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Angelica Chéri '13 Wins Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theatre

April 3, 2018

The winners of the 2018 Richard Rodgers Awards for Musical Theater were just announced by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among them is Gun & Powder, written by Alumna Angelica Chéri '13. The musical “is inspired by the true story of creator Angelica Chéri’s great-great-aunts, Mary and Martha Clarke, African-American twins who passed for white and were notorious outlaws. Set in Post-Emancipation Texas, the musical follows Mary and Martha’s journey of defying racial boundaries and seizing what rightfully belongs to them, until a little romance shakes everything up,” according to The American Academy of Arts and Letters. The music is composed by Ross Baum.


Angelica Cheri and Ross Baum

Angelica Chéri and Ross Baum


Angelica (book & lyrics) and Ross (music) showed Gun & Powder at Goodspeed Opera, Two River Theater, the Tisch Center for New Musicals, and the SigWorks Lab, with public presentations in the Broadway’s Future Songbook concert series at Lincoln Center and in the Drama League’s DirectorFest.


Richard Rodgers created these awards in 1978 “to nurture talented composers and playwrights by enabling their musicals to be produced in New York City,” according to The American Academy of Arts and Letters. Former award recipients include Maury Yeston, for Nine; Jonathan Larson, for Rent; Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal for Juan Darien; Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty for Lucky Stiff; Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley for Violet; Scott Frankel, Michael Korie, and Doug Wright for Grey Gardens; and Dave Malloy for Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.


Chéri graduated from the playwrighing concentration in 2013. Her play Berta, Berta will have its World Premiere this year at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival with performances from July 6-29. Angelica has written for the 48 Hours in Harlem Festival and won an Obie Award for co-producing the Fire This Time Festival. The plays of her Prophet’s Cycle Trilogy include The Seeds of Abraham (Signature Theatre, Billie Holiday Theatre), The Sting of White Roses (North Carolina Black Repertory Company) and Crowndation: I Will Not Lie to David (National Black Theatre-I AM SOUL Residency). She also holds an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU.