A Quick Look at the American Theatre Wing's Jonathan Larson Grants

The American Theatre Wing (ATW) awards its Jonathan Larson Grants annually to honor emerging composers, lyricists, and book writers. While the ATW is committed to serving artists who are creating new, fully producible works for the theater, the grants themselves do not honor a specific piece or project.

In other words — and we're quoting the ATW here — the grants are awarded to artists to "recognize and showcase their work with no strings attached, except to put it to the best use possible to help further the artist’s creative endeavors." (So semantically speaking there is a very thin string in play here.)

But no matter. What's most important is the fact that the ATW announced the 2016 Jonathan Larson Grant recipients: César Alvarez (book, music and lyrics), Nikko Benson (music and lyrics), Carson Kreitzer (book and lyrics), and Sam Salmond (book, music, and lyrics). Four grants of $10,000 each will be presented on Monday, March 21, 2016 at a private event at the WNYC Greene Space in New York City. The event will feature special performances of the recipients' work.

Now, if we could editorialize for a second, we'd like to go out on a limb and state that these grants come with some extra prestige, given the name attached to them. Jonathan Larson was the brains behind the revolutionary musical Rent, which made socially conscious theater accessible to younger audiences and continues to inspire people the world over. Larson tragically collapsed and died of an aortic aneurysm on January 25, 1996, the night before preview of the show began at the New York Theater workshop. He was only 36.

The ATW, unsurprisingly, is not currently taking applications for 2017's award just yet. But interested lyricists, composers, librettists, or any combination of the three should nonetheless check out the grant application guidelines here. And while you're at it, check out our take on the ATW's National Theatre Company Grants in our grantmaker profile here.