmental support through The Johnny Mercer Foundation/Goodspeed Writer’s Grove, Musical Theater Factory’s 4x15 series, The Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project, and Fresh Ground Pepper’s BRB Retreat, among others. 

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