Emily won the inaugural Lilly Award for a Female Composer of $25,000 ("Go Write A Musical"), mentored by Broadway producer Stacey Mindich (Dear Evan Hansen), and a grant at New York SongSpace at the Lilly Awards for women in theatre.

It was a surprise! Many of my family and friends were hiding backstage, then as I was yanked up the aisle towards the stage, they came out for the big reveal. This is a video taken by Sathya Sridharan onstage of Lilly Awards founder Julia Jordan welcoming me to the stage.


upcoming WRITING projects


presentation new york songspace

March: Emily will present her work on her Cherry Orchard musical as the culmination of her New York SongSpace residency (book/music/lyrics).

nascent phase bushwick starr

March 15th: Emily’s new musical, NASCENT PHASE (book/music/lyrics), will be performed as part of the Bushwick Starr 2018-2019 Reading Series.


April 8th: As part of Cooper Union’s 2018-2019 season, Emily has been commissioned to write a song as part of a multi-composer song cycle, LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT.

ruth bader ginsberg play goodman

Emily will write music and lyrics for a play by Dianne Nora. The presentation will be in the summer.

The Goodman Theatre has selected four Chicago-based female playwrights to participate in its 2018-2019 Playwrights Unit—a season-long residency dedicated to developing the work of emerging writers. The 2018-2019 cycle includes playwrights Georgette Kelly, Dianne Nora, Marisela Treviño Orta, and Stacey Rose. Presented in association with Chicago Dramatists, the writers meet bi-monthly to discuss their commissioned plays-in-progress with the support of the Goodman artistic team. The residency culminates in a public staged reading of each new play in summer 2019. Plays developed in the Unit have gone on to receive readings and workshop productions in the New Stages series, as well as full productions at the Goodman.

CURRENT & recent acting projects

NELL GWYNN at chicago shakespeare

September—November 2018, Emily played Lady Barbara Castlemaine and Louise de Kerouaille in the national premiere of NELL GWYNN by Jessica Swale, a new play at Chicago Shakespeare Theater directed by Christopher Luscombe.

The play transferred from The Globe to the West End, and won the 2015 Olivier for Best Comedy.


WICKEDEST WOMAN women’s project

January-February 2019: Emily played Caroline in Jessica Bashline’s new play WICKEDEST WOMAN, directed by Melissa Crespo.


I Am This For You Ars Nova Emily Gardner Xu Hall.jpg

I AM THIS FOR YOU at ars nova antfest

Summer 2018 — A play / EDM concert / animation. Play, music and lyrics by Emily Gardner Xu Hall.

the cardinal for cornerstone theatre company

Summer 2018 — Play by Cusi Cram, music and lyrics by Emily Gardner Xu Hall.

Commission from Cornerstone Theatre Company to write a brand new play with music inspired by stories of the Flushing, Queens community. Directed by Juliette Carrillo, the production featured live puppetry, choreography, a live band, and a cast of Queens residents and was part of Cornerstone's Flushing Initiative program.


Emily holds an MFA from NYU's Graduate Acting Program. Here are links to her acting resume, photos of her theatre work or photos of film work

As an actor and singer, she acted and sang in a run of a musical at the Arden Theatre Company in which she also played four instruments. She received a great review in Bryony Lavery's two-hander, Stockholm, from Ben Brantley of the New York Times.

Emily is a composer-lyricist, a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop, and a member of the Musical Theatre Factory Writers Group. Studio Tisch held a reading of her original musical Untitled Cherry Orchard Musical at Studio Tisch, and a workshop presentation of her new Cymbeline musical. She also made her debut as a composer at MuseMatch X at 54 Below last July, and performed her own songs at Rattlestick Playwrights' Theatre New Songs Now! where she was selected as a featured singer-songwriter.

As a playwright, Emily was selected as one of four playwrights in Rising Circle Theater Collective's INKtank for her full-length play with music I Am This For You. The play development process culminated in a reading of I AM THIS FOR YOU at Rising Circle's PlayRISE festival, and two weeks later, a fully staged performance with a cast of 8 at Ars Nova ANTFest. For more about the show, click here.

new york times Ben brantley review

In Stockholm, the Blades are Drawn from the Start (click here for the full review).

Emily Gardner Hall and Jason Babinsky in STOCKHOLM

Emily Gardner Hall and Jason Babinsky in STOCKHOLM

‘A precision-tooled performance by Emily Gardner Hall…

Ms. Hall gives natural life to Kali’s extreme, lacerating ambivalence. This young performer is remarkably smooth in conveying spikiness...

Todd and Kali are dancing fools and their range of movement swings wide. Sometimes they skip about as blithely as Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in “Singin’ in the Rain,” but their natural form would seem to be the apache dance, with its all-out brutality.

[They] make us believe that from the moment they met, everything Todd and Kali have done has been charged with dangerous contradiction.’

Ben Brantley, New York Times, August 24th 2013 

Or read the full review without visiting the NY Times website here.