The American Theatre Wing announced today that the recipients of the 2013 Jonathan Larson Grants are writing team Joshua Salzman (music) & Ryan Cunningham (book and lyrics); and Kamala Sankaram. The prestigious grants, totaling $10,000, will be presented on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at a private event at the WNYC Greene Space. The event will feature special performances of the recipients' work.
The grants, given annually to honor emerging composers, lyricists and book writers, help to continue Tony Award-winning composer Jonathan Larson's dream of infusing musical theatre with a contemporary, joyful, urban vitality. This year's recipients were selected by an expert panel consisting of Michael Korie (Grey Gardens), Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer), and Bernie Telsey (MCC Theater).
Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham are Drama Desk and MAC Award-nominated writers. Their Off-Broadway musical, I Love You Because, has been produced all over the world and translated into Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Finnish. Their new musical, Next Thing You Know, was produced at CAP21 in New York with the help of a grant from NAMT and has gone on to be produced across America and in Europe. The cast album is now available on Yellow Sound Label. They continue their collaboration with a musical about the '77 New York City blackout called The Legend of New York. Ryan and Joshua are graduates of the NYU graduate musical theatre writing program and are both members of ASCAP and the Dramatist's Guild. As Jonathan Larson Grant recipients, they receive an $8,000 grant, a performance of their work at the presentation event, and a week-long residency at the Running Deer Musical Theatre Lab in Washington State.
Kamala Sankaram has written music for theater, film, and concert. She has received residencies from the MacDowell Colony, the Watermill Center, and the Hermitage, and was the 2011 Con Edison/Exploring the Metropolis Composer-in-Residence at the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy. Her music for Sounding (directed by Kristin Marting) was praised as "gorgeous pop-rock interludes" (Time Out NY). As a resident artist at HERE Arts Center, Kamala created Miranda, a steampunk murder mystery which was named winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical. Also a performer, Kamala has collaborated with the Wooster Group, the Philip Glass Ensemble, and Anthony Braxton, among others. As a Jonathan Larson Grant recipient, she receives a $2,000 grant, and a performance of her work at the presentation event.
Dedicated to celebrating excellence and supporting theatre, the American Theatre Wing awards the Larson Grants to artists to recognize and showcase their work with no strings attached - except to put it to the best use possible to help further the artist's creative endeavors.
Past recipients of the Larson Grants include Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (A Christmas Story), Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal), Chad Beguelin & Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer), John Bucchino (A Catered Affair), Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy: The Musical), Michael Korie (Grey Gardens), Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody).