Julia Riew, a musical theater composer-lyricist, playwright, and soon-to-be Harvard grad, joins Jerry on Dear Asian Americans to share her journey growing up in St. Louis as one of very few Asian kids, how she found her passion for musicals and plays, and how she wants to use her talents and voice to tell stories we all wish we had. Connect with her @JuliaRiew on all platforms and support her work at JuliaRiew.com
Julia Riew is a Korean-American musical theater composer-lyricist and playwright from St. Louis and New York City. She is primarily known for her work on Shimcheong: A Folktale, an original musical that has received international support online and in the news for asking the question, “What would a Korean Disney Princess look like?”
Julia grew up singing Broadway soundtracks in the family car and playing the violin from age 4. She has been composing since she was 8, songwriting since she was 12, and writing musicals since she was 14 years old. Despite her love for musical theater, Julia spent her first two years at Harvard as a pre-med student before finding her footing as a joint-concentrator in Theater and Music.
In college, observing a lack of Asian students in theater, Julia co-founded the Harvard College Asian Student Arts Project (ASAP), a club created to provide the resources and community for Asian student artists, and co-wrote their first production, a musical called The East Side. She also advised and performed as “Paulette” in ASAP’s all-Asian production of Legally Blonde: The Musical, which received national recognition in fall 2021.
Julia was the inaugural recipient of the Musicians United for Social Equity (MUSE) Linda Twine Scholarship (2021) as well as a member of the first MUSE One-on-One Mentorship Program (2021-22) in which she was paired with composer Jeanine Tesori. She was also a member of the inaugural Maestra Music Mentorship Program (2020-21) in which she was paired with Deborah Wicks La Puma. Her original work has been featured at the American Repertory Theater, Harvard University’s Farkas Hall and Agassiz Theater, AMAS Musical Theater, The UNC-Greensboro School of Theater, Nora Theater Company at Central Square Theater, The Harvard Art Lab, University of Missouri, The Community Music School of Webster University, and John Burroughs High School.
Julia’s recent works include Alice’s Wonderland, an original musical in collaboration with J Quinton Johnson (Hamilton on Broadway, In the Heights at the Kennedy Center). Her other works include the TYA show Jack and the Beanstalk: A Musical Adventure was commissioned for the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.)’s 2020 Family Musical, and Thumbelina: A Little Musical (The A.R.T. 2019 Family Musical).(Source: JuliaRiew.com)
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