Inaugural Relentless Musical Award to be Presented to Shayok Misha Chowdhury & Laura Grill Jaye

The annual Relentless Award, created in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman, is presented this year to a musical submission in honor of Adam Schlesinger.

By: Feb. 01, 2023
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Inaugural Relentless Musical Award to be Presented to Shayok Misha Chowdhury & Laura Grill Jaye

The American Playwriting Foundation and Building for the Arts will present the inaugural Relentless Musical Award on Monday, February 27, 2023 at 8:00 pm at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd St, New York, NY 10036).

The annual Relentless Award, created in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman, is presented this year to a musical submission in honor of Adam Schlesinger, an Academy & Tony-nominated and Emmy & Grammy-winning songwriter who passed away from COVID-19 in 2020. Schlesinger had served as an artistic advisor during the creation of the Relentless Award in 2015.

In addition to the award presentation, the celebration will include a First Listen to songs from the winning and finalist musicals. Special guests, all collaborators of Schlesinger's, will perform covers of a selection of his songs. The evening will conclude with a post-show reception. Special guests and speakers will be announced at a later date. Past Relentless Award Ceremony speakers have included Michael Stuhlbarg, Ethan Hawke, Ellen Burstyn, Billy Crudup, and Sam Rockwell.

Building for the Arts President David J. Roberts said, "This is a thrilling opportunity for Building for the Arts to bring together two of its diverse programs, Theatre Row and the American Playwriting Foundation. We're immensely proud to celebrate the Relentless Award's first musical honorees in this pivotal moment for the American Playwriting Foundation as a new program of Building for the Arts and its mission as a hub for artistic connection and community-building."

The Relentless Musical Award will be presented to winners Shayok Misha Chowdhury and Laura Grill Jaye, professionally known as Grill and Chowder, for their new musical How the White Girl Got Her Spots and Other 90s Trivia. Songs will be presented from How the White Girl... and from finalist musicals Hills On Fire by Joe Stevens and Keaton Wooden, Shoot for the Moon by David Gomez and John-Michael Lyles, and XY by Oliver Houser.

As the creators of the winning submission, Grill and Chowder will receive $65,000, the largest cash prize in American theater presented to an unproduced work, as well as opportunities to have How the White Girl... developed at various theatrical institutions, including a series of staged readings at Theatre Row.

The winner and finalists of the Relentless Musical Award were selected by a panel of judges including Rachel Bloom ("Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"), James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), Lynn Nottage (Clyde's), Thomas Bradshaw (When They See Us), David Javerbaum ("The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"), Sam Hollander ("Ordinary Joe"), Brontez Purnell (100 Boyfriends) and Stephin Merrit (The Magnetic Fields).

The Relentless Award selects finalists from several thousand submissions using blind evaluation, keeping the writers' identities, gender, race, etc. completely anonymous throughout the process. Approximately 80% of Relentless Finalists have been women.

A small number of tickets for the Celebration may be released to the public, pending availability.

The Relentless Awards and the American Playwriting Foundation are a program of Building for the Arts.

The American Playwriting Foundation, established in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman and his relentless pursuit of truth in the theater, has presented the Relentless Award annually to a playwright in recognition of a new work. In its mere eight years, the Relentless Award has become the most impactful award in theater in terms of launching some of theater's brightest new artists who are revitalizing the American stage: Obie Award-winner Aleshea Harris, whose plays have been produced non-stop since her Relentless win; Clare Barron, whose winning play Dance Nation went on to become a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize; Harrison David Rivers, whose play The Bandaged Place recently ran at Roundabout Theater Company; and Sarah DeLappe, whose play The Wolves has received over 500 productions.

Building for the Arts (BFA) expands access to the performing arts by providing creative space, learning opportunities, and hubs for artistic connection. BFA's signature projects - Theatre Row, Music and the Brain, and the American Playwriting Foundation- nurture artists, audiences, and youth with a focus on accessibility and inclusion.

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