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Shakina Nayfack Debuts Kit Yan and Melissa Li’s New Show Miss Step at the 2019 Idea Awards

Shakina Nayfack Debuts Kit Yan and Melissa Li’s New Show Miss Step at the 2019 Idea Awards

Monday night, The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation presented the 2019 Idea Awards for Theatre giving away three grants awarded to adventurous new voices in playwriting and musical theatre, as well the visionary playwrights who have inspired and blazed trails before them.

The 2019 Vivace Musical Theatre Award was presented to the composer/lyricist team, Kit Yan and Melissa Li. Recognizing emerging talent and original work with ambitious theatrical ideas and were bestowed with a $30,000 prize. 

Melissa Li, Kit Yan 

The award was given by director Mei Ann Teo.

The Award

The two premiered two songs from their newest show, Miss Step. Miss Step has already gotten a first draft commission of from 5th Avenue Theater, and a commission from Keen Company for a Keen Teens one act musical.

You can catch this team at NYMF with Interstate. Interstate is an Asian-American pop-rock poetry musical about a transgender spoken word performer, and his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. They become internet-famous as an activist musical duo. Their political and personal music touches Henry, a transgender teenage boy living in a small Kentucky town, and he finds solace in their art as he struggles with his own identity and family. Interstate shows how two transgender people at different stages of their journey navigate love, family, masculinity, and finding a community in the era of social media.

The show premiered at the New York Musical Festival in 2018 and has since earned it’s writers the following accolades; 5 awards at the 2018 New York Musical Festival including Best Lyrics, a production at Mixed Blood Theater in March 2020, Space on Ryder Farm selection, Musical Theater Factory residency 2018, terraNOVA Collective’s Groundworks Residency at the IRT, 29 Hour reading at Studio 353, Project Reach workshop, Dixon Place staged reading; 2019: Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship 2018/19; Johnny Mercer Colony at Goodspeed Musicals 2019

Shakina Nayfack, Kate Bussert


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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