Composers Rosser and Sohne will receive $10,000, as will Vernon. Willmott will get $10,000 plus a residency at the Running Deer Musical Theatre Lab. The March 23 event will feature special performances of the recipients' work.
Additionally, Willmott and Vernon will be featured in two evenings of performance at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY, in fall 2015 and winter/spring 2016, as part of the school's Larson Legacy Concert Series.
The grants, given annually to honor emerging composers, lyricists and book writers, help to continue Tony Award-winning composer Jonathan Larson's (Rent; tick, tick… BOOM!) dream of infusing musical theatre with a contemporary, joyful, urban vitality.
This year’s grant recipients were chosen by an expert panel consisting of Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody), Steven Lutvak (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love % Murder), and Ted Chapin (president and executive director of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization).
Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne are 2014-15 Dramatist Guild Fellows. Together, they have written: The Boy Who Danced on Air (2013 NAMT Festival of New Works and Writers Residency Grant, 2013 Rodgers Award Finalist, 2013 ART/NY and NYTB Workshop), The Profit of Creation (2011 Yale Institute for Musical Theater, developed through ASCAP’s 2010 Johnny Mercer Songwriters Program) and the short musical Political Speeches (The Culture Project’s IMPACT Series). They were members of the Advanced Class of the BMI Workshop. Sam Willmott is a NYC-based composer/lyricist, whose projects include Bhangin' It (with Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew); Yo, Vikings! (with Marcus Stevens, published by Samuel French); the mini-musical Scarlet Takes a Tumble; and Standardized Testing - The Musical!!!! (published by Playscripts, Inc.), among others. He is the recipient of the 2013 ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award for Lyrics, the 2012 Fred Ebb Award, the 2012 John Wallowitch Award, and the 2009 Kennedy Center ACTF Musical Theater Award, and has been a writer-in-residence at Goodspeed Musicals (2014, 2013) and the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center (2013).
Max Vernon is a composer/lyricist, playwright, and performer. Described by the New Yorker as "equal parts bohemia and Broadway," his work has been performed and developed at Ars Nova, Theatreworks USA, Naked Angels, New Dramatists, Two River Theater (NJ), Dixon Place, Woodshed Collective, Ma-Yi, LaMaMa, and Pride Films and Plays (Chicago), among others. This past year he was a Dramatist Guild Theatre Fellow, an artist in residence at Rhinebeck Writer's Retreat, a JFund award recipient, and also finished his first commission for Disney Creative Entertainment. He is currently a member of Ars Nova's Uncharted, as well as the Civilians R&D Group. He has performed more than a hundred concerts in New York City, including sold out shows at Joe's Pub (Frisk Me: The Songs of Max Vernon) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Civilians' Let Me Ascertain You). His musicals include The View UpStairs (NYU, Pride Films and Plays) and WIRED (Ars Nova) Developing: Co-Op (Ars Nova, Naked Angels Radio); and Aesop's Fables (Theatreworks USA).
Dedicated to celebrating excellence and supporting theatre, the American Theatre Wing awards the Larson Grants to artists to "recognize and showcase their work with no strings attached - except to put it to the best use possible to help further the artist's creative endeavors."
Past recipients of the Larson Grants include Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (A Christmas Story), Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal), Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer), John Bucchino (A Catered Affair), Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy: The Musical), Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody).
The American Theatre Wing (William Ivey Long, chairman, board of trustees; Heather Hitchens, executive director) has been serving and supporting the theatre by "celebrating excellence, nurturing the public's appreciation of theatre, and providing unique educational and access opportunities for both practitioners and audiences for nearly 100 years."
For more information, visit AmericanTheatreWing.org.