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Three Musicals Win 2005 Richard Rodgers Awards Competition

Winners of the 2005 Richard Rodgers Awards competition for musical theatre were announced by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
They are:

BRINGERS by Dave Hudson and Paul Libman
BROADCAST by Nathin Christensen and Scott Murphy.
RED by Brian Lowdermilk and Marcus Stevens.

The three musicals will be given staged readings by nonprofit theaters in New York City in 2005.

The Richard Rodgers Awards offer writers and composers an opportunity to develop their work and launch a career in musical theater. Former recipients of the awards include Maury Yeston (Nine), Jonathan Larson (Rent), July Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal (Juan Darien), Lynn Ahrens
and Stephen Flaherty (Lucky Stiff) Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley (Violet). To date, 56 awards have been given.

The winners of the Richard Rodgers awards were chosen by a seven-member jury, under the chairmanship of Stephen Sondheim, and included Lynn Ahrens, Jack Beeson, Sheldon Harnick, Richard Maltby, Jeanine Tesori, and John Weidman.

The themes of the musicals which won this year's competition are diverse.

BRINGERS takes its inspiration from Carl Sandburg's 1918 Pulitzer Prize winning volume of poetry, Cornhuskers, and is a joyful blend of poetry and musical theater. Mirroring the poetry, it explores in song the repeating cycle of life in the Midwest, drawing on American music from folk to jazz, with invited guests reading the poems and the cast performing the songs.

BROADCAST follows the history of radio, from its beginnings as wireless telegraph up to the dawn of television. Each scene depicts new characters as their lives are affected by, and, in turn, influence the development of the technology.

RED looks at the events leading up to the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1953, through the eyes of comedian and free speech champion Lenny Bruce. It tells the love story of two people with passionate beliefs who never betrayed each other, even to save their own lives, juxtaposed within a broader context that explores the mindset of the time.

Richard Rodgers, the first musical theater composer elected to the Academy, endowed the awards in 1978. The awards provide financial support for full productions, studio productions, or staged readings by nonprofit theaters in New York City.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was established in 1898 for the furtherance of the arts and gives numerous annual awards in literature, painting, sculpture, architecture, or music composition. The Academy's membership is limited to 250 persons, elected for their outstanding work in literature, art, or music composition. The Richard Rodgers Awards are the only Academy awards for which applications are accepted.

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