Robert is a lyricist and librettist whose original musicals include Journey to the West (music by Leon Ko), Heading East (music by Ko) and The Sweet By and By (book and music by Maria V.S. Seigenthaler). He and Ko received a Richard Rodgers Development Award for Heading East and an AT&T First Stage Grant for the musical Chinese Hell, developed with producer Margo Lion and San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. A 2010 concert production of Heading East was the first musical to be presented at New York’s Asia Society. Other recent or current projects with Ko include a musical stage adaptation of Jean Kerr’s Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (developed with East of Doheny and La Jolla Playhouse) and the original musical Takeaway, which opened in 2011 at London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East and is the first major musical production in the UK to deal with the British East Asian experience. The book and lyrics to Takeaway were recently published by Oberon Books. Robert’s work is included as part of the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection at the Library of Congress. He is an alumnus of Princeton University and the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (where he currently serves on the faculty). He is an Artistic Associate at Stratford East, where he leads its Musical Theatre Writing Workshop with composer Fred Carl (the Workshop is the subject of the film Rappin’ at the Royal, Blast Films, 2005) and is a member of its Musical Theatre Advisory Board. He is also the Musical Theatre Advisor for Leviathan Lab in New York City, curating its presentation of Ghost Stories, a collection of three one-act musicals inspired by Asian ghost stories.
In his previous lives, Robert has been a musical director (whose work can be heard on
the recordings Stage 1, Stage 2 and the studio cast recording of Heading East on DINK Records) and the manager of the music and materials department at Music Theatre International, where he was instrumental in developing its “Broadway Junior” series.