New York, NY (February 6, 2017) – The American Theatre Wing announced today that the 2017 Jonathan Larson® Grants recipients are Ben Bonnema (book, music and lyrics), Maggie-Kate Coleman & Erato A. Kremmyda (music and lyrics), Ty Defoe & Tidtaya Sinutoke (book, music and lyrics), and Michael R. Jackson (book, music and lyrics). Four prestigious grants of $10,000 each, totaling $40,000, will be presented on Monday, March 6, 2017 at a private event at the WNYC Greene Space. The event will feature special performances of the recipients’ work.
This year’s recipients were selected by an expert panel consisting of director Jason Eagan (Artistic Director of Ars Nova), producer Jill Furman (Hamilton), musical director/arranger/orchestrator Jason Michael Webb (The Color Purple), and lyricist David Zippel (City of Angels).
“The opportunity to provide significant support to promising young musical theater creators is one that we at The Wing hold very dear. These courageous and bold new voices are the future of our industry, and their work will continue to enrich the lives of theater lovers for years to come,” said Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing.
The Jonathan Larson Grants, given annually to honor emerging composers, lyricists and book writers, help to continue Tony Award®-winning composer Jonathan Larson’s dream of infusing musical theatre with a contemporary, joyful, urban vitality. Dedicated to celebrating excellence and supporting theatre, the American Theatre Wing awards the Larson Grants to artists to recognize and showcase their work with no strings attached – except to put it to the best use possible to help further the artists’ creative endeavors.
The American Theatre Wing is dedicated to also offering Jonathan Larson Grant artists industry resources to advance their work.
Maggie-Kate Coleman & Erato A. Kremmyda will be receiving a fully produced reading of their show via the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University. This partnership with Northwestern University is a new addition to the Jonathan Larson Grants for 2017.
Finally, Adelphi University Performing Arts Center is awarding both Ty Defoe & Tidtaya Sinutoke and Michael R. Jackson with an evening of performance featuring their work as part of their Larson Legacy Concert Series, which celebrates the next generation of creative artists at the college home of Jonathan Larson, class of ’82, to carry on his legacy.
Past recipients of the Larson Grants include Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen), Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal), Chad Beguelin & Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer), Daniel Messe & Nathan Tysen (Amelie), Michael Korie (War Paint, Grey Gardens), Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody), Shaina Taub (Twelfth Night), and Max Vernon (The View Upstairs).
Ben Bonnema is a composer-lyricist whose work has been featured in Variety, Wired and The New York Times. He wrote book, music & lyrics to Adult Swim’s Peter Panic, a musical video game that’s been downloaded by over a half million people (developed by James Marion). He contributed additional composition to Punchdrunk’s award-winning show Sleep No More. His slumber party musical, Boys Who Tricked Me, was called “heart-healing musical theatre” by Joshua Barone of the New York Times. Other full-length: One Way (with Christopher Staskel), The Apple Boys (book by Jonothon Lyons), and The Lost Girl (with Arianna Rose). He supplied additional orchestrations for Ana Gasteyer’s album I’M HIP. Ben holds a B.A. in Music Composition from Whitworth University and an M.F.A. from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. He won the 2011 ASCAP Foundation Frederick Loewe Award. He is currently Marc Shaiman’s music assistant. http://www.benbonnema.com/
Maggie-Kate Coleman & Erato A. Kremmyda:
Maggie-Kate Coleman grew up on Happy Day Farm (Keedysville, MD) and is now an NYC-based playwright, bookwriter, and lyricist: Book & lyrics for POP! -music by Anna K. Jacobs- (Yale Rep, Pittsburgh City Theatre, Studio Theatre DC, etc.) POP! received three Connecticut Critics Circle Awards, seven Helen Hayes Award nominations, and was a Pittsburgh Tribune Top Ten choice of 2012. Other recent: The Map of Lost Things (Hangar Theatre, Ithaca), and with Erato A. Kremmyda, lyrics for Field Trip: A Climate Cabaret (Superhero Clubhouse NYC), Hotel Mediteranee (Between The Seas Festival/Wild Project), The Way They Live (The Civilians at the Met) and more. Current work: Marie in Tomorrowland with Erato A. Kremmyda and Sam Pinkleton, developed through The Civilians R&D Group, The Orchard Project, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, and Catwalk Institute. MacDowell Fellow 2015, MFA NYU Musical Theatre Writing, BA Ithaca College, NTI SP05.
Erato A. Kremmyda is a NYC based composer born and raised in Athens, Greece. Current work: Marie in Tomorrowland (with Maggie-Kate Coleman and Sam Pinkleton) developed at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Catwalk Institute, The Orchard Project, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and The Civilians R&D Group. Recent: Riot Antigone by Seonjae Kim (La Mama), Wagon Wheel with Robin Sandusky (Planet Connections). Recent with Maggie-Kate Coleman: Worth of Women (Carnegie Hall/Kairos Italy Theater); The Way They Live (The Met/The Civilians); Hotel Mediteranee (Wild Project/Between The Seas Festival); Field Trip: A Climate Cabaret (Superhero Clubhouse, NYC). Erato has been a guest composer at Yale and Columbia, is a Fulbright Fellow, and an Anna Sosenko Trust grant recipient. Her compositions have been heard at Megaron (Athens), Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, NYMF, BRIC, HERE, Irondale, Teatro Duo (Rome), Bios (Athens) etc. MFA NYU (Musical Theater Writing, Dean’s scholar), MM NYU (Film Scoring), Athens University, Athens Conservatoire. http://www.eratoakremmyda.com/
Ty Defoe & Tidtaya Sinutoke:
Ty Defoe (Giizhig), a lyricist, book writer/playwright, and performer from the Oneida and Ojibwe Nations. Credits: Clouds are Pillows for the Moon (Yale Institute for Music Theatre, ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, Kilroy’s Honorable Mention List), Hart Island Requiem (Civilians R&D), Red Pine (Native Voices at the Autry; Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe), The Way They Live (Co-collaboration with The Civilians at the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Heather Henson’s Crane: On Earth, In Sky (Ibex Puppetry at La MaMa Theater, NYC). Developing: Gender Nation, Crossing Borders (CAP21 Residency), Sunrise Prayer (Johnny Mercer Writers Colony) and Yellow Cycle. Participated in 2015 Johnny Mercer Songwriter Project, 2016 Robert Rauschenberg Residency. Concerts at 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, Bruner Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center in NYC, and toured Greece, Japan, Turkey at Ankara’s International Music Festival, and Festival of World Cultures in Dubai. Member of ASCAP and Dramatists Guild. Alum of CalArts, Goddard, and NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program. He/Him tydefoe.com
Tidtaya Sinutoke (ฑิตยา สินุธก) is a Thai born, NYC-based composer, writer, and musician. Her works include themes of self-discovery, gender issues, travel, social injustice and companionship. Composition credits include: Clouds are Pillows for the Moon (Yale Institute for Music Theatre, ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, Kilroy’s Honorable Mention List), Hart Island Requiem (Civilians R&D, EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence), Gender Nation, Crossing Borders (CAP21 Residency), Sunrise Prayer (Johnny Mercer Writers Colony) and Yellow Cycle. She participated in the 2014 Composer-Librettists Studio at New Dramatists, the 2015 Johnny Mercer Songwriter Projects, the 2015 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) IAM Mentoring Program, the 2016 Robert Rauschenberg Residency and the 2016-2017 Etm Con Edison Composer-in-Residence. A proud member of ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild. MFA: NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. tidtayasinutoke.com
Michael R. Jackson:
Michael R. Jackson holds a BFA and MFA in playwriting and Musical Theatre Writing from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. As a songwriter, he has seen his work performed at NAMT, The 24 Hour Musicals, The Barrington Stage Company, Merkin Hall, The Laurie Beechman Theater, Feinstein’s/54 Below, The Triad, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, The Metropolitan Room, The Bruno Walter Library, and ACT in Seattle. He wrote book, music, and lyrics for the musical A Strange Loop. He wrote book and lyrics for the musical Only Children with composer Rachel Peters, book and lyrics for the musical adaptation of the 2007 horror film Teeth with composer and co-bookwriter Anna Jacobs, and is currently writing book for the musical U.G.L.Y. with composer-lyricist Darius Smith. He is an alum of the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony, the Ars Nova Uncharted Writers Group, and is a Sundance Theatre Institute Composer Fellow. He is Jonathan Larson Award 2016 Finalist and is a 2016-2017 Dramatist Guild Fellow. www.facebook.com/ thelivingmichaeljackson, www.youtube.com/michaelrj1981, www.thelivingmichaeljackson.com.