Twin Cities playwright Carson Kreitzer has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, the New York-based foundation announced Friday. In addition to prestige, the honor comes with a $55,000 prize that she plans to use to finish her first musical.
“I am completely overwhelmed,” Kreitzer said. “This allows me to put so much more of my time and consciousness into the work, not into how I am going to keep my head above water.”
Author of such plays as “The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer,” about the father of the atomic bomb, and “Behind the Eye,” about surrealist muse and war photographer Lee Miller, Kreitzer has lately been working on a musical, “Lempicka,” about Tamara de Lempicka, a Polish Art Deco painter and revolutionary described as the Madonna of her day. (She also makes up a major part of the pop star’s art collection.)
Kreitzer is writing the book and lyrics while composer Matt Gould is doing the music. “Lempicka” will have a workshop production this summer at the Williamstown (Mass.) Festival under the direction of Rachel Chavkin, who recently staged “The Royal Family” at the Guthrie and whose production of “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” continues to burn up the box office on Broadway.
The fellowship will help Kreitzer finish her work on her very first musical.
"It's a godsend," she said.
Other Twin Cities-connected winners of Guggenheim Awards are theater artist Aaron Landsman, who grew up in Minnesota, and three poets published by Minneapolis-based Graywolf Press: Matthea Harvey, Jennifer Grotz and the poetry rock star Claudia Rankine.