NEW YORK CITY: The Fred Ebb Foundation and Roundabout Theatre Company presented this year’s Fred Ebb Award to Freya Catrin Smith and Jack Williams. The $60,000 award, given annually to aspiring musical theatre songwriters in honor of the late lyricist Fred Ebb, was presented to Smith and Williams at a ceremony on Nov. 7 at the American Airlines Theatre/Todd Haimes Theatre. The award was presented by actor Bebe Neuwirth.
Smith and Williams are award-winning British musical theatre writers who have been collaborating since their teenage years. They both hold master’s degrees in musical theatre composition from Goldsmiths, University of London. Their musical Ride, about the life of cyclist Annie Londonderry, was nominated for a 2022 Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award and a 2023 WhatsOnStage Award after its production Off West End. It will have its American premiere at the Old Globe in March 2024. Their work has been performed at multiple U.K. venues, including the Leicester Square Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, among others. Smith and Williams jointly won the Chamber Musical Prize and are developing a new musical with the prize’s creators, Adam Lenson and Katy Lipson.
This year’s Fred Ebb Award selection panel included Fred Ebb Foundation trustee Mitchell S. Bernard, actors Adam Chanler-Berat and Meghan Picerno, and music director David Loud. In addition to the award, which is funded by royalties from Ebb’s catalogue of works, the foundation jointly makes a donation to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The Fred Ebb Foundation was established in 2005 under the terms of Ebb’s will to bestow an annual award to an aspiring musical theatre songwriter or songwriting team and to benefit BC/EFA, for which it has raised $18 million.
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