The highest award in American theater given to an unproduced musical.
The American Playwriting Foundation (David Bar Katz, Founding Artistic Director) and Building for the Arts (Wendy Rowden, President; Josh Landay, Chief Operating Officer) announced that submissions for the Relentless Musical Award are now open and will close. on March 1. 2022. The creators of the winning submission will receive $65,000, the largest cash prize in American theater awarded to an unproduced work. There are no fees to apply.The annual Relentless Award, created in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman, will this year be presented to a musical submission honoring Adam Schlesinger, an Academy & Tony nominated and Emmy & Grammy winner songwriter who died of COVID-19 in 2020 Schlesinger had served as artistic advisor when the Relentless Award was created in 2015. Led by David Bar Katz, the Relentless Prize selection committee places particular emphasis on works that are fearless in their choice of subject matter, featuring passionate voices that are relentlessly truthful. Lynn Nottage, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Relentless judge, said, “The Relentless Prize celebrates writing that disrupts and upends our notions of what can be presented on the American stage. We are looking for courageous, fearless and imaginative writers who, despite pressure from the industry as a whole, stay true to their own voice. The Relentless Prize selects eight finalists from several thousand submissions using blind judging, keeping authors completely anonymous throughout the process. Judges will have no knowledge of the identity, gender or race of the creators of a work. The submission criteria cast a wide net of eligibility – essentially any new, unproduced musical is eligible – but submissions from first-time composers, lyricists and book writers of all identities are particularly encouraged. The winner of the Relentless Musical Award will be selected by a panel of judges including Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), Ann Yee (Caroline or Change), Lynn Notage (Clyde’s), Thomas Bradshaw (When they see us), Sam Hollander (“Ordinary Joe”) and Stephin Merrit (Magnetic Fields). The winning musical, as well as finalists and semi-finalists, may also have the opportunity to develop their work at various theatrical institutions, including a series of staged readings at Theater Row. Eligibility/Submission Criteria
- There are no fees to apply.
- Only complete works of musical theater are eligible for the Relentless Musical Award.
- The work must be unproduced and cannot have had a previous professional production or ongoing production engagement.
- Entries are limited to shows from writers with US citizenship, those who hold a green card, or are currently residing in the United States and have lived there for at least four (4) years.
- Musicals that use existing music not written by the nominee(s) (eg, “jukebox musicals” or musicals with parody lyrics) are not eligible.
- Authors must be at least 21 years old.
- Works may be based on underlying material, in which case proof of permission or right to adapt the underlying material must be uploaded with the application if it is not in the public domain.
- Musicals that include non-English languages are welcome and encouraged, but given current peer review limitations, an English translation must be included for any non-English text.
- Writers and composers whose show was produced on Broadway or in the West End are not eligible.
- Musicals considered “Theatre for Young Audiences” are not eligible.
- Shows can only be submitted ONCE; if submitted for the 2022 Relentless Musical Award, the show will not be eligible for future Relentless Musical Awards.
The submission window is January 25, 2022 through March 1, 2022. For more details on how to submit and required documents, please visit americanplaywritingfoundation.org/the-relentless-award. The American Playwriting Foundation, established in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman and his relentless pursuit of truth in theatre, annually presents the Relentless Award to a playwright in recognition of new work. The Relentless Award has led the way in spotlighting plays and artists that have revitalized the American stage by some of the brightest new talent in theatre, including Aleshea Harris, Clare Barron and Sarah DeLappe. Building for the Arts (BFA) expands access to the performing arts by providing creative space, learning opportunities and hubs for artistic connection. BFA’s signature projects – Theater Row, Music and the Brain and the American Playwriting Foundation – nurture artists, audiences and youth with a focus on accessibility and inclusion.