Melissa Li & Kit Yan and Benjamin Scheuer are 2021 Kleban Prize Winners

The Kleban Foundation celebrates the 31st anniversary of the annual Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre with the announcement of the 2021 prize winners. The Kleban Prize for the most promising musical theatre librettist has been awarded to co-librettists Melissa Li and Kit Yan.

The Kleban Prize for the most promising musical theatre lyricist has been awarded to Benjamin Scheuer. For the first time, The Kleban Foundation will present the 2021 prizes in a virtual ceremony streaming online starting Tuesday, March 16 at 10AM here.  Free and open to the public, the event will feature musical performances from this year’s recipients and will be hosted by Tony Award winners and Kleban board members Richard Maltby, Jr. and Maury Yeston.

On Sunday, March 7th at 8:00 p.m. EST, Musical Theatre Factory presents a one-night-only event starring musical theatre writing team, Melissa Li and Kit Yan. Click here to RSVP.

Mar. 7: Musical Theatre Factory Presents Melissa Li and Kit Yan’s UNREMARKABLE! Concert Featuring Ruthie Ann Miles, Stephanie Hsu, Marc delaCruz, Kuhoo Verma, Julia Abueva, Shannon Tyo, Gianna Yanelli, Sis, Futaba Shioda, Rose Van Dyne, Zeniba Now and Khaila Wilcoxon 

Since its inception, Kleban Prize winners have been selected by judging panels comprised of the theatre’s most respected artists and administrators. The trio of award-winning judges making the final determination this year were actor Raúl Esparza (Company,Taboo); Kleban Prize and Rodgers Award-winning winning librettist Mike Lew (Teenage Dick, Tiger Style); and actor-director Seret Scott (for colored girls…, My Sister, My Sister).

The Kleban Foundation was established in 1988 under the will of Edward L. Kleban, best known as the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning lyricist of the musical A Chorus Line. Kleban’s will made provisions for annual prizes, which in recent years have totaled $100,000 each, payable over two years, to be given to the most promising lyricist and librettist in American musical theatre.

For more than three decades, the annual Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre has awarded over $6,000,000 to 79 artists who collectively have garnered four Tony Awards (with nearly 30 Tony nominations), 59 Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, 10 Drama Desk Awards, nine Outer Critic Circle Awards, four Obie Awards, two Olivier Awards, and two Pulitzer Prizes. The list of previous Kleban Prize winners includes Lisa Kron (Fun Home), Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak (A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder),David Lindsay-Abaire (Shrek), Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years), John Bucchino (A Catered Affair, It’s Only Life), Gretchen Cryer (I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, The Last Sweet Days of Isaac), Michael Korie (Grey Gardens, Happiness), Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), Michael John LaChiusa (Giant, See What I Wanna See, The Wild Party), Glenn Slater (The Little Mermaid) and John Weidman (Pacific Overtures, Road Show, Assassins).

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