MASI ASARE is a composer/lyricist, playwright, voice teacher, and performance scholar. 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 new stage adaptation of Mira Nair’s film; MIRROR OF MOST VALUE: A MS. MARVEL PLAY (Samuel French/ Concord/ Marvel), a play about super hero Kamala Khan; the megamusical PARADISE SQUARE (co-lyricist) about race relations in 1863, currently playing at Broadway's Ethel Barrymore Theatre; a new musical commissioned by Victory Gardens Theatre and the Toulmin Foundation; and the secret agent musical SYMPATHY JONES (music/lyrics/concept; NYMF; Playscripts). Collectively, her shows have received over 90 licensed productions to date internationally.
Nominated for a Tony Award for her work on PARADISE SQUARE (Best Score), Masi is a past Dramatists Guild Fellow and received the first-ever Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award for a woman composer of musicals, mentored by Jeanine Tesori and Daryl Roth. She has also received 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; and the Stacey Mindich “Go Write A Musical” Lilly Award. In 2021, she was named on the "Women to Watch on Broadway" list from Broadway Women's Fund. Her songs have been heard at venues across NYC from Playwrights Horizons to Lincoln Center and can be heard on the streaming site Broadway on Demand. A voice instructor and coach with over 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.
An assistant professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at Northwestern University, she teaches courses in musical theatre history, vocal performance studies, and musical theatre writing. She also holds affiliations with the Sound Arts and Industries Program and the Black Arts Consortium, serves on the executive committee of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama, and was named a 2021-22 Faculty Fellow at the Northwestern University Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. Masi has presented her work at symposia at Princeton and UCLA, and at conferences including BroadwayCon; Song, Stage, and Screen; the American Society of Theatre Research; the Association for Theatre in Higher Education; American Musicological Society, the Educational Theatre Association; and EMP PopCon. Her writing appears in The Dramatist, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Performance Matters, TDR, Studies in Musical Theatre, and The Routledge Companion to Musical Theatre (forthcoming). In 2020-21, she hosted and produced the pandemic-era podcast Voicing Across Distance, bringing together scholars and practitioners to listen for voices and vocal sound in our historical moment, across various forms of social distance.
Masi holds a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Harvard and a PhD in performance studies from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild, a mentor with the American Theatre Wing/National Endowment for the Arts Songwriting Challenge, and serves on the membership committee of ASTR and the advisory board of MAESTRA. She divides her time between Chicago and New York City.