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American Theatre Wing Announces 2018 Jonathan Larson Grant Recipients

American Theatre Wing Announces 2018 Jonathan Larson Grant Recipients

The American Theatre Wing (Heather Hitchens, President & CEO) announced today that the 2018 Jonathan Larson® Grants recipients are Jay Adana (music and lyrics), Andrew R. Butler & Andrew Farmer (music, lyrics, and book), Emily Kaczmarek & Zoe Sarnak (music, lyrics, and book), and Mark Sonnenblick(music and lyrics). Four prestigious, unrestricted grants of $10,000 each, as well as additional support in the form of residencies, concerts, and recording grants, totaling over $48,000, will be presented on Monday, March 19, 2018 at a private event at the WNYC Greene Space. The event will feature special performances of the recipients' work.

This year's recipients were selected by an expert panel consisting of two-time Tony Award®-winning actor/artist Patti LuPone, HERE Arts Center Artistic Director Kristin Marting, and two-time Tony Award®-winning producer Scott Sanders.

"Nothing in this world thrills me so much as new music. When that music is as accomplished, relatable, enjoyable, and eminently singable as what these composers and lyricists have delivered, well - let's just say the future of the American musical is secure in the hands of such exemplary young artists," said Patti LuPone, 2018 Jonathan Larson Grants selection panelist.

"The Jonathan Larson Grants are an integral part in the early development of some of Broadway's youngest and brightest theatre makers - from Tom Kitt to Dave Malloy to Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. The enhanced wrap-around support these grants offer -- including residencies, concerts, and additional recording grants -- ensure these artists' work will continue to enrich the lives of theatre lovers for years to come," said Heather Hitchens, President & CEO of the American Theatre Wing.

The Jonathan Larson 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. 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 artists' creative endeavors.

The American Theatre Wing is dedicated to also offering Jonathan Larson Grant artists industry resources to advance their work.

All four 2018 Jonathan Larson® Grants recipients will also receive a $2,000 Saw Island Foundation Recording Grant. The Saw Island Foundation seeks to empower innovative and high-impact institutions to improve existing programs; it has created this enhancement to provide artists with additional support to help arrange for the production of new demo recordings to more fully represent the musical theater writer's vision.

The American Theatre Wing, in partnership with Adelphi University Performing Arts Center, is awarding both Jay Adana and Emily Kaczmarek & Zoe Sarnak with an evening of performance featuring their work as part of their Larson Legacy Concert Series, which celebrates the next generation of creative artists at the college home of Jonathan Larson, class of '82, to carry on his legacy. Additionally, Andrew R. Butler & Andrew Farmer will be receiving a fully produced reading of their show via the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University.

Past recipients of the Larson Grants include Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen), Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey(Next to Normal), Chad Beguelin & Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer), Daniel Messe & Nathan Tysen (Amelie), Michael Korie (War Paint, Grey Gardens), Amanda Green(Hands on a Hardbody), Shaina Taub (Twelfth Night), and Max Vernon (The View Upstairs).


Jay Adana:

Jay Adana is a singer songwriter based out of Brooklyn. She was the lyricist for The Woodsman (New World Stages, 59E59, Ars Nova), directed and conceived by James Ortiz and Strangemen and Co. She also contributed music and lyrics to Jeff Augustin's The Last Tiger in Haiti (Berkeley Rep, La Jolla Playhouse). She was a member of the second cohort of #BARS at The Public Theater (created by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal) where she first met and collaborated with writing partner Zeniba Britt on an adaptation of Beloved by Toni Morrison. She is currently developing an American Civil War Musical called The Loophole, book by Zeniba Britt. It was workshopped at The Public Theater under the supervision of Jeanie O'Hare in August 2017 and then again in November 2017. BFA SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Theater Arts and Film.

Andrew R. Butler & Andrew Farmer:

Andrew R. Butler is a writer, composer and performer based in Brooklyn, NY and hailing from the Florida Panhandle. He has written four musicals with playwright Andrew Farmer: the Floridian folk tale Finn The Fearless; the southern gothic Blessing; an adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (TheatreWorksUSA commission); and the episodic musical travelogue American Cryptids. Also, (Parkland/Weathers) (Ars Nova), music/lyrics for Anna Kerrigan's The Dixon Family Album (Williamstown Theatre Festival's Sagal Fellowship); co-music/lyrics for Jaclyn Backhaus's Folk Wandering; co-writer/performer for Political Subversities (Joe's Pub); co-founder of experimental theatre company harunalee (Ars Nova's Makers Lab; The Public's Under The Radar Festival; LaMama; Bushwick Starr). Alumnus of Ars Nova's Uncharted Music/Theater Writers Group, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Polyphone Festival at UArts, Civilian's R&D Group, FGP's Playground Playgroup, Guild Hall's JDT Lab, and Aspen Theatre Festival. Andrew holds a BFA in Drama from NYU's Experimental Theatre Wing.

Andrew Duncan Farmer is a writer, performer, comedian and storyteller based in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. His work has been produced at MoMA, Ars Nova, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, Guild Hall, The UCB and The Yale School of Drama, amongst others. With Andrew R. Butler he has developed BLESSING (Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Playwrights Horizons Downtown commission), The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (TheatreworksUSA commission), Finn the Fearless (Ars Nova Residency, Theatre Aspen, Polyphone Music Festival) and American Cryptids (The Civilians R&D Group.) Recent plays include The Gray Man (Pipeline Theatre Company), The Fall of Hotel Mudafier...(Williamstown Theatre Festival), and I Heard Sex Noises, written with Claire Rothrock, Ryann Weir & Annie Tippe (Ars Nova Residency). Andrew's stories have appeared in Vogue,New York Magazine, The Moth and The Huffington Post. He's a member of The Story Pirates along with comedy groups Gentlemen Party and Political Subversities. He holds a BFA in Drama from Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU's Tisch School of The Arts.

Emily Kaczmarek & Zoe Sarnak:

Emily Kaczmarek is a NYC-based writer, teacher, and performer. Works include: Sam & Lizzie (First Floor Theatre, 2018 NPC Semifinalist), Afloat (with Zoe Sarnak; Prospect Theatre Company, WP Theatre Pipeline Festival), Afterwords (with Zoe Sarnak; Village Theatre Beta Series, Village Originals Festival of New Musicals, Playwrights Horizons-Musical Theatre Factory workshop, NYMF Developmental Reading), American Kids (City Theatre ShortCuts, BoxFest Detroit), Landed, Alma Mater, and Hold Your Peace (with Zoe Sarnak; New York Film Academy commissions), Paper & Glue (Future of Storytelling Conference, various high schools in NY and CA), and Anything New (NYU commission, Wombat Theatre Co). Residencies include: SPACE on Ryder Farm, Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, Goodspeed Musicals. Awards include: 2018 Kleban Prize Finalist, 2017 Premiere Stages Play Festival Semifinalist. She also teaches writing to high schoolers through the college access program SEO Scholars, and sings whenever possible. Education: New York

Zoe Sarnak's works include: Secret Soldiers (with Marsha Norman, Williamstown Theatre Festival Commission), Afterwords (with Emily Kaczmarek, Village Theatre Beta Series Production), Afloat (with Emily Kaczmarek, WP Pipeline Festival), The Years Between (with Kirsten Guenther, T-Fellowship lab), Galileo (with Danny Strong, Michael Weiner and dir. Michael Mayer), Teddy & Max (with Brian Crawley), Landed, Alma Mater, and Hold Your Peace (with Emily Kaczmarek, NYFA commissions) and Transport Group's 20th Century Commission (with Michele Lowe). Awards include: Fred Ebb Award finalist, two-time Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award finalist, NY Stage & Film's Founders Award finalist, Davenport Contest Winner, Women's Project Lab Artist. Residencies include: The Public Theater at Vineyards Arts, Goodspeed, Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, McCarter Theater Residency, Eugene O'Neill Artist Residency, and Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. Music featured: NY Times Live, Lilly Awards, and more. Education: Harvard

Mark Sonnenblick:

Mark Sonnenblick is a composer, lyricist, and librettist, although not always at the same time. Collaborations include Midnight at the Never Get (Bistro Award, MAC Award Nominee "Show of the Year"), Independents ("Best Production" FringeNYC), Dragons Love Tacos (TheatreworksUSA), Twenty Minutes or Less (Washington National Opera), Ship Show (Yale Institute for Music Theatre), Stompcat in Lawndale (Ars Nova Ant Fest), Wheel of Misfortune (Denver Center for the Performing Arts), and Bunkerville (BSU Discovery Festival). Mark was a Dramatists Guild Fellow (with composer Ben Wexler) and has developed work at The Johnny Mercer Writers Colony (Goodspeed Musicals), UCross Foundation, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, The John Duffy Institute (Virginia Arts Festival), Composers and the Voice (American Opera Projects), and The Johnny Mercer Songwriting Project. He is very grateful for his teachers, collaborators, friends, and family.

ABOUT THE American Theatre Wing

One hundred years ago, on the eve of America's entry into World War I, seven suffragettes-all women of the theatre-came together to form The Stage Women's War Relief. A century later, the spirit and vision behind the founding of American Theatre Wing remains a touchstone for all we do. The Wing continues to champion bravery, with a focus on developing the next generation of brave artists. We envision an American Theatre that is as vital, multi-faceted, and diverse as the American people.

The Wing's programs span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American Theatre. We provide theatre education opportunities for underserved students through the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, develop the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC and Theatre Intern Network programs, incubate innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, foster the song of American Theatre through the Jonathan Larson® Grants, honor the best in New York theatrical design with the Henry Hewes Design Award, and illuminate the creative process through the Emmy-nominated "Working in the Theatre" documentary series. In addition to founding the Tony Awards® which are co-presented with The Broadway League, the American Theatre Wing co-presents the Obie Awards®, Off Broadway's Highest Honor, with The Village Voice.

Visitors to can gain inspiration and insight into the artistic process through the Wing's extensive media collection, and learn more about its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences. Follow the Wing on Twitter and Instagram @TheWing, and on

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