Fred Alley and James Valq's The Spitfire Grill and Leon Ko and Robert Lee's Heading East are the winners of the Academy of Arts and Letters 2001 Richard Rodgers Awards for musicals.
The Academy will present The Spitfire Grill with its Production Award; and Heading East will receive the Academy's Development Award for staged readings. Initiated in 1978, the Academy's Richard Rodgers Awards provide financial support for "full productions, studio productions or staged readings by nonprofit theatres in New York City."
The late composer Richard Rodgers endowed the musical theatre awards programs with a $1 million gift. The first musical theatre member elected to the prestigious Academy, Rodgers sought to "encourage new talent in the field of musical theatre."
Stephen Sondheim chairs the Academy committee that chose the winning musicals. The remainder of the group comprises Lynn Ahrens, Jack Beeson, John Guare, Sheldon Harnick, R.W.B. Lewis, Richard Maltby, Jr. and Robert Ward. Of the many awards the Academy presents annually, only the Richard Rodgers Awards are open to competition.
For application information send an SASE to: The American Academy of Arts and Letters, 633 W. 155 St., New York, NY, 10032. —By Murdoch McBride