Lynn Ahrens

Lynn Ahrens

Librettist, Lyricist


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.

Shows by Lynn Ahrens


Dessa Rose is the story of pride, perseverance, and the unlikely friendship forged between an abandoned southern belle and a rebellious slave girl escaping the repressive South. The southern belle, Ruth, finds herself living... read more

Harry Witherspoon, an unassuming English shoe salesman, lives an uneventful life in East Grinstead, England. His life takes a dramatic turn when he learns that his uncle Anthony, a casino manager from Atlantic City, has been... read more

It’s 1954, and young Benjy Stone is realizing his life-long dream of writing for television, working as a freshman writer on TV’s most popular comedy show: King Kaiser’s Comedy Cavalcade. Life is crazy but exhilarating, and... read more

From the Tony Award winning songwriting team, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, comes a story inspired from the by Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. With a Caribbean tinged score, follow the story of Ti Moune as s... read more

Based on the novel of the same name by E.L. Doctrow, Ahren’s and Flaherty’s Ragtime is a compelling epic capturing the American experience at the turn of the 20th century. Tracking three diverse families in pursuit of the Am... read more

Tom is a nervous school teacher about to start his first day of teaching. He tries to relax with a little TV when various characters representing facets of his personality materialize from the television set. Tom is hesitant... read more

A musical perfect for the whole family, Seussical takes us into the world of Dr. Seuss, where we revisit beloved characters including The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie, and JoJo. The Cat in... read more


Show Categories
Comedy, Drama, Historical/Biographical, Farce, Fairy Tale/Fantasy