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Our Monthly Newsletter - April 2024

What’s Ahead for Alliance for New Music-Theatre in 2024?

We are stepping up our activities this season in anticipation of celebrating in 2024-25 season our 30-Year Anniversary of our humble beginnings as a workshop for local artists to advance their collaborative capacities to experiment in the many art forms of music-theatre.


DC Emancipation & The Right to Vote

On March 14 Alliance for New Music-Theatre held a special presentation of its work-in-development at Mount Zion UMC, hosted by the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) . DC Emancipation and the Right to Vote uses theatre to address and celebrate key figures and events in local African American history of the mid-19th century that led up to DC‘s early Emancipation, including the first votes cast by African American men in Georgetown’s Rose Park.

Composer Ronald ‘Trey’ Walton, Music Director Evelyn Simpson Curenton, and Choreographer Dr. Anita Gonzalez led the special presentation and cast members shared representative songs from Walton’s original score and dance selections from the period.


The Robert Devaney of the Georgetowner Newpaper was there to check out this community event and wrote:

"Witnessing the lively, meaningful performances, the audience in the church shared in the optimistic spirit of the Black struggle for freedom."

"The genesis and growth of the production reveals that it does, indeed, take a village to make it a reality. In addition, the talent and support involved are evident of a true community partnership." Read the full article in the Georgetowner HERE.

Daniel -Ross March 14.png

Performance March 14 at Mt. Zion Church. Daniel Smith (Rev. Jacob Ross) and cast.

View the video HERE.


At the March 14 presentation of

“DC Emancipation & The Right to Vote”

at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church:

Anne C. Fisher,

Anita Gonzalez,

Lisa Fager,

Ronald “Trey” Walton,

Evelyn Simpson Curenton,

Susan Galbraith

and Neville Waters.


Georgetowner photo.  

Leading the creative team is DC Composer Ronald 'Trey' Walton III. The new project marks Walton’s second commission by New Music-Theatre. The first in 2022 was Voices of Zion: The Black Georgetown Cemeteries Project, a work in partnership with Dumbarton Church and the then-named Mount Zion and Female Union Band Cemeteries Foundation. The company was inspired by the stories of the ancestors who lie buried in two adjacent African American cemeteries in the heart of Georgetown.

Music Director Evelyn Simpson Curenton, a nationally revered musician who has worked with opera superstars including Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman and who is steeped in the tradition of historic Black church music, will also lead piano/vocal score workshop readings and an open orchestral workshop. We are happy to announce our partnership with Dr. Anita Gonzalez, director, writer and choreographer, and professor and Head of the Arts Department at Georgetown University,

DC Emancipation & The Right to Vote builds onto that story with another important chapter of history about the African Americans who helped forge our city, built community, and leveraged their collective power to make DC the first in the nation to legalize city-wide emancipation. Several of our cast members and their characters have continued on this journey with New Music-Theatre, invested fully in sharing an important story through the transformative power of music-theatre.

We believe the current work will have even greater historic “place-making” significance for our entire city. The plan is to mount the fully orchestrated work with a cast of ten in April 2025 as part of the city-wide celebration of DC Emancipation.

Read more about the project HERE.

If you are interested in underwriting one of our Singer/Actors or a member of our creative team to help move this project forward, please contact us at


Featured Artist - Daniel Smith

Daniel J. Smith is a one-of-a-kind artist. More than a cross-over artist, he’s his own genre. He takes his well-earned place as a core company member of New Music-Theatre.


He was brought to the attention of New Music-Theatre last summer, selected to be one of the five singers for the Composer Librettist Studio and he returns this year as Captain” for the Singer-Actor Team.  He was subsequently cast as Jacob Ross, the historical itinerant Preacher, who arrived in DC in the mid-nineteenth century and brought his special charisma and devotional evangelism to Mount Zion Church, in the work-in-development DC Emancipation & The Right to Vote. 

Daniel is a busy man.

Daniel Smith.jpg

 In addition to launching our Cabaret Series this June, he has performed with multiple local theaters, including Washington National Opera, soloed with Cantate and other choral groups, and has also served as a Music Director for several children’s theaters in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Daniel is also a professor at Howard University in the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. Smith. He received his Bachelor of Science in Music Business from Winston-Salem State University. Daniel is also a proud alum of George Mason University, with a Master of Music in Vocal Performance.

Expansive and enthusiastic in his approach, he makes himself emotionally available to whatever role and musical composition asks of him. He is generous to fellow artists and students alike. Daniel has a passion and love for sharing his gifts and helping others to discover and cultivate their own. 

Recently, we got to converse about our common interests. Entrepreneurship, that’s where we started.


Daniel: Most people don’t know my background is in Music Business. I’m very driven to the Business side. I’m interested in making sure that artists get paid. Even growing up, I worked first as a Minister of Music. The concept of working for myself and making my own rules has always been part of who I am. It helps me stay organized and I believe influences my artistry. My focus was Marketing and Merchandizing, and I can do it well for everybody else…


Daniel, we both like to support artists in their development.  So tell me how you came to think of yourself as a singer?


I never thought I would be a performer until grad school. I studied one summer on the Amalfi Coast with my voice teacher, Patricia Miller, and I was hooked on singing opera. Singing with an orchestra and without a mic I felt such power and I wanted to go after that.


With amplified music, it requires more work while singing opera sets my voice free. Singing musical theater, the orchestra sound in most DC theaters comes from behind, and it’s hard to hear through such a wall of sound. There are a few rare spaces -- George Mason Theater in Manassas, the Hylton Performing Arts Center, is the best -- designed beautifully for voices.


What kind of music-theater do you most love to express?


I love things out of the box.  I don’t’ mean atonal music though I have an appreciation for it, I don’t particularly like singing it. It takes a long time to get it into my body. I like mixed genres, bringing different elements together, because that’s who I am as a person. Having a background growing up in a Baptist Church, so even singing an Italian aria, my church upbringing will have some influence, and if I’m singing R&B it’s going to have something of a classical approach in it. I love teaching that way too, which I think helps students open up to different parts of themselves.


This “crossover” of influences and identities is how it works in real life. I don’t want to leave parts of me behind. I shouldn’t have to. The birth of what we consider Black music genres – spirituals and gospels – feeds all our popular music forms.

Read more of the interview HERE.


Composer-Librettist Studio


Our new initiative - the Composer-Librettist Studio - returns to DC in July 2024 and will once again be hosted by the Music Department of the University of the District of Columbia.

We have selected all five Composers, Librettists and Singer/Performers and are excited to have this talented group of artists join us for the 16 day workshop. All participants were carefully selected through an application process to represent diversity of experience, ages, cultural backgrounds, and styles of music and textual expression. Successful participants are eager to collaborate and be stretched out of their comfort zone.

The class of June 2023, when New Music-Theatre conducted its first full Composer-Librettist Studio since an inaugural studio in DC in 1994, which seeded our company.

This year the CL Studio will be co-led by Ben Krywosz, Artistic Director of Nautilus Theater Company and Founder of the program and our own Susan Galbraith, Artistic Director. Sonja Thompson returns to coach and collaborate as Music Director.


We plan to conduct the CL Studio annually in DC as an intensive workshop for professional artists that demands a full-time commitment of all participants for two and a half weeks. The CL Studio is a unique, ongoing professional development program that provides an opportunity for five composers, five librettists and five singer-actors to focus on the principles and process of collaboration through a series of brief exploratory assignments in the hybrid form of music-theatre. Read more about this project HERE.


Our Artists and Partners on View

Black Georgetown Foundation presents:

"APRILTEENTH" – DC Emancipation Day!

On Saturday, April 13th at 11am

Mount Zion and Female Union Band Society cemeteries,

2501 Mill Rd NW.


To honor those who endured the unthinkable, a libation ceremony and reading of names will be held at the event.  This will be followed by a conversation with Lisa Fager and Patrick Tisdale, caretakers who will share their knowledge of the ancestors of Mt Zion and FUBS. 


It is important to remember this significant event in American history, which paved the way for the Emancipation Proclamation and, eventually, Juneteenth. This is a FREE event, and everyone is welcome to attend. Kindly RSVP using the provided link so we can prepare for your arrival. DC Strings will accompany the reading of the names. RSVP here.


Louis Cleare

performs in

Florencia en el Amazonas

Saturday, April 13 - Sunday, April 21

Maryland Opera Studio

at the Kay Theatre Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center


Louis joined us for our special presentation of DC Emancipation and the Right to Vote at Mt. Zion UMC on March 14 in the role of Hezekiah Turner, a church elder. He is performing in Florencia en el Amazonas that explores themes of longing, self-discovery and the connection between art and the natural world. More information and tickets HERE.



Ronald “Trey” Walton III - Senior Recital

Thursday, May 2 @ 6:30 pm

Mount Zion United Methodist Church

1334 29th St. NW


Trey, the Composer for both our initial work - Voices of Zion and DC Emancipation and the Right to Vote, is graduating from UDC and will conduct his senior recital on May 2. We are proud to support Trey as he ventures into the real world and look forward to working with him on future projects.

Hope you will come out to support our Artists and Partners!


As a small not-for-profit 501(c)3 public charity organization, Alliance for New Music-Theatre’s mission is to:

  1. Nurture the creation, development and production of new works of music-theatre

  2. Foster the development of professional and young artists

  3. Engage audiences in the creative process to promote a deeper understanding and critical appreciation of the transformative power of music-theatre.

We need your support to continue to fulfill our mission. There are many opportunities to provide support at various levels by supporting an artist, a production, or general support.


The Donate page on our website has information about ways to contribute. Donate | New Music-Theatre (

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