Dinner at Eight, a new musical based on the George S. Kaufman/Edna Ferber classic play, has been awarded the 2001-2002 Jerry Bock Award for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre. With music by Ben Schaechter, lyrics by Frank Evans and book by Julie Gilbert, the new musical was developed in the Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop under the direction of Bick Goss from the Century Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan.
The biennial award was established in 1997 by Jerry Bock, BMI composer of such classic musicals as Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello!, She Loves Me, The Apple Tree and The Rothschilds. The winning musical was personally chosen by Bock from the collective output of musicals developed in the BMI Workshop. Jean Banks, BMI's Senior Director of Musical Theatre, is planning a private ceremony later this month where Mr. Bock will present the winners with their $2,000 cash awards, as well as plaques commemorating the honor.
Ben Schaechter has composed music for the Outer Critics Award nominated That's Life and the Outer Critics Award and Drama Desk Award nominated Too Jewish?, as well as for the long-running hit Naked Boys Singing. Abie's Island Rose, for which Frank Evans co-wrote lyrics, was named "one of the ten best plays of 2000" by the Palm Beach Post. Julie Gilbert is the winner of a Dramaloug Award for her play, The Cottage.
Previous winners of the Bock award include Jay Gaither and Cheryl Hawkins for Hurricane, which was seen at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, and David Dreyfus and Jeffrey Hardy for A Trip to the Footbinder, developed in a workshop at Goodspeed Musicals in a cooperative venture with BMI.