New Dramatists administers the awards on behalf of the Kleban Foundation, created by late lyricist Edward Kleban, who wrote the lyrics to A Chorus Line.
The 2009 awards will be presented June 1 (by invitation only) in a private ceremony at BMI.
The judges making the final determination this year were Sheldon Harnick (Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist of Fiddler on the Roof and Fiorello!), 12-time Grammy Award-winning original cast recording producer Thomas Z. Shepard (Sweeney Todd, La Cage aux Folles, No No Nanette) and Emmy Award-winning and Tony-nominated playwright and screenwriter Sherman Yellen (The Rothschilds, Oh! Calcutta!).
Falcone is the composer/lyricist for Wanda's World, recently seen at the 45th Street Theater, produced by Amas Musical Theatre in association with Terry Schnuck. With a book by Eric H. Weinberger and directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Wanda's World earned a Drama Desk nomination as well as two Lucille Lortel nominations, including Best Musical. Wanda had its regional premiere in Austin, TX, with Zach Showstoppers in January, and was recently optioned for a commercial New York run. She is a contributing composer/lyricist for Spongebob the Musical, Live!, currently in London, as well as for Hats! The Musical, now on national tour. Falcone is a member of the BMI Lehman-Engel Advanced Musical Theater Workshop and won the 2006 Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement. She was awarded a Dramatists Guild Musical Theater Fellowship in 2004-05. She served as associate conductor for the Broadway run of Martin Short's show, Fame Becomes Me, and produced and musical directed Broadway for Obama, a benefit concert in Easton, PA, which featured over 30 Broadway performers who traveled to show their support for President Obama's campaign. She holds a Double Masters Degree in Piano Performance and Conducting from Northwestern University.
The Kleban Foundation was established in 1988 under the will of Edward L. Kleban, best known as the Tony and Pulitzer Prize award winner for the musical A Chorus Line. The will made provision for two annual awards, each in the amount of $100,000 payable over two years, to be given "to the most promising lyricist and librettist in American Musical Theatre."
Previous recipients of the annual Kleban Award include David Lindsay-Abaire (Shrek), Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last 5 Years), John Bucchino (A Catered Affair, It's Only Life), Gretchen Cryer (I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road, The Last Sweet Days of Isaac), Michael Korie (Grey Gardens, Happiness), Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), Michael John LaChiusa (See What I Want To See, The Wild Party), Glenn Slater (The Little Mermaid) and John Weidman (Road Show, Assassins).
Submission guidelines and an application for the 2010 Kleban Awards are available at the New Dramatists website, www.newdramatists.org. The postmark deadline for the next competition is Sept. 15, 2009.