Three musicals will share the 2016 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater, which are administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters: Costs of Living by Timothy Huang, We Live in Cairo by Patrick and Daniel Lazour, and Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell.
Hadestown won a Production Award; Costs of Living and We Live in Cairo will get staged readings.
Hadestown is described as “a contemporary twist on an ancient myth, inspired by classic American folk music and vintage New Orleans jazz.” It “tells the story of Orpheus’ mythical quest to conquer Hades to regain the favor of his one true love, Eurydice. Hadestown’s story pits nature against industry, faith again doubt, and love against death.”
We Live in Cairo tells the story of “six student revolutionaries coming of age in today’s Middle East, who confront the past in their search for freedom. Young men and women, armed with laptops and cameras, guitars and spray paint cans, inspire millions to take to the streets of Cairo to overthrow their president, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.”
Costs of Living is the story of “two immigrant cab drivers, Eng and Chin, who share opposite shifts off the same taxi medallion. Eng climbs the ladder of success by day, while his partner Chin falls short by night. Their fates are intertwined as forced competition pushes a wedge between them, culminating in a single desperate act which leaves one dead and the other brutalized.”
The intent of the Rodgers Award is to “nurture talented composers and playwrights by enabling their musicals to be produced in New York City.”
Previous winners include David Malloy for Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, Maury Yeston for Nine, Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley for Violet, Lhynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty for Lucky Stiff, and Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright for Grey Gardens.
The Richard Rodgers Awards are the Academys only awards for which applications are accepted. Application forms for the Richard Rodgers Awards may be downloaded from ArtsAndLetters.org.