Composer-lyricist Kirsten Childs, whose The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin echoed at Playwrights Horizons, has been chosen as the 2001 winner of the annual Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Musical Theater Award.
Andrew Lippa, a past winner, will present the foundation's unrestricted award of $25,000 to Childs at a Nov. 12 ceremony at the home of Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, who created the foundation in 1990 to encourage American book writers, composers and lyricists. In addition to the major award, grants ranging $1,000-$5,000 went to Bill Russell, John Mercurio, Michael Brown, Peter Ullian and Jeff Hardy.
The foundation also underwrites special projects on a grant-by grant basis. Cast albums of Assassins, Parade, Violet — shows that might not have otherwise been documented — were made possible by the Gilman & Gonzalez Falla Theater Foundation. Regional theatres have also earned support from the foundation.
The awards are chosen by the board of advisors including Gilman, Gonzalez-Falla, Lincoln Center Theatre director Andre Bishop, composer-lyricist Jerry Herman, producer-director Gregory Mosher, director Robert Falls and theatrical advertising executive Jon Wilner. Previous winners include Craig Carnelia, Louis Rosen, Jeffrey Lunden & Arthur Perlman, Michael John LaChiusa, Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori, Jason Robert Brown, Ray Leslee, Polly Pen, Doug Cohen, Robert Lindsay Nassif and Andrew Lippa.
Playwrights Horizons gave composer-lyricist-librettist Childs' semi-autobiographical musical, The Bubbly Black Girl, its world premiere in 1999-2000 after it earned the prestigious Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, the Edward Kleban Award for lyrics and The Richard Rodgers Production and Development Awards. Childs, a onetime actress-dancer, refined her skills in the New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. For information about foundation applications, write The Gilman & Gonzalez Theater Foundation, 109 E. 64th Street, New York, NY, 10021.
For struggling and emerging musical theatre writers, the Gilman & Gonzalez Falla Award, the Ed Kleban Award and the Jonathan Larson Award are the Big Three of coveted prizes that bring money, prestige and much-needed attention to new work or new writers.
— By Kenneth Jones