Discovering Broadway hosts writers’ retreat


Discovering Broadway founder Joel Kirk’s mission is to bring the Broadway process to central Indiana.

With Broadway shut down since March 12, 2020, and not set to reopen until at least this summer, the focus has shifted to the writing and development process.


Kirk, a Carmel High School graduate and New York theater director and producer, and Discovering Broadway hosted a writers’ retreat for the six-person creative team for “The Devil Wears Prada” musical in February at the Hotel Carmichael in Carmel. At the end, the writers held a question-and-answer session with central Indiana artists and Discovering Broadway board members.

Kirk said the focus of the weeklong retreat was fixing the second act. They worked on new songs during the process.

Kirk said each writer had their own room and digital piano keyboard. However, most of the work was done through collaboration in the Presidential Suite. The writers were able connect through Zoom with pop star Elton John, who is writing the score.

“(The creative team) said the secret sauce for doing it in Indiana and Hamilton County is that there is a supportive community here,” Kirk said. “They said you’ve got a community that honors research and development. When you bring musicals to life, you realize what does work and what doesn’t work. From the hotel staff that are Broadway fans to the board to the Carmel Mayor (Jim Brainard), the city screams artistic support.”

Kirk said staying in Carmel takes away the distraction of everyday life that would impede the process if the group stayed in New York.

“What Joel and Discovering Broadway has given us this week was such a breakthrough. This was the first time that this team was together in the same room,” lyricist Shaina Taub stated. “We will always point back to this week and Carmel is always going to be a part of the story of this project.”

The musical is set to open in Chicago in July 2022.

Discovering Broadway is next hosting Samantha Pauly, star of the Broadway musical “Six,” who will teach two master classes in Carmel April 17. She will lead 12 students through a pop rock vocal course. The second course will involve teaching students a dance routine from “Six,” which is being authorized with special permission.

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