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Northwestern School of Communication

Masi Asare

Assistant Professor
Currently working variously as a composer/lyricist/bookwriter on 5 new musicals, set in contemporary Delhi to the 1946 Delta blues circuit to a dystopian future, about transnational families, racial passing, and self-reinvention. I’m writing scholarly articles on race, voice, and musicals, and a book on Black singer-actresses and vocal sound, plus co-editing a journal issue on musicals of the global south.



Area(s) of Expertise

Black studies, Musical Theatre, Musical Theatre Writing, Sound Cultures, Voice
Masi Asare

Dr. Masi Asare is a composer/lyricist, playwright, voice teacher, and interdisciplinary performance scholar. She teaches courses in critical musical theatre studies, vocal performance studies, and musical theatre writing. Her scholarly book project Voicing the Possible: Technique, Vocal Sound, and Black Women on the Musical Stage examines the impact of blues singers on Broadway belting and makes the case for the need to feel the racial history in contemporary practices of musical theatre performance. Masi has presented on her creative work and on her research about race, voice, and musicals at national and international conferences including the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), American Musicological Society (AMS), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), BroadwayCon, EMP PopCon, and Song, Stage, and Screen (SSS). As a voice teacher, her students have performed on Broadway, in major regional theatre productions, and on international tours.

A lyricist for Paradise Square (Broadway, Chicago) and the internationally touring Monsoon Wedding Musical (Delhi, Doha), she has also written music and lyrics for the secret agent musical Sympathy Jones (Playscripts). Masi is the author of book, music, and lyrics for The Family Resemblance (O’Neill) as well as several in-progress, commissioned musicals, and wrote a super hero play for Marvel, Mirror of Most Value: A Ms. Marvel Play (Concord). Honors include a Tony nomination, an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, a Lilly Award, a Theater Hall of Fame grant for emerging artists, awards for composition and lyrics from the O’Neill Center, and the Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award for women composers of musicals.

In 2021-22 she held a Kaplan Institute Faculty Fellowship for her scholarly research on Black women and vocal sound on the musical stage. Masi holds degrees from Harvard (BA magna cum laude) and New York University (MA, PhD), and has published with Journal of Popular Music Studies, Studies in Musical Theatre, TDR, and Performance Matters.


  • PhD, Performance Studies, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts
  • MA, Performance Studies, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts
  • BA, magna cum laude, Performance Studies, Harvard University

Recent Awards and Honors

  • Tony Nominee, Best Original Score - 2022
  • Outer Critics Circle Award Nominee, Outstanding Score - 2022
  • Clarence Simon Award for Teaching and Mentoring - 2022
  • Northwestern Kaplan Institute for the Humanities Faculty Fellow - 2022
  • Women to Watch on Broadway List - 2022
  • Stacey Mindich “Go Write A Musical” Lilly Award – 2019
  • Theater Hall of Fame Emerging Artist Grant – 2019
  • Honorable Mention, NYU Outstanding Dissertation Prize – 2019
  • Paulette Haupt Composition Prize, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center – 2018
  • Georgia Bogardus Holof Lyricist Award, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center – 2018


  • Theatre 253 - Music Theatre History
  • Theatre 340 - Black Women on the Musical Stage
  • Theatre 352 - Advanced Music Theatre Techniques: Vocal Styles
  • Theatre 355 - Advanced Creating the Musical
  • Theatre 448 - Racial Histories of the Broadway Musical
  • Theatre 546 - Vocal Sound and Performances of Race

Recent and Upcoming

  • A piece of music. My prayer for the dead, for the wounded, for the grieving. Listen here
  • Odyssey National Tour. Delighted to have several original songs in Lisa Peterson's new adaptation of Homer’s epic for The Acting Company based on Emily Wilson’s translation. Set in a present-day center for refugees in the Greek islands, a retelling by 4 young women fleeing conflict in Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and African countries. The show toured nationally Sep-Nov following a premiere at Marin Theatre Company (SF Chronicle Datebook pick). More info
  • Conversations in Color book. Honored to be featured in a chapter-length interview in Sean Mayes’ newly published Conversations in Color: Exploring North American Musical Theatre (Bloomsbury) alongside artists including Baayork Lee, Linda Twine, Alex Lacamoire, Schele Williams, Jason Michael Webb, and Stafford Arima, with a foreword from André De Shields. More info