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Academy of Arts and Letters Names 2021 Rodgers Award Winners

This year’s awards were presented to the musicals ‘The Monster,’ ‘Oratorio for Living Things,’ and ‘TL;DR: Thelma Louis; Dyke Remix.’

NEW YORK CITY: The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the winners of the 2021 Richard Rodgers Awards for Musical Theatre. All three musicals received a Studio Production Award.

Michael Mahler, Chelsea Marcantel, and Alan Schmuckler.

The first winner is The Monster, by Chelsea Marcantel, Michael Mahler, and Alan Schmuckler, a modern-day reimagining of the themes of creation and responsibility in the classic tale Frankenstein. The Monster follows Victoria, who launches the very first social network, software aimed at bringing communities into harmony online. As the scope of the project expands, Victoria finds her moral center being tested.

Heather Christian.

Also receiving an award is Oratorio for Living Things, by Heather Christian. This modern oratorio for 12 voices and orchestra looks at the line between scientific and spiritual revelation by visiting time on three scales: the quantum, the human, and the cosmic.

EllaRose Chary and Brandon James Gwinn.

The third award will go to TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix, by EllaRose Chary and Brandon James Gwinn. The musical follows T and L as they drive their 1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible off the edge of the Grand Canyon and into a fantasy-driven queer rock musical where strong female characters don’t “always gotta die.” Through this journey, they seek out the queer-happy ending they deserve.

The award, endowed in 1978, is presented in an effort to nurture talented composers and playwrights by enabling their work to be produced by nonprofit theatres in New York City. This year’s jury included members David Lang (chair), Lynn Ahrens, Kristoffer Diaz, Mindi Dickstein, Amanda Green, Michael R. Jackson, Richard Maltby Jr., and John Weidman. More information on the award is available on the Academy’s website.

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