The $10,000 award — with the aim of "nurturing and producing the next generation of musical theatre artists" — was established at the Off-Broadway company's 2011 gala to honor Second Stage Theatre trustee Donna Perret Rosen "in recognition of her long-standing commitment to young artists and new works."
The award winner was chosen by Tony Award winners James Lapine, Susan Stroman and Jack Viertel.
Composer-lyricist Gwon's musical Ordinary Days made its New York premiere at Roundabout Theatre Company in 2009, followed by productions in London's West End and around the world. The musical was recorded by Ghostlight Records. His other musicals include The Boy Detective Fails, Cloudlands and Bernice Bobs Her Hair.
In addition to the Donna Perret Rosen Award, Gwon is the recipient of the Ed Kleban, Fred Ebb and Frederick Loewe awards for excellence in musical theatre writing, the ASCAP Harold Adamson Award, and the MAC John Wallowitch Award, as well as commissions from Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theatre (Arlington), South Coast Repertory, Broadway Across America, and the EST/Sloan Project.
His songs have been heard in concert at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Joe's Pub, and Ars Nova. Gwon has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Dramatists Guild, is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. Second Stage Theatre trustee Perrett Rosen is a lifelong advocate for music and art and has been on the board of Second Stage Theatre since 2003. For 23 years, she was the director of New Orleans' Galerie Simonne Stern. In addition to Second Stage Theatre, she is a trustee of the Whitney Museum of American Art, vice-chairman of the American Friends of the British Museum, vice-president of the Venetian Heritage Society, and on the advisory committee to New Orleans Museum of Art. Perret Rosen was honored at Second Stage Theatre's 2011 gala, which raised over $1 million dollars for the not-for-profit company.
Founded in 1979 under the leadership of artistic director Carole Rothman, Second Stage Theatre "produces a diverse range of premieres and new interpretations of America's best contemporary theatre." Some of its better known works include Next to Normal, The Little Dog Laughed, …Spelling Bee, Metamorphoses and more.
In 1999, Second Stage Theatre opened The Tony Kiser Theatre, its state-of-the-art, 296-seat theatre, designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. In 2002, Second Stage launched the Second Stage Theatre Uptown series to showcase the work of up and coming artists at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre. The Theatre supports artists through several programs that include residencies, fellowships and commissions, and engages students and community members through education and outreach programs.