The American Academy of Arts and Letters have awarded the 2023 Richard Rodgers Awards for Musical Theater to two works: Lewis Loves Clark by Dylan MarcAurele and Mike Ross, and Marie in Tomorrow Land by Maggie-Kate Coleman and Erato A. Kremmyda.
The musicals will receive funds to present staged readings in New York City at non-profit theatres. This year's recipients were selected by David Lang, Lynn Ahrens, Kristoffer Diaz, Mindi Dickstein, Amanda Green, Michael R. Jackson, Richard Maltby, Jr., and John Weidman.
Lewis Loves Clark explores the uneasy alliance forged by Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Sacagawea, and York in a historical tragicomedy. Lewis is depressed, closeted, and an alcoholic while Clark is oblivious. Sacagawea is over it all, and York wishes he was birdwatching. But the four have to grapple with the struggles of exploration, colonization, and more.
Coleman and Kremmyda collaborated with director-choreographer Sam Pinkleton for the ensemble musical Marie in Tomorrow Land. In a Chernobyl-inspired amusement park after a global nuclear event, theme-park character Marie guides a group of human survivors and radioactive boars to navigate the ruins, their histories, and their futures.
In 1978, The American Academy of Arts and Letters member Richard Rodgers endowed the eponymously-named awards to nurture composers and playwrights. Former recipients have include Jonathan Larson (Rent), Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Lucky Stiff), Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley (Violet), Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1898), Anaïs Mitchell (Hadestown), and more.