The Kleban Foundation was established in 1988 through the will of Edward L. Kleban, an award-winning writer best known as the lyricist of the musical A Chorus Line. For over 30 years, the Kleban Prize has recognized and honored the American musical theatre’s brightest developing talents, awarding over $6 million to 81 artists. Kleban, created the Kleban Prize in his Will, which is given annually to writers of extraordinary promise – to a librettist and a lyricist, respectively. Kleban designed the prize based on his personal experience as a promising writer. He was acutely aware that, though composers and musicians may often work within the theater, lyricists and librettists generally have to work outside the theater in order to support their writing. He wanted a prize of sufficient size to allow promising writers the time to simply write; his creation of the prize flowed from his desire to help other worthy artists like himself.
The prize is administered by New Dramatists on behalf of the The Kleban Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors. To ensure a robust and equitable adjudication, applications (including work samples) are submitted and reviewed blind by an independent panel of musical theatre artists and industry leaders. The Kleban Foundation Board sets the amount of the Prize annually. In recent years, a sum of $100,000 in each category has been paid in two annual installments to Prize recipients.
Yesterday in a private invitation-only ceremony hosted by ASCAP and BMI at BMI’s New York City headquarters at 7 World Trade Center Ryan Scott Oliver and Ethan Lipton were awarded the prize. Hosted by Tony Award winners and Kleban board members Richard Maltby, Jr. and Maury Yeston, the event will be streamed Broadway On Demand SmartTV channel beginning on Friday, February 10, at 8 pm, and will be available for viewing through Thursday, February 16.
Richard Maltby Jr. the president of Kleban Foundation is a director, producer, lyricist, and screenwriter. He conceived and directed the only two musical revues to win the Tony Award for Best Musical: Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1978: Tony, N.Y. Drama Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards, also Tony Award for Best Director) and Fosse(1999: Tony, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards). He is well known for Baby, 1983 (Director/Lyricist), Song and Dance, 1986 (Director/Co-lyricist), Miss Saigon, 1989 (Lyricist), Starting Here, Starting Now (Lyricist) and Closer Than Ever (Lyricist).
Maury Yeston was Ed Kleban’s best friend. T2C talked with Maury to learn what the composer/ lyricist of Nine, Grand Hotel, Titanic, and more was up to.
Tomorrow Brian Stokes Mitchell and David Lindsay-Abaire.
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