On Monday, March 19th at the WNYC Greene Space, the Wing presented works by our the 2018 Jonathan Larson® Grants recipients: Jay Adana, Andrew R. Butler & Andrew Farmer, Emily Kaczmarek & Zoe Sarnak, and Mark Sonnenblick. Four prestigious, unrestricted grants of $10,000 each, as well as additional support in the form of residencies, concerts, and recording grants, totaling over $48,000, were given. This year’s recipients were selected by an expert panel consisting of two-time Tony Award®-winning actor/artist Patti LuPone, HERE Arts Center Artistic Director Kristin Marting, and two-time Tony Award®-winning producer Scott Sander.
“Nothing in this world thrills me so much as new music. When that music is as accomplished, relatable, enjoyable, and eminently singable as what these composers and lyricists have delivered, well — let’s just say the future of the American musical is secure in the hands of such exemplary young artists,” said Patti LuPone, 2018 Jonathan Larson Grants selection panelist.
“The Jonathan Larson Grants are an integral part in the early development of some of Broadway’s youngest and brightest theatre makers – from Tom Kitt to Dave Malloy to Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. The enhanced wrap-around support these grants offer — including residencies, concerts, and additional recording grants — ensure these artists’ work will continue to enrich the lives of theatre lovers for years to come,” said Heather Hitchens, President & CEO of the American Theatre Wing.
“So, for as long as I can remember, Jonathan Larson has been the patron saint of weird theater kids. And not just weird theater kids, but also this stunning, wonderful, welcoming energy that makes theater a space where there is a spot for everybody at the table. And everything that I’ve read and learned about Jonathan, the thing that I am struck by the most, is his tremendous love for his family. These incredible, generous people who’ve brought us here today, and also his creative family, his collaborators who he championed and supported and loved just as much.” – Andrew Farmer
“I started thinking about you guys. And wondering how this award came to be and I was struck by the poetry of how you’ve chosen to carry on the legacy of this incredible person who you love so much and how valuable the support and love of family and friends who believe in you without any tangible proof that you’re ever going to succeed in.” – Jay Adana
“Even after a writer is gone, the best work is a brilliant flexible blueprint that never fades. This is so new renditions can refract through different generations, and communities. This is so new productions can continue to move and inspire everybody involved with putting them up. This is so a 10 year old in his elementary school show choir can sing “Seasons of Love” and finally hearing it in his own voice, wonder why someone came up with such a powerful idea. Wonder how they set it to music. Wonder how they took a long boring integer and make it sound iconic and beautiful. It’s lines like that make you want to write songs. It’s shows like Rent that make you want to write musicals. It’s writers like Jonathan that remind you to stay true to your voice and put the stories onstage that you yourself want to see. And it’s Grants like this that allow writers like me to actually do that.” – Mark Sonnenblick
“So, I can say without hyperbole that Jonathan’s work changed my life. I’ve loved Rent since I was 9. It is perennially brilliant every time I listen I hear something new that takes my breath away and his work is the kind of gold standard of the kinds of stories that I want to write. So, he’s a hero of mine and just to have my name anywhere near the vicinity of his is a huge, crazy gift.” – Emily Kaczmarek
“When I was a teenager, a career writing musicals would have been a castle, and I wouldn’t have even dreamed to imagine it if it wasn’t for Jonathan Larson. When I heard Rent, and proceeded to listen to it over and over again in my room, playing every role when I was too scared to audition for any musical in my entire life, I discovered there was a new kind of castle, the dream of creating something that could mean something to other people the way that piece of music and theater meant so much to me. So this grant that is in his name, it allows for people like me to build the foundations.” – Zoe Sarnak