F30 Countdown – Sarah K Hammond and Emily Goldman

For today’s countdown we have another two-hander. With twenty days to go we’re meeting Sarah K Hammond and Emily Goldman, co-writers for their short musical Jack + Jill!

Emily Goldman is a New York-based pianist, composer, and writer. She holds an MFA from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, and in 2015 she was a MacDowell Fellow in Literature and a Johnny Mercer Songwriting Fellow. Her music has been heard at the Aspen Festival, Barrington Stage, 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, and many other venues. Her stories and poems can be found in december magazine and the Bridport Anthology. She is currently working on a series of books for young readers. 

Sarah Hammond is a playwright and musical theatre writer originally from South Carolina, now based in Brooklyn. Her plays include Green Girl (SPF ’08 at The Public); House on Stilts (South Coast Rep Commission); Kudzu (Trustus); and others. Sarah’s musicals are String (Rodgers Award, Village Theatre World-Premiere in March 2018), Barefoot Persephone, and Pete the Cat (Theatreworks USA). She has been honored to receive a seven-year New Dramatists residency, the Lippmann Family “New Frontier” Award, Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heideman Award, commissions from Broadway Across America and EST Sloan, and a residency at The Royal National Theatre in London. M.F.A.s: U. Iowa Playwriting and NYU Musical Theatre Writing.


When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

GOLDMAN: I’ve been writing fiction for years, but I didn’t start writing musicals until I attended NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (2012-14).  

HAMMOND: I’ve been scribbling since kindergarten, and I found playwriting in high school at an amazing summer program at UVA called the Young Writers Workshop. They had us do an eavesdropping exercise, spying on people in the local shops to make scenes out of the dialogue, which just totally hooked me. The musicality of language, the comedies and tragedies lurking hidden in a sentence fragment, I loved it.

How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

H: We were asked to write a musical based on the nursery rhyme when we were at NYU together. That was the frame, and the real inspiration that makes the heart of the piece is a long history of falling in love with buddies who just wanted to be friends. There’s a lot of me in the Jack side of the story. But hey, heartbreak’s a little worthwhile if you can get a good play out of it.

What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?

G: Whimsical, melancholy, collaborative, spontaneous, questioning.

H: Dreamy, thoughtful, clever, foolish, wholehearted.

What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

G: Polly Pen, Hayao Miyazaki, Joe Raposo.  

H: Toni Morrison, Jeanette Winterson, Hans Christian Andersen, Greek mythology, TS Eliot.

What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

G: I had a stint in Los Angeles as a professional TV puppeteer.  

H: I aced the AP chemistry exam in high school.

What are some of your favorite plays?

G: The Threepenny Opera, Wozzeck, Riot Antigone, One Flea Spare.

H: Cloud Tectonics, The Love of a Nightingale, Into the Woods, Trestle at Popelick Creek.

Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

G: I’m deep in a draft of a YA novel…stay tuned!  

H: Pete the Cat, a musical I wrote with Will Aronson, is Theatreworks USA’s free summer theater this year – runs at the Lortel until August 18. It’s made for kids but is fun for grown-ups, too! And String, a musical I wrote with Adam Gwon, will have its world-premiere at the Village Theatre in Seattle in March.


Their musical Jack + Jill will be performed on August 10th at 8:30pm. Jack and Jill are identical, inseparable, made-for-each-other best friends, but then Jack falls in love with Jill, which is a problem. A ten-minute musical about climbing hills, breaking eggs, and the perils of growing up.