The commission is the result of a gift from Patti Strickel Harrison to the Texas State University-San Marcos musical theatre program, which has sparked a new initiative for the creation of original musicals from established Broadway composers, lyricists and book writers.
In a statement Kaitlin Hopkins, head of the musical theatre program at Texas State, said, "Patti Harrison is serious about supporting our alternative vision for creating new works for musical theatre. I think the time is right to embrace a new model for developing shows. I’m very happy that Texas State can be on the forefront of that partnership between academia and the professional world."
The Harrison New Musical Works Commission will be administered through the musical theatre program in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Two new musicals will be commissioned every three years to be developed and premiered at Texas State.
Lippa, the 2010-2011 Composer in Residence at Texas State, is the inaugural recipient of the Harrison commission.
Texas State, according to a press release, will "supply facilities, actors, a musical director, a choreographer and musicians to support the development of the musical. Recipients of the commission will spend time on campus conducting readings, workshops and, ultimately, the production. During that time they will teach master classes and lecture in their area of expertise for the students."
Andrew Lippa has also written the scores for the Off-Broadway productions of The Wild Party and john & jen. He also contributed songs to the Broadway revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The composer is the recipient of a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Grammy nomination.