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 theatre." The judges making the final determination this year were Julia Jordan, Michael John LaChiusa and Jeffrey Sweet.
David Javerbaum wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the book for Suburb, which ran Off-Broadway in 2001 and was nominated as Best Off-Broadway Musical by the Outer Critics Circle, the Lucille Lortel Awards, and the Drama League. His extensive television writing credits, which include "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Late Show with David Letterman" have yielded him 4 Emmys. He is currently writing the lyrics for the upcoming Broadway adaptation of John Waters’ film "Cry-Baby."
A practicing attorney, Cheryl L. Davis' work has been read and performed nationally, including at the Cleveland Play House, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Kennedy Center. Her play about the desegregation of the nations' school system, The Color of Justice, was commissioned by Theatreworks/USA and has been performed to critical acclaim . Her musical Barnstormer, written with composer Douglas J. Cohen, received one of the 2005 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Awards.
Ken Stone, with composer Jan Powell, has written Overland, Trask & Fenn, and King of the Cowboys. He has won a Jefferson Citation nomination for new work, an award from the Columbia Entertainment Company, and the grand prize in the American Musical Theatre Festival. Stone and Powell's show American Tales is scheduled for its world premiere in October 2005 at the Antaeus Company in North Hollywood, CA, and will include the one-act musical Bartleby, the Scrivener.
* In 1949, playwright Michaela O'Harra founded New Dramatists in order to "find gifted playwrights and give them the time, space and the tools to develop their craft, so that they may fulfill their potential and make lasting contributions to the theatre." The group's playwright development program includes a play and musical reading series, fellowships for emerging writers, national and international playwright exchanges, administrative support for resident playwrights, playwriting grants and awards, and ongoing advocacy efforts on behalf of playwrights in the national theatre community.