Lynn Ahrens is a musical theatre lyricist/bookwriter known for her long-time partnership with composer Stephen Flaherty. Born on October 1, 1948, in New York City, Ahrens attended Syracuse University, where she majored in journalism and English. Out of college, she worked at the advertising agency McCaffrey and McCall as a copywriter. She often brought her guitar to work to play and would write songs during her lunch break, and one day, executive George Newall walked by and asked Ahrens to write a song for the Saturday morning interstitial programming for kids, Schoolhouse Rock!. Ahrens wrote the song “The Preamble,” and thus her career in songwriting and musical theatre composition began.
In 1982, Ahrens joined the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where she met Flaherty. Flaherty and Ahrens’ first collaboration was a musical adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes, which was produced by TheatreWorks USA in 1985.
Ahrens’ collaboration with Flaherty flourished, and together, the two wrote Lucky Stiff, Once on This Island (their first Broadway show), Ragtime, and Seussical, among others. Additionally, Ahrens and Flaherty were tasked with writing the score for the 1997 Twentieth Century Fox film Anastasia, which became a critical and commercial success. Almost 20 years later, the duo returned to the piece to expand it for the Broadway stage. Ahrens herself won an Olivier Award for Once on This Island and a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for Ragtime, and several of her musicals have won awards in other categories.
In addition to writing musicals, Ahrens writes short stories, personal essays, jingles, and choral lyrics, and she is a founder and co-chair of the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program for Emerging Writers. Ahrens is Jewish and resides in New York with her husband, Neil Costa.