On behalf of the Kleban Foundation, New Dramatists presented the 17th Annual Kleban Award for the most promising musical theater librettist to Jeremy Desmon, and the Award for most promising lyricist to Joe Iconis. The presentation of the awards took place June 13, 2007 at 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 of $100,000 to be given to the most promising librettist and lyricist in American Musical Theater. Totaling a collective $200,000 annually, The Kleban Award is the most significant prize for musical theatre librettists and lyricists. Over the past 18 years, The Kleban Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than one million dollars. The judges making the final determination this year were Rick Elice, Carol Hall, and Charles Kopelman.
Desmon is a graduate of Stanford University, the NYU/Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and he is a former Jonathan Larson Fellow at the Dramatists Guild. The Girl in the Frame, his four-character musical comedy about love and fantasy, was recently produced at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre and given a reading at Manhattan Theatre Club starring Hunter Foster. In addition, the show was featured in the 16th Annual NAMT Festival of New Musicals and seen in London, Boston and Buffalo, among others. This fall, his saucy new musical comedy I See London, I See France (The Underwear Musical) will be seen as an Invited Show at the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival.
Iconis is a Long Island native and a grad of the great NYU-Tisch Graduate Musical Writing Program. He is the recipient of a Jonathan Larson Award, a Backstage Bistro Award, and a 1992 Stratford Elementary School Vocal Music Award. His garage band rock musical The Black Suits (for which he wrote the music and lyrics and co-wrote the book with Robert Maddock) will open at MCC next season, and conquer the world soon after. "Things To Ruin," a concert of his tunes, has been seen at Ars Nova, NYMF, and at Joe's Pub, where it will be presented again this summer.
The Annual Kleban Awards are administered by New Dramatists, Inc., America's premiere center for the support and development of writers for the theatre.
Visit www.bmi.com for more information on BMI, and www.mrjoeiconis.com for more on Iconis.
Front row: the 17th Annual Kleban Award winners- librettist Jeremy Desmon and lyricist Joe Iconis; Back row: Alan J. Stein of the Kleban foundation Board of Directors; Linda Klein, widow of Edward Kleban; Tony Award winner Maury Yeston and BMI's Jean Banks
Former Kleban Award Winners: front: David Spencer, Alison Hubbard, Felicia Needleman; back L-R: Charles Leipart, Patrick Cook, Steven Lutvak and Laurence Holzman