NEW YORK CITY: The Kleban Foundation has announced the recipients of the 26th annual Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre. Stacey Luftig was named most promising musical theatre lyricist, and Daniel Goldstein was named most promising musical theatre librettist. The recipients will receive a cash prize of $100,000 each, which will be doled out over two years. The awards will be presented on Monday, Feb. 8 in a private ceremony hosted by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) at ASCAP. The judges this year were Judith Ivey, Michael Price, and Andrew Zerman.
“For over 26 years, the Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre has been one of the theatre’s most distinctive honors,” said Richard Maltby Jr., president of the Kleban Foundation, in a statement. “While so many theatre awards recognize the best of the past season, the Kleban Prize distinguishes itself by looking to the future. With a uniquely generous endowment, the Kleban Prize celebrates and supports some of the theatre’s most promising writers. 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.”
Stacey Luftig is a New York-based lyricist, librettist, playwright, and occasional television writer. Previous works includes a monologue and lyrics for the Off-Broadway revue That’s Life, which was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award. She also wrote the book and lyrics for Understood Betsy, which was produced at the Actors’ Playhouse and won the Jackie White Memorial National Children’s Playwriting Award, as well as the National Children’s Theatre Festival Award. Other credits include the operetta Story of an Hour and Jinxed, which won first place at Dayton Playhouse FutureFest and was an O’Neill National Playwrights Conference finalist. She has also written animated television episodes for Pinky Pinky Doo. Current projects include a family musical based on René Colato Laínez’s book The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez. She received the 2015 Fred Ebb Award for excellence in musical theatre songwriting, along with composer Phillip Palmer, for their musical My Heart Is the Drum, with a book by Jennie Redling. The musical was previously developed at the BMI Workshop, NAMT, the Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, and Kent State University. It will have its world premiere at Village Theater in Seattle in 2016.
Daniel Goldstein is a writer and director based in Brooklyn. His musical Unknown Soldier, written with Michael Friedman, appeared at the 2015 Williamstown Theatre Festival. The musical received development at Manhattan Theatre Club, the National Musical Theater Conference at the O’Neill Theater Center, McCarter Theater, and the Huntington Theatre Company, which originally commissioned the project as part of the Stanford Calderwood Commission for New American Plays. Goldstein and Dawn Landes received a Public Theater/Joe’s Pub New York Voices commission for the musical Row, based on Tori Murden’s memoir about becoming the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Row has been developed at the Orchard Project and Tofte Lake Center. He recently directed his first short film No She Wasn’t.