Congratulations to librettists Luis Santeiro and Lissa Levin, and lyricist Sarah Schlesinger, who won 1998 Kleban Foundation Awards. Given for "most promising lyricist and librettist in the American musical theatre, the Klebans are named for Edward L. Kleban, who penned the lyrics for A Chorus Line.
As reported by BackStage, Schlesinger collaborated with Mike Reid on The Ballad of Little Joe and the opera Different Fields. Levin is the librettist for 1996's Twist of Fate and has worked on such TV shows as "Cheers" and "Family Ties."
Santeiro wrote the libretto for the 1997 Off-Broadway musical, Barrio Babies, which played at AMAS in September. Our Lady of the Tortilla and The Rooster And The Egg are among the Havana-born writer's previous works. He's also written for TV's "3-2-1 Contact," "Sesame Street" and "Carrascolendas."
Barrio Babies was co-written with Fernando M. Rivas (music). The musical, which chronicles the adventures of Latino actors and writers trying to break through Hollywood stereotypes, won the 1997 Richard Rodgers Award for a Staged Reading. A tongue-in-cheek piece, the show "pokes fun at how Chicanos are different from Nuyoricans and Cubans -- and why all Latinos are not the same."
Playwright Santeiro said of the plot, "I had all these standard experiences in California, and I even have transcripts of some of the meetings, which were taped. They were like cheerleading meetings. Some of those lines were amazingly funny, and I've used some in the play. Because they'd say stuff like, `We just love the Latino sensibility in your work; it's what the networks have been dying for.' Two days later they've stopped returning your calls and the project was dropped." Santeiro, also told Playbill On-Line he wishes he could make his living as a playwright but considers himself lucky to have a career writing for television, says his play also makes fun of "the craziness of political correctness and problems it creates."
-- By David Lefkowitz