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David Lindsay-Abaire wins Kleban

Harrington, Solly and Ward share librettist prize

David Lindsay-Abaire has snagged the 2008 Kleban Award for most promising musical theater lyricist, while Laura Harrington and the songwriting team of Bill Solly and Donald Ward will share the librettist prize.

Each award, named after the late lyricist of “A Chorus Line,” comes with a cash prize of $100,000 paid out over two years. Lindsay-Abaire will receive $100,000 while Harrington, Solly and Ward will divide that amount between them.

Lindsay-Abaire (“Rabbit Hole”) is currently in midst of his first major outing as a lyricist and book writer, “Shrek the Musical,” the new Dreamworks Theatricals tuner (with music by Jeanine Tesori) that bows on Broadway in the fall.

Harrington’s recent work includes “Alice Unwrapped” and “Crossing Brooklyn,” both collaborations with composer Jenny Giering, while Solly and Ward (“Boy Meets Boy”) scored the laurels for “Sweet William,” which imagines Shakespeare’s life after he left Stratford-on-Avon for London.

Awards will be handed out at a ceremony June 4 at ASCAP in Gotham.

* * *

A play recently seen at the Humana Fest and the work of a 2007 Kleban Award winner will be among the new legit offerings showcased in the fifth annual Summer Play Fest this July.

Chosen from more than 1,000 submissions, the eight selections of 2008 fest, which runs July 1-27 at the Public, are:

  • “The Black Suits,” with music and lyrics by Kleban winner Joe Iconis and book by Iconis and Robert Maddock, about Long Island teenagers in a rock band.

  • Billy Finnegan’s “Esther Demsack,” a comedy centering on a woman who becomes a young man’s governess.

  • “Future Me,” by Stephen Brown, chronicling a man’s journey from lawyer to inmate.

  • Sarah Hammond’s “Green Girl,” a fantasy about two sets of sisters separated by a century.

  • Jennifer Haley’s “Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom,” a Humana Fest alum following a group of suburban teens who become absorbed in survival horror vidgame.

  • “The Ones that Flutter” by Sylvia Reed, about a retired man confronting his past.

  • Jacquelyn Honess-Martin’s “Tell Out My Soul,” about a father and daughter’s relationship with a young student.

  • “Tio Pepe” by Matthew Lopez, centering on a stage-struck family that refuses to leave a soon-to-be-demolished Manhattan apartment.

    * * *

    JoBeth Williams toplines “Body Awareness,” a new play by Annie Baker that will play at the Atlantic Theater Company’s Stage 2 this spring.

Karen Kohlhaas (“Boston Marriage”) helms a cast that also includes Peter Friedman, Mary McCann and Jonathan Clem.

Plot centers on the havoc caused by a visiting photographer during a Vermont college’s “Body Awareness Week.” Production begins previews May 28 ahead of a June 4 opening.

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