The Kleban Foundation awarded the 21st Annual Kleban Prize for the most promising musical theatre lyricist has gone to Adam Gwon and the award for the most promising musical theatre librettist has gone to Michelle Elliott. The 2011 awards were presented on June 27, 2011, in a private ceremony at ASCAP.
The Kleban Foundation was established in 1988 under the will of Edward L. Kleban, best known as the Tony® and Pulitzer Prize winning lyricist of the musical A Chorus Line. The will made provision for two annual prizes, each in the amount of $100,000 payable over two years, to be given to the most promising lyricist and librettist in American Musical Theatre. The judges making the final determination this year were Stephen Flaherty, Michael Korie, and David Zippel.
"For two decades, The Kleban Prize has recognized and honored the American Musical Theatre's brightest developing talents," says Tony Award winner Richard Maltby, Jr, President of the Kleban Foundation. "The Kleban Prize is unique in that it is bestowed not just for an artist's previous achievements, but for the promise of creativity to come. In Ed Kleban's experience, young composers always seemed able to support themselves in the theatre, but promising lyricists and librettists often had to struggle. This Prize was Kleban's attempt to help promising writers when they needed support most -- when starting out. The Prize has recognized musical theatre artists who went on to create such notable productions as Avenue Q, Grey Gardens, The Wild Party, Parade, Shrek, The Last Five Years, The Little Mermaid, Assassins, The Wedding Singer and Legally Blonde."
Previous recipients of the annual Kleban Prize include David Lindsay-Abaire (Shrek), Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five 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 (Pacific Overtures, Road Show, Assassins).
Photo Credit: Logan Metzler