Julián Mesri ’20 Receives Three-Year Residency from Signature Theatre

Carlos Barragán
May 17, 2024

Playwriting alumnus Julián Mesri ’20 has been named the 2024 Judith Champion Musical Theater LaunchPad Resident by Signature Theatre. The residency, which will support Mesri for three years, includes $15,000, access to a workshop production, guided mentorship from a Signature resident playwright, and more.

Mesri, a playwright, composer, and musician, was born in Argentina and raised in New York, and has always lived between two worlds and two languages. “The drive to tell a compelling story that transcends borders requires something able to unite them,” he said. “For me that crucial element is in the songs. There's something about being able to make something land tunefully that unlocks musical theater's greatest ability, and that's music as communion–both communication and connection. When my book crosses borders, the music is meant to bridge them; when my lyrics change languages, the songs are meant to translate them. With music and song, complex issues that bring in whole countries, decades, and cultures, can suddenly be put into dialogue and made accessible.”

The Judith Champion Musical Theater LaunchPad Residency is named after the late Judith Champion, a devoted supporter of New York theater and emerging playwrights. The residency is part of Signature Theatre's initiative to support early-career playwrights from historically underrepresented communities, continuing the program inaugurated last year. This year’s residency was in part inspired by Signature's work with Dave Malloy, the organization's first-ever musical theater writer in residence.

“Julián is a very talented writer. Julián's boundary-breaking writing can sustain musical-loving audiences while also bringing new audiences to the form,” said Signature Theatre Artistic Director Paige Evans said. “Like Dave Malloy, his singular vision is present in his composition,book, and lyrics. He has already done a lot of  work developing that vision. Now, he needs productions. We're excited, with LaunchPad, to offer Julián a platform to see his work staged, and to give him an opportunity to learn and grow.”

Julián Mesri is a New York-based Argentinean-American playwright and composer who makes multilingual plays and musicals in the US and around the world. He is the co-adaptor and composer/lyricist for the Mobile Unit bilingual production of Comedy of Errors at The Public Theater. He received an EST/Sloan Commission for his musical Favaloro: A Heart in Pieces. Recent work includes Telo (Live and In Color Finalist, O'Neill NMTC Finalist), Bartolomé de las Casas Ruins My Pool (O'Neill NPC Finalist), and Immersion (Columbia/Roundabout Finalist, BAPF Semi-Finalist).