The winners of the 2013 Richard Rodgers Awards for Musical Theater were announced today by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which administers the Rodgers Awards. The winning musicals are: Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 by Dave Malloy, and The Kid Who Would Be Pope by Tom and Jack Megan. Both shows were awarded Studio Productions.
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 was a white-hot comet itself during it's sold out run at Ars Nova, topping many year-end lists. Although a transfer has been widely rumored, no details have surfaced as of yet. It is an electro-pop opera based on Book 8 of Tolstoy's War & Peace. Lovers are betrayed, society is scandalized and glasses are raised in a raucous Russian dinner club, with no stage; the audience sits in the middle of the action, at tables loaded with vodka and dumplings. Musically the piece veers wildly from indie rock, electronica and jazz noise to Romantic lieder and Russian folk. The studio production award for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 will support the production at Ars Nova.
The Kid Who Would Be Pope is a coming-of-age story about an eleven-year-old boy who attempts to become the next Pope so that he can change the rules of the church and marry his favorite nun. It is a tale of love, obsession, and a young boy's search for miracles.
The intent of the Richard Rodgers Award is to nurture talented composers and playwrights by enabling their musicals to be produced in New York City. Former award recipients include Maury Yeston, Nine;Jonathan Larson, Rent; Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal, Juan Darien; Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Lucky Stiff; Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley, Violet; and Scott Frankel, Michael Korie, and Doug Wright, Grey Gardens. Since 1980 seventy four works have received Rodgers Awards.
This year's jury included Stephen Sondheim (chair), Lynn Ahrens, Sheldon Harnick, Richard Maltby, Jr., Jeanine Tesori, and John Weidman.
Richard Rodgers, elected to the Academy in 1955, endowed these awards in 1978. The awards provide financial support for productions, Studio Productions, and staged readings of original musicals, by nonprofit theaters in New York City. The Richard Rodgers Awards are the Academy's only awards for which applications are accepted. Application forms for the Richard Rodgers Awards may be downloaded from www.artsandletters.org.