NEW YORK CITY: The Kleban Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2019 Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre. The Kleban Foundation, established in 1988 in honor of composer and lyricist Edward Kleban, recognizes musical theatre librettists and lyricists. The prizes, which include a monetary award of $100,000 each, will be presented at a private ceremony on February 4.
The judges declared a tie between Sarah Hammond and Shaina Taub in the category of most promising musical theatre lyricist. Hammond’s credits include the book for the musical String (Village Theater world premiere), and the book and lyrics for Theatreworks USA’s Pete the Cat (which has toured nationally four times), among others. Taub’s works include musical adaptations of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and As You Like It commissioned by the Public Theater and presented at the Delacorte in Central Park. She’s currently writing lyrics for the upcoming Broadway musical The Devil Wears Prada, with music by Sir Elton John.
The Kleban Prize for the most promising musical theatre librettist has been awarded to Charlie Sohne, whose works include the libretto for The Boy Who Danced on Air (which had its world premiere at The Diversionary Theatre and its Off-Broadway premiere at the Abingdon Theatre ).
The Kleban Foundation was established in 1988 under the will of Edward L. Kleban, best known as the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning lyricist of the musical A Chorus Line. Kleban’s will made provisions for annual prizes to be given to the most promising lyricist and librettist in American musical theatre.
“For nearly three decades, 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. “Ed Kleban recognized that theatrical wordsmiths had the hardest time supporting themselves while honing their craft, and so the Kleban Awards are specifically for librettists and lyricists. While other theatre awards recognize the best of the past season, the Kleban Prize celebrates work yet to be done.”