2012 Richard Rodgers Award For Musical Theater Given To Witness Uganda
The winner of the 2012 Richard Rodgers Awards for Musical Theater was announced today
by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which administers the Rodgers Awards.
Griffin, a black American volunteer, arrives from New York City to help build a village school and escape his church’s probing into his sexuality. But when he falls into a complicated
relationship with a group of destitute, orphaned teenagers, he becomes obsessed with a mission that will change his and their lives forever. From the beautiful rolling hills of the Ugandan
countryside to a stifling apartment in New York City, from a joyous celebration of African youth to a terrifying abduction 8000 miles away, Witness Uganda documents the story of a man
battling to find his place in a world full of injustice and inhumanity and explores the question “is changing the world even possible?”
Witness Uganda was awarded a staged reading.
The intent of the Richard Rodgers Award is to nurture talented composers and playwrights by enabling their musicals to be produced in New York City.
Former award recipients include Maury Yeston, Nine; Jonathan Larson, Rent; Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal, Juan Darien; Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Lucky Stiff; Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley, Violet; and Scott Frankel, Michael Korie, and Doug Wright, Grey Gardens. Since 1980 seventy works have received Rodgers awards. This year’s jury included Stephen Sondheim (chair), John Guare, Sheldon Harnick, David Ives, Richard Maltby, Jr., Jeanine Tesori, and John Weidman.
Richard Rodgers, elected to the Academy in 1955, endowed these awards in 1978. The awards provide financial support for productions, Studio Productions, and staged readings of original musicals, by nonprofit theaters in New York City. The Richard Rodgers Awards are the Academy’s only awards for which applications are accepted. Application forms for the Richard Rodgers Awards may be downloaded from www.artsandletters.org.
Matt Gould’s Witness Uganda (co-written with Griffin Matthews) is the recipient of ASCAP’s Dean Kay Award and Harold Adamson Award and has received a Disney/ASCAP workshop with Stephen Schwartz and a workshop at the Vineyard Arts Project. Matt is also working on a commission for Yale Rep with playwright Carson Kreitzer on a new musical called Lempicka. He wrote and directed Free Style for LA’s REPRISE Theatre Company (commissioned by Jason Alexander), wrote
Twilight in Manchego (Jonathan Larson Foundation Award) in the NYMF, was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons to write music for Lucy Thurber’s Dillingham City, composed music for Dreyfus In Rehearsal (Theatre Row) and translated, adapted and directed Romeo and Juliet in Pulaar (Mauritania, West Africa). He was a composing fellow in New Dramatist’s Composer/Librettist studio and has composed and arranged music for Grammy Winner Desmond Child, Terrence McNally, and Vanessa Williams. His music has been performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Saban Theatre (LA), Symphony Space (NYC), Joe’s Pub, New World Stages, Huntington Theatre Company (Boston), Rattlestick (NYC), Summit Series, and with Griffin Matthews this March, TEDx Wall Street!