The American Theatre Wing has announced the recipients of the 2010 Jonathan Larson® Grants. The grants, given annually to honor emerging composers, lyricists and book writers, help to continue Tony Award®-winning composer Jonathan Larson's dream of infusing musical theatre with a contemporary, joyful, urban vitality. After considering 165 applications, Peter Lerman, Daniel Maté, and songwriting team Michael Kooman (music) and Christopher Dimond (book & lyrics) were selected to receive the prestigious grants, totaling $10,000. They will be honored at a presentation on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at Touch (240 W52 St.) in New York City.
This year's recipients were selected by an expert panel consisting of Robyn Goodman (Tony® Award-winning Producer, In the Heights), Tom Kitt (Tony® Award-winning Composer, Next to Normal), Kathleen Marshall (Tony® Award-winning Choreographer, The Pajama Game) and Stephen Schwartz (Tony® Award-winning Composer-lyricist, Wicked).
"Jonathan's work has enriched my life in countless ways and I will always strive to celebrate his life's work through my own contributions to the musical theatre," committee member Tom Kitt commented. "In addition, the Larson Grants changed my life when it awarded a very raw piece entitled Feeling Electric a grant back in 2004. That gift gave Brian Yorkey and me the confidence to keep working on that piece at a time when we weren't sure we could. Now, five years later, under its new title, Next to Normal continues to serve as an important example of how Jonathan's many gifts have changed lives. I couldn't be more proud to work with the Jonathan Larson Grants as a reminder of how important it is to nurture young artists and to fight for their voices to be heard."
Dedicated to celebrating excellence and supporting theatre, the American Theatre Wing awards the Larson Grants to artists to recognize and showcase their work with no strings attached - except to put it to the best use possible to help further the artist's creative endeavors.
Past recipients of the Larson Grants include Sam Davis (Curtains), Chad Beguelin & Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer), John Bucchino (A Catered Affair), Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy: The Musical) and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens).
Peter Lerman is a composer and lyricist who recently performed solo concerts of his work at the Kennedy Center and Signature Theatre. In 2005, he received his bachelor's degree in Music from Columbia University where he wrote music and lyrics for the Columbia Varsity Show. He participated in the 2007 Johnny Mercer Songwriting Festival and is a member of ASCAP, The Dramatists Guild, and Cutting-Edge Composers. In addition to music for theater, he writes country songs and music for television.
DANIEL MATÉ. B.A., McGill, Psychology; M.F.A., Tisch/NYU, Musical Theatre Writing) writes music,
Michael and Chris are 2009-2010 Dramatists Guild Fellows, were recently Fellows at the O'Neill Music Theater Conference, and were finalists for the 2009 Fred Ebb Award. They have been invited to perform a concert of their music at the Kennedy Center as part of the "Broadway: Today and Tomorrow" celebration. Last August, they attended the Johnny Mercer Songwriting Workshop with mentors Andrew Lippa and Craig Carnelia. They are proud members of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP, and are currently working on a CD to be released later this year.
In addition to their work together, Christopher Dimond was a playwright in residence at the Hangar Theatre for his play Burying Barbie, which has gone on to numerous subsequent productions. He is the recipient of the ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award, the KC/ACTF Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting (2nd Place), several ASCAPLUS Awards, an Alfred P. Sloan Screenwriting Fellowship, the Schubert Fellowship for Dramatic Writing, the Mary Marlin Fisher Playwriting Award, and was a finalist for the John Cauble Award.
Christopher's other works include Homeless: The Musical, CONFESSIONS OF AN 8th GRADE NOBODY (both with music by Suzanne Polak), The Blasphemy Of Bees, and Shakespeare On Drugs. He is currently working on several new projects, including Flour Baby, a short film that will be shot this spring. Michael Kooman received the 2009 Burton Lane award from the Theater Hall of Fame. His incidental musical scores have included the Carnegie Mellon Productions of The Glass Menagerie, House of Blue Leaves, Ghosts, and Brecht's Man is Man. Also active in the concert world, Michael was commissioned to write a piece for the 80th Anniversary season of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra, and his orchestral overture "Two Precepts" was premiered and recorded by the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. He is currently a member of the Tony Honored BMI Musical Theater Workshop. As a pianist, Michael accompanies at New York University, and Rosie's Broadway Kids.
The American Theatre Wing (Theodore S. Chapin, Chairman, Board of Directors; Howard Sherman, Executive Director) is a not-for-profit organization best known as the creator of the Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards®, which it presents annually with The Broadway League. In addition to "Downstage Center," "In The Wings," "Working in the Theatre," and a host of other online resources, The Wing sponsors many activities, all dedicated to recognizing excellence and supporting education in theatre. Visitors to americantheatrewing.org can listen to, watch or download from ATW's extensive media collection, and learn more about all of its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences who want to learn more about the making of theatre. Follow ATW on Facebook.com/TheAmericanTheatreWing and Twitter.com/TheWing.