Jonathan Larson's dream was to infuse musical theatre with a contemporary, joyful, urban vitality. Although he did not live to see it happen, his dream was achieved through the phenomenal success of his musical Rent. The Jonathan Larson Grants were created with the understanding that without the grants that supplemented Jonathan's meager income, Jonathan might never have written Rent. The grants program was established 17 years ago as a place for individual creative theatre artists to turn to for financial support and encouragement. Initially given by the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation, these grants have recognized and supported more than eighty composers, lyricists, and librettists at the start of their careers. The Jonathan Larson Grants honor the talented creator of Rent and ensure that his spirit continues to inspire the future of American musical theatre.
The American Theatre Wing is currently accepting applications for the 2014 Jonathan Larson Grants. Eligible applicants are reviewed and scored by readers with expertise in musical theatre, many of whom are prior recipients of the grant. The best scored applications then advance to a panel of industry experts to decide which applicants receive a grant. The 2014 grants will be presented at an exclusive, industry only reception, showcasing the work of the recognized emerging artists with performances of songs written by the grant recipients, in early March in Manhattan.
The few grants Jonathan Larson received boosted his professional confidence so that he could pursue a career writing for the musical theatre. Today, each of the Jonathan Larson grants are awarded to an artist to recognize and showcase their work with no strings attached - except to put it to the best use possible to help further the artist's creative endeavors. Thanks to the resources of the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation and the Larson Family, the program will be sustained for the future. The Jonathan Larson Grants are just one part of the American Theatre Wing's history of programs designed to support theatre professionals at the beginning of their careers, and dovetails with the Wing's longstanding practice of recognizing excellence in the theatre.
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Watch highlights from the 2013 Grants Presentation in NYC
Watch highlights from the 2012 Grants Presentation in NYC