Congratulations to Jason Robert Brown and Ray Leslee, composers of the song-cycle Songs For A New World, which played at Off-Broadway's WPA Theatre in 1995. Today, June 9, they received the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation Award for their work on that piece. The two will e $25,000 prize, bestowed at a ceremony in Lincoln Center.
Founded by Sondra Gilman and Celso M. Gonzalez-Falla, the Foundation hopes "to recognize, encourage and foster musical talent in the American theatre." Previous winners were Craig Carnelia (1991), Louis Rosen (1992), Jeffrey Lunden & Arthur Perlman (1993), Michael John LaChiusa (1994), Jonathan Larson (Rent) (1994 & special award in 1995), and Violet's Jeanine Tesori & Brian Crawley (1996).
Brown is currently working on the musical Parade with librettist Alfred Uhry, of Last Night Of Ballyhoo note. Hal Prince will direct the production on Broadway in 1998. He's also working on a new dance musical, The Moneyman Dances.
Leslee penned the doo-wop musical Avenue X, as well as Standup Shakespeare. Dodger Productions has also commissioned him to write a score for a new Broadway-bound show, Zorro: The Musical, in collaboration with Michael John LaChiusa. Mary Ann Anderson of Dodger productions told Playbill On-Line it was premature to discuss the musical, but it also shouldn't be confused with another version of the Zorro story that's apparently in current circulation.