Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre

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The Kleban Foundation announces the recipients of the 34th annual Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre. The 2024 Kleban Prize for the most promising musical theatre librettist has been awarded to Lisa Loomer. The 2024 Kleban Prize for the most promising musical theatre lyricist has been awarded to Rona Siddiqui. The Kleban Foundation will present the prizes on Monday, February 5 at 4PM in a private ceremony (by invitation only) hosted by ASCAP and BMI at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street). Featuring musical performances from work by this year’s prize recipients, the event will be hosted by Tony Award winners and Kleban board members Richard Maltby, Jr. and Maury Yeston.

Since its inception, Kleban Prize winners have been selected by judging panels comprised of the theatre’s most respected artists and administrators. The trio of celebrated judges making the final determination this year were Tony Award-winning playwright, composer, and lyricist Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop), Elissa Adams (Associate Artistic Director,Theater Latte Da; Producer, NEXT Festivals), and award-winning actor and playwright Chistine Toy Johnson (The Music Man, Pacific Overtures, Falsettoland).

About the Prize

The Kleban Foundation was established in 1988 under the will of Edward L. Kleban, best known as the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning lyricist of the musical A Chorus Line. Kleban’s will made provisions for annual prizes, which in recent years have totaled $100,000 each, payable over two years, to be given to the most promising lyricist and librettist in American musical theatre.

For over 30 years, the Kleban Prize has recognized and honored some of the American musical theatre’s brightest developing talents. "The Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre is one of the theatre's most distinctive honors,” says Tony Award winner Richard Maltby Jr., President of the Kleban Foundation. “After the last few challenging years, Ed Kleban's legacy may be more important than ever in supporting the creators of tomorrow's American musicals. Ed Kleban recognized that theatrical wordsmiths have the hardest time supporting themselves while honing their craft, and so the Kleban awards are specifically for librettists and lyricists. It is notable that the Kleban Prize is not given to a specific work, as other awards are, but instead, it is given for work yet to be written. With a uniquely generous endowment, the Kleban Prize identifies, celebrates and supports promising writing talent in the theatre, just when emerging writers -- and established writers -- need help the most. Kleban Prize winners are going to define the art form for years to come. The Kleban Foundation is proud to carry on Ed Kleban's enlightened legacy.”

Over more than three decades, the annual Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre has awarded over $6,000,000 to 83 artists who collectively have garnered seven Tony Awards (with nearly 30 Tony nominations), 59 Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, 10 Drama Desk Awards, nine Outer Critic Circle Awards, five Obie Awards, two Olivier Awards, and two Pulitzer Prizes. The list of previous Kleban Prize winners includes Lisa Kron (Fun Home), Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak (A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder), David Lindsay-Abaire (Kimberly Akimbo, Shrek), Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years), John Bucchino (A Catered Affair, It’s Only Life), Gretchen Cryer (I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, The Last Sweet Days of Isaac), Michael Korie (Grey Gardens, Happiness), Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), Michael John LaChiusa (Giant, See What I Wanna See, The Wild Party), Glenn Slater (The Little Mermaid) and John Weidman (Pacific Overtures, Road Show, Assassins). 

About the Winners

2024 Kleban Prize winner, most promising musical theatre librettist LISA LOOMER is a playwright whose work has been produced at major theaters across the country and is taught in both Women's Studies and Latine Studies classes. Her recent play Roe, about Roe v. Wade, debuted at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and went on to such theaters as Arena Stage, The Goodman, and Berkley Rep. Other plays include The Waiting Room (Williamstown, Vineyard), Living Out (Mark Taper, Second Stage), Distracted (Mark Taper, Roundabout), ¡Bocón! (Mark Taper Forum) and Café Vida (LATC). Ms. Loomer is an alumna of New Dramatists and the recipient of The American Theater Critics Award (twice), Pen award, Jane Chambers award (twice), Kennedy Center New Plays Award, Susan Smith Blackburn, and an Imagen Award for positive portrayals of Latine people in all media. Screen credits Girl, Interrupted. She is the bookwriter of the musical adaptation of Real Women Have Curves which is currently running at the American Repertory Theater in partnership with the producers Jack Noseworthy and NAMCO. Current projects include the musical of Like Water for Chocolate and a new play, Side Effects May Include...about Pharma.

2024 Kleban Prize winner, most promising musical theatre lyricist RONA SIDDIQUI is a composer/lyricist based in NYC. A Grammy nominated artist, Rona Siddiqui is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant and Billie Burke Ziegfeld award and was named one of Broadway Women's Fund's Women to Watch. Her musicals include Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan, an autobiographical comedy about growing up bi-ethnic in America, One Good Day, Hip Hop Cinderella, and Treasure in NYC. She is the recipient of the ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award, the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award and ASCAP Foundation/Max Dreyfus Scholarship. She has been in residency at Musical Theatre Factory and Ars Nova. Rona also served as Music Supervisor of A Strange Loop on Broadway. www.RonaSiddiqui.com

Application Information

The application window for the 2025 Kleban Prize will open on March 15, 2024 and close at 5:00PM EDT on May 15, 2024. Guidelines for applying are available to view on New Dramatists’ website at www.NewDramatists.org/Kleban-Prize-Musical-Theatre.