Composer Daniel Lazour CC’16 is among the recipients of the Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater for the musical We Live in Cairo, which he wrote with his brother, Patrick. The show tells the story of a group of young organizers and revolutionaries during the 2011 Arab Spring.
The Richard Rodgers Awards, administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, seek to nurture talented composers and playwrights by enabling their musicals to be produced in New York City. The awards were created and endowed in 1978 by Richard Rodgers CC’23, and have been awarded to many artists who have gone on to become prominent members of the musical theater community.
“Receiving the Rodgers is hugely humbling. The musicals of the theatre artists on this year's panel are not only some of Patrick's and my favorites, but also have served as direct inspiration for We Live in Cairo,” Daniel Lazour said. “To be recognized by writers that are, in many ways, the reason we're writing musical theatre is an incredible vote of confidence. And, of course I'm proud to be among the many Lions who have chosen musical theatre as their path.”
Daniel began working on We Live in Cairo during his first year at the College. It was presented at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s 2015 National Musical Theater Conference. Thanks to the support of the Richard Rodgers Award, the show will soon be presented as a staged reading at a New York non-profit theatre.
In September 2015, the Lazour brothers were selected as Dramatists Guild Fellows, where they have been working on We Live in Cairo under the program’s guidance.
Daniel Lazour, who graduated in December 2015, has credited his academic studies at the College with influencing his composition.
“One thing I’ve learned about myself while at Columbia is that I like a lot of different genres and methods of music making,” he said. “Studying music here has granted me the time to contemplate and understand what it is I like to listen to — and from there I can understand what it is I want to compose.”
Former recipients of the Richard Rodgers Award include Jonathan Larson for Rent; Maury Yeston for Nine; Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley for Violet; Lhynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty for Lucky Stiff; and Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright for Grey Gardens.