Douglas Cohen and Polly Pen will receive the first joint Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation Award Oct. 18 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. The $25,000 cash award recognizes promising composers and lyricists creating American musical theatre.
Cohen wrote the book, music and lyrics to No Way To Treat a Lady, based on the William Goldman novel, and The Gig, based on Frank D. Gilroy's screenplay. Lady has been produced twice Off-Broadway at the Hudson Guild and the York Theatre Company, for which it was nominated for two Outer Critics Circle Awards. Cohen's upcoming projects include the James Fenimore Cooper-based Glimmerglass set to premiere Nov. 11-Dec. 5 1999 at Goodspeed-at-Chester, and writing the music and lyrics to The Drama Dept.'s The Big Time and the lyrics for Children's Letters to God with David Evans (music) and Stuart Hample (book).
Pen is best known for the Obie-winning musical Bed and Sofa, first produced at the Vineyard Theatre. The piece garnered seven Drama Desk nominations and was recorded on the Varese Sarabande label. Her first musical, Goblin Market, was nominated for five Drama Desk Awards and received a Best Plays Special Citation for Musical Compositions and Adaptations. Other works include Songs on a Shipwrecked Sofa, A Lovely Light, Christina Alberta's Father (also an Obie winner) and The Gilded Cage. Her adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's "Behind the Mask," The Night Governess, will have its debut in 2000 at New Jersey's McCarter Theatre. Pen, currently an artist-in-residence at the McCarter, is on the nominating committee for the Tony Awards.
Past recipients of Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation Awards include Craig Carnelia (Is There Life After High School?), Louis Rosen, Jeffrey Lunden and Arthur Pearlman (Wings), Michael John LaChiusa (Hello Again, Marie Christine), Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori (Violet), Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World, Parade), Ray Leslee (Avenue X) and Robert Lindsay Nassif (Honky Tonk Highway, Elliot Ness in Cleveland). -- By Christine Ehren