The Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre


Created by Edward Kleban by an instruction in his Will, this prize is given annually to both a librettist and a lyricist. The Kleban Board of Directors sets the amount of the prize annually but in recent years the prize has been in the amount of $100,000 in each category payable in two annual installments.

Kleban’s instructions, as interpreted by the Board, specify that applicants must meet either of the following criteria:

• A work by the applicant must have previously been produced on a stage or in a workshop performance.
• The applicant must be or have been a member or an associate of a professional musical workshop or theater group, i.e., ASCAP, BMI Theater Workshop or the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program.

The single restriction is that any individual whose work has been performed on the Broadway stage for a cumulative period of two years prior to the date of the application is ineligible.

If the material is co-written (written by more than one lyricist or more than one librettist) all writers must apply as a team. (This does not include the composer unless s/he has also contributed lyrics or text.) Each applicant must be eligible in their own right to apply.

Applicants may apply in both categories, but must submit a separate application for each category and may win in only one such category.

Applicants may only apply once per category per year.

Applicants may win in only one category.

Application Materials:
Only work from musical theater will be considered.

Materials must be in English.

Submissions are coded and reviewed blind. The name(s) of the writer(s) must NOT appear on any submission materials. Failure to meet this requirement may render the applicant ineligible.

Lyricist Category:
Submission must include text for a minimum of five and a maximum of eight lyrics (songs).The lyrics may be from one or various shows. Submission files must be in either word or PDF formats.

MP3 recordings of each song are strongly encouraged but are not necessary.

Librettist Category:
Submission may be a full-length musical book, or one act from two separate shows. Lyrics should be included in the libretto even if they were written by someone other than the librettist. Submission files must be in either word or PDF formats.
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Please be aware that the adjudication process for the Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre is a seven month endeavor. You will be notified (by email) of your application status, around the end of the calendar year.
Please keep New Dramatists informed of any changes to your contact information during the application process.

If you have any questions regarding eligibility or submission materials, please email us.


To begin, click on the “Begin Your Kleban Prize Application” button below. You will be prompted to create an account by entering your email address and password. You will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to log in, if you wish to save and return to your application. If you receive an 'access denied' or error message stating that you already are registered please select the “log in” or "your account" at the top R of your screen.

From this point forward, you will be guided through a simple process collecting all of your admissions materials in five easy steps:

1. Log in. Choose the link for the category you are applying.

2. You will be asked to confirm you are eligible to apply. In the text field you must provide details substantiating your eligibility. Optionally, upload a resumé.

3. Fill in your full name, address, phone number and email address. To add another author, click the ‘Add another Author’ button at the bottom of the form and fill in their full name, address, phone number and email address. For any additional authors, click the ‘Add another Author’ button for each and fill in their contact information.

4. For a Lyricist application, upload your Lyrics text file. Optionally you may upload up to 8 audio files. For a Librettist application, upload your Musical text file. If you are submitting two acts from separate musicals they must be combined into one file.

5. Review your application, check the box that you have read and agree to our Privacy Policy, and click “Submit Your Application” to complete the process. You will receive an email confirming your application has been received.

If you are applying in a second category, while logged in click on the Your Account link (next to the donate button at the top of any page on the New Dramatists website) and select the 'Kleban Prize Application' link.

Application Window Closed

Already applied to be a 2019 New Dramatist Resident Playwright or for the 2019 Princess Grace Awards? CLICK HERE instead to login and begin your Kleban Prize application.

The Kleban Foundation, Inc.


  • André Bishop
  • Elliot H. Brown
  • Sheldon Harnick
  • Richard Maltby, Jr.
  • Richard Terrano
  • John Weidman
  • Maury Yeston


  • Richard Maltby, Jr., President
  • Sheldon Harnick, Vice President
  • Richard Terrano, Treasurer
  • Elliot H. Brown, Assistant Treasurer
  • Sarah Douglas, Secretary

2020 Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre applications are submitted digitally through a module on New Dramatists' website

Applications will be accepted 10:00AM ET, Friday March 22-6:00PM ET, Wednesday May 22, 2019