Songwriter John Bucchino Named First Winner of Fred Ebb Award at Nov. 29 Ceremony

News   Songwriter John Bucchino Named First Winner of Fred Ebb Award at Nov. 29 Ceremony
 
John Bucchino was announced as the first winner of the annual Fred Ebb Award, honoring musical theatre songwriters, presented Nov. 29 by The Fred Ebb Foundation and the Roundabout Theatre Company.
John Bucchino.
John Bucchino. Photo by Stephen Mosher

Chita Rivera presented the new award named in honor of the late Chicago and Cabaret lyricist Fred Ebb to Bucchino at a Nov. 29 ceremony in The American Airlines Theatre Penthouse Lounge.

The Fred Ebb Award — which includes a $50,000 prize — is to "recognize excellence in musical theatre songwriting by a lyricist, composer, or songwriting team that has not yet achieved significant commercial success," according to the announcement. The aim of the honor is to encourage and support new musical theatre works.

Bucchino's songs have been heard with vocals provided by Judy Collins, Barbara Cook, Michael Feinstein, Art Garfunkel, Patti LuPone, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra MacDonald, Liza Minnelli, The Boston Pops, The Los Angeles Philharmonic and more recording artists at such venues as Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, The Sydney Opera House and The White House. The composer — who recently penned a musical revue called It's Only Life with director Daisy Prince — is currently developing a new musical called A Catered Affair with Harvey Fierstein.

Among his credits include contributions to the musicals The Artist At 40, Urban Myths, and Lavender Girl (which was part of 3hree, compiled by Harold Prince, seen in Philadelphia and Los Angeles), the film "Joseph, King Of Dreams" and his own albums "Grateful, The Songs Of John Bucchino," "Solitude Lessons" and "On Richard Rodgers' Piano." He can be found on the web at www.johnbucchino.com.

The Roundabout Theatre Company — who has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Ebb — serves as a creative and administrative guide for the new award. This year's panel of judges who selected the winner from over 390 applications (ranging from New York, California, Canada, England, Australia and beyond) included Broadway director Scott Ellis (Twelve Angry Men), lyricist-composer Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), playwright-producer Tim Pinckney (Message to Michael), producer Arthur Whitelaw (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) and Foundation Trustee Mitchell S. Bernard.

Ebb penned the lyrics (with his longtime composing collaborator John Kander) for such musicals as Cabaret, Woman of the Year and Kiss of the Spider Woman (all Tony Award winners for Best Score), as well as Chicago, Zorba, The Rink, 70 Girls 70, The Act and Steel Pier. Kander and Ebb's 1965 Broadway musical debut Flora the Red Menace introduced Liza Minnelli to Broadway.

Applications and guidelines for The Fred Ebb Award are available through the official website at www.FredEbbFoundation.org. Submissions were accepted from May 1 to June 30, 2005.

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