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Amas Musical Theatre Announces Recipient Of The Inaugural Eric H. Weinberger Award For Emerging Librettists

Amas Musical Theatre Announces Recipient Of The Inaugural Eric H. Weinberger Award For Emerging Librettists

Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer) today announced the recipient of the inaugural Eric H. Weinberger Award for Emerging Librettists, a juried cash and production grant given annually to support the early work and career of a deserving musical theatre librettist, commemorating the life and work of playwright/librettist Eric H. Weinberger (1950-2017), who was a Drama Desk Award nominee for Best Book of a Musical (Wanda's World), and the playwright/librettist of Class Mothers '68, which earned Pricilla LOPEZ a Drama Desk Award nomination.

Molly Reisman and Emily Chiu, both 2017 NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, were selected from over 50 blind submissions for their contribution to the full-length musical Keaton and The Whale, In addition to a check for $2,000 to help pay cost-of-living expenses, Ms. Reisman and Ms. Chiu receive development assistance from the 2019 New Works Development Program of Amas Musical Theatre, culminating in the work being rehearsed and performed by New York theatre professionals in an Amas Lab production. Amas was the development home for several of Mr. Weinberger's musicals, and which produced the World Premiere of Wanda's World and the New York Premiere of Tea for Three.

"We are thrilled to welcome Molly and Emily to the Amas family, says Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer of Amas Musical Theatre. "We are happy to commemorate Eric's memory and look forward to presenting the award to Molly and Emily at our *Gala Benefit Concert on Monday night."

In an artistic statement for the submission Ms. Reisman and Ms. Chiu said "Our mission as artists is first and foremost to create a space for audiences of all ages and backgrounds to connect to the world around them. We strive to craft stories with nontraditional protagonists such as whales and robots and the grim reaper that may seem unusual to some audiences, but ultimately speak to a universal desire for connection and empathy with another living creature. Our art allows us to invite the audience to play in a heightened reality, which gives us permission to experience intricate, intimate relationships painted in bold colors and amplified through music with a muscular, laser-like focus. Above all, we are here to explore the power of words, music, and the joy and play that can be brought to any creature and any connection, great or small.

The overarching theme of Keaton and THE WHALE is alienation and loneliness, and what it means to connect to the world around you. In our show, our characters have to open themselves up to the unknown factors of other people and learn that talking is not communicating. You must also listen. We must listen to the voices of the teens, who will inherit the world we leave for them. We must listen to the people for whom we are creating our art. We must listen to those who cannot speak on behalf of themselves. In order to communicate what we want to say we first must listen."

*This Monday night, April 1, Amas will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a Gala Benefit Concert with musical tributes to Rosie Award Honorees - legendary actor/singer and civil rights activist HARRY Belafonte, Shelly Berger, pioneering music manager, including 42 years guiding The Temptations; Sharleen Cooper Cohen, author, playwright and longtime Amas Board Member, and Donna Trinkoff, Amas' Artistic Producer in recognition of her 25 years at the helm of the organization. Amas @50 will be directed by Jonathan Cerullo, with music direction by Henry Aronson, and special material written by Stuart Ross, featuring award-winning performances by Len Cariou, Christopher Jackson, N'Kenge, Vivian Reed, Leslie Uggams, among other Broadway talent. The evening will begin at 6:00pm with a champagne reception and silent auction. At 7:00pm there is a sit-down dinner and at 8:00pm the show begins when the students of the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, Amas' flagship education program, will present a sneak peek of their upcoming spring production of Pippin. A scholarship in the name of Amas founder Rosetta LeNoire will also be given to a college-bound student attending the Amas Teen Academy. For more information, please visit


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