Sheilah Rae has had an extensive career in the Theatre and the Music Business.
She has been a performer in such Broadway musicals as Fiddler On the Roof, Applause, The Rothschilds, and Company. Recently she appeared in Prospect Theater Company’s “Evergreen” at the Times Center. She served on the production team of Rupert Holmes’ Broadway thrillers, “Accomplice” and “Solitary Confinement” starring Stacy Keach. As a partner in her own music production company, she produced original music and/or lyrics for such clients as Time, People, Doritos, Beechnut Baby Food, BenGay, etc. As a songwriter, she has written numerous pop songs for both New York and Nashville recording artists, been a recording artist on RCA, performed in nightclubs, sung back-up for such artists as Barry Manilow, and written a variety of theme songs for TV.
She co-created Funny, You Don’t Look Like A Grandmother with Lois Wyse and Robert Waldman, which she also produced in Los Angeles where it ran for a year and a half, and continues to play all over the country and is published by Samuel French. She is lyricist and co-book writer of The Belle of Tombstone (formerly known as I Married Wyatt Earp) with Thomas Edward West and composer Michele Brourman. It's a new musical based loosely on the life of Josephine Sarah Marcus, the third wife of Wyatt Earp. This show had developmental workshop productions with The Tennessee Rep, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and ASCAP/Disney, the Falcon Theater in LA, and the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. It was recently performed in London in the Musical Futures Series at the Greenwich Theater with an all West End cast and had a world premiere in Fall 2005 at Bristol Riverside Theatre. It had such a successful reading at California State Univ. at Fullerton in 2006 that it was performed for 3 weeks in Fall 2007 as part of their professional season. In July 2007, the New York Theatre Barn produced it in NYC, with an all-star Broadway cast including Tovah Feldshuh, directed by Graciela Daniele. In 2008, a concert version was performed in Los Angeles at the Festival of New American Musicals starring Carol Lawrence and Carole Cook. It played off-Broadway at 59E59 in May 2011 to sold-out audiences, and recently had performances at the NY Film Academy as well as an upcoming production scheduled for spring 2019 at the Hartt School for the second time.
She is a five-time finalist for the Heideman Award of the Humana Festival, in 2005 for her short musical play Lovelines and 2006 for What Goes Around, and 2010 for The Waiter, all with Michele Brourman, as well as Single and Active in 2011, On the Page in 2012. The first three were performed in the LPTW’s Short Plays Festival ‘05 and ’06 and ‘09 in New York. The Waiter’was also recently performed at The Cherry Lane and in the 8 Minute Madness Festival off-Broadway. Their short musical On the Page was part of Snapshots at The Prospect Theater Co. in Feb. 2010. All these shorts were recently performed in Evanston, IL at Chicago’s Light Opera Works and Midwest New Musicals New Works Series in November 2011 under the title And the Tables Turn, and was a finalist for the O’Neill Musical Theater Conference, 2011. Now entitled What Goes Around it was invited into the Reading Series for 2013-2014 at The York Theatre. Her mini-musical The Mystery of Young Woman Drawing with Deborah Savadge was being presented by Prospect Theater Company as part of Portraits, for which she wrote music and lyrics. Her mini-musical about the FIFA soccer scandal Who Cares? was part of Prospect’s All the News, as well as Cooper Union (with composer Debra Barsha) with Prospect’s off-Bway teen initiative, which was also presented at the Metropolitan Playhouse in spring 2017. Her newest musical Every Other Thursday, also with Debra Barsha, based on a short story by Edna Ferber, was performed at NJ Rep and is published by Smith and Kraus.
She has won songwriting awards from Billboard, Music City Song Festival, Variety, and in 1999 was awarded the Rising Star Galaxy Award from the NY Women’s Agenda for outstanding work in the theater.
Her not-for-profit work includes serving on the Council for Songwriters Guild of America, 12 years on the Board of the Music Conservatory of Westchester, children’s programming chair at Caramoor Center for the Arts, past-President of the League of Professional Theatre Women, now serving on their Advisory Board as well as chairing the National Committee for Membership. She is the Founding President Emeritus of New York Theatre Barn, a 501c3 off-off-Broadway company specializing in the presentation of new musical theatre work. A private vocal coach, she also taught the songwriting workshops at the Singers Forum, NY and the School for Singers, Katonah, NY.
She was a founding member of the Grammys in the Schools Program, a national education program about the Music Industry, and has been a guest lecturer about Music in Advertising at several colleges.
Sheilah is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and also trained in London at the Royal Academy of Music, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She is a member of AEA, SAG, AFTRA, Local 802, The Dramatists Guild, and is a Grammy Voting Member of NARAS, and is a graduate of CTI of the LATP, and a member of the New Producers Alliance of the Producers Development Program. She is married to neurologist Dr. Elliott Gross and has two children: Victoria, a composer, and Max, a construction project analyst, and three amazing grandchildren.
Sheilah is the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from NY Theatre Barn for her exceptional contributions to musical theatre as a writer, composer, lyricist and performer for more than 50 years, and for her continued outstanding service and vision as founder of New York Theatre Barn.