It's the time of year where the Theatre World celebrates the best of the best and special recognition is bestowed upon certain individuals for their work. No...I am not talking about the Tony Awards...although I know where I will be that evening. I talking about the 19th Annual Kleban Awards, which will be presented in a private ceremony on June 1st, 2009.
New Dramatists recently announced that this year's Kleban Award for the most promising musical theater lyricist has gone to Beth Falcone and the award for the most promising musical theater librettist has gone to Kait Kerrigan. The 2009 awards will be presented on June 1, 2009, (by invitation only) in a private ceremony at BMI. The Kleban Foundation was established in 1988 under the will of Edward L. Kleban, best known as the Tony® and Pulitzer Prize award winner for the musical A Chorus Line. The will made provision for two annual awards, each in the amount of $100,000 payable over two years, to be given to the most promising lyricist and librettist in American Musical Theater. The judges making the final determination this year were Sheldon Harnick (Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning lyricist of Fiddler on the Roof and Fiorello), twelve-time Grammy Award winning original cast recording producer Thomas Z. Shepard (Sweeney Todd, La Cage aux Folles, No No Nanette) and Emmy Award winning and Tony nominated playwright and screenwriter Sherman Yellen (The Rothschilds, Oh! Calcutta!).
"The Kleban Award is unique as it is bestowed not only on the merits of an artist's previous achievements, but for the promise of what they have to come," says Tony Award winner Richard Maltby, Jr., president of the Kleban Foundation. "For 19 years, this award has recognized nearly 50 gifted artists, some of whom have become recognized to be among the brightest talents that the American musical theatre has to offer."
Previous recipients of the annual Kleban Award include David Lindsay-Abaire (Shrek), Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last 5 Years), John Bucchino (A Catered Affair, It's Only Life), Gretchen Cryer (I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road, The Last Sweet Days of Isaac), Michael Korie (Grey Gardens, Happiness), Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), Michael John LaChiusa (See What I Want To See, The Wild Party), Glenn Slater (The Little Mermaid) and John Weidman (Road Show, Assassins).