The Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation celebrated its tenth anniversary in the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center Mon., Oct. 30. It wasn't the kind of "wild Wild Party" that Andrew Lippa wrote about in his Manhattan Theatre Club musical, but Lippa did take home a pretty wild party favor: the foundation's annual Musical Theater Award and accompanying unrestricted grant of $25,000.
American Theatre Wing Board Member Sondra Gilman and Texas Art Commissioner Celso Gonzalez-Falla established the award in 1990 to recognize and encourage new songwriters and bookwriters working in the American musical theatre. To be eligible for the award, writers must have had at least one musical produced in either a commercial or a professional non-profit theatre in America, and must have a written recommendation of a member of either the League of American Theatres and Producers, the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers, or a professional non-profit theatre.
Lippa wrote the book, music, and lyrics of "The Wild Party," contributed new songs to last year's Broadway production of "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," and co-wrote "jan and jen." He is also a performer, arranger, and record producer.
Fellow musical theatre writer Douglas Cohen presented the award to Lippa at the party. Cohen is a previous Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Musical Theatre Award winner, as are Craig Carnelia, Michael John La Chiusa, Jason Robert Brown, Ray Leslee, Polly Pen, Robert Lindsay Nassif, Brian Crawley, and Jeannine Tessori. Winners are selected by the foundation's board, currently composed of Gilman (who is also an executive committee member of the Whitney Museum and a Lincoln Center trustee), Gonzalez-Falla (who is also a trustee of the South Texas Art Institute), Lincoln Center Theater Artistic Director Andre Bishop, composer-lyricist Jerry Herman, producer-director Gregory Mosher, director Robert Falls, and theatrical advertising executive Jon Wilner.
Each year the foundation also awards commendations that include $1,000-$5,000 grants. This year's recipients were Kirsten Childs, Martin Sylvestri, Joel Higgins, John Bucchino, David Evans, and Bill Russell. Past recipients of commendations include Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and Jonathan Larson.
In addition to its annual awards, the Gilman & Gozalez-Falla Foundation also provides financial support to specific projects, such as the Playwrights Horizons production of "Assassins" and the original cast recordings of three Lincoln Center musicals, as well as to organizations such as the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, the Vineyard, and the Goodspeed Opera House.
The deadline for the next round of awards is Dec. 31. Composers, lyricists, and book writers may obtain application instructions by writing to The Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theater Foundation, 109 E. 64th St., New York, NY 10021.