New York, NY – The Dramatists Guild Foundation has announced Benjamin Velez as the 2023 recipient of the Stephen Schwartz Award. The Stephen Schwartz Award is given annually to a musical theatre writer whose voice is seen as critical to the continued success of the craft. Past Recipients, by year: Heather Christian, 2022; Emily Gardner Xu Hall, 2021; Khiyon Hursey, 2020.
Benjamin Velez is a composer/lyricist, a Miami native, and Columbia University graduate. His original musical Afterland has been workshopped at the Yale Institute for Musical Theater in 2014 and had a reading at the York Theatre in 2016 directed by Mark Brokaw. His musical Borderline, written with Aryanna Garber, was the 2018 recipient of the Weston New Musical Award, was developed in the 2018-2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellows program, and opened the 2019 O’Neill National Musical Theater Conference. His new musical Kiss My Aztec, written with John Leguizamo, Tony Taccone, and David Kamp, had its world premiere at Berkeley Rep in May of 2019, followed by the La Jolla Playhouse in September 2019. It had its East Coast premiere in June 2022 at Hartford Stage. Benjamin wrote music and lyrics for a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest for the Public Theater’s Public Works program that premiered at Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in August 2023. He is currently writing an original commission for La Jolla Playhouse with playwright Harrison David Rivers and writing the score for an adaptation of Real Women Have Curves with Joy Huerta, book by Lisa Loomer, directed by Sergio Trujillo. Real Women Have Curves will premiere at the American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge in December 2023.
The Dramatists Guild Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting writers at all stages of their career by offering financial support, educational resources, rehearsal space, and more. We strive to be a resource to writers nationwide and nurture the future of American theatre.