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Faculty Directory

Graduate Musical Theatre Writing

Donna DiNovelli
Adjunct Faculty Bookwriter


As a librettist and lyricist, Donna Di Novelli collaborates with composers working in both experimental and traditional genres. Heart of a Soldier, written with composer Christopher Theofanidis was commissioned by the San Francisco Opera, and premiered in September 2011. With Paola Prestini she premiered a concert version of Oceanic Verses, at the Kennedy Center and River to River Festival, NYC in June 2012, after a residency at Sound Res in Puglia, Italy. She wrote lyrics for Rachel Portman’s 2008 musical Little House on the Prairie with book by Rachel Sheinkin, which broke box office records during its premiere at the Guthrie Theater and then continued on a national tour. Di Novelli wrote text and translated Latin hymns for Hildegard: A Measure of Joy, commissioned by the San Francisco Grammy-winning vocal ensemble, Chanticleer. She has also collaborated with Randall Eng for many years, most notably on the genre bending, jazz-infused opera, Florida. Di Novelli has written text for the Los Angeles Modern Dance and Ballet’s Twelve Dancing Princesses and her radio plays have been broadcast on the BBC, and NPR. Her stage play, The First Eff (Mark Taper Forum) was excerpted in New Monologues For Women; By Women (Heinemann Press). She has won commissions and fellowships from the Manhattan Theater Club, ASCAP, Mabou Mines, Houston Grand Opera, the Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio, Italy), the National Musical Theater Conference, the Mac Dowell Colony, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Besides teaching libretto writing in the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she teaches playwriting at the National Theater Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center and was a visiting professor at Brown University, where she earned a master’s degree in playwriting studying with Paula Vogel. She is working on a new musical, The Good Swimmer, with composer Heidi Rodewald and Stew (Passing Strange). In addition, her work has been presented at the New York City Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, the Public Theater, Le Poisson Rouge and on several occasions at Joe’s Pub.