Five years ago, Sondra Gilman and her husband, Celso Gonzalez-Falla, got serious about helping the people who write new musicals. They established the foundation that bears their names and began making awards: $25,000 each, first to Craig Carnelia, then Lou Rosen and, last year, to Jeff Lunden and Art Perlman.
This year’s winner is composer and lyricist Michael John LaChiusa, whose most recent works have been “First Lady Suite,” “Hello, Again” and “The Petrified Prince.” The foundation has also made a grant to Lincoln Center Theater’s upcoming production of “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” to which LaChiusa contributed. They enjoy nurturing talent, noting with pride that one of their winners named the computer he was able to buy with the money “Sondra.” Maybe Mr. LaChiusa will similarly honor Celso.
“When Michael John first applied,” says Gilman, “he didn’t have a piano.” That should be no problem now.