The seventh annual awards were presented Feb. 6 in Manhattan to Nell Benjamin, John Didrichsen, Chris Miller, Jeffrey Stock and Nathan Tysen, as well as New Georges and Vineyard Theatre. The individuals each received an unrestricted cash grant of $5,000.
Composer-lyricist collaborators Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen are recent grads of the NYU/Tisch Musical Theatre Writing Program and are currently working on a folk song cycle as well as a musical based on the Chris Van Allsburg picture book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.
Nell Benjamin wrote lyrics for the musical, Sarah, Plain and Tall and lyrics for The Mice, one third of the musical grouping known as 3hree. She is currently working on a show with Alfred Uhry and Laurence O'Keefe, tentatively titled, Who the Hell Are You?
Jeffrey Stock composed music for the Tony Award nommed musical, Triumph of Love, and penned the score and libretto for The Voice of Temperance, for New York Shakespeare Festival.
John Didrichsen, a veteran of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, is working on a rock opera called Overpass. He has worked as an actor and singer and has written some 1,500 songs in his career. New Georges was founded in 1992 and produces new plays by women in downtown venues. The Larson grant supports a new musical by Jake-Ann Jones, Magic Kingdom, a ho's tale, billed as a "fairy tale/immorality play based on the tradition of Dorothy in Oz."
The Vineyard Theatre is an Off-Broadway troupe devoted to new works. The grant is in support of Kirsten Childs' developing new musical, The Miracle Brothers, which is the first commission of The Vineyard's Kitty Carlisle Hart Music Theatre Lab.
The Larson Foundation was created in 1996 to provide financial assistance and encouragement to emerging musical theatre writers and theatre companies. It is named after the late creator of Rent and tick, tick...BOOM!, composer-lyricist-librettist Jonathan Larson.