The musicals honored this year include Calvin Berger (by Barry Wyner) and Main-Travelled Roads (by Paul Libman and Dave Hudson). Both musicals will be given staged readings in Manhattan in 2007. Loosely based on Cyrano de Bergerac, Calvin Berger is set in a public high school. "Calvin," press notes state, "a lovable guy with a big nose and high hopes for romance, traverses the road of adolescence, fraught with the complexities of friendship, insecurity, lust and longing." Main-Travelled Roads is based on a short story collection by Hamlin Garland and features "two love stories set against the backdrop of American farm life in the 1800s."
Winners were chosen by a seven-member jury, under the chairmanship of Stephen Sondheim. The jury comprised Lynn Ahrens, John Guare, Sheldon Harnick, Jeanine Tesori and John Weidman. Among the 61 previous award winners are Maury Yeston, Julie Taymor and Elliott Goldenthal and the late Jonathan Larson.
The Richard Rodgers Awards were endowed by the famed composer and are administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The awards, according to press notes, "provide financial support for productions, studio productions, or staged readings by nonprofit theatres in New York City."