The Fred Ebb Foundation (Mitchell S. Bernard, Trustee) in association with the Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) have awarded Adam Gwon the fourth annual Fred Ebb Award. The invitation only award presentation and cocktail reception took place on Monday, December 1, 2008. at The American Airlines Theatre's Penthouse Lobby (227 West 42nd Street).
Five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman presented Mr. Gwon with his award. The Fred Ebb Award for Musical Theatre Songwriting is named in honor of the late award-winning lyricist Fred Ebb who passed away in September 2004. The Fred Ebb Award recognizes excellence in musical theatre songwriting, by a songwriter or songwriting team that has not yet achieved significant commercial success. The award is meant to encourage and support aspiring songwriters to create new works for the musical theatre. The prize includes a $50,000 award. In addition to the
monetary prize, the Fred Ebb Foundation will produce a one-night-only showcase of Adam's work in the spring of 2009. The Fred Ebb Foundation is funded by royalties from Mr. Ebb's vast catalogue of work. The selection panel includes Mitchell S. Bernard,Sheldon Harnick, David Loud, Marin Mazzie, Tim Pinckney and Arthur Whitelaw.
For more information, please visit www.fredebbfoundation.org.
Adam Gwon is a composer and lyricist named one of "50 to Watch" by The Dramatist magazine. His musical Ordinary Days recently had its world premiere at Pennsylvania Centre Stage and its UK premiere at the Finborough Theatre in London, and was seen at the 2008 NAMT Festival of New Musicals. His other musicals include Bernice Bobs Her Hair (with librettist Julia Jordan) and Ethan Frome. Adam is currently working on an original musical with playwright Sarah Hammond, commissioned by Broadway Across America, and an adaptation of Joe Meno's "The Boy Detective Fails," commissioned by Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, as part of their American Musical Voices Project: The Next Generation. He was a 2006-07 musical theater fellow at the Dramatists Guild and is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Visit www.adamgwon.com.
Fred Ebb made incalculable contributions to the New York theatrical community as a writer, lyricist and director. Mr. Ebb is a Tony, Grammy, Emmy, Olivier and Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award winning recipient. Fred Ebb's first professional songwriting assignment came in 1953 when he and Phil Springer were hired by Columbia Records to write a song for Judy Garland called "Heartbroken." Mr. Ebb was introduced to composer John Kander in 1964 by music publisher Tommy Valando and became one of the most legendary songwriting teams in American history. The first successful collaboration was on the song "My Coloring Book," recorded by Barbra Streisand. Their second theatrical collaboration, Flora, the Red Menace, created a star out of Liza Minnelli in her Tony Award-winning Broadway debut. In 1966, their collaboration Cabaret, opened and received seven Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score. A 1972 movie version of Cabaret starring Liza Minnelli was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won eight awards and was nominated for nine Golden Globe Awards and won three including Best Picture, Musical or Comedy. The same year, the songwriting team wrote a number of songs for Minnelli's television special "Liza With a Z," which received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Program - Variety or Popular Music. Other shows include The Happy Time (1968); Zorba (1968); 70, Girls, 70 (1971).
In 1975, the two wrote the Broadway musical Chicago, directed by Bob Fosse and starring Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach. The musical was successfully revived 20 years later at City Center ENCORES! and subsequently transferred to Broadway where it is currently the longest running revival in Broadway history. In 1977, the team collaborated with Martin Scorsese on the movie New York, New York; the title song was introduced by Minnelli and later recorded by Frank Sinatra becoming the unofficial theme song of New York City. The Minnelli Broadway vehicle The Act also opened that year. After a four-year absence, Mr. Ebb and Mr. Kander returned with Woman of the Year (1981), The Rink (1984), Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993) and Steel Pier (1997). Miramax's 2002 feature film Chicago was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won six, including Best Picture and was nominated for eight Golden Globe Awards and won three, including Best Picture, Musical or Comedy. In addition to the long running Chicago, Kander and Ebb were most recently represented on Broadway with the award winning production of Curtains which was nominated for 8 2008 Tony Awards.
Photos by Peter James Zielinski
Susan Stroman and John Kander
Steve Lutvak and Robert L. Friedman (2006 winners), Adam Gwon (2008), Peter Mills (2007) and John Bucchino (2005 â€“ John was the first recipient)
Susan Stroman and Adam Gwon
Susan Stroman Adam Gwon
Brittany Marcin, Christopher Spaulding, and Julia Murney
Producer Barry Weisler
Adam Gwon with family
Adam Gown with boyfriend Stanely Bahorek
Christopher Spaulding, Debra Monk, and Scott Ellis
The Fred Ebb Foundation Award for Musical Theatre Songwriting