Jonathan Larson Grants Awarded Tonight

The Theatre Wing is hosting a supporting new artist program called the Jonathan Larson Grants tonight:

Join us Monday, March 6th, for the 2017 Jonathan Larson Grants presentation featuring live musical performances, as the American Theatre Wing continues Tony Awards®-winning composer Jonathan Larson’s dream of infusing musical theatre with a contemporary, joyful, urban vitality. #wing100

About Jonathan Larson and the Grants

Born February 4, 1960 in White Plains, New York, as the second child of Allan and Nanette Larson, Jonathan Larson was inspired by the musical theatre and went on to become a voice for a new generation on the stage.  Larson truly lived like his characters, celebrating “La Vie Boheme” as he built his reputation as an artist. Larson lived paycheck to paycheck, waited tables at a downtown diner, and worked tirelessly for seven years to bring his revolutionary musical “Rent” to the stage—only to collapse and die of an aortic aneurysm, January 25, 1996—the night before previews of the show began at the New York Theater Workshop.  The show’s initial five-week run sold out within 24 hours of opening night, and the play became an enormous critical and popular success. “Rent” achieved Larson’s ambition of updating musical theater and making it socially and personally relevant to a younger audience.  Among other awards, the show and its author posthumously won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The few grants Jonathan Larson received boosted his professional confidence so that he could pursue a career writing for the musical theatre. Today, each of the Jonathan Larson grants are awarded to an artist 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. Thanks to the resources of the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation and the generosity of the Larson Family, the program will be sustained in a permanent home at the American Theatre Wing.

Application Guidelines 2017

The application for the 2017 grants is now closed.

For more information: American Theatre Wing.

General Criteria

  • The Jonathan Larson Grants are intended to honor and recognize emerging musical theatre artists. Composers, lyricists, and librettists who work in musical theatre are the focus of the grants. ATW is committed to serving artists who are creating new, fully producible works for the theatre, and advancing the art form. The grants do not honor a specific piece or project.
  • Grant awards are based on merit, and are intended for those artists with a demonstrated commitment and dedication to a career in musical theatre. Further, the grants are not intended to be scholarships, and artists applying for grants should be working professionally in the field.
  • Applications are accepted in the following areas:
    • Individuals may apply as lyricists, composers, librettists, or any combination of the three.
    • Collaborative teams may apply together as composer, lyricist, and/or librettist, or any combination of the three.
    • Collaborators who work together regularly are strongly encouraged to apply as a team. If your collaborative team has more than three individuals, please contact the ATW offices.
  • United States citizenship is not a requirement to receive the grant, but you must be eligible to work in the U.S. and reside/work here on at least a part-time basis and submitted work should be predominately in English.
  • Artists may apply only once per grant cycle.  You may not apply as part of a team and as an individual applicant.
  • Prior Jonathan Larson Grant Recipients are not eligible.

(Applications that do not adhere to these general criteria will not be considered)

Required Materials – Applicants must submit the following through our online portal to be considered.


Completed Application Forms, including:

  • General Information
  • Artistic Statement— on the form provided, describe your achievements and goals for your career as a creative artist or collaborative team (one per application). Please do not make specific monetary requests as part of the application.
  • Creative Curriculum Vitae—productions/workshops/readings, educational history, and including list of awards (one for each applicant or each member of a team, please submit multiple CVs in one, combined .pdf or .doc file).


  • Comprehensive Work Sample List—a list of all the song and libretto selections with authorship information. Work samples are only required in accordance with your application focus.  For instance, if you are applying as a composer only, please only submit music, and dramatic context for the song.  Do not submit a book or lyrics for adjudication.  The same would be true if you were applying as a lyricist or book writer, only submit samples for the area or areas for which you wish to be considered.Once you have completed the Work Sample list, you will have the opportunity to upload your material.
  • Libretto—Please submit one-act only of a musical book (or if your work does not have a traditional act-break, an excerpt of 60 pages or less). .pdf format is preferred. You may start your libretto with a 1-page synopsis of the show in its entirety.
  • Audio Files/Song Selections—upload selected songs (accepted formats include MP3, MP4, WMA, WAV, ACC (M4A) and FLAC). Select individual tracks and pieces that reflect your best work.
  • Dramatic Context/ Lyric Sheets—describe the dramatic context and provide the lyrics for each song selection

Applicants may provide a letter of support/recommendation from theatre artists or educators.

About Selecting Work Samples:

Regardless, if you work creatively in all three disciplines (music, lyrics, and book) or you are applying as a collaborative team, you should submit combined work samples that represent the full range of your work.  For example, Jonathan Larson might have submitted one application that included three song selections from Rent, two song selections from Tick, Tick…Boom!, and the book of Act II from Rent.Please do not submit a recording of an entire act or production.  Select individual tracks and pieces that reflect your best work.

The Jonathan Larson Grants are intended to honor and recognize emerging musical theatre writers. We are aware that artists work in multiple disciplines; and while it is not necessary that you only work in musical theatre, selections of representative work submitted for the grant must be for musical theatre.  Applications submitting oratorios, operas, symphonic scores, or film scores will not be considered.

Adapted Works: Should you choose to submit selections from work which is adapted from an existing work, you must provide proof of rights for that adaptation as part of your application.

For More Information: American Theatre Wing.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

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