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Photo by Kathryn Hayden

Sonya Hayden (she/her) is an award-winning lyricist, composer, librettist, and playwright from Central Virginia, now based in New York. Her work is rooted at the intersection of hilarity and heartbreak, the political and the personal. She is particularly drawn to exploring multi-faceted female characters and the forces that constrain, shape, and liberate them.

She is the recipient of the MAC John Wallowitch Songwriting Award, ScreenCraft Stage Play Competition Lucy Powis Mentorship Prize, Kurt Weill Foundation Songbook Award, Across a Crowded Room Fellowship, and Marble House Project Residency. She has been a Semi-Finalist for the O’Neill National Music Theater Conference, Top 6 for Michigan State University’s New Musical Laboratory, a Finalist for the Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Play Contest, and a Finalist for Circle in the Square Theatre School’s Emerging Writers Residency.

She is a member of the BMI Advanced Musical Theatre & Librettists Workshops, the NY Songwriters Alliance, the Dramatists Guild, and ASCAP. She was previously a member of the Recording Academy’s Musical Theater Mentorship Program, New Perspectives Theatre’s Full-Length Play LAB, Maestra Music’s Mentorship Program, and the Princeton Triangle Club Writers Workshop (Milton Lyon Award for Outstanding Writing). She has been a Script Supervisor at Audible, is the Co-Director of Maestra Music's Mentorship Program, and was the English Script Consultant on a new South Korean musical directed by Kenneth Ferrone.

In musical theater, her work includes Wanda Does the Water Cycle (book/music/lyrics, Lincoln Center Festival, soon to be licensed by MTI), For Love or Funny and It Ain't Over 'Til the Bat Lady Sings (co-book/music, NY Public Library for the Performing Arts), Crazy But True (book/lyrics, CAIM Creative Co.), and The Luckiest Girl (book/music/lyrics, Princeton University). Her song “Our Little Life” (lyrics) was performed by Tony nominee Karen Akers at Urban Stages and “Away From It All” (music) was selected for a Maestra Music/Circle in the Square Theatre School Collab and performed on their Broadway stage.


As a playwright, Sonya's recent work includes Cassie Goes to Congress (New Perspectives Theatre), There's Always Tomorrow (Piccolo Spoleto Festival), Just Like Magic (Little Fish Theatre), and The Clumps (Pittsburgh New Works Festival, MainStage Series).


She holds a Master’s in Playwriting with Distinction from the University of Edinburgh, a Bachelor's of Music (summa cum laude) with a minor in Theater from Princeton University, and the world record for cups of Earl Grey tea downed while writing.

Sonya Hayden


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