Awards & Prizes

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Five artists and two theatres took home prizes from the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation's seventh annual awards ceremony in February at New York's 21 Club. Composer/lyricist collaborators Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, lyricist Nell Benjamin, composer Jeffrey Stock and actor/songwriter John Didrichsen each pocketed unrestricted cash prizes of $5,000. New Georges artistic director Susan Bernfield and Vineyard Theatre artistic director Douglas Aibel accepted grants for musical theatre projects in development at their New York City-based companies. Named for the late creator of Rent, the foundation offers support for emerging composers, lyricists and bookwriters, and to theatres committed to new musical theatre.

The Drama League feted Jerry Orbach, a musical theatre legend, in February at its annual Musical Celebration of Broadway. The event featured a showcase of songs from shows that starred Orbach--who has reportedly appeared in more performances of American musicals than any other living actor.

Prolific avant-garde playwright Maria Irene Fornes is the latest recipient of the Michaela O'Harra Award for distinguished contributions to the theatre and to New York's New Dramatists. She joins the ranks of Horton Foote, Robert Anderson and the award's namesake, a New Dramatists founder.

Up-and-coming playwrights were also lauded on both coasts. In San Francisco Adam Bock hooked the Will Glickman Playwright Award--which comes with a purse of $4,000--for his play Five Flights, presented last year by Encore Theatre Company. The principal playwriting award of the Bay Area, the Glickman is given annually to the author of the best new play to have its premiere in the Bay Area and is chosen by a panel of newspaper critics.

On the East Coast, Brooklyn playwright John Waich snagged the M. …