Musical Theater


Music and Lyrics by: Melissa Li
Additional Lyrics and Poetry by: Kit Yan
Book by: Melissa Li & Kit Yan

Interstate,  New York Musical Festival (2018). Photo y

Interstate, New York Musical Festival (2018). Photo y

Interstate is a pop-rock poetry musical about a Queer Asian-American duo comprised of Dash, a transgender spoken word performer, and his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. Fueled by the allure of fame and a desire to connect with their community, they embark on their first national tour. Their music touches Henry, a South Asian transgender teenage boy living in Kentucky, and he finds solace in their art as he struggles with his own identity and family. After blogging about the band and documenting his own gender journey, he decides to set out on a quest to meet his heroes in person, hoping to find answers to his own struggles. 

Interstate is a touching story about how two transgender people at different stages of their journey navigate love, family, masculinity, and finding a community in the era of social media.

Awards and Nominations:

  • Winner, “Outstanding Lyrics” (New York Musical Festival)

  • Winner, “Special Citation: Representation and Inclusion” (New York Musical Festival)

  • Nomination, “Best Musical” (New York Musical Festival)

  • Nomination, “Outstanding Music” (New York Musical Festival)

Production History:

  • Mixed Blood Theatre’s 44th Season (World Premiere, March 2020)

Developmental History:

  • National Alliance for Musical Theater (NAMT) 31st Annual Festival of New Musicals (October 2019)

  • Musical Theater Factory Workshop Reading (September 2019)

  • Dramatists Guild Foundation Musical Theater Fellowship (October 2018 - May 2019)

  • Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals (February 2019)

  • New York Musical Festival (July 2018)

  • Musical Theater Factory Residency at Playwrights Downtown (March 2018)

  • Invitation-only 29-hour AEA reading at Studio 353 (April 2016)

  • Private reading at Project REACH (November 2013)

  • Dixon Place's HOT! Festival (July 2013)

  • Private reading at A.R.T./New York (May 2013)

  • terraNOVA Collective's Groundworks Residency at the IRT (October 2012)

Official Website:



Book and Lyrics by: Melissa Li and Kit Yan
Music by: Melissa Li

Pam, an unremarkable transwoman, is perfectly content with living her humdrum life as a toll booth worker on the New Jersey Turnpike. Her life changes when she receives a call that her estranged father has passed away. Upon returning home, she discovers his secret passion for competitive aerobics, and in an attempt to connect with a man she never got a chance to know, she convinces a ragtag group of trans friends to compete with her. But in order to win, she must defeat her high school arch-nemesis.

MISS STEP is a heartfelt 80s dance musical comedy featuring a transgender/non-binary (TGNB) cast, live aerobics, stunts, competition, and exercise. This diverse and exhilarating show is a classic underdog story that portrays TGNB characters as both ordinary and extraordinary people, defying all odds to sing, dance, compete, and dazzle audiences. MISS STEP is for anyone with a dream, who loves the 80s, and who has ever found family in the most unexpected places.

Awards and Nominations:

  • 2019 Vivace Award, The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation

Developmental History:

  • The Village Originals Writers Residency Program

  • Commissioned by The 5th Avenue Theatre’s First Draft Program (October 2018 - 2019)

  • The MITTEN Lab Residency (Sept 2018)

  • Village Theatre’s At the Table Residency (April 2018)

The Pussy Grabbers Plays

A collection of 8 short works inspired by the women who came forward
Produced by Kate Pines and Sharyn Rothstein

The Interview
Book and Lyrics by: Natasha Stoynoff
Music and Additional Lyrics by: Melissa Li

Lora Lee Gayer in  Interview . Photo by Jenny Anderson

Lora Lee Gayer in Interview. Photo by Jenny Anderson

The Pussy Grabber Plays is a theatrical production comprised of a series of short plays inspired by interviews with the women who came forward to tell the truth about Trump’s sexual assault and harassment.

The Interview was co-written by Natasha Stoynoff, one of the truth tellers whom Trump assaulted in 2005 while she was interviewing him for People. It was performed by Lora Lee Gayer at Joe’s Pub on January 14, 2019. Following the performance, all of the plays will be published online and offered royalty-free for any group that wants to perform the plays and spread awareness. All proceeds raised will be donated to local and national woman's rights organizations. 

Official Website:

99% Stone

99% Stone,  The Theater Offensive (2011 cast)

99% Stone, The Theater Offensive (2011 cast)

Book by: Letta Neely
Music and Lyrics by: Melissa Li
Originally Conceived by: Abe Rybeck
Developed at The Theater Offensive

Based on the events leading up to the 1969 Stonewall Riots, 99% Stone tells the story of two flame queens, a stone butch dyke, and a Puerto Rican lesbian who finally rose up with the people and fought against institutionalized homophobia and discrimination on that one fateful night in June. Weaving the historic event with the resistance movements of present day, the musical follows two struggling groups of people as they take matters into their own hands.

Development History:
Originally created by Abe Rybeck as Rachel and Sybil at The Stonewall Inn, the show was a 20-minute piece of guerrilla theater that toured on the streets of Boston in the summer of 2011. Shortly after, The Theater Offensive brought in playwright Letta Neely and 99% Stone was born. A recipient of the NPN Creation Fund, the NPN Forth Fund, and the NEFA Expeditions Touring Grant, the musical had another successful workshopping street tour in the summer of 2012. The full-length show is scheduled for a staged reading in February 2013, a workshop production in Summer 2013, with a full touring production planned for 2014.


Surviving the Nian

Surviving the Nian,  The Theater Offensive (2007)

Surviving the Nian, The Theater Offensive (2007)

Book by: Abe Rybeck
Music and Lyrics by: Melissa Li
Story by: Abe Rybeck and Melissa Li
Directed by: Patrick Wang
Produced by: The Theater Offensive

After 5 years at University in the States, Kaylin returns home to Hong Kong to celebrate Chinese New Year with her African-American girlfriend Asha, and to come out to her family. What she didn't expect is that her family has plans for her to stay in Hong Kong and help with the family acupuncture business. Nian refers to the mythical beast that comes once a year to terrorize families, and sometimes in order to survive the New Year, families have to stick together.

Awards and Nominations:

  • Jonathan Larson Grant Recipient (American Theater Wing)

  • Winner, “Best New Play” (Independent Reviewers of New England)

Production History:
Originally part of The Theater Offensive's Play Lab, Surviving the Nian went through 4 years of workshops before its final production at the Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion in 2007. That same year, Melissa and Abe won the Jonathan Larson Award for talent in composition and writing. Surviving the Nian also won the IRNE award in 2007 for Best New Play.