NEW YORK CITY: The Kleban Foundation has named Ryan Scott Oliver and Ethan Lipton the recipients of the 2023 Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre. Oliver is being recognized as a lyricist, while Lipton is being recognized as a librettist.
“For over three decades, the Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre has been one of the theatre’s most distinctive honors, and after the last few challenging years, Ed Kleban’s legacy may be more important than ever,” Kleban Foundation president Richard Maltby Jr. said in a statement. “The Kleban Prize identifies, celebrates, and supports the most promising writing talent in the theatre, just when emerging writers and established writers need help the most.”
The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Feb. 6 hosted by the American Society Composers, Author and Publishers and Broadcast Music, Inc., featuring musical performances. The ceremony will be available to stream via Broadway On Demand beginning Feb. 10.
Oliver is known for writing the score for 35mm: A Musical Exhibition, based on photographs by Matthew Murphy; Jasper in Deadland, for which he also co-wrote the book with Hunter Foster; Darling, Havana!; Otherbody, a brief musical allegory; Mrs. Sharp; We Foxes; and Three Points of Contact. He has received commissions from Broadway Across America, Grove Entertainment, Disney Theatricals, and Universal Stage Productions, and his work has been read at Playwrights Horizons. Oliver is the recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant and the Richard Rodgers Award and is a Lucille Lortel Award nominee. He is currently working on the original musical commission Tomorrow, The Island Dies and several adaptations of Shirley Jackson’s work, as well as Party of the Century, a musical based on Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball, with librettist Kirsten Guenther for FourthWall Theatrical. Oliver holds an MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Lipton’s produced plays include Tumacho, Red-Handed Otter, Luther, Goodbye April Hello May, 100 Aspects of the Moon, and Meat. He received an Obie Award for No Place to Go, for which he wrote both the book and songs, and received a Lortel Award nomination for The Outer Space, both of which premiered with the Public Theater. Lipton is a former member of the Public’s Emerging Writers Group and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, among others. His commissions include Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Horizons, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, True Love Productions, the New York Public Library, and more. He has also played venues throughout New York and beyond with his band, Ethan Lipton & his Orchestra.
The Kleban Foundation was established in 1988 through the will of Edward L. Kleban, an award-winning writer best known as the lyricist of the musical A Chorus Line. For over 30 years, the Kleban Prize has recognized and honored the American musical theatre’s brightest developing talents, awarding over $6 million to 81 artists.
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