Kleban Award Takes Note of BMI Theater Writers

Posted in News on February 22, 2000
Three members of the BMI Lehman Engel Music Theatre Workshop have been selected as recipients of the coveted Kleban Award: David Spencer and the team of Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. The Kleban Award, given annually to a lyricist and a librettist, was established by the late Ed Kleban, lyricist for the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning A Chorus Line and an alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a past workshop committee member. Spencer, Lopez and Marks share the 2000 Kleban with Marion Adler, a former member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and with Chad Beguelin; the five winners will split a $150,000 prize.

David Spencer, a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop Steering Commitee and editor of the workshop newsletter, is currently represented by TheatreWorks/USA's Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. He is presently working with Alan Menken (another workshop alum) on The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz; the two previously collaborated on Weird Romance and The Messiah of Mott Street.

Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, participants in the workshop's Advanced Class, will see their Sesame Street parody, Avenue Q: Children's Television for Twentysomethings, performed in a reading hosted by Manhattan's York Theatre Company on May 8. The pair of composer-lyricists, who share writing duties, are also working on two full-length commissions for Theatreworks/USA.

Pictured during congratulations at BMI New York are (from left) longtime workshop member Maury Yeston, Tony winner for Nine and Titanic and teacher of the Advanced Composer-Lyricist class; Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez; David Spencer: and BMI's Jean Banks, Director of the workshop.

The 1999 Kleban prize was given to two BMI-affiliated writers, Michael John LaChiusa (Marie Christine, The Wild Party) and Kirsten Childs (The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin).


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