ZAK SANDLER plays piano on Broadway for MEAN GIRLS and WICKED, and has played on Broadway for MOTOWN and THE COLOR PURPLE. He was a composer at the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project at Northwestern, and won the Fenno Heath Award for writing a new Yale song. His work has appeared at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, the Triad, and Signature Theatre (VA). He is creating a musical adaptation of the dystopian young adult novel, THE CITY OF EMBER, along with Adele Powers. Zak’s and Adele’s previous show, ANTHEM, ran at the 2014 New York Fringe Festival and at the Chicago Musical Theater Festival. His newest musical, INSIDE MY HEAD, is about the relationship between a young man and his bipolar, and was presented at New York Theatre Barn in September. He is also creating a docu-series that explores the link between creativity and mental conditions, called INSANELY TALENTED.
Zak often speaks publicly about his bipolar, having presented at the 2017 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) National Convention in Washington, D.C., and the 2017 and 2018 NAMI New York State Conferences in Albany. He is the recipient of the 2018 NAMI New York State Young Leader award. He tries not to use the words "illness" and "disorder", because he feels they imply there's something wrong with him, when there isn’t (at least, not due to his bipolar). Yale, B.A., Music, 2008.
News & Upcoming
16 April 2019
Zak was nominated for the Georgetown Day School Alumni Founders Award!
07 Dec 2018
Zak spoke with Tiffany L. Werhner, MS, LMHC, PA on her podcast "Moments of Clarity with Tiffany". Topics of discussion included living with bipolar and its effects on creativity. Click here to listen to the episode!
20 Nov 2018
Zak won the 2018 NAMI New York State Young Leader Award!
12 Oct 2018
Zak will be presenting at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) New York State Education Conference in Albany on Saturday, 10/27, from 12:30-1:30pm! His topic is "Manic Manifestos and Musical Theater", a TED-style talk taking the audience through what it feels like to write a 39-page manifesto in 3 days during a manic episode, followed by a presentation of songs from his original musical, INSIDE MY HEAD. He will be joined onstage by Alexa Clint and John Noble Barrack.
04 Aug 2018
Zak is thrilled to be presenting his original musical, INSIDE MY HEAD, at NY Theatre Barn’s New Works Series!
Tuesday, September 4th
7pm and 9pm
The Cell (338 W. 23rd St.)
16 Feb 2018
Zak is honored to be presenting his song, "He Smiles" from INSIDE MY HEAD, at ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com's 5th Anniversary concert.
Green Room 42
Monday, March 5
Featuring Chelsea Williams and Zak Sandler
Tickets and info here.
As featured on BroadwayWorld.com!
10 Feb 2018
Zak has recorded a new podcast on mental health and writing, hosted by Joseph Fusaro!
16 Dec 2017
Zak’s song “He Smiles” featured in the Contemporary Musical Theater blog! View the Featured Five article here.
05 Dec 2017
Zak is proud to have presented at the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) New York State Education Conference in Albany in November, on a panel called "Using Creativity to Advance Recovery."
Watch Zak's full speech here:
11 Nov 2017
Zak will be presenting at the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) New York State Conference in Albany this Saturday at 11am! The topic is "Using Creativity to Advance Recovery", and he will share his experience writing about his manic episodes, as well as the creativity he's experienced during hypomanic episodes. He'll also underline the link between mental health conditions and creative genius, and emphasize that all people are creative.
09 Nov 2017
Zak recently played piano at Carnegie Hall under masterful conductor / director Ted Sperling, for Gershwin's "Of Thee I Sing"!
Click here for the Playbill article, and scroll through the photos for a surprise!
17 Aug 2017
Tickets are now on sale for
A BIT TOO MUCH ABOUT ME
Friday, September 15th at 7pm
7 Aug 2017
Zak was featured in the National Alliance on Mental Illness
New York State Newsletter. Click here to read the story!
27 May 2017
I am thrilled to announce the release of my first ever music video!
“My iPhone and I” is a parody about our interactions with smartphones, set to “The Wizard and I” from WICKED.
A huge thank you to Stephen Schwartz (Music and Original Lyrics), Tyler Milliron (Director/ Videographer/Editor), Charlie Rosen (Orchestration and Track Production), and the other amazing people who helped make this a reality!
15 May 2017
Zak's song "Leave the Station" is featured in
ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com Blog's Anthology Series,
as one of their favorite pop/rock uptempos for men.
3 April 2017
Zak is thrilled to announce the debut of his solo show,
"A Bit Too Much About Me."
Friday, April 7th @ 7pm
Turtle Bay Music School.
70 minutes with reception to follow
The show features Zak singing and narrating from the piano, and explores relationships, career, and mental health.
Zak Sandler, Ty Rood, Noah Reece, Marissa O'Donnell, and Celeste Rose
Directed by Michael Bello
Music Consultation by Patrick Sulken
Producing Consultation by Sam Strum
5 October 2016
Zak is happy to present brand-new demo tracks from his original musical SOMETHING ABOUT ME (conceived by Charissa Andreotti)!
SOMETHING ABOUT ME tells the story of four millennials wrestling with the real world, parental involvement, the perils of modern dating, and what "crazy" really means.
20 July 2016
The video of Zak's presentation at the LC Originals: Songwrtiers series is now up for viewing! Click here to view the recording of Zak accompanying Michael Winther on his original song, "An Opera Kid".
10 June 2016
Zak was featured in the American Popular Song Society’s June newsletter from his presentation in Tom Toce’s Singer & Songwriter Showcase in May. Among works presented by other songwriters (such as Bobby and Kristen Anderson-Lopez), Zak presented two originals, including “An Opera Kid”, which the article's author, Jerry Osterberg, described as “arguably the most heart-wrenching song of the day."
Thanks to Tom Toce for the opportunity, and to Michael Winther, Megan Loughran, and Perry Sook for their compelling performances!
28 April 2016
On Monday, May 2nd at 7:30pm, Zak will be presenting an original song at the Lincoln Center Atrium as part of the LC Originals series. Zak is excited to share a song that reflects on a very important part of his childhood - singing operas as a soprano!
Tickets are free, and seats are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Food and drink available for purchase. Click here for more information.
06 February 2016
Zak is returning to Broadway this weekend as a Key 2 sub for THE COLOR PURPLE, directed by John Doyle and starring Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Hudson, and Danielle Brooks. This will be Zak’s third Broadway show as a pianist. Many thanks to Alvin Hough, Jr., for the opportunity!
18 November 2015
Zak has been busy at work writing an exciting new musical! This yet-to-be-titled four person show is about growing up and will be coming soon to a cabaret venue near you. In the meantime, check out two new tracks from a different project on the media page.
12 September 2015
Yale Decisively Wins the Harvard-Yale Cantata: Harvard and Yale battle it out in a lighthearted competition at 54 Below hosted and directed by Tom Toce. By Linda Amiel Burns.
02 September 2015
Come hear my arrangement of "Code Monkey" by Jonathan Coulton at the Harvard-Yale Cantata at 54 Below on Tuesday, September 8th at 9:30pm!
May the best team win.
06 May 2015
Zak is proud to announce the release of Tokio Confidential, by Eric Schorr, an original musical taking place in Japan that he orchestrated for 8 pieces.
The album is for sale at a discount until May 11 (the release date is May 12) and can be ordered here:
24 February 2015
THE WASHINGTON POST
By Rebecca Ritzel
17 February 2015
THE WASHINGTON POST
By Rebecca Ritzel
09 February 2015
Zak's arrangements and orchestrations will be on display this month as UNLIMITED, featuring songs by Stephen Schwartz (WICKED, PIPPIN, POCAHONTAS, HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME) opens Feb 20 at Catholic University! Tickets can be purchased here. The show runs through Feb 28.
17 December 2014
Zak, along with his just-paired songwriting partner Alex Sage Oyen, won the hit new musical gameshow, Tune in Time with a song from "The Fuzzy Jedi" in the style of Stephen Sondheim, (written in 20 minutes).
04 December 2014
On Tuesday, 12/16, Zak will be a contestant in the hit new musical gameshow, Tune in Time, writing a new song for a new musical right on the spot. Three just-paired teams of composers and lyricists will be vying for the top prizes, with celebrity judges making the calls.
Click here for tickets with discount code YORK16!
14 November 2014
Zak just completed a successful run of UNLIMITED: THE MUSIC AND LYRICS OF STEPHEN SCHWARTZ at UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Check out the review from the Winston-Salem Journal here.
09 September 2014
Check out Zak performing songs from ANTHEM and other selections of his work at the Turtle Bay Music School Fall Block Party this Saturday, September 13. The event is free, and will be hosted at 244 E. 52nd St from 1:00-2:00pm. Zak will be joined by Stephen Moore, Matt Hill, and Sara Tazari, and there will be cookies!
28 August 2014
NY THEATRE GUIDE
by Elliot Lanes
8 August 2014
By Michael Gioia
7 August 2014
By Adam Hetrick
9 June 2014
NY THEATRE GUIDE
By Elliot Lanes
29 May 2014
NEW CITY STAGE
By Aaron Hunt
15 May 2014
By Andrew Gans
29 April 2014
30 March 2014
By Adam Hetrick
25 March 2014
By BWW News Desk
24 FEB 2014
THE COLUMN WITH JOHN GARCIA
By John Garcia
27 Jan 2014
By Carey Purcell
17 JANUARY 2014
THE PRODUCER'S PERSPECTIVE