Three musicals have been named winners of the 2021 Richard Rodgers Awards for Musical Theater, presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
This year's winners are The Monster by Chelsea Marcantel, Michael Mahler, and Alan Schmuckler; Oratorio for Living Things by Heather Christian; and TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix by EllaRose Chary and Brandon James Gwinn.
The Monster is described as a modern-day re-imagining of Frankenstein. The musical delves into the original’s themes of creation and responsibility while following Victoria, who launches software to bring communities into harmony online. Oratorio for Living Things, for 12 voices and orchestra, seeks to illuminate and beatify the time that blurs the line between scientific and spiritual revelation. In TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix, T and L drive their 1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible off the edge of the Grand Canyon and into a fantasy-driven, irreverent, queer, rock musical.
The members of this year’s jury were chair David Lang, Lynn Ahrens, Kristoffer Diaz, Mindi Dickstein, Amanda Green, Michael R. Jackson, Richard Maltby, Jr., and John Weidman.
Richard Rodgers endowed these awards in 1978 to nurture talented composers and playwrights by enabling their musicals to be produced by nonprofit theatres in New York City. Former recipients include Maury Yeston for Nine; Jonathan Larson for Rent; Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty for Lucky Stiff; Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley for Violet; Scott Frankel, Michael Korie, and Doug Wright for Grey Gardens; Dave Malloy for Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812; and Anaïs Mitchell for Hadestown.