American Theatre Wing Announces 2013 Jonathan Larson Grant Recipients

Composer-performer Kamala Sankaram and musical theater writing team Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham are the recipients of the 2013 Jonathan Larson Grants, the American Theatre Wing announced Feb. 13.

The awards, totaling $10,000, will be presented Sunday, March 24, at a private event in New York City, where the recipients will perform selections of their work.

Salzman, a composer, and Cunningham, a book writer and lyricist, together receive an $8,000 grant and a week-long residency at the Running Deer Musical Theatre Lab in Trout Lake, Wash. The Drama Desk- and MAC Award-nominated duo’s Off-Broadway musical, “I Love You Because,” has been produced all over the world and their new musical, “Next Thing You Know,” was produced at CAP21 in New York before being staged across the country and abroad. Salzman and Cunningham are both graduates of the NYU graduate musical theatre writing program. They are now working on “The Legend of New York,” a musical about the 1977 New York City blackout.

Sankaram, who has written music for theater, film, and concerts, receives a $2,000 grant. She created the NYIT Award-winning steampunk murder mystery musical “Miranda” while a resident artist at HERE Arts Center, and has also received residencies from the MacDowell Colony, the Watermill Center, and the Hermitage. And as a performer, Sankaram has collaborated with the Wooster Group, the Philip Glass Ensemble, and Anthony Braxton, among others.

Established in 1997 and named after the late Tony winner Jonathan Larson (“Rent”), the grants are given annually by the American Theatre Wing to honor emerging composers, lyricists, and book writers.

Casting director Bernard Telsey, who is also artistic director of MCC Theater, joined lyricist Michael Korie (“Grey Gardens”) and composer Matthew Sklar (“The Wedding Singer”) on the judging panel to select this year’s winners. Korie and Sklar are both past recipients of the Larson Grants.

Other Jonathan Larson Grant recipients have included Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“A Christmas Story”), Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (“Next to Normal”), Laurence O’Keefe (“Bat Boy: The Musical”), and Amanda Green (“Hands on a Hardbody”).