The recipients of the 19th annual Fred Ebb Award have been announced. Musical theater songwriting team Freya Catrin Smith and Jack Williams are this year’s honorees. Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth will present the award on Nov. 27 in a private ceremony in the Penthouse Lounge of Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre.
Presented annually by the Fred Ebb Foundation, in association with Roundabout Theatre Company, the Fred Ebb Award recognizes excellence in musical theater songwriting, by a songwriter or songwriting team that has not yet achieved significant commercial success. The award, which includes a $60,000 prize, encourages emerging songwriters to create new works.
Longtime friends, classmates and collaborators, Smith and Williams are both British musical theater writers and graduates of the master’s program in musical theatre composition from Goldsmiths, University of London. Their musical “Ride” premiered at VAULT Festival in 2020, winning the Origins Awards for Outstanding New Work. It subsequently received nominations for best musical theatre book writing at the 2022 UK Writers Guild Awards. The American premiere of “Ride” is slated for March 2024 at the Old Globe in San Diego.
Four-time Tony Award winner Fred Ebb was one of Broadway’s most lauded composers and lyricists. Royalties from his work, which includes his collaborations with John Kander — “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Curtains” — fund the Fred Ebb Foundation. Ebb died in 2004.
In addition to Foundation trustee Mitchell S. Bernard, the award selection panel is made up of actor Adam Chanler-Berat, music director David Loud and actor Meghan Picerno.