Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 9/12/2023

Jonathan Larson Grants (Emerging Composers, Lyricists, Bookwriters - Music Theater)

The Jonathan Larson Grant is an unconditional annual investment in individual talent. The grant is awarded to musical theatre composers, lyricists, and librettists, or writing teams, early in their career, to support artistic endeavors and safeguard long-term music writing careers.

Jonathan Larson was a man who called the East Village home, relishing the bohemian life of downtown New York in the late eighties and early nineties. A life-long musical theatre lover, Larson worked tirelessly to develop his own musical vision for the stage. After nearly a decade of writing and composing, Larson’s rock musical “Rent,” a gritty urban update to Puccini’s “La Bohème,” premiered to enormous critical and popular success. The show reflected Larson’s personal story as a struggling artist living in Alphabet City, getting by with the support of his contemporaries.

Tragically, Larson passed away suddenly the night before previews for the show began. The inspiring nature and brave subject matter of “Rent,” however, gave the show a life of its own and established Larson as the voice of a new generation on stage. The show, and its creator posthumously, won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and four Tony Awards. “Rent” remains a celebrated musical and cultural touchstone today.

The few grants Larson received inspirited him with the professional confidence to continue pursuing musical theatre and, ultimately, to finish “Rent.” Today, Jonathan Larson Grants are awarded to musical writers with the potential to create work that shapes contemporary culture. We give writers free reign to put the grant’s resources towards what they see as the best use for furthering their creative endeavors with the hope that the grant will provide the support necessary for artists to see their work from concept to cultural success.

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.

Deadline: Oct. 10, 2023

Eligibility Requirements
  • 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.
Funding Type