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Biography

Robert John Ford (RJF) is an award-winning playwright, composer, lyricist, and theatre producer. Since 2005, his plays and musicals have been seen by more than 35,000 people in the United States as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.  His songs have been performed at Carnegie Hall and 54 Below in New York and at cabaret clubs from Chicago to Toronto by notable Broadway performers including Jeremy Jordan and Laura Benanti.   

 

RJF and his work first gained national attention in 2007 when the premiere production of "Caucus! The Musical" was featured in the New York Times, Time Magazine, US News & World Report, and on NPR, CNN, ABC, and CBS News, among others.  Called “the hottest new musical in the country” in a Washington Post review, the musical has since been produced numerous times throughout the country, most recently in 2016.​

 

In 2012, RJF was selected to participate as a lyricist in the prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in New York and continues his involvement today in the Advanced Workshop.  In June 2014, he was one of five artists selected to be an Iowa Arts Council Fellow in the inaugural year of the program.  He is the recipient of The Vittum Award, The Cloris Leachman Award for Outstanding Achievement, and more than $45,000 in grants from the Iowa Arts Council and The National Endowment for the Arts.  His musicals have been nominated for seven Cloris Leachman Awards and selected as the winner of several national new play competitions, including The Ashland New Play Festival, The Iowa Playwright's Workshop, and Cygnet Theatre's Playwrights in Process.  ​

As a theatre administrator, RJF has held management positions at numerous theatre companies including the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego (15 years), the Theatre In Old Town in San Diego (2 years), and the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival in Center Valley.  In addition, he was the original Entertainment Supervisor for LegoLand California when it opened in 1998.  

 

A native of Iowa, RJF splits his time between New York and Des Moines, where he is the Founder & Operator of both Custom Songs & Scripts, a creative writing service, and RJFCreative, an arts management company.  He is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild of America, ASCAP, and the Off-Broadway Alliance, and a former successful contestant on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." 

RJFCreative

RJFCreative, formed in late 2018, is a new umbrella company that represents all of RJF's creative works, businesses, and contract work nationally.  It also provides theatre production, arts management, grant writing, and copywriting consulting services to not-for-profit arts organizations.  For more information, call 619-363-4692 or email rjfcreative@gmail.com.

Custom Songs & Scripts

Custom Songs & Scripts creates customized songs, plays, sketches, and industrials for individuals, organizations, businesses, and special events.  Whether you want to give a personalized song as a birthday gift or you need a unique presentation to roll out your newest marketing campaign, CS&S has the talent and experience to get the job done.  For more information, click here or call 619-363-4692 or email rjfcreative@gmail.com.

BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop

In the fall of 2019, RJF began his eighth year as a member of the prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City.  Since 2014 he has been a participant of the Advanced Workshop for lyricists and composers.  He is currently working on two new musicals in the Workshop - "Trice" with collaborator Rick Bassett and "Outside The Box" with collaborator Adam Sakiyama.

 

About the workshop: In 1961, BMI joined forces with the late Lehman Engel, dean of American musical theatre conductors, to create a setting in which new writers for the musical theatre could learn their craft. An innovative program at its inception, the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop continues to flourish in its fiftieth-ninth year, and is considered to be the foremost training ground for new writing voices, nurturing shows like "A Chorus Line," "The Book Of Mormon," "Avenue Q," and "Next To Normal.   The Workshop received a special Tony Award in 2007, and a Drama Desk Award in 2006

 

The Advanced Workshop combines members who have come up through the ranks as well as seasoned professionals presenting work from ongoing musicals.  Participation is by invitation only.  Moderators include Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, Michael Korie, Robert Lopez, Richard Maltby and Maury Yeston.  Master Class Moderators include Stephen Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz.  For more information about the workshop, click here.

Photo & Video Gallery

For photos and videos of Robert John Ford, click here.

© 2019 Robert John Ford