Musicians United for Social Equity (MUSE) has named Zachary Mullings and Julia Riew the inaugural winners of their Harold Wheeler and Linda Twine scholarships, respectively. The honors, both of which include a $2,500 cash prize, were created to increase access to career opportunities for theatre musicians of color.
Mullings is a 2014 graduate of Berklee College of Music and has performed with such artists as Chance the Rapper and Kevin Garrett, along with being a drum substitute player in the pits of Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen and Diana: The Musical.
"I am elated and exceedingly grateful to the MUSE team for honoring me with the Harold Wheeler Scholarship," says Mullings. "I believe in what MUSE stands for, and will use this humbling opportunity as a springboard to grow in my craft, to work hard in my projects, and to champion other BIPOC creatives just like me!"
Riew is a Korean-American theatre composer, lyricist, and playwright who will graduate from Harvard in 2022. She is a co-founder of the Harvard College Asian Student Arts Project (ASAP), which provides resources and community for Asian student artists. Riew was also the recipient of the 2020 Radcliffe Doris Cohen Levi Musical Theater Prize.
"Thank you so much to everyone in the MUSE Community, especially the MUSE founders and the selection committee, for this incredible opportunity," says Riew. "My dream has always been to join the Broadway community and help uplift the voices of underrepresented artists, and I now feel like I am one step closer to achieving that dream. It is such an honor!"
The scholarships, named for conductor, orchestrator, and Lifetime Achievement Tony Award recipient Harold Wheeler and The Color Purple and Caroline, or Change music director Linda Twine, also include one-on-one consultation with MUSE founding members.
MUSE was co-founded by Kenny Seymour (Ain't Too Proud, Memphis) and Stephen Oremus (Wicked, Kinky Boots), along with a board that includes such musicians as Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen), Mary-Mitchell Campbell (The Prom, Mean Girls), and Zane Mark (Motown: The Musical). The organization aims to cultivate racial equity within theatrical music departments through internships, mentorships, and support for early career musicians of color. The organization was created under Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP).
For more information, visit MuseOnline.org.