By Andrew Gans
02 Dec 2013
The award, named in honor of the late, award-winning lyricist Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman), is presented by Tony winner Joel Grey at 6 PM at a by-invitation-only ceremony in the Penthouse Lounge of The American Airlines Theatre.
The Fred Ebb Award, according to press notes, "recognizes excellence in musical theatre songwriting, by a songwriter or songwriting team that has not yet achieved significant commercial success. The award is meant to encourage and support aspiring songwriters to create new works for the musical theatre." The prize includes a $50,000 award. In addition to the monetary prize, the Fred Ebb Foundation will produce a one-night-only showcase of the winners' work.
Past winners include John Bucchino (2005), Steve Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman (2006), Peter Mills (2007), Adam Gwon (2008), Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich (2009), Douglas C. Cohen (2010), Jeff Blumenkrantz (2011) and Sam Willmott (2012).
The selection panel comprised Foundation Trustee Mitchell Bernard; lyricist, writer and composer Sheldon Harnick; music director David Loud; actress Julia Murney; playwright and producer Tim Pinckney; and theatre producer Arthur Whitelaw.
Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond received the 2010 Jonathan Larson Grant and are the first recipients of the Lorenz Hart Award. Between them, they have received the Burton Lane Award, the Harold Adamson Award, the KC/ACTF Musical Theatre Award, a NYFA Fellowship, an Anna Sosenko Grant and numerous ASCAP Plus awards.
They are currently working on the original musicals The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes (developed at the O’Neill Music Theater Conference and the Village Theater), Orphie & The Book of Heroes (commissioned by the Kennedy Center and set to premiere in February, 2014) and Judge Jackie Justice (commissioned by the Pittsburgh CLO, and scheduled to open in early 2014). Their first collaboration, Dani Girl (licensed by Samuel French), has been workshopped at the Kennedy Center, American Conservatory Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theater Workshop, the Festival of New American Musicals, and was featured in the 2011 NAMT Festival of New Musicals. Their official website is koomandimond.com.