PHOTO CALL: John Kander, Michael McElroy, Debra Monk, Celia Keenan-Bolger and More at Fred Ebb Award Ceremony
By Joseph Marzullo
Composer-lyricist Jeff Blumenkrantz was named recipient of the seventh annual Fred Ebb Award, an honor for rising musical theatre songwriters. The award includes $50,000, one of the largest prizes for American dramatic writing.
The Fred Ebb Foundation (Mitchell Bernard, trustee) in association with the Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, artistic director) gives the awards, established by the late Tony Award-winning lyricist of Chicago, Cabaret, Zorba, Kiss of the Spider Woman and other shows.
The 2011 award was presented to Jeff Blumenkrantz by Bebe Neuwirth, a veteran of Ebb's Chicago, on Nov. 28 at an invitation-only ceremony in the Penthouse Lobby of The American Airlines Theater.
We offer a look at photos from the cocktail party, ceremony and performance below:
Blumenkrantz began his career as an actor, performing on Broadway in Into the Woods (1987), Threepenny Opera (1989), Damn Yankees (1994), How to Succeed in Business… (as a memorable Bud Frump in 1995) and A Class Act (2001) and on TV in "Candide in Concert" for "Great Performances" and on all three "Law & Order" series, among other film and TV projects.
He received a Best Original Score Tony nomination for his songs in Broadway's Urban Cowboy. His one-act pieces, Woman with Pocketbook and Precious Little Jewel, have been performed at several regional theatres around the country.
His song "I Won't Mind" (lyrics by Annie Kessler and Libby Saines) was recorded by Audra McDonald. He has received song commissions from both Carnegie Hall and the Guggenheim's Works and Process program. Most recently, his songs have been recorded by Sutton Foster, Rebecca Luker, Victoria Clark, Lauren Kennedy and Megan Mullally.
Blumenkrantz is a recipient of the BMI Harrington Award and the Dramatists Guild Jonathan Larson Memorial Musical Theatre Fellowship. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and a longtime member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. In 2005, he published a songbook of his music and produced "The Jeff Blumenkrantz Songbook" Podcast, which featured live performances of those songs. The podcast episodes can still be heard by visiting iTunes or www.jeffblumenkrantz.com.
An advocate of his colleagues' work, Blumenkrantz also produced and hosted "The BMI Workshop Songbook" Podcast, featuring never-before-available music by members and alumni of the acclaimed musical theatre writers' workshop. It, too, can be found on iTunes or at www.bmiworkshopsongbook.com.
The Fred Ebb Award 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.
In addition to the monetary prize, the Fred Ebb Foundation will produce a one-night-only showcase of the winner's work.
The Fred Ebb Foundation is funded by royalties from Ebb's vast catalog of work. The Fred Ebb Foundation also makes an annual donation to Fred Ebb's favorite charity, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
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