Adam Gwon

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Adam Gwon is an American composer and lyricist living in New York City.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Gwon was born in Boston, and spent his childhood in Baltimore before attending New York University.[2][3] While studying acting at NYU, Gwon was encouraged to pursue writing by a teacher, David Bucknam, and was later mentored by the musical theater writing team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.[4] Gwon is of Chinese-American and Jewish descent.[5]

Professional life[edit]

Gwon made his off-Broadway debut in 2009 with Ordinary Days, the first musical production in Roundabout Theatre Company's black box space, Roundabout Underground.[6] In 2011, Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia premiered Gwon's musical The Boy Detective Fails, based on the novel by Joe Meno, as part of their American Musical Voices Project.[7] South Coast Repertory commissioned and premiered his musical Cloudlands, written with Octavio Solis, in 2012.[5][8]

In 2015, he had two simultaneous world premieres, both co-written with Julia Jordan: Bernice Bobs Her Hair, adapted from the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, at the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, and Cake Off at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.[9] Cake Off received a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Original Play or Musical Adaptation.[10]

Village Theatre in Issaquah, Washington produced the world premiere of Gwon's musical String, with a book by Sarah Hammond, in 2018.[11]

Gwon's Ordinary Days was preserved on a cast album and has been produced in London's West End, and around the world from Paris to Rio de Janeiro.[12][13][14] A 2018 revival by the Keen Company was nominated for a Drama League Award for Best Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical.[15]

Gwon's song "I'll Be Here" was recorded by Audra McDonald on her album Go Back Home.[16] McDonald has performed the song in concert, including at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.[17][18] It aired on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center in 2013.[19]

He served a three-year term on the Tony Awards Nominating Committee beginning in 2015.[20]

Gwon's musical Scotland, PA, with book by Michael Mitnick, adapted from the cult 2001 film, will premiere at Roundabout Theatre Company's Laura Pels Theatre in 2019.[14]


  • Ordinary Days (2009)
  • The Boy Detective Fails (2011)
  • Cloudlands (2012)
  • Bernice Bobs Her Hair (2015)
  • Cake Off (2015)
  • String (2018)
  • Scotland, PA (2019)



  1. ^ Lee, Felicia R. (13 May 2011). "Adam Gwon and Michelle Elliott Win Musical-Theater Writing Prizes". Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  2. ^ "McDonald's 'Songs We Love Tour' stops in Hub". The Bay State Banner. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  3. ^ "A Musical Mystery". 6 October 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  4. ^ Evans, Suzy (4 January 2017). "Where Do You Learn to Write Musicals?". AMERICAN THEATRE. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b "'Cloudlands': Singing — and tragedy". 1 May 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2019 – via LA Times.
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth (19 August 2009). "Hunter Foster Is One of Four in NYC Premiere of Musical Ordinary Days". Playbill. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth (5 April 2011). "DC's Signature Plans Four New Musicals; Writers Include Adam Gwon, Hunter Foster and More". Playbill. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Review: An extraordinary 'Cloudlands' has world premiere". 23 April 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2019 – via LA Times.
  9. ^ "Adam Gwon and Julia Jordan: So Many World Premieres — So Little Time - TheaterMania". Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Village Theatre Announces 2017-2018 Season:". Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  12. ^ a b Gans, Andrew (16 September 2010). "Cast Recording of Ordinary Days Due Sept. 21; R&H Theatricals Acquires Performance Rights". Playbill. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  13. ^ Shenton, Mark (30 December 2010). "Daniel Boys and Julie Atherton to Star in Adam Gwon's Ordinary Days at Trafalgar Studios". Playbill. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Adam Gwon's Scotland, PA Musical Sets World Premiere with Roundabout". Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  15. ^ Evans, Greg; Evans, Greg (17 April 2019). "Bryan Cranston, Adam Driver, Jeff Daniels & Laurie Metcalf Among Broadway's Drama League Award Nominees – Complete List". Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Audra McDonald, A Broadway Star Gone Roaming, Comes Home". Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  17. ^ Holden, Stephen (23 October 2011). "Audra McDonald at Carnegie Hall - Review". Retrieved 18 June 2019 – via
  18. ^ Holden, Stephen (10 May 2013). "Not Just the Standards, but Storytelling, Too". Retrieved 18 June 2019 – via
  19. ^ Hetrick, Adam (24 May 2013). "Audra McDonald's Go Back Home Concert Broadcast on 'Live from Lincoln Center' May 24". Playbill. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  20. ^ Gans, Andrew (26 May 2015). "Tom Kitt, Adam Gwon Among Those Tapped for 2015-16 Tony Nominating Committee". Playbill. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  21. ^ Viagas, Robert (9 November 2015). "Listen to Heartbreaking Exclusive Sondheim Track From Liz Callaway's New 'Essential' Album". Playbill. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  22. ^ "'Because' - Tracy Lynn Olivera's CD - reviewed". DC Theatre Scene. 13 February 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  23. ^