W*rk Lab Finalist Spotlight: Sharon Kenny
We received an unprecedented 59 applications for The W*rk Lab, leaving us hopelessly in love with 59 profound writing teams. Because we were only able to support the development of four new musicals, but were so moved by the w*rk, we are shining a light on our finalists for the next few weeks on Sappho Small Talk.
To begin, Sappho is our “muse.” Would you say you have a writing muse? If so, who?
Ha, if I do, I don’t know her name! I like to think that anything can serve as a muse. I read a lot of classic literature, so I find much of my inspiration there. I also often gravitate towards true stories; I like to take events from history and find ways of presenting them through a modern lens.
How are you finding your voice as a new writer within the musical theater landscape?
I grew up as a classical pianist, but was also in love with pop/folk music. I didn’t really discover musicals until my teens, and then went on to study theatre in college. Now that I am writing musicals, I think my background of varied musical styles informs my writing in a big way. I’m also really interested in breaking form and playing with time and perspective in the pieces that I write.
What are the themes and ideas you're most excited about exploring within your writing?
I’m consistently drawn to stories that take a good look at women and identity. Typically, my projects examine expectations that women face versus their actual desires. I’m really interested in exploring the complications that gender roles present, and the steps that women take to overcome them.
Who is your target audience and how are you hoping to impact them?
I’m not sure that I have a target audience, per se. I have found that due to the nature of my subject matter, women are generally more prone to take interest. However, I’m hoping to impact anyone that is willing to listen.
Is there a song that encapsulates your artistic identity?
My song “Amnesia” is a good representation of the songs that I write.
Sharon Kenny writes songs and the words that go with them. She lives in New York.
Kenny's solo projects include Songs About You; (Songs About Me), My Name Is Sharon, Adjectives & Nouns (EP), and Pianocentric. They are available everywhere music is sold. Her song "Hotel Heart" reached #68 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts. Her music has cumulatively garnered nearly 20 million views on YouTube.
Sharon’s theatre work has been developed at New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Theatreworks Palo Alto, and the Yale Institute of Music Theatre. She is an alum of ANTFest (Ars Nova), The Johnny Mercer Songwriter's Project (American Music Theatre Project), Prospect Theatre Company's Musical Theatre Lab, and Space on Ryder Farm. Additionally, she has been a finalist for the Jonathan Larson Grant and the Richard Rodgers Award. She has performed sold out shows to Joe's Pub, Le Poisson Rouge, and the Gramercy Theatre.
Her songs have been prominently featured both nationally and internationally on television. www.sharon-kenny.com