NEW YORK CITY: The American Playwriting Foundation and Building for the Arts have announced that Shayok Misha Chowdhury and Laura Grill Jaye, known professionally as Grill and Chowder, have won the Relentless Musical Award for their new musical How the White Girl Got Her Spots and Other 90s Trivia. They will receive $65,000—the largest cash prize in American theatre presented to an unproduced work—as well as opportunities to have How the White Girl… developed at various theatrical institutions, including a series of staged readings at Theatre Row.
The annual Relentless Award was created in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is presented this year to a musical submission in honor of Adam Schlesinger, the Oscar- and Tony-nominated, Emmy- and Grammy-winning songwriter (Fountains of Wayne, Cry-Baby, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Bedwetter) who died of COVID-19 complications in 2020. Schlesinger had served as an artistic advisor during the creation of the Relentless Award in 2015.
“The Relentless Award’s purpose is not just to honor Phil’s and Adam’s legacies, but to extend them through the launching of new works selected through the lens of their artistic sensibilities,” said selection committee leader David Bar Katz in a statement. “Our judges come together through this award to uplift artists whose work embodies Adam’s and Phil’s fearlessness, passion, humor, and relentless commitment to truth in art.”
Grill and Chowder have written musicals about the physics of light, the Armenian genocide, boys who eat dirt, 19th-century coal miners, and the book of Genesis. Their work has been seen or developed at Ars Nova, New York Theatre Workshop, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and NYMF. How the White Girl…is described as “an unabashedly nostalgic ode to the ’90s, growing up gay, and the messiness of cultural memory.”
The selection committee also recognized three finalists for the Relentless Musical Award: Hills On Fire by Joe Stevens and Keaton Wooden, Shoot for the Moon by David Gomez and John-Michael Lyles, and XY by Oliver Houser.
The judges for the 2022 Relentless Musical Award included Rachel Bloom, James Iha, Lynn Nottage, Thomas Bradshaw, David Javerbaum, Sam Hollander, Brontez Purnell, and Stephin Merrit.
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