Janine McGuire and Arri Lawton Simon, AKA McGuire & Simon, are a NYC-based musical theatre writing team and 2017-18 Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellows. They met at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, the foremost training ground for the craft of musical theatre writing. They wrote their first song, “Good for You”, when they were paired together on the very first assignment in the First Year Workshop. They are now members of the Advanced Workshop where they are currently developing several full-length musical theatre projects.
Janine and Arri each discovered musical theatre at a young age, but approached it from different backgrounds. Janine was raised in suburban New Jersey in a small town with one traffic light. At age 10, her parents took her to her first Broadway show, The Who’s Tommy. She grew up adoring rock and pop musicals alongside the classics, and at age 12 she began writing her own musicals. Throughout high school she wrote songs, shows, and frequent fan letters to Tim Rice. Janine attended Barnard College of Columbia University where she earned a B.A. in Music and founded NOMADS, a club for the production of new musicals. She spent several years working at Disney Theatrical Group and producing independent theatre in NYC before enrolling in the BMI Workshop in search of a writing partner.
Arri was born to artistic parents in Wichita, the largest city in Kansas (so many traffic lights). His introduction to musical theatre was the film version of West Side Story. He spent his youth devoted to studying piano, clarinet, voice, dance, and acting, and was involved in all aspects of the theatre, from performing onstage, to playing in pits, to building sets and producing elaborate puppet shows in his basement. He received his B.M. in Composition and Voice Performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and worked for many years as a music director and composer of commissioned works ranging from film scores to sacred cantatas. Eventually, it was time to take a bite out of the Big Apple, and he came to NYC and discovered the BMI Workshop- and his writing partner Janine.
Collectively Janine & Arri have written and produced concerts, stage musicals, plays, film scores, orchestral pieces, choral works, and custom songs in addition to teaching musical theatre and performing arts outreach in the community.
Their musicals include:
BORDERS - an adaptation of the 2006 film The Bubble, about two men who fall in love amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
EXPRESS - an immersive musical about transformative moments in the NYC subway (premiered at the New York Transit Museum in 2015 and expanded in a workshop at New York Film Academy)
KIBBY THE SPACE DOG - a Theatre For Young Audiences short musical about diversity and community commissioned by Wichita Children's Theatre & Dance Center