The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the winners of the 2010 Richard Rodgers Awards for Musical Theater, the intent of which is to nurture the careers of talented composers and playwrights. This year’s jury – Stephen Sondheim, Lynn Ahrens, John Guare, Sheldon Harnick, David Ives, Richard Maltby, Jr, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeanine Tesori and John Weidman – named Buddy’s Tavern and Rocket Science as the 2010 recipients of the awards.
Buddy’s Tavern, with book by Raymond De Felitta, lyrics by Alison Louise Hubbard and music by Kim Oler, is based on Two Family House, Raymond De Felitta’s 2000 film that tells the story of Buddy Visalo, an Italian-American factory worker on Staten Island in the 1950s. Billed as a romantic musical comedy, the show deals with his dream of running his own business, a bar where he can sing his heart out to his customers. Family pressures, race relations and unexpected love are just some of the challenges he has to face in the struggle to achieve his goals.
Rocket Science features a book by Patricia Cotter, lyrics by Jason Rhyne and music by Stephen Weiner and deals with the challenges faced by 16-year-old Hal Hefner as he enters the world of high school speech and debating. A life-long stutterer and oddball, his determination and belief in risking everything for love allows him to learn what it means to find his true voice. The show is based on Jeffrey Blitz’s identically titled 2007 HBO film.
The award, endowed by Richard Rodgers in 1978, will mean that each of the two shows will be able to mount staged readings and places them alongside previous award-winning shows like Nine, Rent, Lucky Stiff and Violet.
Purchases from Amazon.com
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
1. Nine Original Broadway Cast Recording CD.
2. RENT Original Broadway Cast Recording CD.
3. Lucky Stiff 2003 Off-Broadway Cast Recording CD.
4. Violet 2003 Off-Broadway Cast Recording CD.