MASI ASARE is a composer, lyricist, playwright, and assistant professor of Theatre at Northwestern University. Her shows include: THE FAMILY RESEMBLANCE (book/music/lyrics; Theatre Royal Stratford East commission, Eugene O’Neill Center NMTC); RISHVOR, a new musical about racial passing (book/music/lyrics) commissioned by Barbara Whitman/Grove Entertainment; MONSOON WEDDING (lyrics), the Broadway bound adaptation of Mira Nair’s film; MIRROR OF MOST VALUE (Samuel French), a one-act play for Marvel about super hero Kamala Khan; a new musical commissioned by Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre and the Toulmin Foundation; and the secret agent musical SYMPATHY JONES (music/lyrics/concept; NYMF; Playscripts). A past Dramatists Guild Fellow, Masi has received the Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award for a woman composer of musicals, mentored by Jeanine Tesori; both the Holof Lyricist Award and the Haupt Composition Prize from the O’Neill Center; an Emerging Artist Grant from the Theater Hall of Fame, nominated by Daryl Roth; and the Stacey Mindich “Go Write A Musical” Lilly Award. Her songs have been heard at venues across NYC from Playwrights Horizons to Lincoln Center. A voice instructor and coach with two decades of teaching experience, Masi specializes in popular vocal styles. Her voice students have performed in regional and touring shows, and on Broadway.
Masi’s scholarly book project, Voicing the Possible: Technique, Vocal Sound, and Black Women on the Musical Stage, examines the impact of blues singers on Broadway belting and makes the case for the need to feel the racial history in contemporary practices of musical theatre performance. At Northwestern, she is affiliated with the Performance Studies Department, the Sound Arts and Industries Program, and the Black Arts Initiative, serves on the Executive Committee of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama, and teaches courses in musical theatre history, vocal performance studies, and musical theatre writing. She has presented her work at conferences including BroadwayCon; Song, Stage, and Screen; the American Society of Theatre Research; the Association for Theatre in Higher Education; the Educational Theatre Association; and EMP PopCon. Her writing appears in The Dramatist, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Musical Theater Today (forthcoming), and Performance Matters (forthcoming). Masi holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a PhD in performance studies from New York University. She is a member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, and MAESTRA, and divides her time between Chicago and New York City.