Musical Theatre Songwriter Shaina Taub Named 2017 Fred Ebb Award Winner
The award, named in honor of the late award-winning lyricist Fred Ebb, will be presented by Brian Stokes Mitchell on Monday, November 27th from 6-8pm at a by-invitation-only ceremony in the Penthouse Lounge of The American Airlines Theater.
The Fred Ebb Award recognizes excellence in musical theatre songwriting, by a songwriter or songwriting team that has not yet achieved significant commercial success. The award is meant to encourage and support aspiring songwriters to create new works for the musical theatre. The prize includes a $60,000 award. In addition to the monetary prize, the Fred Ebb Foundation will produce a one-night-only showcase of the winner's work. The Fred Ebb Foundation is funded by royalties from Mr. Ebb's vast catalogue of work.
Past winners include John Bucchino (2005), Steve Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman (2006), Peter Mills (2007), Adam Gwon (2008), Marcy Heisler & Zina Goldrich (2009), Douglas Cohen (2010), Jeff Blumenkrantz (2011), Sam Willmott (2012), Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond (2013), Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen (2014), Stacey Luftig and Phillip Palmer (2015), and Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore (2016).
The selection panel is comprised of: actress Kate Baldwin; Foundation Trustee Mitchell S. Bernard; lyricist and composer Sheldon Harnick; actor Telly Leung; music director David Loud; and playwright Tim Pinckney. Each year, the Foundation also makes a donation to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Shaina Taub is a Vermont-raised, New York-based songwriter and performer. She is the winner of the Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant and the ASCAP Foundation Lucille and Jack Yellen Award. A former composer-in-residence at Ars Nova, Taub made her Lincoln Center solo debut in their 2015 American Songbook series, and she's currently an artist-in-residence at Joe's Pub where she performs a monthly concert. Her original musical adaptations of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and As You Like It were commissioned by The Public Theater and produced at the Delacorte in Central Park the past two summers as part of their groundbreaking Public Works initiative. She wrote songs for and starred in Bill Irwin and David Shiner's Old Hats, directed by Tina Landau at the Signature Theatre. Her songs have been performed by Audra McDonald at Carnegie Hall and Sutton Foster at Lincoln Center, and she wrote the theme song for Julie Andrews' Netflix series "Julie's Greenroom," performed on the show by Sara Bareilles, as well as several songs for "Sesame Street." She has received fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo and The Sundance Institute. She's currently writing a new musical about Alice Paul and the American women's suffrage movement. Her album Visitors is available at shainataub.com.
As a writer, lyricist, composer and director, Fred Ebb made incalculable contributions to the New York theatrical community. Mr. Ebb is a Tony, Grammy, Emmy, Olivier and Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award winning recipient. Fred Ebb's first professional songwriting assignment came in 1953 when he and Phil Springer were hired by Columbia Records to write a song for Judy Garland called "Heartbroken." Mr. Ebb was introduced to composer John Kander in 1964 by music publisher Tommy Valando and became one of the most legendary songwriting teams in American history. The first successful collaboration was on the song "My Coloring Book," recorded by Barbra Streisand. Their second theatrical collaboration, Flora, the Red Menace, created a star out of Liza Minnelli in her Tony Award-winning Broadway debut. In 1966, their collaboration Cabaret, opened and received seven Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score. A 1972 movie version of Cabaret starring Liza Minnelli was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won eight awards and was nominated for nine Golden Globe Awards and won three including Best Picture, Musical or Comedy. The same year, the songwriting team wrote a number of songs for Minnelli's television special "Liza With a Z," which received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Program - Variety or Popular Music. In 1975, the two wrote the Broadway musical Chicago, directed by Bob Fosse and starring Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach. The musical was successfully revived 20 years later at City Center ENCORES! and subsequently transferred to Broadway where it is currently the longest running revival in Broadway history. In 1977, the team collaborated with Martin Scorsese on the movie New York, New York; the title song was introduced by Minnelli and later recorded by Frank Sinatra becoming the unofficial theme song of New York City. The Minnelli Broadway vehicle The Act also opened that year. After a four-year absence, Mr. Ebb and Mr. Kander returned with Woman of the Year (1981), The Rink (1984), Kiss of the Spiderwoman (1985) and Steel Pier (1997). They were honored by the Kennedy Center with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. Miramax's 2002 feature film Chicago was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won six, including Best Picture and was nominated for eight Golden Globe Awards and won three, including Best Picture, Musical or Comedy.
At the time of Mr. Ebb's passing, he and Mr. Kander were at work on several new musicals. Curtains, starring David Hyde Pierce and Debra Monk, debuted at CTG/Ahmanson Theatre in 2006 and came to Broadway in 2007, receiving a Tony Nomination for Best Musical as well as a Best Score nomination for Kander & Ebb. In 2007, All About Us was staged at the Westport Country Playhouse. The Scottsboro Boys opened on Broadway in 2010 and received 12 Tony Nominations, including Best Musical and Best Score, and in 2016 concluded a run in the West End at the Garrick Theatre. Rob Marshall and Sam Mendes's Tony Award winning production of Cabaret returned to Broadway in 2014, with Alan Cumming reprising his role as the Emcee and Three-time Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams in her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles. The Visit, starring Chita Rivera and George Hearn, received a staging at DC's Signature Theatre in 2008, a concert staging in NYC in the fall of 2011, and a production in Williamstown, starring Chita Rivera and Roger Rees and directed by J.H. Doyle. In the spring of 2015, The Visit opened on Broadway and received five Tony nominations, including Best Musical and Best Score for Kander & Ebb.
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