Back Stage welcomes letters on performing arts issues. Each letter should include the writer's address and phone number, is subject to editing, and must be limited to 250 words.

Thanks from a Friend

As a young writer, composer, and lyricist whose love for American musicals is rivaled only by a compulsion to create them, I'd like to extend a big thank you for a piece that was both helpful and heartful ("Musical Stages," Oct. 15).

On the helpful front, my gratitude is for the many resources that are sure to aid all of us newcomers. Every name, organization, program or nugget of advice that is added to our knowledge base will certainly make our journey from page to stage a bit less bumpy.

But it's on the heartful front that my gratitude becomes more personal. That's because not only am I a newcomer, but I'm one who has been feeling both blessed and bewil-deredblessed because my 1996 move to New York sparked a creative avalanche that includes a musical reminiscent of the grand American tradition; yet bewildered because my status as a 30-year-old former corporate ladder climber has had me fearing I'm getting too late a start, and because some media naysayers have had me thinking that "no one writes or produces musicals like that anymore."

Well, your article helped change that. If more experienced artists like John Mercurio (and even Cy Coleman) have endured 15-year processes, then maybe there's hope for a timeline that seemed unmanageable. And if organizations like David Merrick's The New Musical, Inc. would rather hold off on funding until they find a Rodgers and Hammerstein derivative, then maybe there's hope for an art form that seemed destined to an untimely-and unfair-death.

Thank you for the hope.

Susan Friend

New York City