Jason Robert Brown has been named recipient of the 2002 Kleban Award for his lyrics for Off-Broadway's The Last Five Years, and Lori McKelvey has won in the librettist category for her book to Camila.
The Kleban Award was established in 1988 under the will of Edward L. Kleban, Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist for A Chorus Line. It made a provision for the annual award to be given to the most promising lyricist and librettist in American musical theatre. As much as $100,000 is awarded to the artists this year.
Brown won the Tony Award for Best Score for Broadway's Parade, and penned the cult revue, Songs for a New World. His The Last Five Years, now at Off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theatre, is a two-character musical about a marriage breaking up, told from different points of view with a temporal twist.
McKelvey is a Connecticut-based lyricist-librettist-composer whose Camila concerns a woman who fell in love with a priest in 19th-century Argentina and inspired a revolution that brought down the government. It had its world premiere at Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia in fall 2001. She won the 2002 Kleban for her libretto, and told Playbill On-Line that she considers her shows to be book musicals in the tradition of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
— By Kenneth Jones