The Leo Shull Musical Directing Fellowship

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2018 Fellow Kemar Jewel's production of Marry Me A Little in DirectorFest 2019 at the New Ohio Theatre, New York City.


The Drama League in partnership with New York Stage and Film, New York City/Poughkeepsie, NY

Funded in part by the Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts

Open To: Early-Career Directors; interested Mid-Career Directors should contact The Drama League to determine if the program is a suitable match for their needs.


NOTE: The Drama League has already selected the 2021 Recipient for the Leo Shull Musical Directing Fellowship.  The 2022 application cycle will open in September 2021.


The Leo Shull Musical Directing Fellowship, a partnership between The Drama League and New York Stage and Film and funded in part by the Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts, is an intensive career development initiative for directors interested in exploring techniques involved in the development of new musicals. 





Professionals Week is an intensive immersion in the professional theater. Fellows will attend performances, participate in seminars and workshops with prominent industry professionals, and participate in discussions designed to prepare you for the demands and expectations of the field.

  Professionals Week will run from Tuesday, September 7 - Friday September 10, 2021. 



Fellows will participate in the Directing Intensive, an extended directing workshop under the guidance of a mentor director, and experienced professionals.  The Intensive will also include pre-production activities and workshops leading to DirectorFest.

   The Directing Intensive will run from Saturday, September 11 - Tuesday, September 14, 2021. 



As part of NYSAF’s Powerhouse Season in Poughkeepsie, NY, each summer, the selected Fellow will be placed as an assistant or associate director on 2-3 musicals undergoing developmental processes.  The Fellow will experience a diverse array of artists and methodologies that will prepare them for a future in the creation of new musicals. 



The scholarship prize amount will be determined prior to an offer made to the candidate.  For the 2019 cycle, the scholarship prize amount was $5,000 for the 12 active weeks of the fellowship (between late May and late January), paid in equal installments. The amount of the scholarship prize will be disclosed prior to acceptance. Taxes will be deducted in accordance with federal, state and local law.


The Fellow will stage a one-act musical as part of DirectorFest, The Drama League's annual festival dedicated to the art of professional directing in the United States. The festival takes place in New York City for an audience that includes artistic directors, producers, interested industry professionals, and others. DirectorFest is the culmination of a two-week rehearsal process, and utilizes professional casting directors, designers, and production personnel. Post-production, the directors meet with theater professionals for an in-depth discussion of their work. 

  DirectorFest Prep Week will run from Monday, August 9 - Friday, August 13, 2021.
  Other components of the DirectorFest process TBA.



Round-Trip Transportation is provided for the following activities:

  • Professionals Week (for Directors living more than 25 miles outside of New York City)
  • Directing Intensive (from New York City to location)
  • DirectorFest (for Directors living more than 25 miles outside of New York City)
  • New York Stage and Film Assignment (unless otherwise arranged with Fellow)

​Travel is not provided for:

  • Finalist Interviews



Housing is provided for the following activities:

  • Professionals Week (for Directors living more than 25 miles outside of New York City)
  • Directing Intensive, as needed
  • DirectorFest (for Directors living more than 25 miles outside of New York City)
  • New York Stage and Film Assignment

​Housing is not provided for:

  • Finalist Interviews

The Drama League is a dedicated advocate for increased diversity and for the inclusion of artists who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Differently-Abled, and LGBTQIA2+ in all our programs. We aim to achieve full inclusion in all our programs, providing opportunities for directors to tell their stories, so that we make a theater that truly reflects the society in which we live; where each artist is considered on their merits as an individual; where the stories being told are drawn from authentic and diverse experiences; and where our individual humanity can be celebrated.

The Drama League does not and shall not discriminate, and will take affirmative actions to ensure against discrimination, on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, the selection of fellowship and residency artists; selection of staff, artists, partners, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors and clients; and provision of services.

“My Fellowship not only altered the shape of my career, it altered my life.  Even now, long after my Fellowship, The Drama League remains there for me.  It's a family."

Samantha Saltzman, 2015 Musical Theatre Fellow; Resident Director, Matilda: The Musical 1st National Tour