McGuire and Simon at work

Janine McGuire & Arri Simon

By School of Performing Arts


Janine McGuire and Arri Lawton Simon are an award-winning musical theatre writing and producing team based in New York City. In addition to Express, their musicals include The Bubble, based on the 2006 Eytan Fox film of the same name, and Kibby The Space Dog, based on Wichita author Andrea Cassell’s children's book of the same name.

Their work has been developed at the Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship, Fire Island Pines Arts Project, Goodspeed Musicals, The Johnny Mercer Writers Grove, New York Film Academy, New York Theatre Barn, New York Transit Museum, The Phoenix Theatre, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Wichita Children’s Theatre & Dance Center, and The York Theatre. They’ve contributed original songs to The Rainbow Lullaby album on Broadway Records, The Broadway Star Project, The Lotte Lenya Songbook, and many concerts and events. They produce an annual salon of new holiday music which benefits a worthy charitable cause each year. They have guest-lectured at the university-level on songwriting and collaboration.

The pair met over ten years ago at the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, a program widely regarded as the premiere training ground for emerging musical theatre composers, lyricists, and librettists, and the birthplace of numerous historic collaborations. Arri currently serves on the BMI Workshop steering committee, and Janine and Arri are each frequent guest moderators of workshop sessions. 


Arri Simon

Arri Lawton Simon, originally from Wichita, Kansas, earned a B.M. in Composition and Vocal Performance from Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. In addition to writing for musical theatre, he composes music for film and dance, most notably scores for Chaplin’s The Kid commissioned by the Tallgrass Film Festival, the contemporary ballet Freedom’s Fancy commissioned by SAFEHouse Arts San Francisco, and the illustrated short film Hearts to Half, commissioned by Broadway producer Dori Berenstein. In 2014 he received the Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theatre for Composition.

As a performer, Arri launched his career on the stages of Wichita Children’s Theatre and Dance Center and Music Theatre Wichita. A member of AEA, he has since appeared at Carnegie Hall, New York City Center, Lincoln Center, and most recently the new Perelman Performing Arts Center, originating a principal role in Watch Night, a multi-disciplinary contemporary opera conceived by Bill T. Jones. Arri is a frequent music director and guest performer for the concerts of Jeremy Stolle (one of Broadway’s Phantoms), performing all over the world and, in May 2021, locally at the Capitol Federal Amphitheater. Following in the footsteps of his arts educator parents, Arri is an educator as well, on faculty at the Professional Performing Arts School/Rosie’s Theater Kids in NYC, in addition to maintaining his own private voice studio. @mcguireandsimon

Janine McGuire, originally from Bergen County, New Jersey, attended Barnard College of Columbia University where she earned a B.A. in Music and founded NOMADS, a club for the production of new student-led theatrical works. She spent several years working at Disney Theatrical Group and producing independent theatre in NYC before enrolling in the BMI Workshop and meeting Arri. She is currently a mentor for Maestra, an organization which provides support, visibility, and community to the women and nonbinary people who make the music in the musical theatre industry, and on staff at Concerts in Motion, an organization that brings live music and engagement to NYC’s most isolated communities. In 2023 Janine received the Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theatre for Libretto.
Janine McGuire