The Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation recently announced $55,000 in awards for eight individuals and four organizations in 2000.
The awards, in the form of cash gifts, were presented at a luncheon in New York City Feb. 17. The recipients were selected from 150 applicants. Applications were judged with the assistance of a panel of theatre professionals.
The award winners were selected on the basis of merit and need, with particular attention to vision, commitment and a dedication to the performing arts profession.
The Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation was created in 1996 to honor the memory of Rent composer-lyricist-librettist Jonathan Larson by providing money and encouragement to musical theatre writers and organizations. Larson died of an aortic aneurysm just as his new rock musical was beginning Off-Broadway previews. It later moved to Broadway, earning a Pulitzer Prize, a clutch of Tony Awards and a place in history due to its author's untimely death.
The 2000 Larson Foundation recipients are: • The composer-lyricist team of Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar, who are working of a new musical, Swing Alley, recently retitled The Rhythm Club, planned for a world premiere in fall at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, prior to New York City.
• Beth Blatt and Jennifer Giering, authors of the musical adaptation, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, and The Mistress Cycle.
• Playwright-librettist David Simpatico, who penned The Screams of Kitty Genovese, with composer Will Todd and is working on a new play. He is a resident playwright at The Barrow Group.
• David Kirshenbaum, composer-lyricist of Summer of '42, which will be staged at Goodspeed-at-Chester in 2000. He is also known for the score to the stage show, Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus.
• The composer-lyricist team of Paul Loesel and Scott Burkell, for their new musical about friends and lovers, Six of One. The pair presented a cabaret of mostly original songs, Love Songs and Other Crap, in 1999 in New York City.
• John Mercurio, a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop and author of A Tailor's Tale, which was chosen for development at the 1999 O'Neill National Music Theatre Conference.
• Adobe Theatre Company, which targets audiences in their 20s and 30s, for a musical, A Fish Story, by composer-lyricist Michael Garin (Song of Singapore) and librettists Erin Quinn Purcell and Gregory Jackson.
• Musical Theatre Works, in support of the development of The Girl Most Likely To... by Denis Markell, Douglas Bernstein, Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich.
• The National Music Theater Conference of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, in support of adding an additional week to the summer conference, which is devoted to the development of new works.
• The American Music Center, a group that gives money and encouragement to new works and writers, in support of the Margery Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program, which funds copying costs.
Individual artist awards carry with them an unrestricted cash gift ranging from $3,000-$7,500. Organization awards include cash gifts of $2,500 each.
For future grant inquiries, write to the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation, Inc., PO Box 672, Prince Street Station, New York, NY. 10012.
-- By Kenneth Jones