Jess Newman is an Australian and New York based award-winning composer, lyricist and performer. His work has been performed at Radio City Hall, New York City Center, 54 Below, Two River Theatre and Green Room 42. He was a winner of the 2022 Mike Walsh Fellowship and the winner of the 2017 New York City Center Encores Stephen Sondheim songwriting competition and the 2018 Dame-Joan Sutherland Award. He recently composed two songs for a special event in Israel, which was attended by President Isaac Herzog. His song “It Starts Again” was recently released on 16 Stories, an album of new American musical theatre released by Broadway Records and an EP of his new musical Scarlet was released by DHB Theatrical. He also recently wrote the music for the play Senser, which premiered at Theatre Works. His musical Einstein premiered in Melbourne, and was selected by The Age as one of the year’s “highlights of theatre.” He has written music and lyrics for the song cycle All the Time and the animated musical Out of the Woods, which premiered at ACMI. He has also written the pop-anthem ‘Return’ to raise funds for the performing arts during the pandemic, and the song ‘Love is Love’ to support the 2017 bill for same-sex marriage in Australia. Jess is a proud member of ASCAP.
GOLD is a coming of age adventure about dark obsessions, local legends, and what happens when we seek validation outside of ourselves. The contemporary pop/rock score is infused with country/western and Americana to show how the past and the present collide in everyday yet unsuspecting ways.
When high school outcast Lea King discovers her estranged Grandpa Ben is out in rural Colorado looking for buried treasure, she runs away to be with him. But when she arrives, she finds he’s missing. With the help of teenage local, Corey, she embarks on a quest to find both her grandfather and the most elusive treasure in all the west: “Faith’s Gold.”
Meanwhile, in 1870 Colorado, a Preacher’s daughter, named Faith, longs for a civilized life out east. When traveling widower, Bartholomew, claims to know how to mine unseen gold from underneath their town, she wonders if he might be her way out.
Both timelines converge when Lea is forced to reckon with her increasingly obsessive behaviour, and she realizes that Faith’s Quest might not be what it seems.
The untold story of Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric; chronicling the early years of their struggle to be recognized as budding physicists attempting to overthrow the establishment, their rivalry and their scandalous romance. When Einstein begins to rise to fame for his work on relativity he rattles the cage of Phillipp Lenard, who will do anything in his power to take credit for Einstein’s work. A quest for proof ensues, while Mileva grapples to be recognized for her work. Is history the bearer of a great injustice? Who deserves recognition? Is there a relative story to relativity? If only we could go back and make the pieces fit…
‘Genius’ was previously titled ‘Einstein: Master of the Universe’, and was produced professionally at TheatreWorks in 2016 by RL Productions. The show received workshops through the Homegrown Grassroots Initiative and the VCA New Musicals Workshop. It was selected by The Age as one of the highlights of 2016 in Australian theatre.
SCARLET is a contemporary science-fiction climate change parable about what happens when a planet takes too long and has no good options left. A unique synthesis of found sounds, pop/rock and contemporary musical theatre, ‘Scarlet’ evokes a world reliant on machines and a longing for humanity to save it.
Hundreds of years ago, the world’s leaders came together and tried a more dramatic approach to curbing global warming: they pumped sun-reflecting particles into the air.
It worked, but too well—the sky became an opaque gray, shutting out the sun completely and creating a global tundra. Now, hundreds of years later, civilization has all but ended and the Commonwealth is what remains of humanity. Run by the no-nonsense war vet Mesh and her Council, the Commonwealth is a city-state founded on the tenets of hard work and rational survival.
Scarlet, Mesh’s younger sister, is a Junior Captain at the Greenhouse, the last remaining food production facility in the world. It’s an important job, but she can’t help feeling that there should be more to life. When Scarlet stumbles upon a meeting of the Solists, an underground cult who believes in a mystical being called Father Sun that lay just beyond the tarp of the sky, she finds herself torn between her family, a centuries-old conspiracy, and the promise of saving her world.