Striking 12 Writers Among Winners of 2006 Larson Awards for New Musical Writing

News   Striking 12 Writers Among Winners of 2006 Larson Awards for New Musical Writing Composer-lyricists Valerie Vigoda and Brendan Milburn, the married two-thirds of the pop trio called GrooveLily, are among recipients of the 2006 Jonathan Larson Awards, recognizing excellence in new musical theatre.

Vigoda and Milburn co-wrote the pop holiday-themed musical Striking 12 (with librettist Rachel Sheinkin) and are appearing in and writing music for Paper Mill Playhouse and McCarter Theatre's upcoming co-production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Tina Landau.

Milburn is also working on Watt?!? with writer David Javerbaum and a new musical Sleeping Beauty (with Vigoda and Sheinkin) commissioned by DeafWest. Another GrooveLily musical, Wheel House, is in the works with collaborator Gene Lewin (the drummer vocalist of GrooveLily) and book writer Rachel Sheinkin.

The board of trustees of the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation and the 2006 awards selection panel (Joe Calarco, Barry Singer, Stephen Schwartz and Tim Weil) announced the recipients at a Feb. 16 lunch at New York City's "21" Club.

Monetary Larson grants go to individual writers and organizations. The awards and foundation are named for the rising young composer-lyricist-librettist of Rent who died prematurely of an undiagnosed heart ailment on the eve of Rent's debut in Manhattan a decade ago.

The 2006 recipients also include:

  • Andrew Gerle, composer and co-librettist of Meet John Doe and composer of The Tutor.
  • Eddie Sugarman, lyricist and co-librettist of Meet John Doe.
  • Lance Horne, composer-lyricist whose work has been heard at Joe's Pub, New York Theatre Workshop, Lincoln Center and elsewhere. He penned vocal arrangements for Broadway's Little Women.
  • Joe Iconis, composer-lyricist and graduate of NYU/Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Among his projects is the "garage-band rock musical," The Black Suits (for which he wrote music and lyrics, and co-wrote the book with Robert Maddock).
  • Kait Kerrigan & Brian Lowdermilk, composer and lyricist team writing TheatreworksUSA's Henry & Mudge, premiering in the future at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. They also penned The Woman Upstairs (2004 NYMF). Lowdermilk received the Richard Rodgers Award and the Alan Menken Award.
  • Alison Loeb, lyricist and BMI Workshop member whose cabaret songs have been performed around the country and who is working on a number of projects. She's a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.
  • New York Shakespeare Festival/The Public Theater, which is developing the musical Passing Strange by Mark Stewart and Heidi Rodewald. The Larson Foundation was created in 1996 to provide financial assistance and encouragement to emerging composers, lyricists and bookwriters, and to nonprofit theatres with a commitment to the development of new musical theatre artists.

    Since 1997, the foundation has presented awards to 58 individuals and 21 organizations.

  • GrooveLily
    GrooveLily Photo by Jon Spaihts