Robert Lee is a lyricist and librettist. He and composer Leon Ko received a Richard Rodgers Development Award for their musical Heading East and an AT&T First Stage Grant for their 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 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 (published by Oberon Books), 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. Most recently, he created Alice Chan, a play for young audiences written with BD Wong for La Jolla Playhouse, as well as the songs for the upcoming film Love is a Broadway Hit with music by Ko.
Robert is an alumnus of Princeton University and the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where is on the full-time faculty. He is a visiting professor at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts and an Artistic Associate at Stratford East, where he and composer Fred Carl lead its Musical Theatre Writing Workshop and are members of its Musical Theatre Advisory Board. (The Workshop is the subject of the film Rappin’ at the Royal, Blast Films, 2005.) He has been a vocal advocate for increased inclusivity in musical theatre, representing the GMTWP on the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival Committee since 2014 and serving as a lead advisor on the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ new production of The Mikado which aimed to address the concerns of the Asian American community as well as diversify its membership. Robert is the Musical Theatre Advisor for Leviathan Lab in New York City, curating its 2014 collection of original short musicals Ghost Stories.
In his previous lives, Robert has been a director and 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 managed the music and materials department at Music Theatre International, where he was instrumental in developing its “Broadway Junior” series.