Thompson and Russell
About The Collaboration
Called “… one of the leading teams of writers of theatre for young audiences” by BroadwayWorld.com, Thompson and Russell is Emily Clare Thompson, book and lyrics, and Richard D. Russell, music.
Their biggest success to date is a production of It Takes A Rainbow at the 2017 Midtown International Theater Festival in New York City’s Off-Broadway district. Richard won “Best Music” for that festival of over 80 shows, while Emily’s original script was nominated for “Best Book.”
Serving as producers for that festival presentation, Thompson and Russell garnered a further win for “Best Set Decoration,” while picking up additional nominations for “Best Costumes” and “Best Ensemble”. The musical picked up great reviews from BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and others. (See the Reviews page for more.)
As a team, Emily and Richard participated in musical theater writing courses and workshops at ASCAP, the New School University, and Theater Resources Unlimited. Before they met, Richard had been part of the prestigious BMI Musical Theater Writing Workshop. They are also active clients of Tony Award winning producer Ken Davenport, where Richard is a member of Ken’s Mastermind group. They regularly attend various networking events for theater producers and writers. Both are ASCAPplus award winners for their collaborative efforts.
They met in 1999 at Mannes College of Music. Richard worked in the school’s administration and Emily directed the summer opera workshop program. Emily’s mother, Marian Thompson, a voice teacher at the college, introduced the two. Soon, Emily invited Richard to compose music for some of her original Shakespeare adaptations. (These musicals can be found on Thompson & Russell’s main website by clicking here.)
After three Shakespeare adaptations, Emily decided to try her hand at writing an original story, and the musical To A Muse was born. It was a great success, and the pair followed up with Cupid’s Bow. Continuing in the realm of myth and fantasy, the team decided to tackle the legend of King Arthur next, creating A Knight At The Round Table.
To date, Thompson & Russell have written seven original musicals.
Emily Clare Thompson
Emily Clare Thompson, trained at Mannes College of Music since a child, has appeared in countless choral groups, operas, concerts, and theater performances since age five, with professionals such as Andy Williams and her mother and primary teacher, soprano Marian Thompson. As a soprano, Emily has performed regularly with the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, premiered works by contemporary composers, and performed classics from the standard repertoire.
In addition to performance, Emily has produced and directed classical repertoire and written book and lyrics for seven produced musicals with composer Richard D. Russell. She is the founder executive director of In Mid Air Productions.
Emily graduated from Smith College with a BA with high honors in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing and Literature from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is grateful for the support of her family.
Richard D. Russell
A multi-year ASCAPplus winner, Richard D. Russell’s music has been performed internationally and at prominent venues in New York. Highlights include a September 11, 2002 memorial performance of “Remembrances” at Merkin Concert Hall, and a performance of “Design for Lightning” by trombonist Haim Avitsur in Israel. As well, his music has been performed in Bulgaria and Japan. In New York, some venues have included Symphony Space Thalia, CAMI Hall, the Ethical Culture Society, and Mannes College of Music.
Richard has been commissioned twice by the esteemed musicologist Lawrence Kramer. First, in 2010, a song cycle for Fordham University’s “Poets Out Loud” faculty group (with texts by Elisabeth Frost); second, in 2011, a solo piano composition performed in conjunction with a two-day seminar sponsored by the journal, 19th-Century Music.
A lifelong lover of music, Richard heard Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” at age 13 and soon began his formal piano studies. Shortly thereafter he began composing. Over the years he has also studied guitar, trumpet, violin, and percussion. He earned his BA in Music Composition from Blackburn College (Illinois), graduating magna cum laude, and earned his Masters at SUNY Empire State. He has presented lectures on the interdisciplinary nature of creativity at Mannes College of Music, to the New York Composers Circle, and to the East Hanover School District (NJ).
Richard Russell has been active in the New York Composers Circle for several years, having served on its Steering Committee and acted as Managing Director. Currently, he acts as the NYCC webmaster and In The Loop newsletter editor. He is also the artistic consultant for In Mid Air Productions, which has presented several of Richard’s pieces. He also sings tenor in and runs the website of the Fieldston Choral Society
Richard Russell’s music is published by Design for Lightning Music (ASCAP).