James Martinez Salem (he/him) is a Puerto Rican/Syrian Jewish queer bookwriter, lyricist, composer, and screenwriter based in NYC. James is particularly interested in telling nuanced stories about characters that are not often given the spotlight (especially stories centering queer joy) and in creating art that is both inclusive and broadly accessible.
His most recent work, Charlotte Lucas is 27 and Not Dead: A Pride & Prejudice Musical (co-written with Jessie Field), was the winner of the 2022 Musicals Now Competition, receiving a workshop production by Piper Theatre Co. in NYC. The workshop production had a sold-out run in Summer 2022. Charlotte is also a 2022 O’Neill National Musical Theatre Conference Semi-Finalist and SDSU Semi-Finalist. In 2021, Charlotte had a sold-out staged reading at the Dixon Place Theatre hosted by the Fresh Fruit Festival.
In 2022, James and collaborator Jessie Field were commissioned to adapt James Brandon's novel, Ziggy, Stardust and Me, into a TYA musical. Also in 2022, #Masc4Masc: A Totally Masculine Musical (with book/lyrics by James and music by Josh Ben-Ami) was selected for the Latiné Musical Theatre Lab’s 2022 Table Reading Series.
In 2021, James was a finalist, with Josh Ben-Ami, for the Marvin Hamlisch International Music Award for emerging musical theatre artists. In 2020, James co-created the musical webseries Is This Art Now? with Jessie Field, featuring screenplays by James & Jessie, and music by James and a plethora of contributing composers including Josh Ben-Ami, Lydia Breckon, Elspeth Collard, Sean Eads, Jared Field, Erin Hoerchler, and Enzo Veiga.
Past works include Bending All the Rules (with music by Joe Salem), which was produced in 2013 at the June Havoc Theatre in the Midtown International Theatre Festival, and Among the Hidden (with music by Joe Salem), an adaptation of Margaret Peterson Haddix's novel, which was awarded a staged reading in 2015 with the permission of the author.
James is represented by John Thornton and Claire Jennings of Fourth Wall Management. James is currently a member of Theatre Now New York's musical writers lab - www.tnny.org. James holds an MFA from NYU Tisch, a JD from NYU Law, and a BA from CUNY Hunter. James is also a licensed and practicing attorney, a board game enthusiast, and a dog lover.