Douglas J. Cohen Wins York Theatre Company's Noel Coward Award; Presented 12/16

The award-winning York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director) has announced the winner of a new award celebrating musical theatre talent: The York Theatre Company Noël Coward Prize. This year's recipient is Douglas J. Cohen, author of The Gig, which is based on a screenplay by Frank D. Gilroy.

In honor of the talents of Sir Noël Coward, who often served as the writer/composer/lyricist for his musicals, the York Theatre Company - with the endorsement of the Noël Coward Foundation - administers the York Theatre Company Noël Coward Prize to a promising librettist/composer/lyricist whose work best exemplifies the "triple threat" standards set by Coward. The winning artist receives an honorarium and a special one-night-only staged concert of the musical submitted to the contest produced by The York Theatre Company.

After receiving a large number of submissions, an esteemed panel of industry professionals selected the winning entry. The panel included Nancy Ford, John Kander, Richard Maltby, Mel Marvin, Brian Murray, Susan H. Schulman and Tony Walton.

This year's winner will receive the award at a concert celebrating Noël Coward on his birthday, December 16, 2009 at 7:30 PM. The concert will feature Noël Coward songs (which Tony Walton and Barry Day have used in their new musical adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Happy Hypocrite). A reception will immediately follow. A reading of The Gig is being planned for after the first of the year.

The York Theatre Company was nominated for five 2009 Drama Desk Awards, four Lucille Lortel Awards, two Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Drama League Awards for its productions of Enter Laughing, The Musical and My Vaudeville Man! last season. York Theatre Company is one of the only companies in the city committed to developing and producing new Musical Theatre Works and rediscovering musical gems from the past. Winner of a special Drama Desk Award for developing and producing new musical theatre, York's intimate, imaginative style of producing both original and classic musicals has resulted in critical acclaim and recognition from artists and audiences alike for almost four decades. Under the guidance of Artistic Director James Morgan since 1997, the York has focused exclusively on new musicals in its Mainstage Series-most of them world, American or New York premieres-by some of the field's most esteemed creators and has also helped launch the careers of many talented new writers.

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