NEW YORK CITY: The Kleban Foundation has announced the recipients of the 25th annual Kleban Prize, awarded to promising musical theatre lyricists and librettists. Sam Willmott received the award for most promising lyricist, and Sam Carner received the award for most promising librettist. The awards include a total of $100,000 each, distributed over two years. The prizes will be presented to the winners in a private ceremony on June 22.
“At a time of year when so many theatre awards recognize the best of the past season, the Kleban Prize distinguishes itself by looking to the future,” Tony-winning lyricist and Kleban Foundation president Richard Maltby Jr. said in a statement. “The Kleban Foundation is proud to carry Ed Kleban’s legacy into the 21st century, having fostered over 60 emerging artists when they need support the most—when starting out.”
Wilmott recently received the Jonathan Larson Grant, and his current musical projects include Standardized Testing – The Musical!!!!; Yo, Vikings! (with Marcus Stevens) and Bhangin’ It (with playwrights Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew). He’s been a composer-in-residence at Goodspeed Musicals and at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Music Theater Conference.
Carner, along with composer Derek Gregor, was a finalist for the 2014 Fred Ebb Award, and both were in residence at Goodspeed in January. Their musical Island Song was produced at the Bloomington Playwrights Project in 2014, and their short children’s musical Love, Splat has toured the country with TheatreWorks USA since 2013.
Past winners of the prize include Jason Robert Brown, Robert L. Freedman, Steven Lutvak, David Lindsay-Abaire, Jeff Marx, Robert Lopez, Michael John LaChiusa and Glenn Slater.
Established in 1988, the Kleban Foundation honors the memory of A Chorus Line lyricist Edward L. Kleban, and the writer’s will supports the honor.