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Welcome to

The official source for information about, and on-line home of,  the Midwest New Musicals Writers' Workshop, a workshop and theatre sponsored by Light Opera Works in Wilmette, Illinois that is devoted to nuturing, developing and showcasing new musical theatre works.

If you are a member of the Writer's Workshop (or an alumni member), you will find information about the Workshop here. You can also share information with the world about your own musical projects here.


This site is also a resource for all things theatrical, especially for theatre events in the Chicago area and also new developing theatre works, especially musicals, anywhere.

So, if you have theatre event information to share with the world, share it here. (Contact me with your information.) 

-The Editor    

Midwest New Musicals Writers Workshop
Programs offered

One-day Master Classes

A variety of musical theater topics throughout the year.


Short-term classes on lyric,
book writing and music with noted local professionals.

Core Curriculum

Long-term workshop to formulate collaborative techniques and partners.

Mini Musicals

Annual summer presentation by workshop and ensemble members.

Writers Ensemble

Monthly meeting of members to review new musicals in progress.

Words and Music

Concert readings of new musicals throughout the year.

To discuss your experience level and receive more details about the program, call John Sparks at (323) 371-8205 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Stop writing in your attic and join a community of musical theater writers.

If you are a composer, lyricist or playwright, Midwest New Musicals is for you.

You’ll join the ranks of local and national writers such as Mark Hollmann (Urinetown), Jan Tranen (The Minister’s Wife), Gregg Opelka (Monky Business), Dave Hudson (Dust and Dreams), Jon Steinhagen (The Arresting Dilemma of Mister K), Susan DiLallo (Once Upon a Time in New Jersey), Elizabeth Doyle (Sleepy Hollow) and many others.

Midwest New Musicals workshop sessions and writer ensembles meet monthly at the Light Opera Works rehearsal center, 516 4th Street, Wilmette, Illinois.

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Midwest New Musicals is conducted by John Sparks, founding artistic director of the Academy for New Musical Theatre in Los Angeles, where he has taught since 1981. In 1987, he founded the musical theater writers workshop at Theatre Building Chicago, where he also served as artistic director from 1999 to 2009.

To receive more details about the program, call John Sparks at (323) 371-8205 or send him an email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Public Reading of New Musical April 9th

get-attachment-24 250Mercy Variations, a shattering new musical drama, book & lyrics by Larry Todd Cousineau, music by Mike O'Mara is having a reading April 9th at Greenhouse Theatre 2257 N Lincoln Ave, in Chicago.

Read more in Facebook.

The Midwest New Musicals Writers' Workshop

If you are a composer, lyricist or playwright you are invited to learn musical theater structure with Midwest New Musicals, in association with Light Opera Works.

What it is
 An intensive program that assists writers through the process of creating a new musical. Writers explore the use of music, lyrics and dialogue through hands-on assignments that introduce them to musical theater forms and collaborative techniques.

Who has been in the Workshop?

Award-winning and prominent local writers who have studied with John Sparks include:

From John Sparks' New Blog

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I’ve always loved musicals. First in the movies (I wanted to grow up to be Fred Astaire), then in summer theatres in New England (mostly in tents), and finally on Broadway.

Read the full article at sparksonstage - The First Time

Table Reading Friday April 13th

Stages08WkShop-19 250 There will be a MNM workshop table reading of Circus Boys by Charmaine Spencer and Russell J. Coutinho on Sunday April 13th at 6:30pm at the Light Opera Works rehearsal space.

A new musical about the early days of the Ringling Bros. Do plan to attend, it promises to be quite a, well, circus!

All MNM workshop members are invited to attend.

Do you write...

 Music?...Poetry?...Fiction?...Plays?...Ad Copy?...Lyrics?

Midwest New Musicals wants you!

Chicago is hot bed for hot new musicals

Morality Play-5 250"Chicago continues to be the go-to city for out of town tryouts for new musicals" writes our own workshop member Francesca Peppiatt, in an article at

Read the entire article here.

Former workshop member profiled at

From, news about former MNM workshopper Jenny Stafford.




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