Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and The Kid Who Would Be Pope Win Richard Rodgers Awards
By Adam Hetrick
The Dave Malloy musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which played an acclaimed run at Ars Nova last fall, as well as the Tom and Jack Megan musical The Kid Who Would Be Pope, have been named the winners of the 2013 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater.
The intent of the Richard Rodgers Award is to nurture talented composers and playwrights by enabling their musicals to be produced in New York City. The 2013 jury included Stephen Sondheim (chair), Lynn Ahrens, Sheldon Harnick, Richard Maltby, Jr., Jeanine Tesori and John Weidman.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters administers the honor that helps finance the development of new musicals. Both productions received awards for studio productions.
Featuring book, music and lyrics by Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 was previously staged at Ars Nova last fall in a sold-out, critically praised production. As Playbill.com previously reported, a casting notice indicates that Tony Award-winning producers Howard and Janet Kagan (Pippin, Porgy and Bess) are aiming to present a commercial Off-Broadway run of the electro-pop opera based on "War and Peace" this spring at a theatre-to-be-announced.
Malloy's original score merges Russian folk and classical music with indie rock, electronica and organ-influenced cadences. The staging transformed Ars Nova's theatre into a "Moscow dining club: with no 'stage,' the musicians, performers and audience sit together at tables piled high with dumplings and vodka as the action unfolds throughout the space."
Tom and Jack Megan's musical The Kid Who Would Be Pope was first presented as part of the 2011 New York Theatre Festival. It is billed as a "coming-of-age story about an eleven-year-old boy who attempts to become the next Pope so that he can change the rules of the church and marry his favorite nun. It is a tale of love, obsession, and a young boy's search for miracles."
Former award recipients include Maury Yeston, Nine; Jonathan Larson, Rent; Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal, Juan Darien; Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Lucky Stiff; Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley, Violet; and Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright, Grey Gardens. Since 1980, 74 works have received Rodgers awards.
Application forms for the Richard Rodgers Awards may be downloaded from artsandletters.org.
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